Get Serious About Social Media: A guide for fitness businesses

This year, we see Facebook celebrate their 10th birthday. A platform designed for people to find out what their friends are reading, wearing, doing, eating, listening to, their values, where they are going and more! And yet fitness centres, gyms, health clubs and personal trainers seek to use the platform to sell their services, Justin Tamsett explains.

Marketers are on Facebook with the view to sell stuff, yet consumers are there for value and entertainment; not to buy things. So, in a bid to help you increase your reach (and hopefully cut-through) across the platform, here are my tips to sharpen your Facebook presence.

The hard facts are these:

The number of pieces of content a Facebook user will see on their average 20 minute visit is 1,500. And in that sitting they’ll dish out around 40 likes. So there’s a pretty high chance your fans will miss at least some of the updates from your business. The goal of your posts is to have your fans interact with your content. Interactions include:

  • Status updates
  • Photo uploads
  • Liking
  • Sharing
  • Commenting

Every interaction a user has with Facebook is called an “Edge”. The more engagement a user has with your single piece of content, the stronger “Edge Rank” you receive for that piece of content. This means Facebook believes that user’s interest will be in similar content and it filters their news stream accordingly. For example, if you comment or like a friend’s photo often, but ignore the same friend’s plain text status update, it means you will not see their plain text updates in your newsfeed.

“Facebook believes that user’s interest will be in similar content and it filters their news stream accordingly.”

Having people buy from you or click through to your link is not enough. What you actually need is for people to engage with your content. Content that entertains sees engagement and engagement tells Facebook (and the rest of the world) that your fans care about your business. Here is a sample strategy you could explore on Facebook, to increase engagement and your Edge Rank:

  1. Pose a question: Ask ‘What is your favourite TV show?’ This may not be on-brand, but it shows that your brand is human and, more importantly, people engage, which is exactly what we want.
  2. Post a video: A 15-second video of a member sharing why they love your club. Based on step one, your Edge Rank will be higher, so should show up in your fans’ Newsfeed.
  3. Post a video: A 15-second video containing nutrition tips will always be well received, as we all know your fans love useful nutritional information.
  4. Pose a question: What is favourite part of coming to the gym?
  5. Ask: For referrals, for PT purchases, or some other call to action.

This strategy has been designed to give, give, give, give and ask. And when we give, we see our users engage, which Facebook loves. Remember, on Facebook the definition of great content is not the content that makes the most sales, but the content the people most want to share with others. So considering this, here are some tips to creating better content for Facebook:

  • Your content must make people ‘feel.’ You can do this by making them laugh, ponder, play a game, feel appreciated, escape or something else they can actually feel.
  • Use the correct language, culture and style for Facebook updates. Do not use unique language between the multiple platforms – that’s simply confusing.
  • Your content must vary on a daily basis.
  • Your content must consistently answer the question “Who are we?” and always ensure your story, personality and brand are 100 per cent consistent.

There is no formula for cool content. Just understand your ‘fan base’ better and meet their needs of social media. Finally, here is a checklist for you to use when selecting or posting content:

  • Is your text provocative? Entertaining? Surprising? Too long?
  • Is your photo striking? High quality?
  • Is your logo visible?
  • Is your call to action too early in the strategy?
  • Is your content interesting in any way, to anyone?
  • Are you asking too much of the person consuming the content?

As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book Jab. Jab, Jab, Right Hook ignoring your Facebook analytics is the equivalent of stepping into the ring without having watched a video of the opponent you are about to fight; you need to be looking at the numbers behind your content. And remember, there is no individual one, three or six-month campaign when it comes to social media, there is ONLY a 365-day campaign during which you produce new content on a daily basis for your fans to like, share and comment. Good luck!

“Facebook analytics is the equivalent of stepping into the ring without having watched a video of the opponent you are about to fight.”


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