7 Steps to Create a Powerful Social Media Strategy for Health Clubs

Here are seven steps to leverage your club's brand advocates, draft sharable content, and create a more powerful social media strategy.

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Social media can be an incredibly powerful weapon in your health club’s marketing arsenal—if you use it strategically.

Recently, IHRSA conducted a webinar about how smaller health club companies can develop a strong social media strategy. Here's a summary of the recommendations offered by Kari Bedgood, vice president of marketing and PR at Active Sports Clubs.

“Do what works.”

Kari Bedgood, Vice President of Marketing and PR

Active Sports Clubs

  1. Engage brand advocates. Sound difficult? It's not. A study by Statista found that 50% of employees post on social media about their place of work, and a third do so without any encouragement from their employer. So you probably have a ready-made pool of brand advocates on hand. Also, find out what your customers are saying on social media and leverage that, too. According to the Statista study, 90% of buyers trust peer recommendations.
  2. Loosen the reins. Having worked so hard to establish your club's reputation, you might be reluctant to put it in someone else's hands. Still, unless you have time to handle all social media yourself or hire a full-time social media coordinator, you're going to have to trust your employees.
  3. Create a clear social media policy. Social media posts can do significant harm if not properly regulated. The last thing you want is an employee posting negative comments about the club or its members. Develop a policy for your employee handbook that specifies each site covered by the phrase "social media" (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Clearly state that your company controls all content on its branded sites and that employees are expected to adhere to company standards in their posts.
  4. Develop a social media calendar. This is a great way to impose efficiency and consistency on the process. Determine a theme for each day of the week and let it dictate the content of your posts. If you have, say, Motivation Monday, you can start each week by posting an inspirational quote. Add each theme to your hashtag library (e.g. #MotivationMonday) to reinforce your brand.
  5. Use video. With videos easier to make than ever—and with all the great opportunities for video inherent in the health and fitness industry—there's no reason not to make video a part of your social media strategy. Post two videos a month on YouTube similar to this one, and you'll be amazed at the results.
  6. Look for shareable content. Monitor the social media activity of those with a connection to the health club industry, such as equipment manufacturers, the fitness media, and local sports teams. And, as Bedgood put it, "Follow your followers."
  7. Track and analyze your results. You can measure social media's effectiveness in a number of ways, such as likes, shares, comments, and retweets. You can also track such variables as the best time of day to post new content. (Lunchtime is generally pretty popular.)

Once you've had a month or two to track the results of your social media strategy, the next step is pure common sense.

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.