Sure Social Media Is Great. So Now What ?

By Bryan O’Rourke

We’ve been hearing it for a while now and you probably know all the stats. That social media is the rage for marketing is irrefutable. But how can YOU make it part of your business’s successful membership acquisition and retention plan ? Follow these 8 steps and you will be on your way to getting started.

1.  Create a plan.

Set clear goals for outcomes and spend time thinking about what you want to achieve. Start off by researching Jeremiah Owyang’s “Social Strategy: Getting Your Company Ready”. Brian Solis’s book “Engage” is also excellent to understand how to create a plan and how to think about what you can and want to achieve. You can also follow my writings on www.bryankorourke.com to get ideas as well.

2.  Differentiate.

Understand what it is that makes you unique as a brand and make certain that whatever you are doing on the social media stage reflects the uniqueness of you and your proposition. You need to stand out from the crowd and message what is special about you and your brand.

3.  Be Authentic.

People want to engage with brands that are real, transparent and human. What does that mean ? If something went wrong it’s better to be upfront about it. Many owners are often fearful of a member complaining on social media. While this is certainly concerning, if you act fairly and immediately people will understand and respect it. You want your members and prospects to know you care and aren’t perfect. Share the good the bad and the ugly.

4.  Choose the Right Platforms.

Where are your customer members participating in social media ? Find out. If they use twitter a lot, adopt that platform. If they use Facebook often, make sure you’re there to. Use the right platforms to reach out to your existing and prospective members.

5.  Get Help !

Seek expertise on using social media. In my experience, advertising agencies are NOT the best source of assistance. Look for a known expert and seek expertise from places like Elance and others. Its not as expensive as you might think if you select the right resources.

6.  Build Your Network.

Have you identified the centers of influence in your community ? Have you also identified what social media platforms they are using ? If you reach out and connect with their communities it’s smart. Expand your platform to include key businesses and communities in your area in the social space. Churches, schools and other organizations are all in the social media space. By expanding your network, your messages and promotions will reach out to more prospective and existing members.

7.  Create and Deliver Cool Content.

Hi definition video, interesting articles, motivating stories about members at your club, whatever it is that is cool and interesting, that is what you want to be delivering to your connections in the social space. How you promote also can be cool. New solutions like SCVNGR enable you to create games for members to play and to receive rewards. Engage prospective and existing customers in ways they find interesting.

8.  Use Smart Tools.

HootSuite, SocialOomph, and others are tools that enable you to much more easily manage your social media network. New technologies like Foursquare and others are free! Do some research and make certain that you use the best tools that can make the execution of social media easier on you.

If you’d like to learn more about social media don’t hesitate to connect with me at www.bryankorourke.com . I love to help club owners use new strategies and technologies to build their business.

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About GGFA

The Gold's Gym Franchisee Association is the independent voice of the Gold's Gym franchisees.
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