How do you utilize social media to market/network your business?
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, Tout, Fitness Connect, YouTube etc. are all great tools to market and network your business. How do you utilize them? Which social media tool has brought you the most success (new clients, new business opportunities, new professional connections, etc).
I only use IDEA Fitness Connect and with great success!
Fuel the Movement,
1. Pick the tool based on what you want to achieve.
If you want to expand your professional network, perhaps Twitter or LinkedIn might be a good starting point. If you want to educate and inform clients/perspective clients, you might gain more traction with a blog.
2. Decide how much time you want to spend.
Successful social media strategies may come from the combination of the tools. Can you gain new clients from Facebook - eh, maybe. But you may have to craft your messages in a way that targets your audience effectively.
3. Do something different with your social media.
Everyone is on Twitter/Facebook, etc. these days. If you want people to 'get to know your brand' these are all great places to be present. But if you want people to come through your doors... well, you might consider spending your ad dollars more effectively.
Check out this article: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/the-group-advantage
That certainly answers the question of whether I use it to market my business: I don't.
However, I recently made the discovery how to posts events, and it is my plan to put classes and courses up there and just see what happens. And some friends have been on me for being more active in that field.
In the meantime, I rely on different modes of communication.
I believe whatever platform one decides to utilize, it is wise to never forget that you what you write and send out in cyberspace is there forever. Hence, it is always a good idea to put your best foot forward.
Then set aside a realistic time a day or a week. And stick to it. With social media often the key is regular and consistent presence. You can't hit and miss and expect to get any results. (does that sound familiar?)
Pick one "next thing" you want to do. If you aren't using facebook regularly, start. Grow your friends. Read the papers and when a newsy fitness item is worthwhile, tie it to what's going on in your facility or business.
Rotate the kind of items you include. Articles just FYI. An offer: respond with the contents of your breakfast - the first 10 to respond will be eligible to win a complimentary personal training session. (from which you will upsell them!) and then rank the best to worst breakfasts and tell them why....or how to improve...and use statistics and expert comments- that alone will give you content for a long while!
Start using video. Upload it to your facebook and twitter posts. use it in your blog. Tell them "how" to do something to benefit more.
Last- but most important...find a way to evaluate whether the time, energy, and money (are you paying someone else or is your time worth anything) is worth it.
A previous answer I agree with is to be on the social networking cite A LOT! That way your friends will come to depend on your accessibility.
Good luck! Please post if you find something awesome that we don't know about!
I am constantly updating, posting and tagging
It does capture attention but is very time consuming
I did that and found that people do not respond. They say something about the post during class/training sessions but never posted comments on FB. It was very frustrating. I tried to research and ask around as to why people don't comment and they stated they were too busy. Too many things commanding their attention. During this time, I was following other "fitness" pages trying to get ideas or insight as to what they were doing to be successful.
I found that most of the successful pages/studios were using FB mostly as a bulletin board. A place to post information and reminders to clients. The more they post, the more often they show up in the newsfeed. I also started to look at the newsfeed on FB a little differently. Instead of looking at it as a way to interact with people, I looked at it for what it is - an electronic newspaper. We don't interact with the newspaper so why would I expect people to interact with my posts?
I stopped spending time finding ways to get people to respond and started using it as a newspaper/bulletin board. I post tidbits of information (overall wellness) and reminders about classes. I have also take pictures of participants/classes and post those. People love to see themselves on your FB page. I highlight clients achievements (if a student participates in and completes a triathlon, I post it with congrats. All of these with their consent of course. AND... on occasion, I give them a glimpse of me. People like professionalism but they also like to connect with you on a personal level. They want to know who you are beyond their fitness instructor or personal trainer and feel like you are a real person. With that being said, I still keep it professional. I don't post pictures of me partying or doing things that might offend people :)
I still find FB to be time consuming but I no longer feel like I am beating my head against the wall when looking for things to post. Views of my posts have tripled since I have taken this new approach and more people have been liking my page as a result. Can I say that it has put more money in my pocket? No. But I have seen some people who used to take my classes sporadically become more regular in their attendance.
I hope this helps!