Understanding Audience Needs and Maximising Social Media Presence
When working with social media, it’s important to consider the reason you’re using it. Whether your page exists as a notice board for your facility, an interactive community for your customers, or a space for you to promote sales messages, having a solid reason for the use of social media can help you understand the type of content you need to produce, as well as figuring out which platform is best suited for your business.
There are several factors involved when it comes to determining the reason you use social media as a part of your brand. When looking into these factors, it’s important to consider the ways that your audience is engaging with your content. We’re going to look at the different reasons someone might follow your page, and what sort of content will resonate with each audience.
I want information and updates on the business
A significant number of your audience on social media will be following your pages to stay informed of news and updates from your business. Some examples of updates that this audience might be looking for include new activities at your centre, development updates, and opening times.
If most of your audience is made up of those looking for updates on your business, having regular content is important to maintain their engagement. Content such as a weekly update post or a link to a newsletter can be helpful.
I’m researching before making a buying decision
This type of consumer presents a very real sales opportunity for your business. Whether they are new or existing customers, they provide an opportunity for you to showcase your products and facilities, as well as your brand’s personality. Sales messages can work with this type of audience, but it’s important to remember that sales messages should be posted with a degree of caution; too many can push potential customers away. Some places to start with sales content are product advertisements, showcasing your facilities, and promotions of discounts or offers.
A good way to avoid the over-use of sales messages is using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which allows your organic posts to focus on customer retention and service communications. This can help to reduce the number of sales posts on your page – keeping important sales messages current and on the screens of relevant audiences and leaving space for other content. PPC does can also be a very effective tool in awareness campaigns, as well as for use in driving sales.
I’m a current customer and want to show support to the business
Current customers that want to show support for your business are an invaluable part of your social media presence. Not only can they help to boost engagement on your channels, but they offer an opportunity to spread awareness of your business at next to no cost. For this audience, awareness campaigns can be very beneficial. ‘Like and share’ competitions are a great way of spreading awareness, and those that want to show support are likely to get involved.
Polls can be another great way of engaging with this audience. They offer both a way for your customers to get interactive with your page and can also provide valuable feedback about your products and services. For example, you might ask ‘What’s a fitness class you’d love to see added to our timetable?’.
Now that you’ve got your audience members nailed down, what else can you do to suit their needs and keep them engaged?
Keeping content balanced for your audience
It’s important to keep a good balance across your social media content. Ensuring that you have a good mixture of content will keep your social media presence fresh and interesting, and by looking at the behaviour of your audience you can determine which types of content are worth the most attention. For example, if customers are interacting more with posts about updates in what’s happening in the local community, this sort of content should be used regularly. If polls are getting no attention, other methods of engaging content might be worth considering.
Types of content and different social media platforms
Once you have a good understanding of the types of audience your following is made up of and the type of content you want to post, you will be able to maximise your social media presence by using different social media platforms. It’s important to remember that each social media platform serves a different and unique purpose; we’ll look at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and consider how each platform is appropriate for different types of content.
Facebook is used for social networking, connecting with others, sharing information, and forming communities. It has more of a communal feel that other social media platforms and can be a great choice of platform for content focused around updates on your business, as well as awareness content.
Instagram is used for sharing image and video content, as well as some ‘disappearing content’ such as polls and stories, which are erased from the platform after a certain period – usually 24 hours. It is a good choice for sharing updates on your business if the content isn’t too text heavy. It can also be a great platform for showcasing your facilities through high quality images to give an impressive introduction.
Twitter is used to communicate through short text-based messages, with the option to include images, videos, and links. This isn’t the platform for wordy or complicated content; it’s best suited for content that can be condensed into short text accompanied by images. Once again, it can be a good platform for sharing updates on your business, but it can also be a great choice for sales messages.
Whilst not often considered a social media channel, YouTube allows for comments, likes, dislikes, and subscribers – sound familiar? You can build a community on YouTube, using video to bring your brand and services to life. Posting product updates, opening times, meet the team, and sales messages can all be done through video.
