The Gym Owners Forum Podcast: Keep Your Gym’s Social Media Active & Interesting in 2021

Keeping a social media page alive with content is tough for any gym or health club, especially during a lockdown.

Fitness is one of the most popular categories of social media that people engage with, and while there’s an infinite amount of content to post, nutritional advice to offer, exercise regimes to recommend and fitness memes to post; so many health clubs and gyms are failing when it comes to keeping their gym social media active and content rich.

While there are many things to be posted, as a health club owner, it can be hard to find the time to come up with ideas and even harder to find the time to schedule your social media posts to your members.

In this podcast, we’re joined by Ashbourne marketing manager Harvey, and The Fit Club Redditch gym co-owners Grant and Toby, to discuss gym social media and give you some tips and hints about how you can keep your social media fresh and earning you members throughout lockdown and beyond.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Fresh content ideas for you to put on your club’s social media
  • The numbers you actually need to track to see if your content is working
  • How you can easily recycle content to triple the amount of social media you can post
  • Which social media platforms you should be using
  • How you can schedule your posts so you can front load all of your content

 

Remember to join The Gym Owner’s Forum facebook group for even more support from gym owners across the UK and Ireland.

If you’re interested in more direct help for your club, collecting your direct debits, to handling your marketing, then get in touch with Ashbourne today for a free demo and discussion. You can also find loads of helpful free resources on our site.

 

Listen To The Gym Owner’s Forum Podcast

You can listen to the podcast here, or find it on your favourite podcast host. We’re available on everything from Google Podcasts, to Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

 

 

The Podcast Transcript

 

Grant:

Okay. Hi everyone. Welcome to the third episode of The Gym Owners Forum Podcast. We did have plans to do a podcast relating to attracting more members, retaining the members, increasing the yield per member, but as we’re into our third lockdown, it’s not really relevant at the moment.

So, we thought we’d do an episode on social media and things that we are doing at The Fit Club, to engage our members and keep them active, keep them engaged, keep them paying. So, we just thought we’d share some of our ideas. Joining me again today, is Toby Wassell, fellow gym owner with me at The Fit Club and Ashbourne product development manager. And Harvey, our resident marketing expert.

How you doing guys? All right?

 

Toby:

Very well. Thanks Grant.

 

Harvey:

Good to be here, as ever. Thanks for the invite Grant.

 

Grant:

It’s a pleasure. You’ve made it to episode three, Harvey. Well done.

 

Toby:

Still on probation though. Don’t get too excited.

 

Grant:

Make sure you keep coming up with these new ideas.

Okay. So, we just thought we’d share what we’re doing on social media with The Fit Club. So again, it’s things that you can put into your club and hopefully engage the members a little bit more, keep them active. I know it’s hard going into the third lockdown to do it over and over and over, the same thing.

So, we just thought we’d try and spice it up, do a few new things, and just keep the members as active as we can. So, typically we’ve been doing a few new things on Zoom, haven’t we? For instance, we’ve been using all the platforms that we’ve-

 

Harvey:

Yeah, absolutely. So, talking about social media, it’s obviously the only link that a lot of your members have to the club during this time. It’s the only bit they’re going to see of you. So, it’s important that you do take control of it and make sure that you are using it regularly.

Yeah. So, you talking about Zoom, we’ve got obviously all the live stream stuff. Thought I’d start with just the actual social media platforms, your Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitters, and stuff like that. So, it’s important to use them all or as many as you can, but it’s important to strike a balance between reaching a wide audience across multiple channels, but also not overstretching yourself.

I know that we found that it’s difficult to keep up regular posting, if you’re using too many. So, with Ashbourne we used to have a Twitter, and it never got updated, it never got maintained, and it was just a waste of time. It just turned into an extra cost and extra things to look out. So, it’s important to make sure that you’re just doing the bare minimum to hit as many people as possible.

 

Toby:

On that note, I think, do two, well.

 

Harvey:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the main thing for me is, Facebook and Instagram are obviously connected. So, anything you post on Facebook, provided you’ve got it linked to your Instagram, will be posted on the other channel. So, that’s easy and they’re the most two popular things.

You’re hitting for me, an older audience with Facebook and then a younger one with Instagram, both are very popular amongst gyms and fitness people.

So, I think they’re the two absolute, bread-and-butter, have to do them channels. Email hits a different group again, a lot of the same people, but a lot of other people only look at their email. So, they’re the three that are absolute for me, essential, that you need to be updating all the time and sharing consistent messages. And through our view-

 

Grant:

I think what you’re saying is, do a few things really well rather than do lots of things badly. If you can really hammer the point on the main platforms and make it a good production, it’s better than doing an average production, across lots of channels.

