19-Year-Old Shows Anybody Can Become Known With Commitment

become known

By Danielle Conte, {grow} Community Member

become knownIn Mark Schaefer’s new book, KNOWN, he makes the case that anybody can attain the authority, presence, and reputation to make their dreams come true. It doesn’t matter what you look like, the color of your skin or how dark your life has been. Mark teaches us that anybody has the opportunity to become known today.

Even if you’re 19.

Josh Shapiro is not only becoming known, he’s becoming incredibly successful through consistent and entertaining content about the American sport of baseball.

“Baseball has been an interest of mine since I was 5 years old,” he said.  “I grew up playing baseball and watching the New York Yankees with my Dad.  I’ve also been a long-time fan of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and fellow Long Islander, Marcus Stroman. I love his motto height doesn’t measure heart.” 

When he was 16, Josh discovered a world of baseball on Instagram … and he wanted in. He saw an opportunity to create an engaging Instagram community centered around the love of the game. During his sophomore year, he started the Baseball Lifestyle 101 Instagram account with his friend Tristan Matty, who continues to work with him on the business. Josh thought the visually-driven and growing Instagram platform was ripe for baseball fans.

Josh’s commitment to developing eye-catching content, posting consistently, and establishing person-to-person communication on behalf of the brand, paid off. Baseball Lifestyle 101 is closing in on 450,000 followers on Instagram, its primary social media hub.

Here’s how Josh used Instagram to become known in his teen years.

Early-Mover Advantage

Baseball Lifestyle 101 launched on Instagram in 2013 when the platform’s base was around 100 million users. Instagram now boasts more than 700 million active users. Arriving on the Instagram scene earlier than others doesn’t guarantee success.  But Baseball Lifestyle 101 has outlasted and surged past its original Instagram competition because of Josh’s dedication to entertaining and consistent content. He stuck with it. Today, Baseball Lifestyle 101 is one of the most influential and active baseball accounts on Instagram.

Building the Right Audience

By searching #baseball on Instagram, Josh started to find his alpha audience. He would then engage baseball fans who shared the love of the game by commenting on their posts and nurturing a relationship.

Over time, Josh encouraged his followers to tag their friends on clever posts such as “Tag someone who cannot strike you out.” A recent post with a caption asking followers to “Tag your throwing partner” has generated 7,733 likes and more than 1,000 comments in two days.

Many posts now feature #100mphclub. When followers like and comment using #100mphclub within the first 5 minutes of the post, Baseball Lifestyle 101 randomly selects a new winner to receive a logo decal. Anyone with that logo decal or product purchased from the website can be entered into the biggest prize of the month valued at over $150. The company continuously builds community through engaging questions, hashtags and giveaways.

Content Roster

instagram case study baseball 1Baseball Lifestyle 101 chose Instagram as their primary content hub for the first few years. The account’s images feature moments, emotions, memes, and symbols of all things baseball, with careful attention given to angles, bold colors, and rich textures that make fans feel like they entered a ballpark through the Instagram checkerboard.

Content moments include photos of a fan sitting in the stands showing a close up of their favorite ballpark snack with the crowd and baseball diamond in the background. Other content includes a “question of the day” or a throwback to legends Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth as well as short videos that put viewers in the game.

The company launched an impressive eCommerce site last year that sells Baseball Lifestyle 101 apparel and accessories including t-shirts, hats, socks, wallets and jewelry. Once the Baseball Lifestyle 101 eCommerce site was up and running, new products debuted on social media along with special flash sales and giveaways.

Now that Baseball Lifestyle 101 established an audience on Instagram, the team is beginning to diversify. They just launched a podcast on iTunes called The Grounds Crew and a Video Blog (Vlog) on YouTube which recently documented a trip to Fenway Park. Baseball Lifestyle 101 also uses their Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter accounts to connect with their audience.

A Person Behind the Brand

It is important to Josh that the Instagram community knows there is a real human being behind the Baseball Lifestyle 101 brand.

Josh believes one of the reasons their engagement is so high on Instagram is because the community grew and continues to grow with each person to person interaction. For example, he would send direct messages to other baseball companies to see if they would be interested in some free gear, and in return, give him a shout-out on Instagram. This circled around and Josh picked up the phone and talked with companies about sending him free baseball gear in exchange for giving those companies exposure on his Instagram account. Establishing these strategic and complementary relationships helped both parties.

The turning point seemed to be when the Baseball Lifestyle 101 Instagram account hit 10,000 followers. At this point he noticed a big surge in momentum.

Consistent Content Delivery

Consistency remains a big factor to Baseball Lifestyle 101’s social media success. Since the Instagram account was launched in 2013, Josh estimates he has only missed 12 days of posting to the account in four years! The account averages around 9 – 12 posts per day. Josh never wants to let his audience down by going dark on the account and commits to the process every single day.

Strong Social Media, Strong eCommerce 

The eCommerce tipping point for Baseball Lifestyle 101 didn’t come until three years after the Instagram community was built. “I invested heavily in building the community on Instagram first and then developed and sold the product line later. I really got to know my audience this way and developed products I knew the fans would love,” explained Shapiro. Baseball Lifestyle 101’s eCommerce business has seen an increase of 10-15% every month since its launch.

Josh Shapiro is currently a business student at SUNY Farmingdale where he was also recruited to play baseball. His social media and business success story continues to be an inspiration for entrepreneurs and for those who wish to become KNOWN.

You can connect with Baseball Lifestyle 101 via their website or on InstagramSnapchat (baseball_LS101), Twitter, and on iTunes, YouTube, and Facebook. You can also visit their other company Softball Lifestyle 101 on Instagram @Softball.Lifestyle101.

Danielle G. Conte is a Social Media Marketing and Retailing professor at SUNY Farmingdale and a marketing consultant. Connect with Danielle through youtailretail.com.

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