It’s highly likely that you’re not the only fitness center in town. But with the right social media strategy, you can stand out among other gyms in your area, grow your memberships, and build a loyal following.
Social media marketing is inherently social. It allows you to talk directly to people that come to your fitness center and to people who are thinking about joining. You don’t have to wait for a phone call or send an email and hope for a response. If you post engaging content, you’re going to get responses in real-time.
You can get to know your members and potential members, build your brand, create a community around your social presence, and so much more.
Social media isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ for fitness centers. It’s a vital part of your marketing and your customer service. People expect to be able to message you or use mentions to ask questions and find out more and they expect that you will reply to them and engage with them. That’s a big part of social media. It’s a two-way conversation.
But, before you begin, you do need a plan. You don’t want to waste time doing things that simply don’t work. Instead, read on for our best tips on social media strategy for fitness centers.
Key elements of a social media strategy
In this section, we’re going to take you through deciding why you’re on social media, which platforms you should use, what to say, and more. When you’re done, you should have a better idea of how to put social media to use in building your membership.
We’ve talked above about the benefits of social media for fitness centers and your goal might be to take advantage of any of those benefits. You might be looking to raise local awareness of your gym, build a community where you are seen as the expert, or get to know your audience better.
All of those are great goals, but usually, for fitness centers, it’s about attracting new members and keeping existing ones.
Take the time now to think about what you want to achieve. As you’ll know all too well, it’s much harder to hit a goal if you haven’t set one.
You can choose more than one goal, but try not to pick too many. It’s easier to meet your goals if you aren’t scattering your focus.
Before you choose your platforms, how well do you know your ideal customers? How well do you know who you want to attract?
If you honestly don’t know, take the time now to build well-researched personas for all the people who might come to your fitness center.
You need this because it’s easier to come up with ideas for content if you know who you’re aiming for. It’s also easier to write in a way that appeals directly to them, and you also need to know which social platforms your people are using so that you can join them too.
If you’re not sure where you’ll find your ideal customers on social media, then simply ask your existing members where they hang out. You should be able to see which is the most popular platform for your current members.
When you run a fitness center, there’s always something else you could be doing rather than running your social media marketing, but it is important, so don’t neglect it. To minimize your time away from running your gym, focus on one platform initially until you get used to posting and you understand how much time your content creation will take.
You can then add a secondary platform later, again based on where your ideal customers are most active.
Now you know who your ideal customers are and what they want, you should have more of an idea of what you will post on social media, but we are going to give you plenty of ideas to help you keep posting consistently and bringing in new members.
Content should entertain and engage, but it’s important that it’s useful too. You need a balance between interesting and inspiring posts, educational posts, and posts that aim to encourage people to join your center. It’s important not to overdo the promotional content, as you will lose your audience if you do too much of it. Make sure that your content is mostly informative and interesting, with around twenty percent of it promotional, and you should be fine.
When posting, consider what sort of content your audience wants to see combined with the types of content that will allow you to meet your goals.
We have a whole section below focusing on content ideas, so check that out to see what to post.
Your messaging is important. It needs to match your vision for your fitness center and how you want to come across to your audience.
Your messaging will depend on the personality of your business and who you are. Do you want to be the fitness center that’s tough as old boots, uncompromising, and ready to push your members hard? Are you the fitness center that gently but firmly encourages people to do more than they think they can and meet their goals?
You can see just from those two possible descriptions how different the messaging would be for each one, how different the emotional response would be, and how different the content and tone of voice would be. That’s why it’s important to think about this now and get your messaging straight in your mind.
Once you’ve decided on your messaging, be consistent everywhere when you create content, whether that’s on your website, on social media, in marketing materials, or in email marketing.
In order to build a community, boost your memberships, and keep your existing members onside, you need engagement from your followers on social media.
You need to encourage people to respond to you and to like and comment on your posts. Not only does this mean your posts will be seen by more people, but it also encourages others to join in if they can see an active community.
Ask open questions so that people respond with more than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Think about what people will respond to and what will make them get interested enough to engage with you.
Look at your existing posts and the style and tone of your content. Does your content engage people or is it ignored? Which posts get the most engagement?
Keep an eye on your social media and check your analytics every month. You’ll be able to see which posts are the most popular and you’ll be able to see if your reach and engagement are up or down.
Obviously, you have work to do if you’re not getting the engagement you want. At this point, you need to do two things:
Firstly, look at your own responsiveness. Are you responsive? Do you like replies to your posts and give thoughtful answers to other people’s comments? Is it a two-way conversation or are you posting but not responding back to your audience? If you’re not, you need to fix that. Let them see your personality. If it suits you, crack some jokes in reply, share your expertise, give advice freely, and point people to other resources. Do what you can to keep the conversation going.
Secondly, if it’s really not working, go back to the beginning and look at your buyer personas and your content ideas. Look at what sort of posts your ideal clients will want to see, what questions they want answers to, and more. Then start again with posting more great content and open questions.
With time and effort, you should see your engagement increase.
How to easily create compelling social media content
As a fitness center owner, you have so much knowledge and expertise to share. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to think what people want to know. It can also be hard to consistently come up with great content ideas.
