Turning Facebook fans into club members is easier than you think! After a year of interviewing facility operators and businesses that were experiencing remarkable success using social media, I found the common thread: they’re giving people a reason to do more than just “like” them. The following three steps illustrate how to make it happen for you.
Step 1: Solve People’s Problems
The growing prevalence of social media is having a tremendous influence on how we get our news, the way we communicate and our behavior as consumers. In the business world, the impacts of social media are just starting to be felt, but the recent economic downturn has definitely sparked growth in the use of it as a marketing tool.
According to a 2010 report posted on the blog of the social networking site Twitter™, the organization claims 145 million registered users. The number has surely increased since 2010, and the users are not just individuals keeping their “followers” up-to-date with daily happenings; many business owners log on to market services and generate profits. “I have found Twitter to be helpful in enhancing my credentials and reputation with fitness consumers,” says Alexandra Williams, MA, IDEA author and co-creator of FunandFit.org.
Google the words personal trainer and your city. The results will reveal the good, bad and ugly of the Internet, from the stunning to the unreadable. But creating a website that lures customers and conveys the right info is achievable with some structural know-how. Discover the best ways to portray your prices, personality, and perspective online and watch your website work for you.
The Bare Bones
The term social media typically refers to popular online tools like Facebook and Twitter™. However, social media broadly includes any form of media used to communicate and interact with an audience. When fitness professionals leverage social media tools to engage clients, colleagues and fitness enthusiasts, the resulting increase in the pros’ online presence can further their career opportunities. This is why IDEA FitnessConnect offers a range of social media tools to assist fitness professionals in generating new business.
As a manager or director, you’re constantly keeping your ears and eyes open at your facility for potential new trainers and instructors. That’s smart. What’s even smarter is also to use social media, such as Twitter™, Facebook and LinkedIn®, to support your search.
For many years, clubs have successfully offered in-house training programs as a recruitment tool. Most of the “fishing” has been through in-house communications: member announcements, one-on-one solicitations of star students, member inquiries, staff recommendations and so on.newsletter_teaser: As a manager or director, you’re constantly keeping your ears and eyes open at your facility for potential new trainers and instructors. That’s smart. What’s even smarter is also to use social media.
Group fitness is the heartbeat of the facility, but not because of the blaring music or sweaty bodies. People exercise in groups for the motivation, accountability and energy it brings them. Wouldn’t it be great to capture this energy outside the studio? As instructors, we’ve tried almost every trick in the book to influence more end users, get more bodies in classes and help educate members. Despite this, we’re still reaching only a handful of people.
As fitness video game technology continues to improve, more researchers are looking into its health benefits. Two recent studies have determined that “virtual gyms” and “virtual exercise partners” can help participants shed excess weight and improve fitness levels. In the first study, done at Michigan State University, subjects completed a side-by-side 12-week weight loss program. One group exercised in the “real” world, while the other participated in a Second Life interactive weight loss community. Both groups exercised 4 hours per week.
Given the sheer number of people using sites like Facebook and services like Groupon, fitness professionals are investing their advertising dollars in spaces where they can influence local groups and social networks. With better research into consumer insight (thanks to profile pages), personal trainers can identify their audiences and target their digital ad campaigns more effectively.
How do you succeed in the fitness profession? Whether you’ve just gotten certified, you’re returning to a fitness career or you’re an experienced pro who wants to develop new skills, the answer is the same: keep learning. Continuing education is a career necessity that becomes increasingly important as the fitness industry grows more sophisticated, diverse, specialized and evidence-based.