Social media: it’s a hot phrase in business right now. Marketing professionals everywhere are extolling the benefits of social media marketing for its ability to raise brand awareness and help build relationships with current and potential customers. With 73 percent of all adults in the U.S. using social networks, there is a strong appeal for including social media in your marketing plans to augment your existing e-mail and text message marketing campaigns.
Facebook currently sits at the top of social media networks with 1.2 billion users and is dominant in the U.S. as 71 percent of adults use it, according to research from the PEW Research Center. Chances are, your club already has a Facebook page and a lot of your members are already following you. While Facebook is a great way to share information with your existing members, it can be much harder to spread the word about your club to non-members. People tend to follow businesses they already have a relationship with, so how can you reach past your immediate network to bring new leads into the club?
The answer lies in leveraging your members’ social network to spread the word about your club to their family and friends. On Facebook particularly, there are a few practical things you can do.
Create a Facebook Event
If you’re holding an open house or Zumba-thon where your members can bring a friend to your club, create an event on Facebook. You can set the event to be public and encourage your followers to invite their family and friends or share it on their wall. Even if your members don’t directly invite their friends, when they respond to your invitation their response and the event will appear in the newsfeed of their family and friends. People are more likely to attend events if they know someone who is already going, so this is a great way to have your members spread the word about your club to their social network.
Run a Contest on Facebook
Running a contest or giveaway provides extra incentive for your members to share one of your Facebook posts with their family and friends. Post an image about your giveaway and have your followers share it on their timeline for a chance to win. When your followers share your image it will also appear on their friends’ News Feed when they first log into Facebook. You can open the contest to non-members with the caveat that everyone must also “like” your page to be entered into the drawing, so they continue to see your content once the contest is over. The prize can be as simple as a month of free membership or free smoothies at your juice bar, but it should be compelling enough to make people act.
Use Facebook to Collect Referral Leads
When new members join your club, give them the opportunity to offer a free pass to their friends on Facebook. This gives your new members a chance to share that they joined your club and find a workout partner. And because your members are posting about the free pass, everyone in their social network will see the offer from your club, which in turn expands your social media reach and encourages new leads to like your Facebook page. Depending on your sales software, you may also be able to pull new leads and referral leads right from Facebook into your system so sales staff can follow-up with them.
Keep in mind that you can certainly use other social media platforms to spread the word about your club to non-members. However, the event invitation features and sharing options in Facebook make it an ideal medium for you to put the power of your members’ social network to use. According to the PEW Research Center, the average adult Facebook user has 338 friends, so if you can motivate your followers to share your content or talk about your club on this platform, you can greatly enhance your club’s social media reach.
Rachel Lai is the marketing manager for InTouch Follow-Up, the leading health club sales and retention software. She can be reached at 206.395.3616 or by e-mail at email@example.com.