You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Lynne Hakes, social media expert at Epsilon, about social media best practices
Why is it important for clubs to have a social media presence? LH: Social media is the fastest and most accurate way to get your finger right on the pulse of your members. What are they thinking? Are they happy? Do they want more from management? How’s your customer service? All these questions can be answered through social media. By engaging in a one-to-one conversation with your fans, you are breaking down the walls and getting to know them and they are getting to know you, too. You can also find out what makes them happy and unhappy about your current competitors. Become friends with your fans and they will be happy to tell you why they are happy or unhappy.
How should clubs decide what platforms to be on? LH: If you are just dipping your toes into social media, it’s always best to start with one, get the hang of it and move on to more. Facebook seems to be the biggest choice for starting out because of its large audience, wide range of demographic and ease of use. Many new clubs will break out on Instagram or Twitter, you just have to be aware and understand how the platform’s users like to communicate. Additionally, always know the demographic of the audience and see if that is your target audience. Are you looking for millennials? Then Snapchat is for you, or if you are looking for predominantly women, then maybe Pinterest may be your best option. Whatever platform you choose, always know your audience and don’t try to take on more than you can handle. Master one, then move to the next.
How can clubs measure social media marketing ROI? LH: It’s hard not to look like a deer in headlights when you are asked about social media ROI — it’s one of the hardest marketing efforts to recognize revenue against. How do you put a dollar value to a one-to-one conversation with current and potential members? The best way to measure social media ROI is to decide what your goals are. Are your goals likes and shares? It’s easy to track these metrics in Facebook insights and other platforms. Are your goals more leads and memberships? Then promoting offers and using lead capture forms can track your ROI. Whatever your KPIs may be, there are paid and free tracking services to help you along the way.
What tools are useful in managing social media? LH: When managing social media it’s best to try to keep everything in one place in terms of metrics and publishing. Programs like Hootsuite and Sprout Social do just that.
What other social media advice can you provide clubs? LH: Keep it local and do it often. You don’t want your pages to go stagnant. Post every day if you can and videos do very well. If you want to engage members like a pro, go for Facebook Live — show your fans how to work up to a pistol squat from your personal trainer of the month, for example. The candidness of the live moment gives viewers something to relate to and will make them feel more welcome next time they come in to workout or join.