Chantal: Hey Sam. Welcome along, and thank you so much for joining me today.
Sam: Great to be back, Chantal.
Chantal: I am really excited to talk about this topic. I feel like we could probably talk about social media every week, and there’d be something new to talk about. But today, we’re going to be focusing on social media strategies. So, can you give us an idea where we should actually start when we’re developing a social media strategy for our business?
Sam: Yeah. A great question. With a lot of business owners, I think to just jump in and focus on the tools, what you really need to consider is why you’re on social media. So, for what purpose? What is it going to give you? Is it going to give you awareness? Is it going to give you customer service? Is it going to give you lead generation? Is it going to give you engagement with your members or potential prospects?
So, once you understand what you know want to get out of it, then the rest is pretty simple in putting a road map together. So, really highlighting the objectives, and then drilling down into the types of content that you need to develop to service on those objectives.
So, basically these days, I find it very easy in business to be successful because in 2018, online privacy is pretty much dead. Meaning that we can attract an audience, and/or we can get content in front of an audience we want on a localized level or national level, and get them to do something. But, it always comes down to the content. So, many people come to us and they’re like, “Oh, we need to be on Facebook, or we need to go on Instagram.” And yeah, fine, if these are the tools of choice, no problem. But before that, you actually need to develop some content that’s going to capture your market. And, if you haven’t gotten the attention of the end consumer then social media’s not going to cut it for you.
The other thing about strategy as well is you really need to be looking at social media as a long game. It’s not like a silver bullet. Like we have so many companies come to us and expect like success in lead generation overnight. Social media is about people becoming aware of you or your business or your brand or your gym, and then from there, starting to consider, maybe I’ll go to it, maybe I’ll inquire, maybe I’ll pick up the phone, maybe I’ll share this piece of content. And, lastly it’s to convert. So, if you have a strategy over a 12 month period, really within the first 90 days, you want to be looking at awareness, and awareness only. And, that comes down to what type of content is going to resonate with my audience to make them aware of who we are and what we stand for, what we do?
So, it could be testimonial content of someone coming out of the gym and just saying, “You know, I just absolutely love being here. I find this gym so, so friendly, and they’re always … they remember my name.” And I’ve had so much success using that type of testimonial as a video or really just anything that’s going to be able to add value to your end user.
So, one of the things that we always ask yourself is like take off your marketing head and put on your human head, what would you want to see? What would get you excited? What would get you to want to engage or comment or share? What would get you to want to pick up the phone? Then go and start to develop that content because marketing is the easy thing. It’s producing it is where you have to be really creative and really laser focused on the type of people that you want coming into your gym, into your club, into your business, or who you actually want to be servicing PT sessions with.
Chantal: Sam, you mentioned content quite a bit in that answer there. Are there any examples of fitness businesses or personal trainers that you’ve seen operating recently that you would say are an absolute stellar example of whose really nailing their social media strategy and their content production?
Sam: Yeah, there’s definitely been a few businesses. What I’ve loved about some of the localized gyms around our area is they’ve been doing Facebook Lives, so a little bit of behind the scenes, what to expect before you come in, Q&A, where they start to mention people asking you about membership, have you got a digital membership, or what does the gym look like inside? Give us a tour.
I think these types of live sessions are great because it breaks down the barriers, and people feel a little bit more comfortable coming into the gym knowing that they’ve seen the owner or they’ve met with one of the PTs, and it’s just an easy sell. Off the back of the Facebook Lives as well, and you can actually put advertising spend behind it.
So, let’s just say, Chantal, that you’ve watched my behind the scenes and I’m taking you around the gym and I’m answering all these different questions that are coming in. I can then put some Facebook advertising spend behind it. I can re-target you, and I can re-target a look-alike audience of you. These things are really important because once someone’s aware of you and the gym, let’s say again through the Facebook Live, you then want to start to get your content in front of them so they’re considering it. “Yeah. I remember that Facebook Live.” Or, “Now, I’ve just seen that video testimonial of somebody that’s lost some weight or somebody that’s really got shredded and gone into bikini competition. Now I’m actually going to convert and inquire and become a member.”
So, these are one of the things I think are not used enough in social media, and are very easy to use. And, that’s what people want. They just want … they’re human, they want to be engaging with humans, and Live is a great way to do that.