Having a solid understanding of the reason you want to use your social media combined with a knowledge of the audience that you’re dealing with is a working formula to maximise the potential of your social media presence. We can help you understand the needs of your audience and can show you how you can use different social media platforms to help your business’s online presence reach its full potential.
Get in touch today to arrange a social media audit or to discuss our social media management services.
Target These Audiences to Grow Your Fitness Membership
As sites re-open following COVID-19-induced lockdowns, a common sight across all kinds of fitness and leisure facilities is a drop in membership. One report estimates that the UK experienced one of the highest rates of member cancellations worldwide, with 18.92% of members cancelling their membership either during or following lockdown. The challenge, therefore, for our sector is reclaiming members, whether they are new or returning.
One of the key aspects of formulating a great marketing plan is identifying your target audience, so we have identified three key audiences that you should be targeting to increase your membership moving forward.
1. Lapsed Members
Use your existing databases to target your ex-members. “It’s much cheaper to re-activate a previous customer than it is to generate a brand new one”: we’ve all heard this phrase, but how many of us actually commit to making our lapsed numbers our number one priority?
Yes, we need to work within GDPR, but contacting your lapsed members should be a regular monthly task – or a ‘done deal’ as we call it. Further, don’t just send them your latest membership offer via email: can you tailor your message to the individual? If ‘Sandra’ only ever used your classes when she was a member, don’t send her a free gym pass. Tell her what’s new on your timetable, invite her to a free class and to bring a friend, or send her a personal video from one of your instructors inviting her back.
What else can your CRM tell you about your customers? What type of membership were they on previously and how did they prefer to pay? What time of day did they use your centre or club? What months did they originally join and when did they cancel? What was their reason for leaving? All this data helps you build a profile that can be used to contact that customer at the right time and with the right message.
We estimate that word-of-mouth marketing is directly responsible for up to 20% of new membership sales each month and influences another 30% of buying decisions. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.
So, how are you currently driving your referral programme? Do you have one? Do your staff know about it?
Now, more than ever, is the time to get your current members working for you to attract new customers to your facility. Since GPDR came into effect back in 2018, leisure operators have had to adapt their referral processes to comply with the new legislation. You can find our dedicated guide to creating a successful referral programme here, but these are our top 3 tips on how to maximise your word-of-mouth advertising:
- Make sure the referral incentive has real value to the member
- Utilise guest passes to encourage members to introduce their friends and family to your centre
- Ensure referrals are mentioned at every touchpoint on a new member’s journey (POS, welcome email, reception, 1st appointment)
3. New Customers
Finally, we come to the audience with the biggest opportunity: new customers. Prior to the pandemic it was estimated that just 15% of the adult population were members of a fitness club or leisure centre. That’s a whopping 85% of customers who you could attract to your facilities. We know, however, that it’s not that simple.
What is simple is identifying small groups of your local community that you think should be your members (based on statistical analysis from your existing membership base) and then using digital advertising techniques to speak to them.
For example, if you identified that younger females make up the majority of your fitness class attendances then you could use Facebook to target this specific community. Your Facebook adverts’ criteria would look something like this:
Living within 3km of the centre
Specific fitness interests
£5 daily budget
2 week campaign
With this example you’d spend £70 targeting a very specific group with a very specific message, resulting in, by our estimate, around 300 additional website visits during this period. What you do with that traffic when it arrives on your website is an article for another day, but you must ensure that the page they land on is related to the advert that sent them there, and encourages them to take some form of action.
Spending time identifying these small audiences and monitoring the results of targeted advertising will ensure a better ROI on your marketing spend. For more help with the type of content you could be using in these adverts take a look at our definitive guide to content marketing.
50+ Social Media Content Ideas
In order to create successful social media channels that encourage engagement and increase brand identity and trust, it’s important to vary your messaging. Customers don’t follow and engage with social media accounts simply to be ‘sold at’ – would you? As a result, other less sales-driven content is required.
TA6 have extensive experience in boosting engagement and leads using our clients’ social media channels, and we’re sharing some of our most popular social media content ideas for you to recreate for your platforms.
Download the free guide here:
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.
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