Facebook provides an ideal channel where leisure providers can engage with current and potential members. However, Facebook offers so many options, it can seem a bit daunting to know where to start. We thought we would help by narrowing it down to eight steps that could really make an impact for your leisure facilities.
- Setup a Facebook Page for your leisure centre/facility - a Facebook Page offers existing members (that are Facebook members) the opportunity to "like" the page and follow it for updates. These updates will then appear on their Personal Profile, where their friends and family may also see them. A Page differs from a Personal Profile. Facebook rules dictate that businesses must setup a Page as Personal Profiles are for individuals only. Pages have Likes (fans), whilst Personal Profiles have friends. You do require a Personal Profile to be able to set up a Facebook Page; however you can choose not to use the Personal Profile and just bypass this when accessing the Page. You can also keep the Personal Profile anonymous from the Page. Here is an example of our Facebook Page.
- Post useful info onto the Facebook Timeline (also known as Wall) on a regular basis - this includes news, class timetables, availability of facilities and new forthcoming events. This will allow your members to easily access the information they are interested in on the platform that they are most likely to be using. This will encourage people to sign-up for activities and book facilities. Be careful not to over bombard your fan base with posts as each one goes across to the news feeds of the fans' Personal Profile. This is the same place where they receive updates from their friends and family, which is likely to be their primary purpose for using Facebook. Too many posts and you are likely to put them off. They may then unlike your Page. We recommend two to four posts a week should suffice. Only send more if the information is of vital importance.
- Create Photo Albums - be visual - ideal content to share via social media platforms to engage your customer base. For example, you could provide shots of your facilities and activities. Each time a new album is created, it is automatically posted onto the Timeline. Fans will then receive this in their news feed and they can easily share it with their friends and family. It is advisable to create one album on a regular basis (for example every week or month), rather than posting all of your photos in one go.
- Use the Facebook Notes App to provide top tips on how to keep fit and healthy, manage diet and improve at particular sports etc. Just like Photo Albums, each new Note you post goes automatically across to the Timeline and to fans' news feeds, where they can share it. Each Note has a unique link that can also be tweeted and emailed to your member base, helping to drive traffic to the Facebook Page.
- Promote key events via the Facebook Events App - this will help your event to potentially go viral (spread fast) within Facebook. Like Photos/Notes, once an event is created it automatically goes across to the Timeline and to fans' news feeds. This makes it easy for them to share with their friends and family, helping you to gain further reach beyond your immediate fan base.
- Post messages on location based Facebook Pages - many cities, large towns and counties have Facebook Pages with thousands of fans. Lots of individuals and businesses are contributing posts to them. By doing this too, you will be reaching out to a much wider audience online.
- Mention your Facebook Page in traditional marketing activities - encourage your target market to become fans of the Page. Mention the Page in any advertising, flyers, leaflets etc. that you produce. If someone then becomes a fan, you will be able to regularly send them messages instead of contacting them just once.
- Run a Facebook Ad campaign - if you are serious about using Facebook as a marketing tool for your leisure facility, you should run an advertising campaign on Facebook to let your target audience know about the Page. You can precisely target your customer base by location, leisure activities, age group, gender etc. You'll find this a very cost effective way to quickly grow a fan base.
Undertaking these activities within Facebook will help to retain existing members and draw in new ones. As your content goes viral, others will become aware of the services you provide.
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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