As a health-club or fitness-studio owner, you are always looking for leads. They are the lifeblood of your organization. You may use newspaper ads or even TV and radio ads. Lead boxes may still be a way of finding new members or students. Of course, if you are smart about your marketing, you are using your blog, website, and email list to bring people to you rather than going out to find them. But despite whatever tactic you may be using, there are still people out there you are probably missing—and spending money to miss.

Meanwhile, 78 percent of Americans had a social media profile in 2016, and that’s a five percent jump from 2015. There’s no denying that, while the platforms may change, social media is here to stay. That’s great news for health-club owners looking to reach prospects for little or no cost to help drive sales.

But just because people are out there, there is no guarantee that the social media marketing portion of your marketing plan is going to work just because you set up a page. Here are four tips to ensure that you get the most mileage from time and money spent being social that will help drive your gym membership sales:

1. Be Real

Provide a window into your and your staff’s personality; don't just regurgitate your website “About” page. It’s not about sharing the little things from your life (your meals, your workouts, your cat)—it’s about snippets that resonate with your audience and build rapport. As a health-club owner, you are the face of your business. If something is meaningful to you as it relates to health and wellness, it might just be meaningful to people looking for a new place to exercise. Did you just run an obstacle competition? Let them know about it. Did one of your trainers have an injury? Share his or her rehab training program. Did a personal training client celebrate a wedding anniversary? Talk about the great dinner he splurged on and how he got back on the healthy-eating wagon the next day with the help of his trainer. These are all areas that fitness members, and potential members, may be struggling with. If you can connect with them and educate and entertain them through social media posts, you will make clients for life.

2. Be Valuable

Sharing, retweeting, and liking others' social media posts is a great and easy way to keep content flowing. And you can use previously posted pictures or quotes, but add to it. Ask your fans a question or give them some fitness tips to go with it so that they are getting something from you. If you are creative enough, design your own images, videos, and interesting factoids. It may take more time and a bit of creativity to create, but this will just add to your value. Freely give away fitness information such as an exercise-of-the-week video or a nutrition tip. Fans and followers will be more apt to join your fitness center or buy personal training if they get a taste of what you and your staff know.

Related Article: 9 Social Media Strategies to Improve Gym Retention 

3. Be Engaging

Whether it is a tweet, snap, YouTube video, Facebook post, or a communication on whatever social channels you are using to reach your audience, create something that invites your fans and followers to interact with you. Then, spend time interacting with them. Ask a question and then reply to the comments. If someone has a question for your trainer, have him or her give an answer. Sure, you may be taking some time from other tasks, but that time will help build your reputation and following on social media.

4. Be Social, Not Salesy

Don’t sell to help drive membership sales? While it sounds contradictory, just as with blog posts, the most important thing is to show expertise and add value to the lives of people whom you are reaching—and their friends and followers as well. Most people don't like just being sold something every time they stop by. Live by the 80/20 rule and have at least 80 percent of your social media be educational, informative, and entertaining and keep selling to a minimum. Most people are on social media to have a laugh, learn something new, or just watch a cat video. Offer them some of that before getting them to subscribe to your email list or purchase a new class or service from you. Of course, don’t ignore advertising on social channels. While organic fans, followers, likes, etc. are great if you are trying to get your brand in front of a highly targeted audience, social media is a fantastic way to choose and reach that audience.

Sure, social media isn’t the end-all and be-all of marketing. But it is a great cost-effective tool to bring you and your club to an audience that can become your next—and most loyal—members.

What ways are you using social media to help your health club drive membership sales?

Fitness Owner's Success Kit