Chantal: Excellent. Well, I want to dive into Facebook a little bit more because I know that it’s obviously a platform that so many fitness professionals out there use and, let’s say we’ve taken that first step that you talked about, which was really identifying what platforms we want to be on, taking it right back to our original social media strategy. So, let’s say for example we have identified that Facebook is one of those platforms that we want to be active on for our own business. What would you say are the key components of a Facebook strategy?
Sam: So again, it’s a funnel strategy. So, Facebook is about awareness, consideration and conversion. So, as you’re developing your content, you want to have pieces of content that make people aware of your gym, what’s inside it, like the opening hours and then some consideration contents. So, it could be like a campaign, I don’t know, it could be win a pair of Adidas shoes, I’m too sure. But, now they’re starting to consider and they’re entering their email address in. Then you want to ask for the sale. So, the conversion. So, wherever that’s an offer, an incentive, a meet and greet just branching from Facebook just slightly and leveraging it back in.
Influencer marketing is huge at the moment. So, if there’s someone in your localized area, and it doesn’t need to be a celebrity, it can be a micro influencer. So, let’s just say a mom that comes to your gym, that’s got an audience that you want to get in front of, then you can start to bring her in as part of your content strategy. Do a deal with her. So, it could be that you say, “Hey Chantal, we’re going to give you a year’s free membership, and as part of that year free membership, you’re going to develop some content for us just to showcase your journey and coming to the gym three times a week. And, what we’re going to do with that content is we’re going to put it out on Facebook, and you’re going to put it out onto your social channels, and we’re probably going to put some advertising spent behind it as well.”
So, you need to make that content real, and you need to ensure that it’s been targeted to the right people. Then again, don’t be afraid to ask for the sale once you’ve educated them enough to get them excited about joining.
Chantal: I love that concept of a micro influencer because I think we often think about having ambassadors in our business or influencers in our business. But, by breaking it down to that micro level and the example you just gave of, let’s say there’s a mum in our gym that’s working out, that could be a really great person to utilize. So, I want to just take the opportunity to encourage everyone to have a think at the moment about their own client base, whether you’re a personal trainer, and it’s the clients that you’re working with, or you’re a gym owner and it’s the people that are coming in and attending your classes. I guess have a think about who from those audiences could be a micro influencer for your business.
Okay, so let’s hold there for just a second. If you like the sound of that micro influencer out all the ambassador concept, I have actually included in the show notes, a sample ambassador agreement from our foundation partner, Active Management. You can download it at fitnessbusinesspodcast.com in today’s show notes. If you want to know more on the subject, then go back and take a listen to show 145 with our special guest, Deb Heisler, where we go into detail about using a brand ambassador in your fitness business. I’ll include a link in the show notes. Okay. Let’s go back to the show where Sam is going to give us one more tip regarding Facebook marketing.
Sam: If you’re using Facebook for lead generation, our Facebook account manager, we’ve been running this with gyms probably for the last maybe two years now, similar strategies. You’d need a minimum if you’re looking for conversion of one and a half thousand dollars, that’s Aussie dollars a month to invest into that full funnel strategy to get your conversion.
Chantal: So Sam, when you said one and a half thousand Aussie dollars per month, is that regardless of business size?
Sam: Yeah, it is. Because, you’re all competing to get in the news feed, so everyone’s bidding to get the right audience at the right time, and so whether you’re small or large, again, everyone’s in that space. Live Facebook is a lucrative business. And, yeah, you will get charged those rights.
Granted, if you’ve been on Facebook for three or four years and you’ve been using the advertising tools, you probably will pay a lower cost per click for conversion to someone that’s just started on Facebook from an advertising perspective. Because otherwise, which we can touch on, Chantal, as well around if you haven’t got or if you’re choosing not to invest into Facebook, I can share other ways that we’ve been successful, but just while we’re on Facebook advertising, a lot of gyms I would imagine would have a database. One of the things, if you’ve not done this already, is to set up your ads manager, business manager for Facebook. What you can do, and this is where you can get a really low cost and low conversion, is you can upload your database into Facebook, and if someone is using the same email address as their Facebook login as what they are … for the email I’ve given you, you can target them and then you can do a mirror audience of them, which is basically like let’s just say me, Sam, 39 years old, lives in Melbourne, goes Good Life Health Clubs, and Qur’an, loves the Melbourne Demons. You can duplicate an audience of me for a different ad set without having to think about it.
What we do know is when we work with gyms and we upload databases into Facebook that we get much lower cost per click and cost per lead conversion from being able to do that.
