Maintaining an active social media presence is core to any modern business strategy. After all, it’s where consumers today spend most of their digital time. Upon the launch of your business, you likely focused on building a social presence — you found the right channels to reach your audience, learned how to manage a posting schedule, and started measuring results to determine success.
Once you’ve laid this type of foundation, however, your social media activity can start to feel stale. In order to reach new people and engage your existing audience, innovation in your channels is crucial — here are four tips to help keep your feed fresh. Download the full social media guide e-book below and learn more from our ClassPass Partner Resource Center.
TIP NO. 1
Tap Your Community:
Drive reach organically with user-generated content
Any fitness studio owner will agree that their community of students is the driving force of the business. Of course, the students are the customers who drive revenue, but they also play a role in shaping your brand and defining your studio style and class format. Your community can mean even more to your business if you tap it for social media content.
This is often called User Generated Content, or UGC for short. Think posts, stories, tweets and more that mention your studio or call out your business. UGC is so effective because it’s a form of social proof. Like a review, testimonial or recommendation, a positive user-generated Instagram post about your business will drive interest from new customers and validate your brand.
Fitness studios are uniquely positioned to encourage this style of content since the product/service is so experiential – students might share a story before class or post a selfie after a great session. Since fitness is such a popular area of social media content right now, your students are sure to mention your studio as part of their daily social content
When it happens organically, UGC is a completely free way to spread the word about your business. If a student posts about your studio, you can ask to reshare it across your channels. But you can also launch a marketing campaign to encourage UGC content on your own terms. Popular methods include branded hashtags and social referral campaigns. Remember that this type of content is based on your customers’ offline experience in your studio, so your studio decor and class format play a role. A seemingly small decision like a great mural backdrop could end up paying huge dividends when students post pictures of the wall, tag your studio and drive more class sign-ups.
Get more insight into UGC and other Instagram content in this article.
TIP NO. 2
Discover brand ambassadors on a local level
Influencers are another form of social proof, and another way to expand your reach. The word influencer might call to mind expensive contracts with A-list celebrities, but you don’t need to find someone famous to reap the benefits. In fact, you can find micro-influencers within your student base, or even amongst your staff. Micro-influencers don’t have the same follower counts as mega-celebrities, but they have meaningful reach within a community that matters to you.
By tapping students to act as influencers, you can gain traction within a very local community. This helps you spread the word to the right audience. Contracts don’t have to be stipulated as million dollar deals – agree on a discount or number of free classes in return for some posts, a story, or even a YouTube video. You can also stick to social referral campaigns, which eliminates the influencer discovery process. Simply set up a referral ecosystem, for example offering a free class to anyone who refers five friends to the studio.
Staff is another great place to spot influencers. Your instructors are already influencers in their own right, leading a loyal pack of students and sometimes garnering their own mini fame in the studio ranks. They likely organically post about your studio, sharing their class schedule, but you can also work out more specific agreements with them to get general coverage of the brand.
Follower count matters, but potential does too. Look for people with a strong social media presence who regularly engage on Instagram and Facebook, where this style of marketing is most effective. An easy way to find micro-influencers is through social listening – always track your studio’s handle and branded hashtags to see who’s mentioning it. And don’t forget yourself! As the owner, you’re in a perfect position to act as a sales rep on different social channels and in person.
TIP NO. 3
Experiment with Social Video:
Explore new video formats to engage customers on a deeper level
Video might feel like old news, but it’s only gotten more popular on social media. The core social media channels all support video content, and some even encourage it with new formats and styles. Depending on your customer demographics, you might try a Facebook Live video or a short snippet of video on Instagram stories. Regardless, video can deliver significant engagement and grow your brand in ways other formats cannot.
First and foremost, video is a great way to connect with customers because you can truly demonstrate your class offering. From studio tours to sneak peeks into classes, an introductory video gives interested audiences a chance to test drive your studio. In a simple Instagram Highlight series, you can show off your studio, tease some classes and profile your instructors. Those new to your studio – or new to fitness in general – might be apprehensive about signing up for something different but the depth of social video can help quell those nerves. Don’t forget to reward your returning students with content as well – try IGTV as a way to distribute low-cost weekly content about the studio.
Live-streaming is another way to connect with potential customers, pulling them right into the filmed experience. When remote users can join in on their own, they’re able to interact with your brand on an intimate level, helping them make the decision to book a class. Live streaming can also be used to offer non-workout related content. Try a live Q&A session with your top instructors. With Q&A and survey functions on Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, users can ask questions and engage in real-time; plus, instructors can respond, making it a valuable resource for social listening and engagement.
Long-form is another valuable video concept, though it’s naturally more expensive than ephemeral social video. Tap into the popularity of health and fitness videos on YouTube with a branded series. You’ll access a community looking for fitness info and lessons, and they can follow you to your social media profiles. While this might not drive local traffic to your studio, it could end up as an alternative revenue source for your brand. Test fitness video content as a product – if you find success, you can tape an entire season of fitness videos and sell it as an online course.
Learn more about social video in this ClassPass webinar.
TIP NO. 4
Respond with Direct Messaging:
Field questions and support your customers efficiently
In the beginning, a phone call was the only way you could be reached. Then a contact form on your website. Then a booking service. But all of these combined don’t offer the immediacy and intimacy that users really want.
Enter direct messaging on social channels like Instagram and Facebook. With these chat features, you can create a 24/7 line of communication between your studio and your students. Many users are looking for quick ways to get information, and chatbots offer a great way to field questions that aren’t related to bookings – questions you might not even realize your students have. Unlike an email or contact form, the dialog quality of direct messaging encourages more authentic and candid communication.
Studios are all about creating comfort and building relationships, and with an open-ended way for students to reach you, you can answer more questions, solve more problems and please more students. You’ll get a range of messages, from students inquiring about class times to new users wondering if your studio is right for their fitness level. If you encourage people to reach out with open, friendly language, you can help to overcome the fear that holds many back from stepping into the studio. Don’t forget that messaging works both ways! You can create relationships with loyal students over messages, even taking it a step further to find potential brand ambassadors and partners through social channels.
Some messages you’ll want to handle directly, while others don’t require the same attention. Luckily, chatbots have grown alongside these direct messaging features, freeing you up to engage with students who really need you. You can customize chatbots to respond to simple questions about hours, class schedules, class types and more.
Opportunities for creative marketing on social media are constantly evolving as platforms create new tools and as users find new ways to engage with the platforms. There are many ways to reimagine your social strategy for the quarters ahead, and keep it up-to-date as your studio culture and business plan continue to evolve. As you plan your social media refresh, remember to consider these cutting-edge tactics.
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