Be creative, relevant and have a clear objective when creating challenges and consider how, where, and when you promote them.
Social Media Champions
Quick question: who leads your social media strategy? You may be lucky enough to have a dedicated social media team, but many leisure operators do not. Your marketing manager may take the lead and direct individuals to post content, but some may not even have a marketing manager. Regardless of your team structure, creating a group of social media champions is essential in delivering a truly engaging social experience for your customers. The champions role may vary, from creating and posting content to monitoring and reporting on activity, but here are some tips for creating this dynamic team.
Enthusiasm for social media engagement
Recruit the right people into this role. It goes without saying that some people just are not cut out for it – and they’ll probably happily admit it themselves. Look for team members who are active on their own social channels. Does anyone have their own YouTube channel? Has someone got a decent following on TikTok? This can often be younger members of staff, but we’re creating a team, so aim for a combination of life experiences, commercial focus, engaging personalities, and social media experience.
Aligned to company brand values
Your social channels are at the forefront of communication with your local community, even more so through lockdowns and periods of closure. Your branding, values, aims, and objectives should steer the content and dictate the social media channels use. Don’t simply replicate your website’s content and styling. Social media is meant to be social by definition, so encourage conversations, be humorous, ask questions, and drive engagement.
Plan Content in Advance
Inevitably there are times when content needs to be reactive, but 80% of your content should be mapped out the month before. This allows the whole team to get involved and contribute to the plan. If junior members of the team are creating and posting content, then planning ahead means that proposed content can be drafted and screened by an editor before posting.
Define the Goals
Your core values will help answer this question, but what are your objectives for having social media channels? What does a successful social channel look like for your brand? There is plenty of data to analyse in Facebook’s insights, but choosing 4 or 5 key metrics to monitor each month will help keep everyone focussed on the goals. Here are our 4 suggestions for insights you should be monitoring:
Post Reach – how large is the audience that you’re engaging with
Post Engagement – how engaging is your content
Message Response Time – how responsive are you to inbound messages
Review Score – what are your customer saying about you and your brand
Time and Resources
A big barrier to operators having successful social media channels is a lack of dedicated time given to the task. We started this article by accepting that not everyone has a dedicated social media team, but choosing the right social media champions often results in these characters voluntarily giving up their time to contribute to the process. However, giving your social media champion a few hours each month to create content, schedule content, and report on activity is an investment worth making.
Other resources need to be made available to your champions:
Posting Platform – if you operate more than 3 social media channels then it’s worthwhile investing in a platform like Hootsuite or eClincher
Video and image library – posts with video get over 10x more engagement than simple text posts, so allow your social media champions access to libraries of your own stock of footage and images
Technology – champions will need access to the appropriate devices so they can post on your channels, e.g. Instagram is designed to be a mobile-only channel, so your team will ideally need to be posting from a mobile device and not a PC or laptop.
Building a team of social media champions will provide larger organisations with the confidence to create bespoke channels per local facility. Every business should have a company channel, but consider whether the public will affiliate themselves with that profile. Take a moment to consider if you and your friends follow your local leisure centre or club – would you follow a brand as well? We advocate setting up channels linked to a local centre or club. This means that content can focus on the local community while still sharing stories and updates from the company-wide activity.
If you decide to create a social media champion, then agree what that role entails and what is possible in the allocated time given to them. One key area to consider is how, and if, they are responsible for responding to incoming messages. Handling inbound enquiries should be a task shared amongst the team with access to your channels and who have had some training. These staff could also be classed as social media champions, expanding your team of people focussed on your social activity.
Onboarding your Members
Dated ‘member journeys’ or compulsory induction processes are a thing of the past and need to be updated for a modern fitness environment. Having a clear onboarding process in place is important, but to make it deliver successful member retention that builds confidence and routine, it must follow a few simple rules.
Even when we have an onboarding process in place with needs analysis and goal setting, we tend to focus on the what, “how much weight do you want to lose, by when?” and then produce a programme.
To truly meet people where they are, we need to dig deeper and create a more emotional connection to it. We need the What, Why and How.
What – the measurable outcome -weight loss, increased fitness or strength, more energy etc. It is important to quantify it.
Why – We need to follow up with some simple questions
- Why do you want to achieve this/Why does this matter to you?
- If you look forwards 6mths and you have achieved this, what difference would it make to you?
By doing this we find out much more about what has really motivated them to be active and understand the deeper motivations.
This is when we get responses like “I want to feel confident enough to go out with my friends and the weekend and feel good” or “I want to be a better parent to my children and be able to play football for longer than 5 mins without getting out of breath” or maybe “there’s history of heart disease in my family, I don’t want to die in my 50’s” these things matter.
How – how will they realistically build a plan of activity and how will they overcome the challenges that could prevent them?
Simply asking how many times a week will you work out usually leads to general answers they haven’t actually given real thought to – 3 times per week is the standard answer. Asking what specific days these might be makes them really think about scheduling exercise into their life. It may be that 2 is more realistic, if currently they are doing less or none, this is a great start. Stating 3 times a week and only achieving 2 could feel like failure.