Chantal: Right. So, all we need to do that … Is that a lookalike audience, Sam? Is that what that is?
Sam: Yeah, that’s right.
Chantal: Yeah. Okay.
Chantal: Okay. So, all we need to pro-starting point for that is that database that we’ve collected.
Sam: True. Correct. And, I don’t want to get too technical, but again, this is probably will be the last thing on share on it. If you are investing into Facebook, you need to get a Facebook Pixel on your website. So, if you don’t then you’ll be wasting money.
The purpose of the Pixel is the number one, you could show a conversion. So, it’s a little bit of code that you can put on your website. You can get your developer to do it, or there’s lots of YouTube videos on how to do it. But, you can see how much traffic is coming from your Facebook ads. So, let’s just say it’s 17 cents for them to click across to your website, and it’s costing a dollar 50 to convert, which means they’ve filled in a form. What you can do with that pixel as you can then re-target that person again. So, let’s just say I’ve come to the website. I don’t know, the peas are on the boil, and they’re going to boil over, so I have to go and rescue them and I’ve left the website, then you can actually re-target me again. Then you can do a look alike audience with me again from the Pixel on the website.
So, you can see how if you set the strategy up well, there’s little wastage of money, and you could be very highly targeted on the type of person that you want to inquire. You just need to know what you’re doing in Facebook advertising, and no boost posting. It’s a no, no. It’s a waste of money. Go into the back end of Facebook and there’s something who post engagement. That’s what you need to be using. If you boost posts in, it really is not targeted, and you’re wasting your money there.
Chantal: Okay. So, hold the phone a second because I know a lot people are probably going to be going, “But, it’s so easy to just hit that boost button.” Why do we want to boost? Is it too broad? Is that what you’re saying?
Sam: Yeah. First to make it easy to suck up your money. Yeah, you absolutely need to be going into the back end and targeting the type of audience that you want. So, a boost post is like a post engagement ad. So, you can go into the back end, set up a post engagement ad, and then target who it is that you want.
So, you can target location. Let’s say they’re going to fitness expo, and you know that that’s the target audience that you want. You can target your post locationally around that fitness expo. If you just boosted it, then it’s literally just going out to some followers, and some followers that like the similar audiences, and that’s where you may see some likes. Who cares about the likes? You want the engagement, and you want the conversion. So, again, get yourself savvy with Facebook business manager, and ads manager within it.
Again, like if you do invest there, then you will start to become successful. You just need to get into the backend and start to understand it a bit more.
Chantal: Thank you for explaining that to a Sam. Okay. Let’s transition over to Instagram now. So, we talked about the key components of a Facebook strategy. Are they similar or different when we’re looking at Instagram?
Sam: Yeah, Instagram’s really, it is different to Facebook. So, people go on Facebook usually for friends, and family, and discovery. People go on Instagram for a niche passion or a purpose. So, when you’re developing Instagram content, I mean you could use a similar image but it’s just different copies, different texts. So, make it really, really niche too. Not only you like your health club, or your personal training studio, but what you can also do is I suppose start to leverage those hashtags.
So, we spoke earlier about influencers, right? Or people that you might want to leverage that goes to your gym. I would recommend that each gym develops their own hashtag, and then you can track it that way. You start to encourage members to start to use it and incentivize them to win a holiday, or whatever it is, like win something.
Then you can start to pick up on those hashtags, comment on their pictures, and then potentially re-gram, and use some of their content as part of yours if you ask. That type of strategy is really organic. People love that because sometimes they don’t just want to hear from the brand, they want to hear from the people that go into the health club, and their experiences. So, you want to encourage content sharing, and the brands that do …. the brands that ultimately get that have got the cream.
If someone’s talking about you more than you are, then that’s, every business wants that. So, some of the Instagram strategies are how do we encourage our member, or our potential member, or our micro influencer to start talking about our gym in a meaningful way that we can then reuse some of that content to reach new audiences?
The other thing about Instagram is you have to be aware that Facebook owns Instagram, so you can run Instagram ads. One of the most successful with the gyms we’re working with as compared to Facebook ads right now are Instagram stories. So, we did one recently. It was a reduced cost, and it was like, I think it was April. It was just a tiny little video that showcased the gym, and then it was a swipe up to inquire and we got higher lead conversion through that Face … Sorry, from that Instagram story ad than what we did for our Facebook advertising and lower spend.
