Having social media accounts for your business is a given in 2016 – but if you don’t proactively build a quality following then you could be shouting into the abyss.
So, you’ve set up your Facebook page for your fitness business, you have an Instagram account, and you are Tweeting happily away. Naturally, your thoughts turn to how to get more people to follow you. Your business may not be on Tinder, but you still want people who find it online to show their approval by metaphorically swiping right. More followers, more likes, more shares, more exposure, more leads, more business – right?
Well, you can always pay for more fans, but let’s not go down that road – you always want quality over quantity. Let’s look at some other ways to get more people to pay attention to you.
Make sure your website has all your social media details and direct links to the pages. In fact, make sure every marketing activity you do always contains your social media channels, such as your brochures, business cards and email signatures.
Add a ‘Like’ button to your website. People who visit your website probably read your pages and blog posts, listen to your podcasts or enjoy other information you post. They are consumers of your content already, and the Like button makes it very easy for them to click one button to instantly follow you.
Ensure your ‘Contact me’ page contains all your social media channels. Include plugins to embed your social media pages on your website. People can then like and share your details without leaving your site. Remember: the easier you make it, the more likely they are to actually follow or like you.
Tell all your friends, members, clients, leads, in fact everyone in your network, that you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t be shy – use your email lists and databases to make sure everyone knows you are on social media, and give them a compelling reason to follow you.
You should also use your personal social media accounts and pages to promote your business ones. Stop accepting friend requests from people who should be liking your business page, and drive them there instead.
Cross promote your social media channels with each other – for example:
- Link to your company’s Facebook Fan Page on the home page of your company website
- Link to your company’s Facebook Fan Page in all emails
- Become a Fan of your own Fan Page and suggest it to your Friends list
- Use Twitter to announce your new Fan Page and offer deals to new Fans
- Link to your Facebook Fan page on your Blog and other social profile sites
- Use Facebook content in email newsletters
- Post links from newsletter articles on Facebook.
And always remember to tell people why they should follow you – so many businesses neglect to do this. For example, ‘Follow us to get access to exclusive Instagram deals’ or ‘Like us on Facebook to get the inside scoop on the latest fitness trends’ – you get the picture.
Use your fan base to gain more exposure
There is a simple but very true saying – content is king. Make sure you post interesting, timely and relevant content for your audience to keep them entertained and engaged. Create content that excites your fans to share it. And make sure you include photos and videos. Post consistently and regularly so you are ‘top of mind’ with your followers.
Make sure you ask your fans and followers questions; doing so generates discussion, which is a great way of connecting with your current fans. Interesting conversations can also pull in outsiders, who may then convert into fans. A simple tip when it comes to posting updates is, if you’re scraping for content, ask a question instead.
Your current members and clients are your best source of leads, and the same goes for your fans, because they are more likely to attract like-minded people. So, how about giving them incentives such as ‘share or retweet this post to get a free protein bar when you next come into the gym’, ‘Take and tag a photo of you working out with one of our personal trainers on Instagram/Facebook to get an extra week free’ or ‘Comment on this post – tell us your best way to stay motivated to train over winter and receive a free water bottle.’
If you can get your members or clients to tag, share, comment, or retweet your posts or photos, then their friends will see them, thereby providing a great source of exposure to potential new followers – and customers.
Reaching new audiences
So, how can you get more followers outside of your current fan network?
Look at liking or following relevant businesses in your local area, such as hair salons, physiotherapists, massage centres and beauty salons. If you like and follow them, chances are they will return the favour.
You could also consider some cross promotions with these complimentary businesses – it can be an effective way to gain exposure to a whole new audience.
Explore the idea of running a contest – because everyone loves winning stuff. If you can get your hands on a good prize and make entry as easy as becoming a fan of your page, then you should see your fan base increase dramatically. Consider offering your fans the chance to win a prize by submitting a photo to your page. Contests and giveaways are a great way to reach out to people who haven’t yet discovered your Facebook page.
“Forget about Tinder, RSVP and eHarmony, this is the way to get the love you are looking for.“
Join relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and start contributing content. Again, this is a gateway to reaching like-minded people who are more inclined to be interested in what you have to offer.
Writing blogs that drive traffic and increase leads is also a must, as it will drive more people to your social media channels.
Try some online advertising through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You can be really targeted with who sees your ad when you advertise online. Experiment with different types of ads to see what works best for your fitness business and make sure you choose the option that allows people to like or follow your page directly from the ad.
What about the outside world?
Ah yes, the real world! Almost forgot that one.
If you have a studio or gym, put a placard on the front desk letting your members know what social media networks you are on. You can also give incentives to people who like or follow your page right away via their mobile device, giving them some sort of instant reward when they show you/your staff the confirmation that they are following your page.
In any offline advertising or marketing you do, such as print ads, posters, banners or merchandise, include your social media details. If you do an email or text campaign, or a letterbox drop, make sure you also direct people to your social media (remembering to give them a reason to visit and like it!)
Attending relevant conventions and seminars also provides opportunities to network with people who would be fans of your page if they only knew about it! Speaking at an event will give you a lot of credibility, but even attending as a delegate can be an extremely beneficial networking experience. By making more connections in the real world, you’ll also gain more friends – and business – in the online one.
Michelle Le Grand is the owner of Le Grand Marketing, and is also a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She specialises in developing marketing strategies and social media plans for fitness businesses to help them generate leads, increase memberships and build brand awareness. legrandmarketing.com.au