Cycle coach stepping up her social media game through the lockdown

April 8, 2020

During the Covid-19 level 4 restrictions, cycle coach and Skills Active assessor Janet Stark has been using social media to stay engaged with her followers, and keep them informed, entertained and inspired. Skills Active caught up with Janet to get her social media tips and tricks.

How are you and your household going, during the lockdown?

At the moment, we are going quite well. My daughter is studying at university today via Zoom meetings. My husband is an essential worker, and is able to work from home, but has the option of going to work onsite. My son finished university at the end of last year, and has been working as an assistant instructor for Outdoor Experience. Without that to do, he’s been pursuing a hobby of blacksmithing, and that’s been entertaining.  

My business has gone from being flat tack in March, which is our busy season, to zero contact. Initially it was quite hard, but I do have extra time now to do a little bit of study. I’m an outdoors girl, not a person who sits in front of the computer for hours. I am trying my hardest to be focussed - but that could be a problem!

Your business has been providing lots of inspiring and useful content that has been cheering people up. What prompted you to increase your social media posting?

I had a chat to other business owners prior to the lockdown, and we agreed that an online presence was going to be really important to survive this journey that we’re all on. We’ve never had to live life like this before, and I feel like people need help with this journey. Certainly, I struggle internally with it as well.

What sorts of things are you posting and why?

Every day at 4pm on my Facebook page, I post a link to some form of movie, short film or short clip, all cycling-related. Another thing that has been quite successful is posting my creations in the kitchen. I made these chequerboard biscuits that I’ve been making for years. And I’ve had people send me photos of their creations of the same recipe. I’m not a very good cook, but I’ve got time, so why not! We’ve made kumara bread, homemade dip, and banana pancakes.

2004 Janet Stark biscuits


I’ve also been putting up my views. How to stay local. How to ride your bike. Should we be going a long way out? What can we do, to do our bit? I try to be thought-provoking, rather than: “You must do this.”

I’m putting up photos of our walks, at our local beach and surrounds. And I’m into balance work, so I’ve put a couple of ideas out there for improving your balance, like kerb walking.

How do you figure out who your audience is?

I’ve learned to use Facebook Insights, which is a tool that tells me who my followers are. I’ve looked at the age group that follow me. I’m 50, and a lot of my followers are in that same demographic, women in that middle age group, about 40 and up. Facebook also tells me a lot of my fans live in Auckland – the Insights page is really handy. And then I also look at who responds to my posts and what discussions we have.

Do you think about your audience demographics when you are composing a post?

Generally when I’m writing a thought-provoking post, it just comes from the soul; me putting down my thoughts. But I do try to think about different age groups sometimes. Yesterday I shared an idea that came up on our community group, for people with younger children – going for a walk with some chalk and drawing pictures on the footpath.

Do you keep track of how your posts perform?

Even though I have more time now, I don’t want to spend hours in front of the computer, so I probably don’t analyse the data as much as I could. I sometimes think: Oh wow, that got more reach than I expected. But I don’t spend hours thinking about how to get more reach.

How has the engagement been from your followers?

I advertised my movie posts on a few different cycling groups, and that led to an increase in new followers on my page. With more followers, I’m getting different people making comments on my page. It’s nice to have some new interactions. I suspect people are feeling a little stressed, and looking for those social connections – so I’m hoping to provide a little bit of that.

What have you enjoyed most?

The ladies who made my chequerboard biscuits - they sent me pictures of their version. I really enjoyed having that interaction. It’s a Sophie Gray recipe that I’ve had for years.

I also have a Facebook group that I run for clients only. We’ve been having quite a bit of chatter within that group as well. I’m enjoying those discussions, and it’s almost like having a conversation in person.