How to start social media marketing for your fitness studio or gym in six simple steps
A couple of years back, social media was considered the younger, cooler kid on the block in the small business marketing domain. But as digital overtook the more conventional modes of marketing, now it’s an important way for all businesses – including fitness studios, gyms, and fitness centers to bring in new clients!
But, like any other marketing initiative, to stand out amongst millions of other brands and drive actual sales, you need a well crafted social media marketing plan for your business. In this blog, we will guide you through the steps on how to get started with social media to market your fitness studio or gym.
Keep in mind that this blog is for business owners, professionals, and trainers who want to start experimenting with social media. If you already have a decent presence on social media and want to optimize it, you might want to check out our advanced social media marketing series – due to launch next week. Look out for it here on Appointy blog, or leave your email address below to receive it directly in your inbox.
How to start promoting your fitness business on social media in six simple steps
1. Keep it lean and start organic
Before you go hiring yourself a social media manager, start yourself and see how well it works. Investing money in social media marketing will make sense once you have your goals and plans in place, but you can only be sure about this once you start testing the waters.
Many might advise you to hire an expert to take advice or to create a social media plan before getting started, but before you go about doing that, first you need to have a clear understanding of how your target audience engages with social media and what message would you like to send.
Experiment with it yourself first and then slowly scale it up so that you have the right answers to questions like what do I want to achieve from social media, who should I target, and which platform to use.
Also, while experimenting, do not get tempted to jump straight to paid social. It might give you results in the short term, but it’s not sustainable for long term growth. Make sure that you have learned how to take advantage of the free elements of social media like post sharing, comment engagement, community building, etc. before you venture into paid advertising.
2. Look at fitness brands and businesses that are winning social media
The best way to figure out the low hanging fruits to capitalize on is to find out what your counterparts and the influencers in the fitness community are doing – what’s working for them has a good chance of working for you too with a few tweaks.
If you are new at social media marketing, this is the single most important exercise you can do before stepping in the ring yourself, so don’t cut back on the effort here. Here is how to go about it:
- Start by making a list of about 15-20 businesses or brands that you hear a lot about. You can start right at the top by checking out big fitness brands like Nike Women, Gold’s Gym, etc. Other than this, you can also include some local influencers and gyms in your area. Keep adding more names to this list as you find more related pages or suggested people depending on the network you are on.
- Visit each one of the profiles on your list across popular social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, even LinkedIn. Note the following things about them:
- Profile description
- Post cadence (how often and when do they post)
- Post type (Motivational, service-related, Memes, etc.)
- Caption style
- Average post views and engagement (likes, comments, shares)
- Quality of posts
- Follower count
- Once you have this data, understand which social media platforms are these businesses more active on. This will give you a tentative idea of where your audience spends most of their time, and hence, where you should focus on first.
- Also, the follower count and engagement numbers will help you set your initial goals realistically. Social media platforms often see little follower to engagement ratios but still drive results in the background.
3. Create your social media profiles
Do not rush through this step. The information you enter on your business’s social media page can be vital in casting the right impression on potential leads. While it involves simply filling out a few form fields, getting this right the first time will help you get the most out of any effort you put in promoting your profile.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Finalize the name for your social media profile. It’s ideal to name it after your business but if you think your personal brand might impact the initial exposure for your business, feel free to use it. Just keep in mind that it’s really important that you use the same name across all your social media profiles. This helps create a uniform brand image for your business.
- Refrain from using a mid-workout selfie as your profile picture, and use a high-quality image. For profile pictures, it might be alright to use different ones keeping in tone with the different platforms. If applicable, add a cover image as well that complements the color palette of the platform and looks good. Keep in mind that all social media profiles have specific guidelines on the image upload dimensions. Follow them to ensure that your pictures look good in thumbnails as well.
- Add a profile bio/description that covers key points about you and your experience. You might want to add special mentions, achievements, or past experiences/ trainees that might help increase your credibility. Take inspiration from other brands and businesses that you like to come up with your own bio. Save your interests and quirky one-liners for your personal profiles and use the business bio section to include things that potential clients might want to know. You can also add a link to your website, personal profile, or any other social network that you want.
- Do not leave any profile section unfinished. Fill in your business address, contact details, Google Map locations, industry, etc. All these things help people find your business on social media platforms when they want to filter their results.
