How to Use Social Media for Your Facility
For Gym Operators
How to Use Social Media for Your Facility
Social media has transformed the way society interacts, and fitness businesses are no exception. Social media is a valuable tool for influencing consumers by marketing and promoting your facility, and its success often relies on the strength of your facility’s brand – the combination of all aspects coming together with one distinct personality and voice.
Let’s take a look at how the power of social media can support your core business strategy and help promote your brand.
Develop Your Brand
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it possible to reach and market to thousands of people within seconds. They can also greatly affect the success of your business if used correctly. People tend to rely more on the recommendations and thoughts of their peers rather than advertisements. Having an online social media presence generates interest and gets people talking about your club.
Social media can be used to offer members or prospects additional ways to connect and engage with you, increase traffic to your website through referral links, and aid in lead generation.
Engage Your Community
Harness the power of social media marketing by striving to create an active online culture and community of people who engage with your facility regularly. Sharing valuable content builds relationships, enforces brand awareness, and creates a solid following on social media platforms.
Instead of presenting your fitness facility as a business trying to sell memberships, meaningfully engage with your followers by posting content that they find interesting and relevant. Your social media presence should have a community feel to it, where current and prospective members can find information, support, and engagement with their peers. While it is reasonable to want to advertise your business, do not overwhelm your followers with sales and offers. Your social media profiles should be filled with quality videos, photos, articles, and posts. For example, try sharing tips on how to use the equipment in your facility, nutritional advice, and meet-the-staff posts. Only post offers and promotions occasionally.
Your social media profiles should resemble the layout and style of your website. All platforms should contain elements that tie them together so members or prospective members can easily associate them. Include bright and engaging pictures, products that fit within your brand, and other material relevant to your facility and its offerings.
Promote Your Programming
Social media can garner interest in your facility’s programming. Start by creating Facebook groups for different communities within your gym, whether it is for weight loss programs or boot camps. Focus on building a strong community feeling. Once you have gained significant excitement, you can turn your programs into events and employ social media and your Facebook groups to engage with members or prospects who demonstrate an interest. This kind of social engagement can improve member retention by fostering accountability within the community. The social aspect of a program will keep members motivated and interested outside of the actual workouts.
Support for programs spreads through word of mouth, and also in this case, through online communities. Members share information about the programs on social media pages and groups, and sometimes post pictures and stories about their own experiences. This results in free advertising that reaches numerous people within a very short amount of time. Social exposure can often generate increased interest in your business, which naturally leads to increased membership and revenue.
Tips on Using Social Media
Implement these ideas to help make your facility’s social media presence valuable and influential.
Allocating Your Time
Between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, and all the other social networks out there, it can be hard to figure out where to spend your time and energy. Don’t feel like you need to be active on every single social media platform. It’s better to focus on doing a few things right versus doing a lot of things poorly. Find the top two or three social networks that resonate best with your members and concentrate your efforts there.
Set attainable goals for your social media profiles, making sure they are realistic, measurable, and time-bound. For example, if you are a fitness facility that has gained 500 Facebook followers over the past year, it would be unrealistic to set your goal to gain 50,000 followers in the next year. Concentrate on breaking a larger goal into smaller, more achievable goals like raising your following by 10% each month. This way, you can analyze your performance on a monthly basis and alter your approach as needed to better reach or exceed your goal.
Creating a Content Calendar
Create a social media content calendar for each social network and plan what content your followers will find valuable and insightful. Establish a schedule like posting workout tips on Monday, nutritional tips midweek, and motivational tips on Friday. Once you’ve established your social media content, you can schedule posts in advance, ultimately saving you time.
Finding Content Inspiration
Have you hit a roadblock on what to post on your social media pages? Check out content by reputable fitness industry experts like IHRSA, Men’s Fitness, and fitness equipment manufacturers. Look to fitness bloggers and celebrity trainers, or even your own facility’s training staff. If your members tag you in their content, consider reposting it. You’ll find that there is plenty of great content waiting to be leveraged by you.
Using Paid Advertising
Consider paying for advertisements. Social media sites offer the option of promoting or "boosting" your posts. Extend your reach, and gain new followers and engagement, by advertising with content that makes people want to interact with your brand and share it. Keep in mind, though, to not always advertise offers and sales, or your target audience will ignore them.
Using Facebook Events
Facebook allows businesses and people to create events and invite all of their followers. This is a great way to market and build interest about upcoming events and activities, such as the kick-off of a new program series, nutritional classes, or your facility’s anniversary party. Use these Facebook events as a place to inform interested people about event details, and to answer any questions they may have.
Navigating the world of social media can take some adapting, but by putting in the time and effort to engage with current and prospective members on your facility’s social networks, you’re helping your business stay relevant in the modern age.