So, when you think about Instagram, again, like it’s niche, but it’s documentary. Storytelling for Instagram stories is probably one of the main, I would say, main ways that you can start to engage with that person that’s considering joining your health club by, again, Instagram takeovers, getting people to take over and showcase the gym, showcase the day in the life of, some of the staff can showcase what they are doing in the gym, and then you can use that story as an advert as well with the swipe up to inquire.
Chantal: Okay Sam. I want to talk more about this Instagram stories swipe up, because I think that’s an area that probably a lot of people haven’t explored as yet and might be interested in, so where do we go to set up our Instagram advertising? We all know where to go to set up our … to have a look at our Facebook analytics, and set up our advertising for Facebook, where do we go to do our Instagram advertising?
Sam: It’s in the same place. It’s in ads manager, and it will say, “Would you like to run this on Instagram too?” Then you select yes. You can target your audience there. You can select story. You just need to make sure that you’ve got obviously the right content and the right size for an Instagram story to go in. Then you just book it in. We’d recommend as well that you run it on a lifetime budget, not just like a daily budget because on a daily budget, Facebook will just say that for example, you put $10 a day. Facebook will just burn that up and keep spending. Whereas if you put a lifetime budget, for example, over a four week period, Facebook will just see when your users are on and off, and then spend it accordingly. But, everything’s done in Facebook, business manager in the ads manager section.
Chantal: With that swipe up capability, do you have to have a minimum number of followers in order to make that active?
Sam: No. Not if you’re using advertising. If you’re not, then you do, but if you’re using Facebook advertising, you can use the swipe up.
Chantal: So, if you pay for it, you’re okay?
Chantal: Okay, and you gave us-
Sam: And, it’s cheap Chantal.
Chantal: Well, that’s what I was just about to ask about budget …
Sam: It’s so much cheaper.
Chantal: … because we talked about one and a half thousand a month for Facebook. Can you put a number on Instagram? Like how much are we talking about for an Instagram Live campaign?
Sam: I would divvy up to be honest. So, within Facebook and Instagram, you can split test your ads. I don’t want to get overly complexed here, but I think it’s important that we’re all aware of the fact, what’s possible. So, for example, let’s say you’ve run three Facebook ads, and three Instagram ads, all of which are conversion ads. So, basically we’re setting up a piece of content because we want someone to fill in a form. You set them up and then you just divvy the budget. So, 1500 divided by six, and then you watch it, so every 24, 48 hours, let it run for a couple of days, and then afterwards see which ads are performing the best. Then you can pull some, keep the others going, ship some coin from one app that’s bumming out into maybe the Instastory ad that’s doing really well. We just need to be across it, but give it at least 48 hours for it to pick into Facebook’s algorithms, and start to get that content out there.
Chantal: Great recommendation. Now, I know that there’s going to be a lot of people out there thinking, “Man, that is a lot of information we’ve just gone through in 20 minutes from start.”
Sam: Oh my God.
Chantal: It can feel pretty overwhelming when you know, you know this topic inside out, and you deal with this every single day, but for most of us we’re spending our time just trying to run a fitness business, or get new clients for our personal training business, and that type of thing. So, it’s hard to devote that, the head space to properly understanding social media strategy. So, in your opinion Sam, at what point do we look at outsourcing our social media strategy and management versus how much can we generally handle ourselves?
Sam: I think if you’re a smaller business you can absolutely handle it yourself. For everyone, like even us as an agency, you’ve got to think people first, be client-centric. Okay, so if you don’t have an advertising spend, what are some of the things that you can do in the club face-to-face to get people to start to share their stories, leveraging their own Instagram accounts. These things are pretty simple once you know, and once you’re planned. So, it’s about how do I give that client or that member the best experience, and how do I get them to start talking about that online for their own social channels, maybe tagging us that we can re-use.
When it comes to advertising, then if you are willing to go the next level, and to ramp that up, then I think like an agency or bringing someone in-house and putting them on a Facebook advertising course is really smart. It’s 2018, and your audience is online, and they want to be engaged, and it’s like you can … online privacy is dead, you can target anyone. So, you need to be, even though you’re running the gym and you’re doing everything else, you need to be savvy around this stuff because this is going to be the difference between you bringing in new members and retaining them to the gym down the road.
