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Social selling for fitness centres: the importance of social networking to win customers over

When we talk about Social Selling, we mean the strategies and good practices that we can adopt on social media to build relationships with potential customers, as well as with existing customers and all types of contacts we already work with.

For those who work in sales, for example those who have a gym, social media is a fundamental asset. Much more than an online business card, the profiles of those who know how to do their job well should be well maintained, updated, professional and strongly representative of the salesman and the brand that they represent.

Obviously, the transition from a personal profile focused on interests, passions and private life to a "professional oriented" one is a delicate matter that requires careful restructuring and optimization, in order to mop up the page of any content or information that may endanger their reputation and that of the company represented.

Personal or professional social profile for the centre

However, why should we give up our leisure space for work? Is it not possible to have it both ways, maybe creating other ad hoc business profiles? Although many people choose this path, if the personal profile does not have a fantasy nickname but shows the real name and surname, it is appropriate to opt for its use also for professional purposes, cleaning up everything that can interfere in the professional environment or create problems.

The presence of a personal profile and of a professional one (labelled for example “Name, Surname and Company Name”) should be avoided, because besides creating confusion it does not solve the reputational problem. In fact, if we do not clean up the personal profile anyway, we may cause the professional one to lose reputation.

An effective (though discouraged) method could be to use some channels on a personal basis (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) and others for work (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+). However, even this approach does not solve the content conflict between channel and channel.

If we decide to use a profile we already have, our sanitization work will have to go far back in time, be careful and meticulous and cover:

  • the likes, comments, shares that we have made
  • the groups to which we have subscribed and the likes, comments and interactions of any kind we have made
  • the pages and profiles that we follow, with their interactions
  • all the activities that we have done on the platforms, public or limited

Which platforms to choose for social selling?

LinkedIn is the king of professional platforms and the place where it is necessary to put the most professional effort. In fact, a good LinkedIn page is constantly refreshed with new personal information, shares on a daily basis, content related to one’s own field of interest and keeps the personal network alive and well, using correctly the #hashtags and mentions (sparingly, not to spam, but to quote professionals and companies subject to sharing).

However, in many contexts, the use of Facebook and Instagram is also essential to balance out the content you want to share and the communication strategy. These two generalist platforms are by far among the most used and popular, and are based on a freer and more creative content creation: especially Instagram, with its stories, pictures, videos and the addition of various content add-ons offers a wide choice.

Not to be neglected, finally, the strength of Twitter, the information network that offers news, information and ideas in real time, thanks to the power of #hashtags, trend topics and the ability to interact on a global scale, almost without limits of direct and real contact with users, belonging to specific groups, lists and / or shared relationships.

Designing professional profiles

Once we have decided which of our profiles should be dedicated to work, these must necessarily report:

  • real name and surname, written in full (e.g. John Smith) avoiding pseudonyms, nicknames and any other solution
  • professional profile photo, possibly at half-length and front facing, recent, of good quality and generous size (it is essential that it is not too small, because otherwise it will be grainy and stretched out; a rule of thumb is to have one not below 500X500px). It is advisable to change the profile photo at least once a year.
  • biography with complete information (who we are, what we do, what skills we have) and with reference to our company (where possible a tag)
  • a reference to the curriculum (on LinkedIn complete curriculum) and to the companies which you work and have worked for;
  • links to other professional profiles and to the company's and/or staff's website

What to share on professional social profiles

When we move from a personal profile to a professional one the focus can no longer be on our private life. Furthermore, topics such as religion, politics, sex and violence are to be avoided categorically. Obviously, the private sphere can remain part of the shared content, but what we post should possibly bring back to the work context.

For the rest, the most onerous job is to identify authoritative sources that can integrate what we share from the site and the profiles of our company. Self-centredness is a serious mistake on social media, so you need to follow sites, pages, profiles and authoritative sources (e.g. experts and magazines), to enrich your content proposal and to create new and fundamental relationships.

Taking care of personal branding and relationships for social selling

The most important work to do on social media is to create connections. In order to do so, you need to surf on platforms and on the Net to actively participate in all conversations and interactions that affect your professional sphere.

To do this, we have to use search engines within social platforms as well as features such as "Google Alert", which tells us every time new relevant content is published on the net, given that we insert the right keyword. We can do a similar thing with tools such as "Feed Reader", which have a "press review” add on in real time on topics that interest us and we think are useful.

What is the point of all this work? The final and definitive answer is: "to create qualified leads", that is to populate our network of potential customers, who read what we post, interact with us and consider us competent, authoritative and able to provide advice and services and products they need.

However, do be careful; although the ultimate goal of social media presence is to sell, traditional selling techniques do not work in this context and a completely different approach is needed. On these platforms, we should not be chasing customers, but letting them follow us, read what we share and make them understand that we are the right contacts for their needs. In a word, what we have to do is Social Selling.

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