This post was written by our guest blogger, Joe Hall. Joe has a wealth of experience in driving online engagement, and operates the social media strategy for the fast growing UK based gym chain XERCISE4LESS, one of Perkville's clients.

Ok, so in my first post Why Referrals Need to Be the Centerpiece of Your Fitness Marketing Strategy, I highlight the importance of being able to portray your purpose, values, and visions on social media. That's because regardless of which social media platform you choose for your organization you have to work around your purpose, values, and visions. If you don't have a purpose, you don't portray your values and if you don't work in line with your vision and goals, you will not be successful on social media. That's just life! But just doing this is not enough, if you want to be truly successful on social media, you need to capture the ATTENTION of your audience.

Establish your audience

As a gym operator, how do you capture the ATTENTION of your audience if you don't know who your audience is? The easiest way to gauge your audience is to collect the age, gender, location, and goal orientation of all the members you sign up from the point of first contact. Then run a report in your Club Management or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to see which categories come out on top. If you notice in the report that the majority of members are 25-40 aged females from the outskirts of a City Center with a goal of losing weight then you're going to be communicating a very different message compared to a gym whose main audience is aged 18-30 with a 50:50 female/male split based in the heart of the City Center with goals to achieve the fitness levels of athletes.

If you are a 'mass market' gym chain, then it might be more useful to determine the characteristics of your most engaged audience. Online feedback portals such as Listen360 allow you to identify the 'demographic' (age range, gender, location) of your happiest and most satisfied members. Why's that important? It may well be that your happiest members are most likely to engage on social media. Similarly, Club Management Systems allow you to pull reports on who your most 'active members' are based on gym usage and check-in data, once again it may be that those checking in more frequently are more likely to engage with you on social media so establishing the 'demographic' of your most active members may prove a fruitful move if you want to execute a winning social media strategy. Finally, in Perkville, depending on your rewards program, you can see who your most engaged members are based on their Perkville points. If you can identify the 'demographic' of your top earners, this may give you an indication of who your potential social media audience is, again giving you the ammunition to perfect a highly targeted social media strategy.

Picking the right platform

From my introductory paragraph, if you just skimmed through I imagine one word stands out - and that's 'ATTENTION.' The reason I highlighted attention is that when it comes to choosing your social media platforms, your audience's attention is hands down, the biggest, most crucial factor in determining which platform is right for your organization. To give some examples; If you're a low-cost independent gym located in an area targeting high school and college students, then you would use Snapchat as a platform - that's where the students attention is. If you are a premium multi-chain operator that has a major focus on selling corporate gym memberships, then you might want to use LinkedIn because that's where a lot of white-collar workers' attention is focused. If you are a mass market gym chain that is primarily concerned with getting all people with different ages, shapes, and sizes through the door, then you'll need to rely on the social media platforms that will you attract as many people as possible, i.e., Facebook and Twitter because yet again you are going to capture more people's attention.

So if you've followed the advice under the Establish Your Audience section you'll have a good idea about the clientele you want to be engaging on social media. If the social media platform does not capture the attention of your audience then don't use it as it will be a sheer waste of your time and the returns you get will not be worthwhile.

Stay tuned

Stay tuned for part 2 of May I Have Your Attention Please.