You have questions, we have answers. We took some time this month to speak with Shanna Kane, the VP of marketing for O2 Fitness in N.C., about the club’s O2 SHOP and how they’ve successfully used social media to engage new and potential members.
“What is the most important marketing message at O2 Fitness?”
SK: It’s definitely a two-fold message: 1) That we are the fitness experts in the area. 2) That O2 Fitness is created for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. We like to keep our marketing message strong, but still playful so we aren’t intimidating anyone; especially those who are just looking to get started on their fitness journey.
“Why did you decide to launch O2 SHOP?”
SK: The O2 SHOP is definitely one of my favorite new features at O2 Fitness. We decided to launch it for a few reasons. We generally run a couple member-referral promotions each year where we give away O2 gear (t-shirts, gym bags, water bottles, etc.). While we were running these promotions, we always had requests from our members to put the items up for sale in case they didn’t have anyone to refer at that time. Our team members also requested the same thing — they wanted to buy these items so they could wear them to work and help promote O2 externally.
“How has O2 SHOP helped spread your brand?”
SK: Members and team members alike are wearing our items around town — they have become a free, walking billboard for O2 Fitness. We try to run discounts and keep the costs of the items low so that members will continue to buy our items. I know that when just wearing O2 t-shirts myself and going to the grocery store, people have asked me where O2 Fitness is and how much it costs to join. You don’t get that kind of response with a generic print ad!
“How has social media changed your marketing over the last year?”
SK: Social media is a cornerstone in my marketing plan. We have been able to eliminate a lot of traditional advertising because the response we get from social media has been huge, not only with our members, but with non-members as well. Facebook is definitely the big one for us, but we also use Twitter and Pinterest. We have gone from 300 Facebook fans in 2009 to over 7,500 currently. It’s a great place for our members to communicate with each other as well as with us, promote our internal events (new classes, Shape Up Downtown, contests, etc.) and continue to provide our members with information (recipes, nutrition information, workout tips, etc.). We have had a lot of success with getting non-members to sign up for free trials via Facebook advertisements as well, and will continue to improve on them to get even better results.
Exclusive Tips from Shanna Kane:
1. Keep your marketing consistent and have a brand identity — change the message to keep it fresh, but keep the look/colors generally the same so people will recognize your business.
2. Social Media — run a sponsored Facebook story or find a fun way to get new “likes” on Facebook (contests work well!). These new followers will see your business posting and you will stay top of mind.
3. Be unique — promote the aspects of your business that are different from your competitors.
4. You can reach many locals by getting involved in charity or community events — you may even get free advertising or media recognition out of it. Donate a membership to an auction and give them your logo to use in exchange. It’s a fun environment and people are generally more interested in businesses that pay attention to the things they care about.
5. Google — make sure your website is optimized and you are constantly writing new content on your blog. Google loves this and it will help you get higher in search results.