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December 19, 2018

Noah Ohlsen on Building a Social Media Presence

Written by William Imbo

If there’s one thing Noah Ohlsen does better than CrossFit, it’s connecting with his followers through social media. From keeping up with two Instagram accounts – his and his golden retriever’s – to curating a YouTube channel, Ohlsen stays present and positive online. His catchphrase “Happy, but Hungry,” splashed across the banner of his YouTube channel, is a testament to his training style and runs true in his videos. We chatted with Ohlsen recently about his social media prowess and goals for the future.

BL: You have a great presence online, and you seem to really connect with the CrossFit community and wider through social media, especially through Instagram and YouTube. What is your philosophy when posting on social media?
NO: I appreciate you saying that. I’ve always enjoyed the social media stuff, mostly Instagram. That’s been, I don’t want to say my focus, but the one that I enjoy the most, the one I spend the most time on. So back when I was first starting I actually kind of was not necessarily ahead of the curve, but I was on it when it hadn’t really blown up yet. And I used to talk to some of my friends about it and they would make fun of me. They were like ‘Dude who cares?’ I remember when I got my first thousand followers I was like ‘Whoa, this is really cool’ and they were like ‘Yeah, but it doesn’t matter it doesn’t mean anything.” And now they kind get it now, that it’s actually a substantial platform to have.

I always have fun on there, I like high quality content. I like just looking at other people’s pages and seeing stuff that I enjoy. I try to have all my stuff fall in line with that. It’s funny though: I’ve noticed recently that I like posting high quality stuff, so that means like a professional photographer’s photo or video that’s all chopped up and edited. But every now and then when I post just like a super simple iPhone video of a lift or a complex or something, that sometimes gets the most interaction. People like to see like the real raw stuff.

So I’m learning, and I’ll mix some more of that stuff in as we go. On YouTube – I actually just decided to invest a little more time and energy into that. I’ve hired somebody to help me film and edit together one vlog per week. I got some good feedback when I started doing it myself and figured that I could make it a little more professional and a little easier for myself to focus on training by having somebody come and do it for me. I found an awesome guy, so I’m hoping that goes well and that people enjoy more YouTube stuff.

BL: Posting takes just a second, but it’s the interaction that keeps people interested. You’re close to half a million followers on Instagram, and that’s not on accident. How much time do you focus on that?
NO: Honestly probably not enough. I do enjoy diving into a post sometimes and commenting back to people, especially on the positive stuff. You can always get all worked up by some of the negative stuff and have a little of those social media arguments, but I feel like that’s never constructive at all. So I try to avoid doing that and just focus on the positive and thank people when they say something like I inspire them or encourage them and keep it all moving in that direction, but I could do that more often. Sometimes when I have down time to I jump on there and respond to DMs or get in my comments and write back on there. You just reminded me that I haven’t done that in a little while, I’ll have to go on and do that.

BL: How long do you spend doing that?
NO: If I’m just hanging out waiting for something and I’ve got like an hour or two of downtime just to hop on there and dig through as many of those as I can. But I actually don’t like the way that Instagram formats the messaging because they have all the direct messages kind of get compiled with the story responses.

So I post on my story a lot like videos of me and Max [Noah’s golden retriever] or something about me lifting so if twenty people comments on my story posts and I post five a day I’d get hundreds of these kind of like super simple thumbs up mixed in with the actual messages or somebody saying Hey I can I get some advice on this so sometimes it’s hard to sort through.

BL: I’m glad you brought up Max. He has almost 35,000 followers on his own. So what is it like
posting for him, and do you think he helps you out on social media?
NO: Yeah, it’s fun, you know his is less filtered, you don’t have to think so much about what we’re going to post or the direction or whatever, it’s more just like fun, feel-good stuff. We honestly probably don’t put as much energy into that as we could. I feel like we could really grow his page. As silly as it sounds, some people – their dog’s account is their job, and I feel like if we wanted to we could probably do that, but I’ve decided to just kind of keep it a little more light and fun.

BL: That seems like a reflection of your personality there.
NO: Yeah, it definitely could be! I feel like if I were a dog, I would probably be a big ol’ golden retriever, so Max is my spirit animal.
You can follow Noah on Instagram @nohlsen and on YouTube here. Follow Maximus Ohlsen the golden retriever on Instagram @maximusohlsen.

Photo from @nohlsen Instagram.

About William Imbo

William Imbo is an Associate Editor at BoxLife magazine, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and holds an MPS in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. He is an avid CrossFitter and loves film, music and travel, thanks to having grown up across Europe. A fan of the New Orleans Saints and Newcastle United, Will's favorite CrossFit girl is Helen-least favorite being Isabel.

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