It’s pretty much a given that small businesses need a strong social media presence. Simply put, social media is the most cost-effective way to engage with your clients, drive traffic to your website and develop your brand.

But with limited resources and only so many hours in the day, how do you figure out which platform is the most valuable for your studio in terms of ROI? Which should you focus on the most?

The answer is simpler than you think. “The best way to determine what social media platform to use is to go with what the owner will be most active with and update the most,” says Liz Kennedy, Director of Content Strategy and Social Media for FreshDirect. “The worst thing you can do is start an account and never post to it.”

Here are four things to consider when deciding where to invest your time.

HAVE A PRESENCE ON THE BIG THREE, FOCUS ON ONE
It’s important for studios to update Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as regularly as possible but they should invest most of their energy and partnerships on one, advises Kennedy. Uforia Studios, which has locations in Palo Alto and Nob Hill, CA, is active on all three social networks but finds that Instagram and Facebook are most important when it comes to reach and engagement.

Each platform has been valuable in different ways and has evolved over time,” says Sabine Hoskinson, Uforia’s Sales and Marketing Coordinator, adding that unique content is crafted for each platform. “With Instagram in particular, there are certain limitations that come with the platform. For example, you can’t embed links in the text of Instagram captions. Because of that, posts that have direct calls to action are most suited for Facebook.”

Many studios love Instagram because it’s such a visual platform and offers fitness inspiration through pictures, video and instructions in the captions. Instagram stories are a great tool because they allow studios to create video without having to take on the production costs, says Kennedy. Instagram also gives studios the opportunity to bubble up through hashtags.

FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU’RE SEEING THE MOST ENGAGEMENT
“An engaged audience is the best kind of audience to have,” says Kennedy. “You can ‘reach’ a tremendous amount of people (especially with pay to play now), but if they aren’t engaged, it’s like shouting at a wall.”

Engaging means something different for every brand “but usually consists of likes, shares, comments, tagging friends, users creating their own content and tagging the brand,” she adds. The team at Uforia examines all of those metrics to measure engagement.

“We track our highest and lowest performing posts weekly across channels and analyze our top posts in detail to see what people are liking, commenting on, and sharing,” Hoskinson says.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO TRACK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS
Uforia uses Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Hootsuite—all free tools that help you determine where you’re getting the most traction.

Google Analytics allows you to see which social media platform is driving traffic to your site. It also enables you to track the response to social campaigns and see which are more successful at driving purchases.

“We use Google Analytics to see how many people are actually flowing through using the Users Flow tool,” says Hoskinson. “This allows us to look specifically at people who are coming to our website from Facebook and examine how they interact with our site. It helps us answer questions like: are they finding our new client landing page soon enough? Are they spending time exploring all our different Instructors? Is the Facebook post doing what we want it to do?”

DETERMINE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE FOR YOUR STUDIO
A return on investment (ROI) isn’t just about purchases driven by a social media campaign. A social media ROI is also about engagement and the relationships your studio builds over time. Engagement helps nurture loyalty and also helps attract new people to your studio.

Larry Track, owner and founder of Track Fitness in Toronto, favors using Instagram to engage with clients and drive revenue. “We use Instagram as our number one way of connecting on a day-to-day basis with our followers and clients,” says Track. “We are able to determine the impact by the increase in sales or attendance in classes. ‘Likes’ don’t always mean it has impacted the business…when the bottom line increases the social media has been successful!”

Tracks says his studio sometimes asks followers to like a photo in order to receive a promotion. When the person claims the promotion, Tracks’ team looks it up to see if it was driven by social media.

Beyond tools and sourcing purchases to social media campaigns, Hoskinson says some of Uforia’s most telling examples of success come from anecdotal observations. “The posts that speak best to our community are often about our community,” she says “Photos of clients, videos from class, content about our Rockstars, and posts that have a ‘human’ element to them always resonate well with our audience.”

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