In what new and innovative ways do you expect to see club operators employing online services and social media in the coming year? Similarly, what insights/wisdom do you have to offer on the benefits of using these rapidly evolving tools?
What used to be information has now turned into a conversation… the conversation about your club is happening regardless of your social media strategy. By having a comprehensive strategy, you are a part of the conversation and can set the tone, guide and inform. In the past, people made buying decisions with 5 points of reference, now it is up to 10. Your online presence isn’t something outside your brand and your club – it is as much a part of your club, your club’s personality and offering as any other attribute or quality and in many cases even more so.
With increased technology, message bombardment, the need to be connected, lack of time, challenges to be active, and a desire for credible, valid information – a club cannot afford not to fully engage with its customer base online.
Additionally, women are the dominant decision makers on retail purchasing and a rapidly growing segment of the health club market (2011, US New Health Club Members were 57% women – IHRSA).
Currently women make up 64% of Facebook users, 58% of Twitter users and 82% of Pinterest users.
A social media strategy should include at a minimum these components:
- A strong website designed around most desirable responses – Joining, Trying, Engaging
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- A comprehensive Facebook page with photography, timeline, testimonials, tips, links, relevant content – with initiatives to engage members. Your members “likes” enable you to have a very strong member driven advocacy program
- A content rich YouTube Station (YouTube is the second highest search engine, only behind Google) – filming can be done inexpensively and by staff (consider model releases before posting anything online)
- A systematic approach to manage and maintain a common personality throughout all medium. While you may have different messaging to different groups – make sure it all comes across as coming from the same “club” / personality.
- Make all emails, websites, sites able to link back to each other vehicle
- Create ways for prospects to join online, refer members and share your information
- A mobile application with features to make it easier to engage your club
While there are many other components – these represent some of the basic must haves. The changes I see coming are in how people consume information, the increase in the number of women utilizing clubs, the importance of knowing your customer and being able to segment and customize on a mass level with relevancy to the individual.