Kettlebell sport is the sport of lifting kettlebells 🙂 It’s origins are in Russia and it has been growing steadily in the west since 2004 or so. In all the countries, the common thing is that the sport is small, and the people who know about it are rare. Usually the practicioners live in different cities and towns and see each other only in meets and competitions, or maybe sometimes in training sessions. Anyway, it’s really rare to have kettlebell sport gyms and regular group practice sessions.
In Finland,we have an association (Finnish Kettlebell Association, http://www.kahvakuula.fi, kahvakuula is kettlebell in english) for spreading word about the sport, and also organising competitions. We are non-profit, which means that we cannot really invest in marketing in tv, newspapers or magazines.
The goal is to inform interested people about the sport and the kettlebel itself, trough events, news and articles. This has been quite succesful in the last few years, using mainly free tools. The challenge is to get the info out to all meaningful channels but not to spam everyone with constant updates. So, there must be a way for the interested person to subscribe to the news etc.
This is why I chose the following tools:
- self hosted wordpress blog: totally customisable with the basic blog functions, which tech oriented users can subscribe as RSS
- phpbb forum: for discussions
- Facebook fan page: automatic updates from the blog RSS feed as notes, users can choose if they want the updates to their stream or not
- Twitter: completely open way to get the blog message out, for the users who don’t have Facebook
- Twitterfeed: the tool to get the RSS automatically from the blog to Twitter
The site and the blog is the root of the information, for example an event. There’s a page, and a blog post which tells about the coming event and links to the event page. Then, the blog post is spread automatically as RSS to Facebook and Twitter, and is visible in searches and for the subscribers of those services. Also, the forum offers a place for discussion about the event, before, during or after it.
So, after the initial buzz there’s always the original blog post and the page about the event still in the site, as a reference for later blog posts and maybe history reviews. The reason why Facebook and Twitter are not enough by themselves is the fact that they are real-time, and offer a glimpse of a huge data flow that’s going on NOW. This is cool but sometimes you want to look back for an article or a previous event, or sometimes you want to write an article about the history of an organisation, and the site will have all the info still intact. While ”old school”, a forum still offers a better way to engage in more in depth discussion, or even go back in a discussion from few years back with new ideas.
So, I think it’s a good idea to build a base, what will be built to last (a site, a blog) and then use the social stream tools to reference the base. After all, in a few years Twitter and Facebook could be replaced with some other similar tools, but the site and the forum will still be running and serving from the same base.
How have you used social tools to advance your sport etc? How do you use the tools to find relevant info?