Read on because we’re going to show you how to keep creating great content for your social media platforms.
Make a point of regularly looking at your analytics on both your social media platforms and your website. Make an appointment with yourself at the beginning of the month to dig through last month’s stats and see how you’re doing, just like you’d keep track of your own or a client’s progress in the gym.
Next, take a look at your most popular posts. This will show you which topics are the most interesting to your audience and you can then create more of what’s already working for you.
The other place to look is on your website statistics, where you can see what search terms people typed in to find your website. These search terms can often give you content ideas too.
You will also get to see your most popular keywords and phrases. Again, these can give you content ideas, and you’ll also see which keywords and phrases you can start to use in your content.
2. Brainstorm ideas
Next, take a good look at your competitors. Analyze their social media and see where they’re getting great engagement. You can get ideas for content and for content types from doing that, though obviously, use it to inspire, not to copy.
Also, check out their comments on social media and their blog posts. People often ask questions in the comments or bring up interesting topics that you can also use for content ideas.
Sites such as Answer the Public https://answerthepublic.com/ and Quora https://www.quora.com/ are also worth browsing. You can see what questions people are asking and use them as prompts for your own content.
Get your team together regularly to brainstorm topic ideas.
Bear in mind that it’s not just subject ideas you need. You also need to think about different types of content. From your statistics, which types of content do your people prefer? Do they prefer videos over blog posts, infographics over memes? What works best for them?
Doing this exercise helps you home in on what and how to provide your customers, but it also gives you more opportunities to generate great content. You don’t have to just use your content ideas once. You can repurpose your content multiple times. A collection of blog posts could become an ebook or a lead magnet. A video script could become a blog post. You could record your blog posts and post the audio. You could create videos from your blog posts. Take quotes from your written content and create inspirational quote graphics.
The list really is endless.
One other benefit of providing content in different formats is that you’re reaching and catering to a wider audience. Anyone with hearing difficulties or visual impairment will still be able to take in your content and think about joining your gym.
So, onto what sort of things you can post. Here are just some ideas to make your fitness center social feeds shine:
- Post a daily exercise to try.
- Share healthy eating tips.
- Post on how to eat to meet different goals, for losing weight or for bodybuilding, for example.
- Share your own expertise and knowledge on how to get particular results for different parts of the body and as a whole.
- Demonstrate the correct form for exercises on video.
- Do a weekly workout routine.
- Give people a workout they can do in just ten minutes, if they’re pushed for time.
- Provide recipes for great meals and healthy snacks.
- Share your own story. How did you get started with fitness? What are your successes and challenges?
- Do a bio for each one of your staff, either written or on video, so people can get to know them before they join your gym.
- Do a video tour of your equipment and the facilities to show off what people can expect when they join.
- Show off your own members’ achievements. Every time they meet a weight goal or a particular milestone, every time they beat their fastest time on the treadmill, or manage more push-ups than they ever did, post about it. You’ll get shares from them and their friends and family, which reaches more people, and you’re also showing off what results you get for people without being obviously ‘salesy’.
- Ask for user-generated content. Let people post their before and after photos on your feed. Then congratulate them and encourage them. This again shows your results, and also shows you interacting as you would if someone was a member.
- Share (and ask for!) your latest reviews for social proof.
- Share any news, like new equipment, updates, new members of staff, new classes, and more.
There’s always something to say when you run a fitness center. Hopefully, you now have plenty of ideas to keep you going.
3. Craft impactful campaigns
You worked on your messaging earlier and got to know your members better. Now it’s time to put that to use by crafting campaigns that really reach your audience and make them have an emotional response.
Remember, your messaging is designed to make people feel, not just to inform. You want people to feel drawn to you and to your fitness center, to become involved, and part of your community. You want people to feel encouraged and inspired, to think that they too can get great results from joining you.
The right social media campaigns can do that and invite people to become members of your center.
4. Schedule your social media content in advance
Obviously, you can’t be everywhere at once. You can’t run spin classes and post on social media at the same time. You can’t post on your phone when you’re providing one-to-one personal training. There’s only so much you can do in a day.
What you can do is schedule your social media marketing in advance, then your accounts continue to get great content, while you run your gym. It really does make life so much easier. You can also get ahead of yourself for busy periods and for vacations, without your social media flagging.
However, scheduling software is no substitute for you being there. You can’t simply set it and forget it. You do still need to be there and responding to your growing, engaged followers. That’s what will keep them growing and engaged.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Social media marketing is a lot of work. As is any part of your marketing, but it is all worth the effort.
Even here, however, you can make life much easier. Instead of juggling multiple platforms and logins, you can simply sign onto our easy-to-navigate dashboard and manage all of your marketing from one place.
Manage your social media, look after your new leads, ask for and reply to reviews, manage your paid ads, email marketing, and more.
Update your Google Business Profile and over 80 business directories by putting your information in once, not over and again, for each site.
Don’t use a duct-taped marketing solution. Use a solution that’s built to give you full control of your marketing, with a data-driven marketing intelligence platform.
Book a demo today and see how Surefire can help your fitness center thrive.