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The importance of Social Media and Social Networks for Fitness Centres

It is without doubt that the advent of Social has changed the way of communication, firstly for the bigger corporations and then followed in the masses by the smaller companies. The idea has been standardised that for any budding entrepreneur, they must be present on social media.
It is just as trivial to consider that this revolution, the second web revolution, has not spared the world of Fitness & Wellness advice, and we should be conscious of web marketing courses that present the following title on their day's schedule: the new way of communicating on social networks.
But what is the new way to communicate?
Today some "enlightened" entrepreneurs find themselves managing their page by agencies that use exactly the same strategies as they did five years ago.
Those who want to communicate and do it well - must be able to adapt to the sudden changes that the various platforms continue to impose towards transformation. Platforms have become real contacts factories that in addition to the management of relations allow us to create profiled databases that we can use to better target published content.
Let's not deceive ourselves that we are innovators and try to keep updated with the times, but there needs to be a balance of writing about the trends of the moment and focusing on what topics can be dealt with in a dedicated editorial plan for Fitness centers.

Today more than ever, even entrepreneurs in the sector who are more reluctant to change entrust the management of their Facebook pages or their You Tube Channels to agencies. They invest, even a few pounds, in people, who might be social media managers or internal staff, who can take the management of the Club's contents to show online.

So let's talk about channels to follow, but with the right attention in the right amounts using the right strategies.

Social Media and Social Network are not the same thing, differentiating them is important as well as etymologically correct.
Let's consider the definition that marketing experts Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein gave to social media in 2009:

Social media is a group of applications based on the Internet and built on the ideological and technological principles of Web 2.0 that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.

Social Media

social media wellness
In this sense, social media are software or applications that allow anyone at low cost to share text, images, videos or audio files and instantly reach a global audience.

Kaplan and Haenlein define the existence of different types of Social Media:

  • Blogs and microblogs
  • Social networking sites (e. g. Facebook)
  • Virtual game worlds (for example Age of Empire)
  • Virtual social virtual worlds (e. g. Second Life)
  • Collaborative projects (Wikipedia)
  • Content communities sharing multimedia material (e. g. Youtube)

Social Network

A social network is a network of people who share the same interest and cause even though they may not know each other. They are therefore social networks intended as networks of people such as the Red Cross, a trade union, a cultural or sports association. What matters are the people and interests, of various nature, that unite them and in this sense social networks have always existed, only that they did not exploit the web and did not have so much visibility.

It is therefore a social structure, a network that arises from the relationship between people who share an interest or value. It is not tools or applications that characterise social media. Online social networks have been born more recently and are nothing more than the virtual transposition of these social communities. Social networks are therefore not used by people (as often improperly said) but lived, to share objectives and interests. They can therefore be considered as a subset of social media, a part of it.

Basically, when we talk about social networks we refer to groups of people as opposed to when we talk about social media where we refer to the tools.
phone fitness
For a fitness centre, the most popular social channels are classic Facebook, timeless YouTube, young Instagram and undervalued Google +.

This list of 4 Social Networks, which we believe are the most functional to the cause of fitness centres, do not however, exclude others. The choice is for the Club and it must be a balanced choice because of the resources required to run them adequately. Undoubtedly all platforms can be activated, but will it be possible to follow them with interest and engagement? With a schedule and a programmed series of effective posts without getting your competitors to overtake you on all platforms?

It won't be easy to devote the right attention and establish the goals of the fan pages. Goals can be varied, different strategies can be used, using higher or lower quality posts in which posts can become more or less viral. Perhaps now you can start to see the challenge ahead.
The objectives are summarised in four macro points:

  • generate traffic to your website
  • create engagement
  • give visibility to your brand
  • provide customer service
The necessary condition to make your efforts on the web profitable, social web in this case, is to generate an audience, increase it and warm it up to your communication so that you can follow it, so that you can actually communicate something to someone who will read your content, your stories, watch your videos and share your notions. There is no correct number of posts to publish, there are no secret recipes of social pages, but there are dynamics that differ from Club to Club, depending on your target group, the location of the centre, the number of real subscribers (the people who have a subscription to the Centre) and the number of fans of the page.

It must be considered, and this is a fact, that every social network requires original content.  You should not make the mistake of confusing the platforms or thinking that you can "post" content and re-purpose it using copy and paste on all the pages of the different social networks.

Let us take a practical example:

A Club decides to publish a video with a technical explanation of a specific workout, the video after editing has a total duration of more than 4 minutes.
At this point, you would be ill-advised to share it as is on all of your social accounts.
You could for example, activate your Youtube channel to share the video in its entirety. You could also share a picture of the video on your Facebook fan page account but this time using engaging copy to convince your fans its worth watching. You can then link to the video on Youtube where the most interested fans will indeed watch it.

Social networks help fitness centres to increase their visibility, to create interactions with an otherwise cold audience and to tell stories that are not always evident in the eyes of all members.
Today, a large number of people who train in gyms also move online and become a community, the biggest advantage is that they can give you the best and cheapest form of marketing: positive word of mouth.

Network is democratic and, as in training, those who show more consistency, enthusiasm, energy and inventiveness are rewarded.

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