What To Do And Not Do Using Social Media

by Bryan O’Rourke,  Founder and CEO for Integerus, LLC
GGFA Think Tank Member

We all hear about social media in the health club business and its rise to commercial relevance in an increasingly word of mouth world. If you’d like to learn some “do’s and don’ts” please attend the GGFA webinar this Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 from 3:00 – 3:30 EST : “What To Do And Not To Do With Social Media” .  You can register here:  .    We’ll be joined by Ian Lowell and Eleanor Hisey with Fitsomo.com .

A big challenge exists in providing guidance to health club owners wanting to adopt social media best practices. There is a great deal of variation in people’s understanding of social media tools. What I hear most from club owners, however, and in particular Gold’s Gym owners and managers is the need to understand some basics. it’s not so much the technology, it’s what to do with it. So in advance of the webinar “What to Do And Not Do With Social Media” I’d like to share some thoughts. More details will be included in the webinar, so please join us or review the content via the GGFA website when it’s convenient to you.

Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when using social media. It can serve as an excellent guideline for management and staff as well. Feel free to use it ! If I can be of any service to you please contact @bryankorourke or @fitsomo !

What To Do And Not Do Using Social Media

Disclose

Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. Please represent you and your brand ethically and with integrity. 

  • Be transparent: Use your real name, identify who you work for, and be clear about your role.
  • Be truthful: If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out and be specific about what it is.
  • Be yourself: Stick to your area of expertise; write what you know. If you publish to a website outside of your own business, please use a disclaimer like this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Gold’s Gym positions, strategies, or opinions.” 

Protect

Make sure all that transparency doesn’t violate confidentiality or your own privacy. Remember, if you’re online, you’re on the record; everything on the Internet is public and searchable. What you write is ultimately your responsibility.

  • Don’t tell secrets: Never reveal classified or confidential information.  Please respect brand, trademark, and copyright. If it gives you pause…pause rather than publish. 
  • Don’t slam the competition (or your own brand): Play nice. Anything you publish must be true and not misleading, and all claims must be substantiated.
  • Don’t Overshare: Be careful out there; once you hit “share,” you usually can’t get it back. Plus being judicious will help make your content more crisp and audience-relevant.

Use Common Sense

Perception is reality and in online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. When you identify yourself as a health club  employee for any brand; you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about the company. Do us all proud.

  • Add value: There are millions of words out there—make yours helpful and thought-provoking. Remember, it’s a conversation, so keep it real. Build community by posting content that invites responses—then stay engaged. You can also broaden the dialogue by citing others who are writing about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared.
  • Keep it cool: There can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. And you don’t need to respond to every criticism or barb. Be careful and considerate.
  • Did you screw up? If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction.

Respect and Privacy Standards

  • Speak respectfully about the company and current and potential employees, customers, partners, and competitors. Do not engage in name calling or behavior that will reflect negatively on the company’s reputation.
  • The use of copyrighted materials, unfounded or derogatory statements, or misrepresentation is not a good idea.
  • You should write knowledgeably, accurately, and using appropriate professionalism.  Honor the privacy rights of our customers and employees by seeking their permission before writing about or displaying internal company happenings that might be considered to be a breach of their privacy and confidentiality.

What to Respond To

  • Mentions of your health club as part of presentation or events;
  • Compliments of facility, service, classes or staff;
  • Recommendations or referrals to your club;
  • Customer Service/Member issues or inquires;
  • Sales leads; and
  • Requests or suggestions for services.

Examples of Appropriate Responses

  • Thanks for mentioning!
  • Glad we could help !
  • I’d be glad to talk to you more about this, how can we reach you ?
  • Feel free to pass along any feedback you have
  • Let me introduce ……, they’ll be in touch to assist.

What Not to Respond To

  • Generic mentions, without comments either positive or negative;
  • Discussions/conversations between individuals that mention your club in passing, in which your involvement might be seen as intrusive; and
  • Sarcastic or potentially inflammatory contents (this should be handled personally, and not drawn into an online debate).

What Not to Say

  • Unwarranted public apologies;
  • Profanity or inappropriate subject matter; and
  • Reference to partners, vendors, customers etc. they are not publicly known.

So what do you think about Social Media “Do’s and Don’ts” ? Please share your experiences and let other Gold’s Gym owners, managers and employees hear from you.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee and a partner in the Flywheel Group, Integerus, Fitsomo and Fitmarc. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

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in all decisions that affect our brand and the franchisees. It is our goal to secure Gold s
Gym as the most profitable franchising opportunity in the fitness industry and the
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About GGFA

The Gold's Gym Franchisee Association is the independent voice of the Gold's Gym franchisees.
This entry was posted in Best Practices, Marketing, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink.

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