By Jane Bahneman, AFS Community Expert
When operating a fitness studio, every minute of the day counts. Navigating time management is one of the most important, yet most challenging aspects of ownership. It is a balancing act and we must work on the business as much, if not more than, work in the business if we are to create sustainable growth. Gone are the golden days of a guaranteed paycheck and paid lunch breaks in the old salaried world you likely once lived in. But the entrepreneurial spirit is unique, and you wouldn’t have it any other way!
Most business owners I know realize that having a sound social media strategy is not only valuable, but imperative. However, owners may no longer have the time nor resources to deeply dive into researching social media strategy independently or to attend workshops or conferences as they once did. Many are forced to do the best with what they know and hope for a positive outcome.
I love this quote by Blake Shelton: “When things go wrong or don’t turn out the way you pictured them in your head, you just have to go with the best intentions defense. I have a lot of good intentions.” Moving the needle in your business with the tools of social media must be paved with more than good intentions! They must be vested in sound strategy and action plans to hold any real value. Your time is valuable, and social media has been proven to be a sound investment. Spending the necessary time to make your strategy great will be well worth it.
Most business owners I know realize that having a sound social media strategy is not only valuable, but imperative.
These simple tips are designed for any small fitness business owner who has good intentions for the digital medial strategy, but who seems to be missing the mark with generating any consistent ROI.
1. Start with your mission statement and core values. These will be the key ways that you design your online personality and curate content for the business. Having a handle on these brand concepts allows you to speak confidently and consistently in your messaging.
2. Choose the social media channels that maximize your efforts. Do not spread yourself to thin. Choose which channels interest you and that most likely have your target audience in the feed. Mastered Facebook and know how to use targeted ads and event invites like a boss? Go with it.
3. Content is king. Explore an array of design ideas such as photos, videos, illustration, inspiring quotes or memes to create a cohesive look, feel and message across content and social media channels. Visually, content should be inspiring, emotional, real and relatable. It should align with number 1 (above), and should invite conversation.
4. Consistency is imperative. Jeffrey Gitomer in Social Boom says “Stay in the feed until there is a need.” When your prospective client is ready to take action, brand recognition and recall is everything. Capture them! Instead of going to your competitors, they will seek you out for your services, as you have created a brand awareness, positioned yourself as an expert, have informed yet not been too salesy, and are a trusted advisor. Boom.
5. Streamline. Automation is an option and there are some great services out there. Access their free trials and see which one(s) work FOR you. I also suggest not using any automation services for the first few weeks or months as you become intimately acquainted with the individual social media platforms themselves. Then determine which service serves your business – then automate to create “less on your plate”.
A strong social media presence should not be an option for small business owners. It also should not feel like an unpleasant burden. Take a few hours to apply the tips provided here to move the needle in ultimate small business success! Commit the necessary time now to understanding social media strategy for YOUR unique business; it is a worthy time investment.
Jane Bahneman is the co-owner of Blue Nectar Yoga Studio in Falls Church, Virginia and has been teaching yoga and speaking publically for nearly two decades; it has taken her around the globe and back. Jane's teaching style is described as soulful and down-to-Earth and she shares her human-ness and sense-of-humor every step of the way. She owns Jane Bahneman Consulting, focusing on business strategy, coaching, and leadership.
Jane serves on the American Council on Exercise Industry Advisory Panel and the Advisory Council for the Association of Fitness Studios. Her certifications include: ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist; NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist; ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor; AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor; Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 and RPYT (prenatal); DONA Doula trained; Spinning and Keiser Cycling trained. Jane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.