By Amanda Vogel, MA, SUCCEED! Speaker
Most fitness studio owners know that social media is a necessary part of any fitness business marketing plan. But it can also be a major time-waster in both obvious and subtle ways. Here are five things you might need to stop doing now on social media for improved productivity and results.
1) Stop Using All the Social Channels
As a gym owner, you don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t, employ every available social platform to market your fitness studio. Social media moves quickly and there are so many features even within just one platform. To make the best use of your time and marketing power, it's better to carefully strategize how and where you use social media for business.
Zero in on the platforms where you’ll find the majority of your target audience and the most engagement (hint: Facebook is the largest platform but Instagram has a reputation for getting better engagement). Post to these networks the most, or exclusively. Cross everything else off your list.
2) Stop Overlooking Social Advertising
You can’t take it for granted that your followers will see what you post most of the time—the social space is just too crowded. And, besides, Facebook has become largely a pay-to-play model for businesses. Allotting advertising dollars to your social media should be part of your fitness studio’s promotional strategy. Advertising helps you reach more people, potentially generating more leads and/or sales.
It also helps you circumvent Facebook’s algorithmic “rules” that could prevent your followers from seeing your content. For example, an unpaid post that contains words like “sale,” “save” or “discount” gets even less reach than other types of unpaid posts. Why? Naturally, Facebook wants you to pay for promotional content. If you’re going to the trouble of creating posts to promote a discount, product or special event, you’re better off paying to get better reach and results.
3) Stop Publishing All Your Facebook Posts From Your Phone
Most people use apps on their phones to access social media, but that doesn’t mean you should be posting all your business content from mobile (unless the platform is strictly mobile-based, such as Instagram). Did you know some social media sites offer slightly different features and capabilities between web-based and mobile app versions?
Take a good look at the publishing options on your Facebook Business Page from a computer. You’ll find really useful content-creation tools there that aren’t always available on mobile (e.g., the ability to add captions to videos or create picture slideshows and carousels).
While it's not possible to follow individual people back from a Facebook Business Page, you should be following your own clients and qualified prospects back on Instagram if they have a public (not private) account.
4) Stop Asking Clients to Follow You Without Following Back
While it's not possible to follow individual people back from a Facebook Business Page, you should be following your own clients and qualified prospects back on Instagram if they have a public (not private) account. Good marketing on social media is about creating connections, not amassing as many random followers as possible (which anyone can buy anyway).
Once you're following clients and prospective members, show interest in their posts when it’s appropriate to do so. Double tap a photo on Instagram or react to a Story. And when someone comments on one of your posts, comment back! FYI, when you engage with clients’ posts, you also become more visible to their network, making it easier for clients/members to refer friends and family your way.
5) Stop Scrolling Past Instagram Stories
If you assume most people aren’t looking at Instagram Stories, you're wrong (Facebook Stories might be another matter though). Consider that Instagram Stories launched a little more than two years ago, but the main Instagram feed has been around a lot longer. There are currently about 500 million daily active users on Instagram and 400 million daily active users looking at Instagram Stories (source: Instagram-press.com). Digital marketing experts forecast that Instagram Story activity will surpass activity in Instagram’s main feed in the near future. Unless you feel quite confident that your audience and studio members are not on Instagram, stop dismissing Stories. You’ll want to leverage this feature for more effective fitness marketing in 2019.
Hear more important social media strategies from Amanda in her two co-presented sessions at SUCCEED!:
Amanda Vogel is the Director of Social Media for AFS. She has a Master’s degree in human kinetics and is a certified fitness instructor.
She regularly speaks at top fitness conferences—including IDEA World, NASM Optima, ACSM, Athletic Business Conference, canfitpro and IHRSA—where she educates fitness pros on group exercise, social media, fitness writing and blogging.
She recently completed her role as the Social Media and Technology Track Captain for the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual summit meeting. In addition to being a social media consultant for fitness brands and public figures, Amanda reviews fitness technology, exercise gear and workout wear on her blog FitnessTestDrive.com.
As a professional writer, she has contributed to many popular publications—including IDEA Fitness Journal, Shape and Women’s Health—and guest blogged for the American Council on Exercise, NASM, AFAA and more.