Thursday, 31 March 2016

My Strava Exploded!

Over the last few weeks I've dedicated a lot of my attention to Strava social networking. I've been using Strava for over five years, initially for uploading a few 'fast' rides to now uploading every ride and multi-sport activity I can. I wanted to see if applying the same principals to boost engagement that work with other social working sites would also work with Strava. They did, a lot more than I expected!

"If it's not on Strava, it didn't happen" 

With the introduction of Zwift, my Strava reach grew beyond my hometown of Melbourne, beyond Australia, and to corners of the world I didn't even know about. My use of Strava changed from a personal activity logger to a platform to share activities and locations I've been to, to the world. 

As a competitive cyclist, chasing Personal Bests (PBs) and Segment KOMs is always there, but now the reach is far beyond the competitive side. Uploading activities (with photos!) from Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, country Victoria, tropical islands off the Queensland coast, even Fiji, have all had great responses from the Strava community.

Here's a few tips I've implemented that boosted my Strava reach far beyond what I thought ever possible in a really short period of time: 

1. Interaction 

Hands down the number one tip is interaction with other Strava users. Kudos epic rides, outstanding efforts, or whoever rode your favourite route today. I found as many riders who uploaded their 235km 'Three Peaks' ride and kudos'ed their efforts. Anyone riding that far in a day deserves it. 

As a Zwift fanatic, I've been interacting with people who've been training hard while clocking up the virtual kilometres. Riding indoors requires a certain level of tenacity, and that always deserves a thumbs up.

2. Ride Names

Sure "Morning Ride" is descriptive, "Best Morning Ride EVER!" is better. Anyone who doesn't kudos a ride called "New Bike Day" doesn't have a beating heart. Everyone loves new bike day. Kudos that. And they better have posted a picture of their new bike... 

3. Photos

Link your Strava to your Instagram via the Social Connections setting (How-to here) and always upload a few snaps via the mobile app once you're done. Sun, rain, hail, or snow, photos bring your activity and location to life on Strava. They become part of the story more than just a map and data. If I'm going somewhere new, I'll look at Strava ride/activity photos before any travel guides. 

4. Do Different!

Take a different route. Go for a PR or a KOM on the way to work. If you're only uploading rides, upload your next walk or hike. As mentioned above, name your activity accordingly and add a photo! 

I've uploaded hundreds of my races over the years on Strava..... so what activity has received the most attention at this point in time? My ride and a KOM on a 12kg flat pedal hybrid hire bike on Magnetic Island (North Queensland, right next to the Great Barrier Reef). That was different.

Using the techniques above my modest follower count has sky rocketed. While follower count is interesting, it's the increased interactions with other Strava users that I've loved. On a recent trip to northern Queensland I was invited on no less than four rides in three different cities all  through my Strava connections. Not to mention the numerous invites to visit the USA as we enter the Australian winter. I'll take everyone up on these offers at some point in the future. 

I'll conclude this post by answering why. 

Everyone has the ability to inspire others. 

Strava is a simple way to promote your chosen sport, to promote your unique location(s), and to inspire others to ride, run, swim, and become active. Globally. I believe that ability and that reach is an amazing concept.

One simple kudos click, a comment, or a follow can make someone's day. Make that today. GO!


Karl said...

I started reading this article with the thought that so much Strava is a distraction from real life, including cycling, on top of all the other social networking distractions. But by the time I got to the end, I had bought into it, especially as a way of connecting with people to meet in the real world, and sharing the positive experiences of any bike adventures. It helps that you, Shane, are a proper, proper rider. Gives us something to reach for and pushes the average rider (I'm one) out the front door when it's raining. So thanks!

Shane Miller said...

Thanks for taking the time to read the post and comment Karl. There's a lot of unknown when it comes to posting content like this and how it'll be received. You've nailed it. And that makes it all worth while.

James Avecilla said...

I was almost certain that receiving kudos from you on my first Zwift ride was a clever marketing ploy to encourage me to subscribe. So happy to be wrong. You have successfully inspired this novice rider to push hard and pay it forward.

Shane Miller said...

Cheers for the comment James. Ride On! And see you on the island soon.

Foo said...

Appreciate the "out of the blue" Kudos" :-)

Shane Miller said...

You're welcome! Keep on rollin' :)

Amber said...

Thanks for the kudos, I found your blog! I just submitted an App Lync Request to get a new kind of data sync. I have a smart scale, and wanted my weight, BM to upload automatically! The App it uses is Weight Guru. The scale is Greater Goods. Setup is easy and it was only $39.99 on Amazon! Now I feel like I have a very well rounded solution for statistics, workouts and Social Networkibg!

uponone said...

Haha I got a kudos on a burbs ride the other week thanks. Glad to be part of the experiment.