With the all of the new social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram, it is easy to forget about the breakthrough site in the social media field- Facebook.
Keep in mind:
- 1 billion+ people use Facebook monthly
- 80% of social media users connect with brands via Facebook
The great thing about Facebook is that you do not need to saturate it with posts. In fact, frequent posting (more than once per day) backfires. Research demonstrates:
- 73% of people “unliked” a brand on Facebook because of constant posts
- Businesses that post between 1-4 times per week receive the best results
As a fitness professional, you want to the bulk of your time working with paying customers, not struggling to get them in the door. It is important that you do not waste time on Facebook. Here are 10 helpful steps you can to take to make sure you craft the most effective Facebook posts for your business.
- The Power of Images- There is an 80/20 rule for images. People remember 80% of what they see versus 20% of what they read. Therefore, it is crucial to include images in your social media posts in general and on Facebook in particular. One research study found 43% of respondents shared images they found on social media.
- Facebook posts with images get 37% more engagement than those with only text
- 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook included a photo
You don’t need to search high and low for great images. When your training clients reach fitness goals, take pictures of them and ask those people to tag themselves. Showing prospective clients that you produce results goes a lot further than just saying you help people get fit.
- Connect Images with Values and Positive Feelings- We convinced you of the importance of images. You might wonder what images to post. We first recommend associating your brand with important values. When it comes to the content people share on social media,
- 84% of it relates to causes that users support
- 49% of content educates and tries to persuade
Ask customers about their interests other than fitness. Craft images that make a connection between your service and what they value. For example, show pictures of you leading exercise groups in beautiful, pristine locations if your customers enjoy outdoor activities or support conservation causes.
A second way to create a positive association is with the use of mascots. Facebook studies show that characters create more buzz than celebrities. If your fitness company serves families and children, you definitely need to pick a mascot to represent your business.
- Let videos do the talking- Two stats that demonstrate the power of video on Facebook.
Videos have 12X the number of shares than text or links only posts
Video was in 8 of the 10 most shared posts
The fitness field is a natural fit for video marketing. You could post:
- Introductory videos
- Collaborative Videos
- Craft Great Text- You might wonder how to create an eye-catching post. Some important steps include:
Keep it short and sweet- Studies show that posts under 80 characters receive 66% more likes and comments than their lengthier counterparts.
Be natural- There is no need for formal academic-sounding writing. Create posts that sound like you are having a conversation with the reader.
Focus on social- Make approximately 80% of your posts informative and 20% straight sales. 49% of people share informative content so even when you are not strictly ‘selling’ your service, you are spreading the word about your business. This strategy also helps you avoid the ‘unlike’ problems discussed earlier.
Provide quotes- Getting and staying fit is hard work. An inspirational quote combined with an image can help you stand out to prospects and existing customers. If you have writer’s block, turn to quotes. Resources like QuotesCover allow you to add quotes to social media profiles like Facebook.
Include links- Facebook differs from Twitter in two important ways. First, there is no character restriction in Facebook so you can add full URLs. Second, full URLs get three times the engagement as shortened URLs. In Twitter, shortened URLs gain more interaction.
- Promote Audience Engagement through Punctuation– Punctuation enhances engagement on Facebook. Including a question in a post is a great way to increase engagement. Posts with questions generate result in:
- 23% more engagement
- 92% higher comment rates
You also need to be strategic in the placement of your questions. Posts that end with a question have 2X the comments of posts with questions in the middle.
Question marks aren’t the only way to drive engagement. Excited about fitness! No need to hide it! Studies show posts with exclamation points get 2.7X more interaction. Add hashtags too. Posts with hashtags see 60% more interaction than those posts without them.
- Contests, discounts, & specials- People love a chance to win prizes. Launching a contest is one of the most effective techniques on Facebook to boost your profile.
Contests are a great way to encourage interaction with fans. For example, ask customers to submit ideas for new services (bridal boot camp, core workouts, etc). Then ask people to vote on them. Offer a prize for the winner such as movie or concert tickets. We all love recognition for a great idea.
If you run a contest, make sure you use contest apps. Structure your contest so:
- Entrants must like your page
- It runs for 25 or 60 days
In addition to contests, offer specials and discounts. People always love a good deal. Consider varying your offers depending on the season. For instance, offer a special package so that people can get fit for beach season. As with contests, put a time limit on your promotion to convey urgency.
- Timing is everything- When you are in a competitive field like fitness, it is important to make the most of your time. Research shows there are several ways to time your posts to garner the most attention.
- Avoid lunch hour and Thursday posts- You want to stay away from the most popular time and day to post. You do not want to get your message lost in a cluttered News Feed.
- Post on weekends- Sunday posts get 25% more interaction (likes, shares, comments) than Wednesday posts.
- Post between 5pm-1am- Prospective customers have time to look at Facebook after traditional work hours.
The top days and times to post have a lot of overlap with the time that fitness professionals are at work. Carve out a small amount of time for Facebook posts. If you own a gym, delegate Facebook posts to a trusted employee. This situation means a worker gains real world digital marketing experience in addition to his or her regular duties.
- Leverage Facebook online and offline- There are several ways to get the most out of Facebook. First, link it to your Twitter account. Photos, links, and status updates now appear in your Twitter feed. You need to consider that Twitter shortens posts to 140 characters and there are still management duties.
Second, use Facebook in your other digital advertising. If you send out marketing emails, include a link to your Facebook page. Make sure you have a Facebook plug in on your website too.
Third, you can promote your business through sharing and tagging. When you hold a contest, encourage the winner to share and tag photos of himself or herself. Tag your business page from your personal Facebook account too.
Remember to use Facebook in traditional (offline) promotions as well. Incorporate it in:
- Business cards
- Media kits
You can even post a sign in your window asking people to like your business page.
- Use Facebook to Keep Customers Happy- You can apply Facebook to solve customer service issues. A fast response results in 71% of customers recommending the brand. In any business, you do not want to let concerns fester. Address all problems within a one-day (24 hours) timeframe.
Facebook helps keep customers satisfied. Thank everyone that makes positive comments about your business. Being succinct goes along way on Facebook. Just say ‘thanks’ if you are really pressed for time.
- Use Ads- Small business owners need to watch their money carefully. Consider these paid features on to expand your Facebook audience.
- Boost post- Facebook ‘boosts’ your post to a larger audience
- Sponsored Like Stories- reach out to the Facebook friends of people who liked your page
- Geographic targeting- if you want a local prospects, Facebook can advertise in your area so you are not wasting dollars reaching people hundreds of miles away.
Make sure you analyze data so you know which ads are effective for you.
Repetition is the Keep to Success
Fitness professionals stress the role of repetition to achieve goals. Marketing follows the same process. You need to repeat a message so people become aware that your business exists and what it can do for them.
Promoting a brand is as much art as science. There is a certain amount of trial-and-error to figure what works best. If you use include:
- Succinct Text
- Good timing
- Online and offline mentions
in addition to ads, you can quickly put Facebook’s reach to work for you.