Using social media, like really any type of marketing, is an art form (and partly a science). It wasn’t long ago that social media marketers were operating on the mindset of…
“Throw enough spaghetti on the wall and something’s gonna’ stick.”
But with the last three years, especially with how much competition that’s saturated news feeds, marketers have been forced to rethink the optimal approach to the social networks. Interestingly enough, we’re all beginning to find that which has always been true: social media marketing is not (nor has ever been) the easy ticket to a guaranteed expanding traffic base. The only real way to make any progress is to craft your own unique strategy that works for your fitness business. Your strategy depends on what you want, how much time and effort you’re willing to put forth, and in figuring out what type/tone/style of content works best for your company.
At the same time, there are baselines that will provide you with a standard on where to begin. And while it’s still possible to get that leg up on the social web with common-sense tactics that have been proven time and time again, the takeaway here is that social media marketing holds its center of gravity in personalities (whether we’re talking brands or actual people).
The issue is that, while you might be able to do a bit of automation when it comes to posting, content, and frequency -you’re still going to have to concentrate the majority of your efforts into one or two networks, thereby strategizing accordingly.
Not All Social Networks Are Created Equally
Each social network is going to come with its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Facebook has maintained its hold on being the #1 most used social network (even though this has been seeing somewhat of a decline in recent years). With that said, it’s functionality is diverse enough to be the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of social networks, since it offers a place for showcasing really any type of media. Yet at the same time, its popularity strength is also largely its own weakness, since this is what’s fueling the competition for user attention in the news feed. According to a post from ValueWalk.com…
“Although Facebook remains the preferred network for businesses, big or small, to promote their content, advertisers might ditch the social networking site if its aggressive advertising policies continue.”
However, social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus all come with their own unique advantages -perhaps the first being that their newsfeeds are far less competitive than that of Facebook. They also tend to be easier to use -for both users and brands- because they primarily deal with only one or two types of content.
This, in a way, streamlines the process for you -and allows you to expand your brand’s following much faster.
Think: Long Term + Short Term = Viral Branding
What you want out of social media on the grand scheme, will have an influencing factor on which social media networks you decide to use the most. For instance, let’s look at this on a long term perspective. One of the best possible long term strategies that your fitness business’s brand can take is by leveraging your social pages for SEO. For this, I’d use Google Plus.
While Google Plus might be considered somewhat behind the curve in terms of social media activity -what it can provide is tremendous long-term SEO value. Moz.com’s Cyrus Shepherd explains their findings on this…
“After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.”
That makes G+ an extremely viable social network if you’re looking to establish your SEO foundation. Yet at the same time, if you were looking for a short-term solution to increasing your following, site traffic, and backlinks, then you’ll at least want to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter (though its content possibilities are heavily limited), you can gain quite a few followers in a rather short amount of time through posting solid content on the regular. With Facebook, the same is true; except, it’s a bit slower for developing a following from scratch.
Go With What Works Best: Time vs. Energy vs. Effectiveness
At the end of the day, it’s best not to attempt establishing a social network following on more than two or three sites -for the simple fact that this will require a considerable time commitment on your part. Not only will you have to create the content to post, but you’re also going to have to integrate this into an optimized schedule and interact with your followers when possible. If you scrape the butter too thinly, then it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for the bread.
The key here is going to be this: you need to determine how much time and energy you’re willing to spend -and then determine what you’re looking to accomplish through your various SM campaigns. Considering the following points will give you direction on several aspects in how to setup and run your social media marketing machine:
- Post timing (Twitter/Facebook is 1-2pm, Pinterest is Saturdays after 1pm, Tumblr is after 7pm, etc.)
- Types of content (links, photos, status updates, video, images, etc.)
- Are you primarily looking for long-term SEO value or immediate social shares?
- What will help you the most on a local level? If you do have an online store that sells web-based informational or retail products, then expanding your SM strategy to hit the global market can actually help you. For instance, locally, Facebook and Google Plus will do the job; globally, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter are best.
Create Content, Optimize, Automate, Rinse, and Repeat
The substance and nature of the content you post will have the most pronounced effect on how well your brand does on social media. When it comes to the social web, it’s not the frequency of the content that you post, which determines a brand’s success -it comes down to having the ability to grab reader/viewer attention, keeping it, and generating a favorable and active response afterward. Lauren Indvik of Mashable says,
“We’ve found that compelling images with a small amount of descriptive text work best on this platform. However, it is the editorial marriage of the images with a theme that acts as the strong connective tissue between all the images that creates something really compelling,” he adds.
The overarching point here is that in order to create a social media strategy for your fitness business, your content needs to…
- maintain consistency with your brand,
- have a unique brand message of your own, and
- understand what your targeted demographic’s visitors are going to be looking for.
Every social media marketing campaign should start and end with what the prospective client wants. Everything else is merely icing on the cake.
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