Are you using social media to help build your fitness business? Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are growing in use every day by your customers. As an example of the pervasiveness of social media, it has changed the way people are using the Internet. Last year, Facebook approached Google in terms of unique visitors — this is an astounding sea change in what people are doing online.
In a word, they are “sharing”. Social media tools such as Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have made sharing incredibly easy, and in most cases, people are sharing around common interests and passions (like fitness!). Further, people are increasingly sharing around commercial activities and businesses in addition to the social and personal sharing that characterized the early days of social media.
There is one other huge trend which you have probably noticed in your own business: people are increasingly beginning their searches for products and services online. A key marketing objective for any small business — and a key reason to consider social media marketing is simply that by doing so, you will come up higher on the results pages of Google and other search engines.
One way to think about social media marketing is as your “next layer” of Internet marketing. First, you get a website, then you “optimize” it with words so people can find it, then maybe you buy Google or other “pay per click” services. The next step is to ENGAGE people. To get your customers and prospects to interact with you and with each other! This does several important things:
1) Gets you into a fun and interesting dialog online with your community
2) Increases your “Google – rank”
3) Increases traffic to your website
4) Increases word-of-mouth and referrals
One of the simplest ways to begin to use these tools is to blog. But be careful, because a blog’s real value is only realized if there is fresh frequent content flowing into it. Many small businesses start blogging only to realize they do not have the time, resources or skills to keep and maintain a consistent publishing schedule. Sometimes blogging can be outsourced. If you consider this option, just be sure you are on the same page with your blogging company in terms of what content is appropriate.
Blog content can be “streamed” to Facebook and Twitter accounts, creating a situation where your primary social media content is centrally archived — but broadly distributed on other networks. Once your blog content begins to build in volume, the result is more articles and information beneath the “eye” of Google. The act of posting new (relevant) content and the sheer volume of content makes your business more findable online.
While “Google Rank” is a key benefit of using social networks to market, there is also tremendous value in having your customers interacting with your business, and with each other around your brand. Time spent commenting on your blog posts, or Facebook wall, is time spent in the presence of your brand, and where there is always a link back to your websites. In an era where so many service searches start online, social media marketing is a powerful and innovative new way to market.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like examples of how health and fitness businesses have used social media to find new customers and grow.