It’s possible to build a strong client base via social media, but like any type of fitness marketing, it requires time and a little strategizing. Here are five ways to get more clients to meet you on social while also attracting new prospects there.
- Go Where Your Clients Go
It’s OK to frequent your favorite social platforms, but you might find that your heaviest lifting in terms of marketing happens on entirely different platforms: the ones your clients use most.
Let’s say Snapchat is your go-to social network, but you aren’t seeing many snaps and friend-adds from existing clients. That’s not great for business. Maybe they prefer Facebook? (Ask them to find out.)
Keep using the platforms you like best for your own enjoyment, but, for building a client base, meet your clients/prospects where they go.
- Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
That said, and with some exceptions, you’ll likely find that your social strategy works best when you use multiple platforms (i.e., not just Snapchat or just Facebook). Being active on multiple platforms allows you to reach a wider audience. You can always repurpose content across several apps/sites.
However, don’t spread yourself too thin. You don’t have to be on every channel: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Periscope, YouTube, Vimeo and whatever new network might be blowing up on the web or mobile this month. Choose your top two or three, based on your brand and where your clients go; focus most of your time and attention on those.
- Provide an Incentive for Following
Building up a relevant audience on social media begins with simply asking your current clients to join you on Facebook, Instagram, etc. If they’re active on social media, they’ll likely be eager to network with you there. If they don’t use social media and don’t want to, well, then there’s no sense trying to convince them. Your time is better spent on folks whose daily habits include scrolling on social.
Asking people to follow you on social media is step one. Step two is giving them a decent reason to do so. What will they get out of the social connection? For example, they could gain access to helpful articles and videos about fitness; news about the gym where they work out; a heads up on discounts or special offers associated with your services, products or the facility, etc.
- Attract New Followers
It’s easier to convince existing contacts to join you on social than it is to add new prospects. Where do you find them? In addition to “recruiting” new followers via offline events at your facility or in the community, here are a few tactics for finding appropriate audiences online or on mobile.
- Twitter’s Advanced Search (twitter.com/search-advanced) can help you find relevant followers by keyword, location and more.
- For Facebook, try advertising. You can get very specific in your ad targeting.
- Instagram also allows you to advertise. Additionally, use a hashtag strategy to reach new audiences who have an interest in the topics you post about. For example, if I want to attract fitness clients in Vancouver, where I live, I might use (and search) hashtags such as #YVRfitness or #VancouverHikes.
- On Instagram, you can also search photos/videos posted from your neighborhood using the “Places” option on the search screen. Follow and interact with people who post activity-related photos from locations close to your business. (If you don’t know the person, only follow if their account is public. Sending a follow request to a stranger’s private account—one with the locked sign—is awkward.)
- Every Post Should Have a Goal (One That’s Related to Your Clients)
When you're using social media for fun and personal use, you can post whatever you want. If your intention is for business and to build a client base, ensure that every post has a goal. The goal should be immediately applicable to your relationship with your audience.
Create a shortlist of how you want your posts to resonate with clients on social, such as to entertain, educate, motivate, etc. Some of your posts might even be about sharing glimpses into your daily life, family life, etc., as a way to help clients relate your experiences to theirs.
If appropriate, highlight clients in your posts (with their permission, of course). It could be a photo featuring your bootcamp class or a special client accomplishment. When you engage with and acknowledge clients/followers in the community you're establishing online, you open the door to fostering a more loyal and engaged following in the “real world” too.