 

Harvey:

Completely, I think one of the strengths, as well as which… Because the big issue that I see with people that are running multiple social medias, is they want to schedule stuff. And what that used to entail, is you’d have to use stuff like Hootsuite and all these extra third parties to schedule stuff. And usually you don’t want to pay for that. So, you hit your limit and then you have to start paying for it.

So, as Toby mentioned, because Facebook and Instagram are now linked, if you Google, Facebook Creator Studio, it takes you to an area of Facebook where you can now just schedule all of your Facebook and Instagram posts from the same database, from the same dashboard. And it’s all connected!

So, especially if you choose Facebook and Instagram as your two big ones, you’re hitting both of those different audiences, but at the same time, you can now just schedule everything in one place without having to go to Hootsuite to do your LinkedIn or your Twitter stuff.

 

Grant:

You’ve been scheduling everything on Zoom, haven’t you Toby?

 

Toby:

Yeah. So, this is what I’ve been using. So, Facebook just added this and it is really useful for the Zoom links, which we started doing our live classes on. We’ll go into why we’ve started using zoom later. But yeah, just getting all the links for your recurring Zoom classes set up on a schedule on Facebook, to be posted 15 minutes before the class is due to start. And then, I set them up for the week and it’s just good to go. It just runs itself, which just… Yeah. Obviously, requires no management and I can do it at my own leisure.

 

Grant:

So, when you actually then go and film the class, it’s already done for you. You just click one button.

 

Toby:

Yeah, exactly. And also what’s really useful, I don’t have to be at the club anymore. We didn’t really want to give everyone access to the Facebook page. So, we used to have to go down to the club, set up the Facebook live stream and be there. Now that it’s on Zoom, we can just have someone else host the meeting. And yeah, they just go down to the club or in that front room and just film it, yeah.

 

Grant:

And they only need access to Zoom, not the entire-

 

Toby:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Grant:

Yeah. We don’t want to be giving all of our instructors access to all the Facebook pages and everything like that. Who knows what will be posted on there? So, you said about having that plan and the schedule of your classes. So, it’s also really important to have that plan and timetable for your members, so they know what’s coming up. If you’re doing it ad hoc, right? At some point this week, we’ll be doing a video of something. Then the members are going to be, “Well, we’ll see.” But, if they know that Monday at 9:00, they get Zumba, Tuesday at 5:00, they get legs, bums and Tums. I think that’s that’s important. So, they know where they stand.

 

Toby:

Exactly. We run it just like a normal class timetable. Send it out at the start of the week. And then, they know where to go for the classes.

 

Grant:

You said, we put a live… So, we do the live classes, don’t we? But then, for those that have missed it, then the recording goes out as well, so people can catch up at their leisure.

 

Toby:

Yeah, the recordings were a difficult one with this because, the reason we moved to Zoom was because Facebook was… It was good, it posted the recordings on Facebook, but it would mute certain parts, the problem was with the music copyright, it’s got a very good algorithm for picking that stuff up on Facebook. So, it’ll automatically mute parts of the video.

And actually with Zoom, what we started to do was download the video and post on Facebook. But then, again, the problem was it mutes certain parts of the video.

So, now what we’ve done is either post the Zoom link to the recording on Facebook so that the member can just click on it and watch on Zoom’s platform on their browser. And then, also we’ve set up a YouTube channel. YouTube has much more relaxed attitudes towards copyright.

You will get little notifications coming up saying that this might be copyrighted, but I mean, we’ve had videos banned in North Korea and Syria, which we don’t have any members there at the moment. And if we do have to apologize to them now, but yeah, it’s a lot more relaxed and yeah, it’s been a lot more hassle-free so far, touch wood.

 

Grant:

Yeah. Yeah. The last thing you want is to put all that effort in only for halfway through the video, it’ll be muted out and nobody can understand what they’re supposed to be doing next. So, yeah. Good. So, we’ve done it for our members that are continuing to pay and are frozen, but we’ve also opened it up to use this to attract new members and potential clients.

Obviously, the gym is closed, but we’re trying to attract as many new people as we can. So, we use it in this group. So, people that haven’t used the club before, they’re now open to it as well, but we’ve got to get their data. It’s all well and good just saying, “Yeah, come and join and view the video.”

But for us, we need to use those as leads. So, anybody that now does it obviously has to give us their email address and contact details, so that we can follow up with them. And as we get closer to reopening, we can use that data. How are we collecting that data?

 

Harvey:

So, the two best systems to do it are, either take people to your website, to fill in a form. And then, once you’ve got their email address, email them a link to the group. Obviously the group is free. They could find the group if they wanted to, but the idea is it creates this idea that they have to give you their data to get to the group.

The second best way, which we’ve been discussing is, so Facebook groups, you can ask people questions, before they join.

And of course, one of those questions can be, “What’s your email address? Do you want us to contact you on, or what’s your phone number?” Or something like that. So, the thing to remember is that once you let someone into a group, that information disappears effectively.

