By Bob Shoulders, Director of Social Media Services, Retention Management
The world of social media is filled with catch phrases. From channels and platforms, to collaborative consumerism and brand advocacy; we are successful in slicing and dicing our various terms to identify trends and label the means in which we ultimately build our on-line communities.
But when it comes to community building, one of the most overlooked skills we see in the health club industry is creating an audience. Clubs may provide Facebook content that is engaging and creating fantastic reach. Tweets may be clever (maybe even getting some click-thrus) and integrated to your FB page, but if your fan and follower base are low as a percentage of your total membership, you are essentially preaching to an empty church.
Fan recruiting should be seen as a long term commitment to building your social media community. Like other marketing efforts, there is no magic bullet when it comes to establishing your audience. There are obvious tools such as links from your website to your social media channels; but, if you can think a little more outside of the box, the many available tactics can combine to create a large enough fan base to move the needle in terms of communicating to a community outside of the four walls of your club.
Try creating email signature icons embedded with your social media URL’s, sending marketing broadcast emails built around a fan/follower request. Bring a social media champion to the party; all clubs have an instructor, trainer or manager who has hundreds of friends just waiting to “LIKE” your fan page. Newsletters, signage around the club, QRC images, etc. can all add to your audience on an incremental but consistent basis. Brainstorm with your staff and explore creative ways to build your community.
The key to fan/follower mining is to give your members and potential members a positive reason to be a part of your SM audience. “LIKE us on Facebook” has become a fairly transparent marketing ploy that is not particularly engaging. Posture your message as an invitation to become part of the conversation and create an open, transparent forum through which your members can provide feedback and have a voice in their club.