There’s no question, social media has been the driving force behind the expansion of affiliate gyms in recent years. The utilization of social media by this community has built a very expansive and engaged fitness family. CrossFit Invictus has over 94,000 followers on Instagram and engages with 1,300 people each week on Facebook; that’s huge potential to reach current and prospective members.
It’s likely your members are already using social media to share their involvement in the community, make sure that you are doing everything you can to engage with your members and build on your brand awareness. Here are a few social media best practices you can implement for your box:
Interact with Your Community
So much of the culture is experienced through social media. Athletes are posting videos of their box jumps, sharing photos of their paleo meals and tagging fellow athletes on Facebook. Make sure that you are engaging with their posts as much as their friends are. You also need to stay on top of your own posts and take the time to read the comments, tags, mentions and tweets you receive, and then reply thoughtfully. Listen and engage with people on their terms.
A great way to track engagement is through a unique hashtag. Create a hashtag specific to your box and encourage your members to use it across all their social media channels. The hashtag is a great way to expose prospective athletes to your business. Remember that your social media accounts are likely your prospects’ first interaction with your business. If they see a social media community where the owners are heavily involved in the conversation, they’ll be more likely to get involved.
Vary Your Content
This sport is great because it is ever-changing. One day you could be doing deadlifts and headstands, the next day you might be focusing on running, pull-ups and kettlebell swings. Just like your WOD varies from day-to-day, so should your social media content. Content that motivates and inspires should be a staple of your strategy. Photos and member achievements are also great for connecting with your community and driving engagement. When thinking about your own brand content, consider the 50/30/20 Rule – 50% of your social media content should focus on entertaining and engaging your audience, 30% should offer information and resources and only 20% should be self-promotion. While your members no doubt love your business, they don’t want to see brand post after brand post in their newsfeed. Use the 50/30/20 Rule to establish your business and grow your community, with industry information, motivational content and athlete achievements.
Encourage Members to Participate
You’ve built a strong community at your box; members are excited to see one another and cheer each other on when they walk through the door. Make sure that the same community feel translates to your online community. Share content that excites your members and invite them to comment. Request that your members share their progress on Facebook and Twitter and again, don’t forget to engage. A member mobile app is another great place to have your members get involved and track their results. Your athletes will feel more connected to your business if they know others are rooting for them.
Brand advertising via t-shirts, hoodies and water bottles shouldn’t be your only way of bringing in new members. In addition to equipping your athletes with branded gear, enhance your word of mouth strategy and incentivize members to refer your business. Develop a referral program that encourages members to get the word out about your box and check-in at your location on Facebook. Depending on the action, whether it’s a social shout-out or in-person introduction, offer your members some kind of discount on their membership dues. One of the best compliments to a business is a referral, so make sure you value those who are promoting your business.
Advertise on Social Media
Facebook advertising can drive results for a small amount of money in a short amount of time. Consider setting up an advertisement for an offer at your box or an event you’re holding. Facebook allows marketers to target specific customers, which means you can reach this demographic in your area. Managed in the same interface as Facebook Ads, Instagram is another channel that you can focus on with you advertising efforts. This community is hugely involved on the social platform and it provides a great way to reach a young and active user base.
For more ways to improve the marketing efforts for your box, download our free 10 Step Marketing Guide for Affiliate Gyms.