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Socially Stephanie: Social Media Solutions for Chain Businesses
Posted on December 14th 2013
Dear Socially Stephanie,
I am managing the social media presence for a gym business. They are now opening another gym in town, which will be a branch of the same chain. Now I am wondering whether I should create a brand new page for the other location of the gym, or if I can somehow connect our official gym page to both locations?
Also, any ideas to keep my members happy and active, while garnering the attention of new customers who now have the choice between the two locations?
-Gym Dandy in Detroit
Dear Gym Dandy,
Well, hello there! The timing for your question couldn't be any better. With a few short weeks left in 2013 and a few pounds yet to gain before New Year's Resolutions set in, it's time to really get to work. I hope you ate your protein this morning, because I am going to put you through a little social media cardio and strength training workout. Let's go!
First of all, let's address Facebook's terrible chain company solution. You're right, there is really no good way to create multiple locations for a chain business. My advice is to add your city, town or landmark next to your Fan Page name for both different accounts. This way, when people search in Facebook for your gym, there will be no denying which page you are. I've also seen other pages color coordinate different locations which allows a searcher to realize that there's a difference in pages. But for me, the simpler the better and in this case, adding your city will make it very clear.
Now that you have two distinct locations on Facebook with distinct names to help you get found, talk to your corporate page and have them add you as a "like" on their Fan Page. As you see, Mashable does this really well. As you can see all their entities are displayed with top billing encouraging cross over traffic between all the pages. I want your gym to do the same thing, but with your different locations being showcased.
Congratulations, the technical part is done! Now, let's move on to the fun part -- the social stuff.
Before you start revving, it's a good idea to take a look at the competitors and what they are doing. I just came across this new app called Perch that allows you to do just that. You can create a personal Watchlist of nearby businesses and immediately begin to discover the businesses that are creating a stir with consumers, are popular on social networks, or are getting the most reviews. Obviously, Socially Stephanie has your back!
As your business relies heavily on the presence you bring to your local neighborhood, it's time to run for Mayor. No, not real mayor. I'm talking about Foursquare. Foursquare, unlike Facebook has a really great program for chains. You can set up a central page that will manage all your locations. Plus, with admin features, managing different locations within the organization is a cinch.
All good and dandy right? Wrong. You need to work it a bit more than that. This is where your strategy comes into play. You have to think about why people would want to check in to your location and encourage that behavior. Think rewards, discounts and free classes to start and make sure you make it clear that you are offering such things. If nobody knows about it, no one is going to do it.
Foursquare also allows you to add lists. Go ahead and create a list of good after-workout healthy eateries in the neighborhood. Not only will this give you authority in the neighborhood, it will help you create relationships with other business owners and managers near-by. Relationships. Think about it.
Still with me? Good. Now it's time for some good old fashioned Influencer Empowerment. I want you to think about your top 8 customers. These are the die hard gym fans and should be of all shapes and sizes. These are the people you want to actively engage their friends, family and network. Introduce them as your brand ambassador and give them all the tools for sharing and sharing consistently. For a brand ambassador campaign to work, you need to have guidelines. You give them something, they give you something. Sound familiar? Yep. We're back to relationships. You'll be impressed by the amount of business a good ambassador can bring in.
Check out Fitness Ambassador of the century Jill Hanner for perspective.
You can also check out, Cassie Piassecki. She is so active that she's even convinced me that I need to take Pilates and cycle at her gym. That's influence. And that's why you need these types of people at your gym doing some of the heavy lifting for you.
Lastly, go ahead and offer an incentive for people to sign up. It's the new year after all. Think about creating a daily deal. I know, I know. There are a lot of negatives to a daily deal, but this one positive might be worth considering. It's a lead magnet. And use it that way. Create a way to move them from deal to squeeze landing page where they give you their email. Talk about email list explosion and if you do great email marketing, you'll see the results. Pronto!
Well, I can see you're sweating. Your workout is done. Good luck!
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email SociallyStephanie@socialmediatoday.com and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells