It's 2011, and you are all over your e-marketing strategy, right? Your website has been optimized for search engines, and you rule on Facebook and Twitter. You post YouTube videos every day.
The problem is that you don't. You operate a fitness facility. You have a job. A life. You hear every day that you have to be part of this revolution, but you don't know where to start.
We're here to help with "Rob and Barry's Top Four Internet Tips for 2011." Well, not really. Rob hates social media. He thinks Twitter is stupid and doesn't understand why anyone would spend time on Facebook. So, let's call these "Barry's Top Four Tips."
1. Build a Facebook page. Your members and prospects are on Facebook. Like it or not, you need to be there, because they will look for you there. So, build a page for your business. It's easy, but everything on Facebook is more convoluted than it seems. Know that it takes time, and it needs to be worked every day.
2. Inform, don't promote. Remember that it's called social media because it's social. (Famous quote: "demented and sad, but social.") Nobody likes a person who shows up at a cocktail party and starts shouting about his or her business. It's the same thing on Facebook. Share interesting links and stories. Communicate with your community. And, while you should inform the world about things you might be selling, do it socially. ("Always wanted to bring a friend to the gym?" vs. "Friends are free this month only").
3. Build synergy. Your website should be dynamic and alive with current content, but it should also be relatively formal, allowing Facebook to carry informal content. For example, your photos on the Web should be crisp and professional, whereas Facebook is perfect for your informal shots of a member event. Build synergy between your website and Facebook. Use Facebook to drive members and prospects back to your website, where they might find a detailed page on a given topic, or a page where you can capture their lead information. From your website, get visitors to "Like" your Facebook page. Your website should feed off your Facebook page, and vice versa.
4. Optimize your website for search engines. With all this talk about Facebook, let's not forget about Google and Bing. If you have not researched or spoken with your web folks about SEO (search engine optimization), you need to do so. The Yellow Pages are dead, and hyper-local searches on Google and Bing are how people find you. They will search for gyms-in-their-neighborhood and personal-training-in-their-zip-code. Prospects will not know you exist if you do not do well in such searches.
That's it. Four things for 2011: Establish a Facebook presence. Work it every day by sharing useful information. Build synergy between your website and your Facebook presence. Optimize your website for Google and Bing. Don't worry about Twitter or Foursquare. If you feel like producing videos for YouTube, that's great. If you want to blog, please do. If you monitor reviews of your business on Yelp, you are wise. But, you can walk into this new world - you don't have to run.
Oh, and there's a fifth thing: If you are a Rob and hate all of this, find a Barry to do it for you. He'll e-mail you all of the interesting things that happen online.