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Why leisure facilities should use Social Media to engage with members

There are many reasons why leisure facilities could be using social media to engage with  member bases online. The first is the sheer volume of present and potential members that use this form of communication. Over half the UK population are on social media? It is currently ranked the fourth most popular activity on the internet (above email). So why not go and talk to your potential members where they are, to encourage them to come and visit you?

There are a large number of social media platforms you could utilise. We think four of the most well known ones offer leisure facilities the best opportunity to reach the people you want to use your facilities.

The primary and most well known social media platform is Facebook. There are approximately 800 million members worldwide. 100 million of those are active on the site every day, keeping in touch with friends and family.

Leisure facilities can set up a Facebook Page where updates on the activities taking place at the centre can be posted. For example, class timetables, booking availability and special offers could all be added to the Page. Useful information such as top tips on how to keep fit could also be posted, as could information about upcoming events. A person can share content they particularly like with friends and family. Potentially this content could then go viral (spread fast) within Facebook.

A Facebook Page offers existing customers the opportunity to “like” the page and follow it for updates. These updates will then appear on their personal Facebook profiles where their friends and family may also see them. In addition, Facebook Ad campaigns (pay per click adverts) can be run that target particular age groups and locations. These will gain further likes for the Facebook Page. Over time, all these activities may draw new people to the leisure centre as they become aware of the range of services you provide.

Twitter is a micro message instant chat network that has grow fast, with 0.5 million new users every day. It provides another way for people to keep in touch.  Leisure facilities can set up a Twitter profile and post updates for people to follow in their own Twitter stream. This means you can quickly send news about new classes, timetable changes and new facilities to a large number of people. It is also potentially a great place to interact with your customers, helping you to provide better customer service.

As with Facebook, it is easy for followers to share content that is of interest with their friends and family, which will quickly spread your news much further. Over time this should encourage more people to use the leisure centre.

YouTube is a video channel network where people can easily share video content online. YouTube is owned by Google and is considered to be the second largest search engine (as you can search for videos on it) behind Google. Google currently owns approx. 90% of the search engine market in the UK and it likes social media because it shows you are continually active online. This means that your social media pages are likely to appear near the top of search results, making it easier for people to find you online.

YouTube is an ideal way to visually promote your leisure facilities as you can provide a series of videos showcasing activities and facilities. These videos can also be promoted on other social media platforms. You can also embed this video content into your website. This will help optimise the website for search engines, such as Google, that highly value video content on sites. This will push your website higher up search engine results.

LinkedIn is the business social networking equivalent of Facebook. It enables business professionals to keep in touch online. LinkedIn provides leisure facilities the opportunity to connect with existing customers and locally based discussion groups. Many business professionals go the gym or take up a class in their lunch hour or after work to escape the stresses/pressures of work and keep fit. These people could be ideal advocates for your facilities and help spread the message to their colleagues and other business connections within LinkedIn.

The latest Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey showed that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. These means that members of your leisure centre who mention and recommend you to their friends and family on social media platforms are powerful advocates.

We hope you find this info useful. For more top social media and marketing info follow us on Twitter at @bigwavemedia.

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