It’s about becoming wise and going, “Yes, I know it’s unknown, or I know it’s something else I need to do.” You guys have to do it. You actually have to know this on some level, or lean on an agency to do it. I don’t believe that any gym owner needs to lean on an agency from a content production perspective. Yes, granted, they can on an agency to put together a strategy, and then the agency comes in and educates the personal trainers, the people on the floor, “This is your role. This is what we need you to do on a weekly basis, and this is how you’re helping us get to where we need to be over the next 12 months.” So, giving your team a vision of how social media is playing a role, and how they’re playing a part in it.
But, yeah, as mentioned from an app perspective, you may want to lean on a business or an agency to develop the ads with the content that you produced. We’ve had clients come to us and they’ve not had a big advertising spend. Sometimes that’s a good thing because it makes you think outside the box, okay, where is the audience, how do we find them? We found we’ve had a lot of traction in Facebook groups, so you can search specific groups, and with one client, one of their groups had 40000 members, okay? Granted, it wasn’t a health club, it was a vacuum cleaner. They had a group called Mum’s that clean and it had 40000 people within it, and we asked to join it and we added some value. We ran a competition and we started to get reviews on the vacuum cleaner, our sales went through the roof. We weren’t spending in advertising and we were getting reviews.
So, sometimes you could think, “Okay, if I haven’t gotten that money to spend right now in advertising, where else can I find those people?” Facebook groups are a really good place to start, and build up a relationship with the group owner, make it a win-win, and then you can start to contribute valuable content in there, and again, watch the conversions come off the back of it.
Chantal: Something that springs to mind when you say that is, if I was a personal trainer that let’s say for example, specialized in training mums with bubs, then what you’re saying is I could try, and get invited into one of the local groups, and start to perhaps offer some little tidbits of advice here and there without any sales message, but just literally offering value, and trying to just over a period of time, build that rapport with the people in the group. Is that correct?
Sam: Yeah. You could say, “Look guys, I work with moms, and I help them transition into … back to their everyday bodies. I’d love to put forwards a 20 minute Facebook Live every week. I’m going to do one on workout, I’m going to do one on nutrition. Yeah. I’m not going to charge you. It’s not going to be sales, but I’d love to do that over the next four weeks, and let’s just see the traction that we can get.” Then off of the back of that, then have an opportunity then to … They already find that people will be like, “How do I get in touch with you?” Or, “I find this really useful.” That would be a really good way in.
Chantal: Yeah, I really liked that strategy, especially for anyone that’s starting out or doesn’t have that marketing budget that we were talking about. So. Okay, so let’s finish off today, Sam, with your top three tips on developing our social media strategy.
Sam: Okay, so number one, know what you want social media to do. So, set some goals and objectives, and have an expectation. This is going to take time. This social media is not going to be an overnight success. So, once you understand what you want to get out of it, so again, let’s just say brand awareness, educating and retaining members and bringing new ones on board, then you now need to look at ways to be able to market to them.
So, the second tip is to develop great content. Content that people are going to find valuable. Not push content about your gym, but more about the people within it, the community, what you give, how you’ve made them feel, why do they keep coming back?
Then lastly, how are you going to market it? So again, in today’s modern age, I would have a budget for social media. So, having a budget and understanding what you want that money to do. So, again, we’ve spoken about $1500. That’s like a full funnel strategy where you’re really driving leads. You could start off with $500. I’m going to dedicate $500 to Facebook. I’m going to put that $500 behind this piece of content which is going to be engaging, this piece of content which is going to make people aware of us, and this piece of content which is going to drive people to the website. Over the next four to eight weeks, I’m going to look up what the results have been, and increase, decrease and tweak as you go.
The goals never change, but the pathway does. So, be flexible, give something a go for at least 90 days prior to changing it, and yeah, lastly, just be people first. Be about your member. The more you care about your member, the member will be that salesperson for you on and offline.
Chantal: That is great advice, Sam. Hey, I want to thank you so much. I cannot believe how much content we have just covered in 30 minutes. It is incredible. So, I’m going to encourage everyone to download the transcript of today’s interview, because if you need to break it down a little bit and have a look at each of those sections that we explored today, then I would suggest transcript is a great way for you to do that.
Now, Sam, if people want to get in touch with you, if they want to find out more about your agency, and the work that you do, and whether or not that’s an option that they want to explore, where should they get in contact with you?
Sam: Yeah, so it’s thinktanksocial.com.au.
Chantal: Nice and easy, and of course we’ll put that link in today’s show notes. So, Sam, I want to say thank you so much for coming on today and for sharing your expertise, and definitely your energy with the listeners of the Fitness Business Podcast.
Sam: Thanks Chantal, pleasure to be here.
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