What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) is a marketing tool that utilizes the Internet and social media networking platforms. The primary objective of using SMM is to generate content that users will share with their social network to aid a company’s expansion of their customer reach and to increase brand exposure (L. Vries et al, 2012).
Chaffey et al. (2003) has described Internet marketing as the application of the Internet and related digital technologies to achieve marketing objectives. These marketing objectives can be fulfilled through the use of social media networks. It is therefore important for marketers to ensure social media platforms are suited to their marketing objectives. A good marketing objective enables marketers to obtain new customers whilst retaining existing customers (Nick Hajli, M, 2014).
Why should businesses use Social Media Marketing?
Using social media is important to businesses wanting to establish a B2C relationship, creating an interaction between the business and the customer on a personal level. There are multiple motives as to why a business decides to use SMM; it can be used to build or establish a brand, build sales, increase their customer reach and can be used to effectively cut costs of existing marketing strategies (L. Vries et al, 2012).
The general availability of the Internet has given individuals the opportunity to use social media, from email to Twitter and Facebook, and to interact without the need for physical meetings (Gruzd et al. 2011).
The Health & Fitness Industry
According to a report produced by Leisure DB, the UK Health and Fitness industry has continued to grow. The growth experienced is predominantly driven from the private sector. There are now over 9.7 million fitness members in the UK that has supported the all-time high penetration rate of 14.9% (Leisure DB, 2017)
Due to the expansion within the industry it’s important for businesses within the market to implement a successful digital marketing strategy to align with their audiences interests and to attract new customers.
How can Health & Fitness businesses effectively use Social Media Marketing?
Through Consumer Engagement:
One of the primary objectives of using social media marketing is to increase consumer engagement. According to Huffington Post (2017) Facebook is ranked as the best social media channel for business marketing with more than 1.59 billion users. Facebook comprises the largest balance of demographics of any social platform that can be utilized to engage your audience with fitness-orientated marketing.
“It provides an extraordinary medium for your business to connect with your prospective customers all around the world. And from an advertising perspective, it’s the easiest to manage and allows for the best possible targeting.”
(Sachs, J. 2017)
Interacting directly to your audience through the use of a designated Q&A page can be used by people seeking advice with workout and nutrition related questions. This is an effective method of increasing audience engagement. You also could include direct links to your website, along with additional contact information.
Consider a brand hashtag as your social media signature. It should be a relevant slogan you include when sharing content, and it’s important that your hashtag is unique to your business. It allows users to let the social community know what they think about your company’s products and services (Keyhole, 2017).
Benefits of using the hashtag:
- By creating a discussion around your business/brand you’re able to encourage the social community to learn more about the products and services you have available. In addition, consumers will follow links you share, promoting your business further.
- People using the hashtag will draw attention to their posts, potentially increasing the amount of followers (Keyhole, 2017).
Below is an example of how Bulk Powders effectively use their hashtag #DOMINATELIFE to engage with the social community:
Demonstrate your process:
A YouTube channel can be used as an effective fitness-marketing tool. You have the ability to visually demonstrate your workout processes and offer nutrition guidance to your audience, whether that is to existing clients or prospective clients.
Below is a short video of Tom Coleman demonstrating an arm workout through Bulk Powders YouTube channel.
Make Your Move – Tom Coleman | Arm Workout | BULK POWDERS®
With consent, you could even post hands on training with existing client. You could even publish before and after footage to document successful transformations. Utilizing this tool will help persuade people that they too can achieve their fitness goals (Sachs, J. 2017).
For businesses within the Health & Fitness sector it is key that they integrate social media marketing into their marketing strategy. Social media and the Internet offer small and large businesses new and unique opportunities to engage with their audience and to increase their customer reach whilst learning about their existing customers in real time.
Conversely, there are implications that need to be considered. Social networks are an uncontrolled setting where businesses do not have control. It will require a robust social media strategy to manage comments posted by consumers whether positive or negative.
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