So, the best way we’ve found to do it is that we ask them, “What’s your email address?” In the group. Before we allow them in, we then take a note of that information, put it into our CRM, and then we let them through.

The best way to do it, if you want to remain completely GDPR compliant, which I’m sure we will want to, is to do it in two ways. So, you can get them onto your website, get their email address so that you can send them the link to the group.

And then, one of your questions to let them into the group is, “What is the email address that you used?” Because, what it allows you to do is firstly, you can compare notes to see who’s actually going from the email to the group, but also it allows you to double check their email and then email them later because they’ve already agreed for you to have their email in the previous point.

So, there’s two good ways of doing it really, you can either take them straight to the group, or you can make them fill in a form beforehand.

 

Grant:

That, filling in a form. I’ve just signed up to a Tony Robbins master class. And he’s got about 600,000 people on his closed Facebook group, and that’s exactly how he did it. He had his landing page, he did his Facebook ad or whatnot, directed us to the landing page, filled in the form. Soon as it then says, “Right, now you joined the Facebook group,” and it asks you the email address that you’ve used on that landing page. It’s almost getting that information twice from you. So, if it works for him, it’s going to work for you.

 

Harvey:

I think, whenever pretty much any business or even any freelancer or anyone, the big problem they have with social media is they just don’t know what to publish. But, I think the way Toby and Grant talking about doing all their classes through this, the good thing about that is it takes the onus of needing to come up with content, off you. Because, if you were going to host 30 classes during a week anyway, you now have 30 Facebook posts.

 

Toby:

Absolutely. That always kills me. The, not being able to make up any content for your social media, because the gym has just got so much, it’s got Exercise of The Day, Workout of The Week, diet stuff, you got so much, there’s articles everywhere. So, yeah. I hate that reason, but that’s another good excuse or argument for scheduling, because you can spend the day looking for content, getting pictures from your gym and lining it all up and you’d get your head space in the right mentality of the marketer.

 

Harvey:

Exactly. I think it’s important to note as well that we’re primarily talking about Facebook and Instagram, mostly because our audience reacts on them.

They’re our best platforms and they’re connected. And obviously, Facebook are quite good. They put in a lot of the tools necessary to quickly engage and get in touch with your members. But, if you’re from a different gym where say, you are more focused on business people, they might respond better on LinkedIn and it’s unlikely, but someone might respond better on Twitter or they might even respond really well on Tiktok.

I know during this, we’re talking about Facebook and Instagram, but try to take these ideas about how you can get people involved, and then transplant it onto any of the platforms you use. We’re not saying, “Hey, you can only use Facebook.” But, if you are a gym where you have a big LinkedIn following, because you’re after a certain type of business person, then just try and use LinkedIn groups in the same way, try and engage people in these ways.

 

Toby:

You’re absolutely right. And it’s quite funny you say that because I imagine if you’re a gym on the other end of spectrum that did kids class and stuff like that. I don’t know if it’s sleazy or not to do TikTok stuff? Because, obviously kids are massive on that. But, they’ll be pestering. Oh, they’re not massive on it?

 

Grant:

No, no, they always on it.

 

Toby:

Yeah. So they’d be pestering you to, “Oh, so they’ve seen this on Jim and Sally Holloway advert, and they’re doing these kids’ classes and they’ve done it in such a way that attracts them. That’s one route in.

 

Grant:

Yeah. Well, use the platform that’s relevant to your club, as I say, in your demographic. But also, as well as just doing classes. So, we don’t want to be doing the same classes again and again. So yes, we’ve got our timetable. It’s also important to mix it up with what you do. So, we might do a full 45 minute Zumba class, but then on Tuesday it might be exercise of the day and we’ll do different things.

It might be a 10 minute lower body workout, or something like that. So, mix it up because otherwise you’ll just have the same people that come to the same class again and again. And all you’re doing is hitting the same people you’ve got. So, we’ve got over a thousand members in the gym. If we just do the same time table, we’ve only attracting the same 20, 30 people that always go to our classes.

We need to do different things to get the other guys, and the other people that are using the gym.

 

Harvey:

It’s completely right. And then of course, if you were only attracting 20 each time, if one person suddenly decides that they’re not in the mood for it, then you’re down to 19. You’re only eventually going to end up with zero people, if you keep going for the same people.

 

Grant:

Different ideas of exercises.

 

Toby:

So, the big thing with the Facebook live stuff that we found is that, originally it was going to be just for our paying members who have continued to support the club while we’re closed.

However, we realized after a chat with our accountant, that from the first lock down, the reason we were able to claim membership payments as a donation and then pay no tax, was because we weren’t providing our normal service. But, had we been providing The Fit Club live stuff in this lockdown, then we’d be providing a service and we’d be due to pay VAT on that.