4. Finalize a social media posting schedule
To ensure that you start getting followers, publishing new and helpful content consistently is a must. But for a business owner starting out in the world of social media marketing, posting every day on all social media platforms while running a business might become overwhelming. To avoid this, start out with a posting schedule and an idea bank so that you can post even on the busiest of days with minimal effort.
Here’s how to make a publishing plan for your fitness business:
- Based on your research, divide post types into different categories. A few popular category examples are:
- Daily gym roundups
- Fitness tips
- Motivational quotes
- Workout advice
- Client reposts and testimonials
- Client transformation
- Once you finalize a few categories, create at least 5-10 posts in each category in advance for days when you are too busy to generate fresh content.
- Create a calendar schedule for publishing by assigning a specific date and time to publish each post. Try to capitalize on the existing social media trends and hashtags like #TuesdayTips or #ThrowbackThursday. Also, keep in mind to incorporate any big event or special occasion like World Fitness Day, or Christmas when you create a publishing calendar. Specific hashtags on these days can help you amplify your reach rapidly.
- Determine your posting cadence, i.e, how often do you want to post. Again, a good way to start would be to take ideas from how often do your competitors post. Although, don’t start with more than 2-3 posts a day. Initially, it might curb the reach of your previous posts since you won’t have a lot of followers.
- Find out the best time to post on different social media platforms and stick to the schedule. These specific times can help you optimize your reach based on when your audience is most likely to engage with your content. You can find many studies on when to post where, but start out with a time in mind, and then adjust your times according to the reach or engagement report that you observe for your accounts.
5. Start increasing followers
Apart from posting consistently, here are a few strategies that can help you get more followers for your social media accounts:
- Start with sharing the links to your social media profile in your network. Post it from your personal accounts or do cross-channel promotions to encourage the audience on one platform to follow you on others as well. Give out a concise value proposition that tells people ‘why’ they should follow you on a new network. For ex: Get bite-sized info on meal planning, or Follow to get quick tips on faster weight loss, etc.
- Another simple way to get initial followers is to find people who might find your profile interesting and follow their accounts. Every time you follow someone, they might check out your profile and decide to follow you back. To find people with similar interests, you can target audiences that follow other pages like you or fitness industry influencers.
- Include social media sharing buttons everywhere! On your website, across all social media platforms, on brochures, on your appointment booking page, etc.
- Include posts that encourage your followers to tag other people in comments. This increases exposure to your profile and helps more people find it.
- Request your clients to follow you on social media. You can also tag them during daily roundup posts (after taking due permissions), for improved reach.
- Keep your profile active on social media. Follow relevant people, comment on their posts, engage in discussions, etc. Anything that helps increase exposure will increase the chances of new people landing on your profile.
6. Collect leads from the beginning
While this may seem like something that you need to worry about later, in my experience, it never hurts to have a lead generation mechanism set up on any platform. Even if you get as low as 1 lead every week, it’s still better than nothing.
When I say lead generation mechanism, I mean either a way to collect client details like email address, or a free consultation session booking. With everything that websites and marketing resources help us achieve, there’s still something convincing about 1:1 interaction that helps close more sales than, say, a website visit.
So make sure you lock in a chance for 1:1 interaction for all profile visitors who might be interested in one by adding an action button like call, email, or book.
You never know why people might visit your account, but if they do visit with an intent to buy, it’s best to have something to point them in the right direction. Action buttons such as call, book, or message are available on Facebook and Instagram (if you want one for your profile, read how to get it here).
For other social media platforms, you can simply include a link to your website or a form to collect information in the profile description section.
What to do when it kicks off?
You’ll know that social media marketing is working for you when you start getting queries on your social accounts, or people coming in for a membership often mention that they checked-out your Instagram and loved it.
Remember that you might not always directly see results from social media marketing for your fitness business, but over time if your followers keep increasing and you start getting even a few leads from it, investing in it further might be a good idea.
As next steps, you can:
- Assign someone to it full-time to observe social media growth hacks and implement them. It could be someone from your team, a freelancer, or even a full-time professional – depending on how well social media has worked for you so far.
- Venture into paid social marketing to get more followers or clients from social in a small time. You might want to capitalize on high traction periods like the January resolutions or the pre-summer months.
We are also putting together an advanced social media marketing strategies guide for business owners who want to get greater returns from their social platforms. It’s due to launch next week, so keep an eye out on this space, or leave your email address below so that you can get it straight to your inbox.
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!