I am a fitness professional as well as a PhD student. I would like to conduct some research on social media marketing in the fitness industry, however, I have not had much luck getting participants to fill out the survey. I have tried to partner with gym owners, but have received little response from attempts. Does anyone have any connections or ideas about how to get this survey out there? I appreciate any thoughts!
I had a look at your profile and you seem to have credentials that are excellent. This is a great start, as I suspect you will be taken seriously by anyone who understands fitness credentialing.
I would say depending on how you have structured the research, and on the content, you have a choice of approaches. Going through gyms is one point of contact, though even if you were able to get them on board you would have a lot of work approaching each one and working with their contact person. Also, is the survey designed for regional bias? Social media has more porous boundaries: facebook acquaintances do not build in complexity based on seeing that person next to you in zumba each week.
Another thought would be to try to engage people directly, rather than through the conduit of a gym (And remember a lot of people exercise in other venues. You will loose a whole segme.nt of the population if you only go through fitness centers.) You might try contacting online magazine sites, such as Shape and see if there is a way they would be willing to load the survey to their site. You could also try some of the popular fitness bloggers. I know in Yoga the Yoga Dork has a huge audience, and someone like that would have the ability to get your word out.
It might also be possible to contact some of the places that make gym software. In my area of work a lot of places use MindBody. It shouldn’t be too hard to see what companies make software for gym sign ins.
You are linked into the University world if you are doing research. Universities are set up to do research. Are you in health education, or in allied health? I did a couple of years of graduate work decades ago, and I remember there being an awful lot of help available, but that it sometimes took time to find the person who knew the resources.
You have my respect. Research, when undertaken intelligently and done well is the backbone of fitness. Trainers and teachers know how to proceed today to make gains not just based on… oh I did this with some people and they got bigger biceps…. but based on science and reasoned interpretation. I hated my taste of doing research in school. I much prefer the teaching. But those who do what you are doing provide all of us in the trenches with the lights that let us see our way.
Try reaching out to your network first, and then ask them to reach out to theirs. If that doesn’t work, try offering incentives for being a participant. I think people will be more inclined to participate in research if they get something in return. Try using infousa.com to get some email and contact information for the fitness industry and sending out some emails.
Hope this helps,