There was a time when marketing for an independent health club meant sending direct mail, running ads in the local paper, or attending a health fair. Today, that world has evolved to include websites, social media, email and more.
While everyone in the fitness industry talks a good game when it comes to Facebook marketing, very few are actually doing it correctly.
The most important aspect of social media marketing is engaging with your customers and potential customers, and getting them on your website and in your gym. Unfortunately, many think that posting content such as an inspirational message or a funny meme will be enough. Usually, that isn’t enough. In fact, according to most content marketing experts, social media should be fueled by your other content such as blogs, which tell a story that your customers will care about.
Here are five tips to make the most of your Facebook page, turning likes into customers:
Be real. Be you.
Provide a window into your personality, don't just regurgitate your website “About” page. You shouldn’t be sharing the minutiae of your life (your meals, your workouts, your cat) – but snippets from your life that resonate with your audience and build rapport. As a health club owner or manager, you are the face of your business. If something is resonating with you, it might just be resonating with your customers-- did you just run a Tough Mudder? Let them know about it. Have an injury? Share your rehab training pain. Celebrating your wedding anniversary? Talk about the great dinner you splurged on and how you got back on the healthy-eating wagon the next day. These are all experiences that your members and prospects deal with every day, and lets them know they can be with others at the health club that understand (and if you can make it funny and human, they will really connect with you and your team).
Post regularly and often – with quality content. Use Facebook Insights to work out when your target audience is online and post then-- an unseen post — or worse yet, a poorly written or unappealing post — is as useful as no post. Post three to five times a day and spread those posts out. Shotgunning posts will annoy people and get you an “unlike” quickly.
Add value to your followers’ lives.
People don’t need to see the same quotes or memes shared by hundreds of pages – even if “Uncle” George Takei shared it first. You can use previously posted pictures or quotes, but add something unique to the post. Reel it back in to show how the quote or meme is relevant to your particular members and your club. Engage with your followers by asking a question or give them some fitness tips to go with your posts, so that they are getting something useful out of following you. Better yet, create your own images, videos, and interesting factoids for your Facebook page. It may take more time and a bit of creativity to create your own content, it is worth it to to have people liking, commenting, and sharing your unique stuff with like-minded friends. And don't be afraid to give away fitness information. They will be more apt to join your fitness center or buy personal training if they get a taste of what you and your staff know.
It's called engagement marketing.
While you are writing on a wall, you're not a graffiti artist. Don't just leave a “tag” on your wall and run. Write something that invites your Facebook fans to interact, and then spend time interacting with them. It may take time away from the other aspects of your business, however, if you do it well, that time helps you build a motivated, engaged audience of people who know and trust you.
Just as with email marketing and blog posts, the most important thing is to show expertise and add value to the lives of people that visit your Facebook page — and they don't like just being sold something. Post at least four or five times with a “free” value-added item before marketing a product or service. People hang out on Facebook with the mindset of engagement and communication, so offer them that before inviting them to join your mailing list (even then, offer a free e-book or some other piece of information to get them to your website) or purchase a new class or service from you.
With the right content, consistency, and a bit of humanity, Facebook can be a powerful tool in marketing to your current and future health club members.
John Agoglia has spent nearly two decades either working in health clubs or writing about them. He currently writes for several digital and print publications in and out of the fitness industry.