When we are uncertain about how we spend our money and where we choose to work out, it is common for consumers to depend on the influence of friends, followers and connections. A recent Nielsen Survey indicated that 92% of us trust the recommendation of people we know while only 47% trust traditional paid advertising such as newspaper, TV and magazine ads.
Social media outlets now provide health clubs the opportunity for “collaborative consumerism” that not only increases member retention through community building, but cost effectively allows your happy members to promote your club. These advocates validate your club’s brand into a powerfully viral, believable marketing message.
This multiplier effect provides clubs the reach to virally spread a positive marketing message not only to your FANS but to their FRIENDS as well. For instance, a club which has 1,500 FANS who average 200 FRIENDS per Facebook account has the potential to reach an audience of 300,000!
It is tremendously important that your social media engagement be marked by authenticity and transparency. People want to feel like they are being heard, are treated with respect and are being told the truth. They want their interactions with you to be validated by a genuine personal response. They want you to provide the platform to convey their feedback about your product or service and be acknowledged in a timely manner.
Don’t be afraid of the occasional negative comment. The opportunity to show your members and fans that you are willing to accept the feedback and provide a timely response becomes a customer service positive.
BEWARE!! Success in social media marketing and community creation is not simply a matter of utilizing certain channels, or even maintaining a high level of engagement; but of providing a club and staff that your members deem worthy of talking about.
You provide world class service, great facilities and phenomenal classes and your customers talk about it. The Word of Mouth equity you accrue as a result will work in your favor at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and carry a great deal more clout.