#TeamSydney – How Crossfit Used Storytelling to Increase Their Engagement Rate to 174%

6:36 minutes. 174% Engagement Rate. 2, 971 Interactions.

Once in a while, we come across some stand out pieces of content on social media. Admittedly, it’s the data that first spikes our attention. But then curiosity takes over, because we just have to know what on earth made that piece of content stand out in an ocean of others.

This was exactly the case for a video shared by Crossfit Jenks, a Crossfit gym based in Oklahoma, USA.

The video tells a story of a very special member of their gym, Sydney. Sydney is currently living with an extremely rare autoimmune disease and has been on a liver transplant list for over a year.

Oh. And did we mention that she is the 2015 Crossfit Champion!?

But what also makes this video interesting from a data perspective, was its ability to transcend the immediate Crossfit Jenks’ following through its viral nature generating an unprecedented engagement for the page (competitor ER average was only 0.71%).


Clearly this video is an extremely emotive and inspirational story of the resilience of a special individual that resonated deeply with the audience. Considering the average video length on Facebook is 55.3 seconds, with the average view duration being 30% less than that (Crossfit’s video was 6 times that) (, this only exemplifies how engaged the audience was with the content, despite the long form nature of the video.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the themes that made this video so engaging.

The Power of Storytelling

It’s an age-old pastime that dates back to the beginning of time and has been adopted in many shapes and forms by businesses all over the world.

This video engaged in the storytelling composition as it invited the audience to join Sydney on her journey: from her battle with her deteriorating health, to her first experience at Crossfit Jenks with her family, to her winning the 2015 Crossfit Championship.

Research has shown, and what is evident in this post, is that there is a strong link between the sentiments video content evokes, and the sharing intent it creates for users as the emotional appeal makes consumers more willing to share the content with their network (

As a result, Crossfit Jenks were able to engage their audience by creating overwhelming feelings of adversity, happiness, motivation and admiration, resulting in it being watched more than 236K times and being interacted with 2,971 times.

Influencer Marketing

By sharing Sydney’s story, Crossfit have established her status as an influencer as her face becomes synonymous with the Crossfit brand.

She now represents the community that they have built and in turn, her personal attributes of adversity, resilience and inspiration are affiliated with the Crossfit brand itself.

Sydney’s story acts as a personal recommendation (whether purposefully or not), creating positive affiliations for consumers with the Crossfit brand.

With 92% of people saying that they trust personal recommendations over brands – even if they don’t know the individual making the recommendations, this becomes extremely important (

Quality of Video Production

What also makes this video stand out, particularly amongst the other video content on the Crossfit Jenks’ Facebook page, is its production – the professional filming and editing stands out amongst a sea of DIY mobile videos currently populating their Facebook page.

By engaging with professionals to capture Sydney’s story, it is clear to the audience that they have a respect for the content being captured, showcased by its well thought out nature.

Overall, this video was a clear statistical standout in its category for its ability to engage with audiences – and it’s clear to see that it was the ability of Sydney’s story to facilitate an emotional response.

Not a dry eye here at Social Status. #TeamSydney

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