We all use and love social media, but do you know how to use it effectively to grow your customer base and build a community? Social media is, in fact, an easy and useful tool to drive business, easily interact with existing members and attract new business. However, social media should not be a last resort to “fix” a club or increase sales. Rather, it should be used to build relationships.
Social media is a process, not a once and done. You need a long-term view since there are really no instant results and you can’t track ROI. Social media should be integrated with your business, not just used as another add-on. You need a plan. Who is your audience, and what are your goals? Once you have that, you are golden!
What social media outlet is best for you? There are a plethora of social media outlets to choose from, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest and review sites such as Yelp. Obviously, the two most popular are Facebook and Twitter, so let’s start there. According to Delos Incorporated, Facebook has 845 million active users — 425 million of which are mobile users; 250 million photos are uploaded daily, and there are 2.7 million “likes” a day. Twitter has over 465 million accounts with 175 million tweets daily, with 92 percent of “retweets” being on what people consider interesting content. Luckily, there are tools, like HootSuite (http://hootsuite.com/) that help manage multiple social profiles and schedule posts and reports, so you can use one, or five profiles at one time.
Even if you have an existing Facebook or Twitter account, there’s always room for some improvement. Tip 1: Keep consistent with the “voice” and content of your social media profiles. Designate one person to monitor the profiles, allowing for quick responses and interactions with your users. Tip 2: Always lead back to your website. Make sure your profiles have the best way to contact you — list your hours, phone number, e-mail, website and a map. Tip 3: Post lots of photos — we are visual people, so post engaging photos of your club and happy customers. Be sure to get permission from people who are in your photos before posting. Tip 4: Be conversational and acknowledge people. Share tips, how-to’s and resources. You want to be social. Posts should be 90 percent content and 10 percent offers. Tip 5: Update regularly. Again, this isn’t a once and done thing. Try to post two to three times a week, and make it sharable content.
With more than half the people in the U.S. having a Smartphone (i.e. iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.) it’s no wonder social media is making such an impact. It’s one of the only ways to instantly connect with your favorite people, places or interests. Think about it — on a Monday morning you post a photo of a delicious shake and write, “Half off a shake at the Juice Bar, TODAY ONLY, by liking this post. Please show the Juice Bar employee this post with your ‘like’ to qualify!” How many people do you know check their Facebook or Twitter profiles during their morning routine? Admit it, you are guilty like the rest of us. Now, not only do you get an existing member to “like” your post, but that “like” is shared with all their connections and shows up in their feed that connects to more people and so on. It’s like word of mouth — and best of all, it’s free!
Megan Connolly is the Art Director and Social Media Manager for Performance Food Centers. She can be contacted at 610.474.0440 ext. 114, or email@example.com.
Great article, Megan! When it comes to social media marketing, I think that most small businesses, fitness clubs included, know how to use social media for their personal use, but as soon as they focus on the business side of things, the wheels fall of the cart. It is as if they don’t know how to “be the business”. On social media, it’s important to give your business a personal voice.
I have a strong interest in fitness club marketing, to the point where I created what I think is the perfect formula for 365 days of content. I hope to present this plan to some fitness clubs soon, to see what their response is.