So, what we’ve done is we opened it to any members, frozen, paying, and even people just from the Redditch area. So that, it still does count as a donation, but we’re also now collecting a massive amount of data. We’re providing a great service for everyone and yeah, just building up that list and hitting them as, and when we reopen.

 

Grant:

That’s really important. I think if you take anything away from this podcast, that’s the thing. Obviously, if members are continuing to pay, you have to pay the VAT on that income. However, the accountant now says that if you just provided the service to the local area, so not just members, then you don’t have to pay VAT on the money that’s coming in.

 

Toby:

It’s the same with the Ashbourne app, because it’s accessible to people that are frozen, as well as people that are paying. Again, you’re not providing any exclusive services to those that are paying. So yeah, you wouldn’t have to pay VAT on that.

 

Grant:

So, you can market and save on tax?

 

Toby:

Is that not the dream? That’s a pretty, pretty good argument for doing that.

 

Harvey:

I agree with Grant. I think, that’s the golden thing to take away.

 

Grant:

Yeah, you can turn it off now. You don’t need to listen to the rest, you’ve got the nugget that’s going to save your money so that’ll do,. So another thing that we’re going to do is we’ve just started a podcast for the gym. So, it’s got fitness tips and things like that.

So, what we’ve done is we’ve used our staff, who are the experts in the gym. So, we run the gym and own the gym, but they are the experts in the training, different types of training, nutrition and things like that. So, we’ve got them to do the podcast, so that they can tell people how they should be eating, different types of training methods and things like that. The principles of training that they’re the experts in. So, use your trainers to give information to back to your clients.

 

Harvey:

Well, while we’re talking about social media and content, I guess we can take it away from the creative side and look more at the analytics of it, as we love doing in the Digital Marketing world. So, I think this will probably be the best time.

If you’ve got a lot of your staff together, if you’ve got a bit more free time to focus on these things. Beyond just trying to come up with social media content, a good thing to do is maybe, take a look back through all of your social media and see what’s actually been responding.

See, what’s been getting responses, sees what’s been getting engagements. Because, the real worry with social media is not that you just won’t come up with any ideas, is that you’ll just be doing lots of stuff, which actually no one really cares about, and no one’s responding to.

So, good things to look out for are, in Facebook and Instagram, and most of the social medias, pretty much all of them like LinkedIn and Twitter, you can look back and see the engagements for particular posts. So, pretty boring, but you can do it in a day.

Make a spreadsheet and go back post by post and just see what time it was posted. Make a note of what the subject was, make a note if it was a video or a picture, make a note of how many people responded to it. Because you can find some interesting things.

For a few other jobs I’ve done previously, we found that posting later in the day was actually better than posting in the morning. And the idea was, we thought, “Well, we’ll get more views in the morning because the post will be up longer.”

But, what actually turned out was that most of the people on our page were Americans. So, we were posting in the evening and actually it was Americans visiting the Facebook page. We just assumed everyone was from the UK. So, possibly not relevant with the gym, but you can be surprised by when things will get engagements and what content will.

You might find that actually the stuff about classes and more of your admin stuff gets less views than the funny stuff, or things you talk about the gym, staff members putting up funny posts. And if you find out what actually is getting engagements and getting people back to your page, then that can be very effective and then getting more people to actually see the other stuff that you want them to, like the classes.

 

Grant:

Yeah, it means you also don’t waste your time. That you don’t want to be putting up classes and posts where you’re not getting any engagement. So, absolutely find out what it is. You can also ask your members, just send out a post and say, “What else do you want to see? What do you think we could do better?” They will give you the feedback. You could create a survey and send it to them.

Or you could just literally put a post on Facebook, “What other content…” We’ve just done the same in the Gym Owners Forum in our Facebook group. “What other types of podcasts would you like us to produce? What things you want us to talk about?” So, get as much feedback from the members and make your life easy because they’ll come up with the content for you.

 

Harvey:

Yeah. I mean, you can even make polls on Facebook. Just have, “Do you want to see more classes? Yes. No.” It can be as complicated or as simple as you want.

 

Grant:

Okay. Well, thanks guys. Hopefully we’ve given you a few more ideas of how you can improve your social media and things that you can do. But, I think that the main key is that tax break, Toby, that is a gem, you’ve come out with a beautiful one there. So-

 

Toby:

I found it out, to be fair. The real advise is

 

Grant:

Talk to your accountant, is the moral of the story.

 

Toby:

If you have any questions about anything that we’ve discussed today, please do get in touch with us. We’re all available on the Gym Owner’s Forum Facebook group, and we’d be happy to help with any questions you have. Yeah. Please do feel free to reach out. Through.

 

Grant:

Okay. Hopefully we’ll see you next time, when we’ll have the next episode of the Gym Owners Forum Podcast. Cheers guys.

Get your club in shape

Arrange a free demo our of software with a member of the Ashbourne team at a time and date that suits you by clicking the button below...