What You Can Do to Spread the Spark

Members are always asking what they can do to give back to SparkPeople. Our typical suggestion is "Spread the Spark to others," since word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Lately we've heard some creative ways our members have been spreading the Spark to friends, family members, and their communities. Perhaps hearing what others do will "spark" your imagination and give you new ideas to spread the word!

Nan (SEYSARAH) has found lots of ways to spread the Spark in her community. Here she shares some of what she's been doing and the response she's received:

"Now that I look better and feel better, it was natural to want to help others by telling them about SparkPeople. Slowly but surely I got my physician involved, who got other physicians involved, who got their patients involved, and before I knew it I was speaking to local and regional professionals for the first five minutes of their monthly or quarterly meetings.

"I keep it light, telling them I was a walking billboard for health risk factors and the perfect person not to issue insurance to—smoker, insomniac, stressed, overweight, dehydrated, depressed, non-exerciser. I was a mess and that was six months ago. From there I tell them where I am today in my journey and about the site. More often than not I simply introduce myself by saying 'Hi, my name is Nan and I have been Sparked today, have you?' That almost always gets a laugh. I even [made] small business cards that have the website address on them and [read] 'Free to all! Come join the fun and get healthy doing it!'

"Now I get calls from someone who knows someone who wants to have me talk [about SparkPeople]—accountants, lawyers, the possibilities are endless. Because it's fun and it works, I am passing the info along wherever I go. Besides, there just isn't anything better than feeling like you might have made someone's day."

Jan (GETTO140) , a long-time member and one of our Success Stories, also spreads the Spark in a variety of ways. Here's what she had to say:

"Physically sitting with someone in-person and helping them get started has been much more effective than anything I've tried, since I know for sure that those people are registering for the site. But here are some other ways I get the word out:
  • Put it in my church bulletin
  • Mentioned it in my Christmas cards
  • Email recipes to friends
  • Wear my t-shirt to as often as possible when I know there will be a crowd
  • Write it down for anyone who asks how I lost my weight
  • Put it at the bottom of emails I send
"I get a full-range of reactions, from 'Oh, but you still have to exercise?' to 'How do I sign up for this?' I get very excited talking about it to anyone who will let me show them this wonderful site. Some people have already signed up through work, but have never used it. I show them how easy it is to enter food in the nutrition tracker, and that gets most of them excited about starting."

Paula (SHMILYUK) shares the unique ways of spreading the Spark that work for her:
  • Equipping herself with enough new clothes to show off how fit she is. Everyone wonders what she's up to and just has to ask.
  • Printing off the page of the Leaderboards with her current position on it and a Post-It note saying "Current Spark Leaderboard Position" and updating it each time she moves up. "I must confess I also do a little impromptu office announcement like "Drum roll please... finished February in 2nd position in the UK and 30th in the world!" at which my colleagues all roll their eyes in the nicest possible way and do a little 'WOW - well done you!'
  • Emailing and printing off relevant articles for friends (even if they're not in need of a lifestyle change) with the SparkPeople logo on them.
"What kind of responses have I gotten? From those more distant acquaintances who don't see me every day, mostly a doubtful expression because they don't believe a website can provide all of what I'm telling them. In these instances I don't push them or try to convince them. I say, 'Just let me know if you'd like to take a look for yourself and I'll email you a link.' But I don't insist or start getting pushy. Quite the opposite, I am really cool about it on purpose—it makes people even more curious. Explaining in a way that makes them feel confident about giving it a go but also being honest, in that no-one-else-can-do-it-for-you way works best, I find. Being really visible in going about my own mission sparks people's interest and curiosity and they want to know how I'm managing it."

Kat (SDFITFORLIFE) was the winner of our February 2007 Tell-A-Friend contest, with over 140 referrals to the site. How did she do it?
  • Started chatting with folks all over—in chat rooms, in blogs and on other sites.
  • Emailed new buddies all over the world through posting ads for email buddies.
  • Included the link to SparkPeople in her signature line along with a little bit about the site to educate people.
"I wasn't really expecting to get referrals; I was just hoping to change the outlook of people about their health and bodies. I've made a lot of Internet friends as a result of it.

"I think the best thing is to be open-minded and just chat about health and healthier ways of living…through everything you do online and in person. I think networking like that will generate a 'Spark' of interest and before you know it, you will have referrals and more people on SparkPeople to be good buddies with you."

So how can you spread the Spark? As you can see, the possibilities are endless! No matter which method you choose, every bit helps. Consider joining the Spread the Spark PR Team, a SparkTeam that provides resources and encouragement for current SparkPeople members who want to help spread the Spark through their local media.

We appreciate all of your efforts to help make our site the best it can be!