Facebook marketers have seen a huge decline in organic reach of their Facebook posts. The audience reach that a post used to receive in the newsfeed is not nearly as wide as it used to be. With this decline in organic (unpaid) reach, we have the great opportunity to do one of two things: either change our strategy or change our platform.
Change Your Strategy
If you decide to stay "in a relationship" with Facebook, some things must change. Facebook looks at your post for one of four things: a click, like, comment or share. If any of these things happen to your post, it is more likely to be seen in your current audience's newsfeed where they spend their time. If your post does not get any engagement, your post will be hidden from your audience's newsfeed, causing your post to have minimal organic reach, regardless of the timing of your post. So what do we do? We must target our fans and potential customers and give them reason to interact with our post.
1. Target. You must go back to the infamous marketing question: Who are you trying to target? Our goal on social media is to generate word-of-mouth leads. Thus, a prime target market is our current customers, fans and followers. Identify your perfect customer (your favorite customer) and provide content with which they will want to engage. And be as specific as possible.
2. Tag. Engage your current fans by using the timeless strategy of images. With their permission, take candid images of your members working diligently on their goals, before-and-after shout-outs and kudos to members for reaching fitness objectives. Including your fans in a picture and encouraging them to tag themselves in it guarantee that your images show up on their profiles. This expands your reach to your current member's Facebook friends and family, thus expanding your word of mouth. Get pictures at all of your events. Take pictures that are random, posed, duck-faced or selfies. And for true bonus points, get an image of randomly posed duck-faced selfies. The more tags, the better.
3. Create a lead. Consider making your strategy more permanent by directing your followers to a more permanent location, such as your blog, website or email capture. Provide a snippet of an inspiring story, a tidbit of education or a link to a downloadable file such as a free song or recipe that your audience has to go to your website to receive. By taking them from Facebook to your website, you minimize their distractions and enlarge the potential of retaining them as a client, gaining them as a customer and getting an email address for your email marketing strategy.
4. Facebook ads. Consider using paid advertising on Facebook, which still boasts billions of active users on the platform. By using advertising dollars, you can expand your reach exponentially. If you choose this option, hone in on your potential target audience by being as specific as possible. Within your ad, offer a free incentive that is so great, they would pay to receive it. This will drive them to click on your link, whether it is a free pass, a recipe book or a giveaway. Use this opportunity to also capture their email address and get their subscription on your social media for continued information from you.
Change Your Platform
If during this time, you decide to break up with Facebook, there are many more fish in the sea. Consider platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr or even Google Plus. If you take this route, consider the following:
1. Know the platform. Before making the jump into another relationship, get to know the platform on a personal level. Create a personal profile and find out best practices of using the platform. Is the platform photo based like Instagram? Or short and sweet like Twitter? By experiencing these platforms like users do, you can get a feel for the voice you would like to have on the platform.
2. Know your goal. Examine the benefits of the platform. If your ultimate goal is to sell a particular product, Pinterest may be a good fit for you. Users who get on Pinterest are far more likely to buy a product when on Pinterest than when they visit other social media sites. If your goal is to build an online presence and increase your SEO (search engine optimization), consider a platform such as Google Plus. This platform guarantees a greater presence on the giant search engine, Google. If you have a brick and mortar location in a local community where someone in your area may search for a gym or specific program, this strategy would behoove you.
3. Know your people. Identify the demographics of the platform and whether your current and potential members spend their time there. A great way to do this is to poll your members to find out on which platform they spend most of their time. If you are a B-to-B company, consider using LinkedIn in your social media strategy to connect with other fitness professionals. If your demographic includes either the baby boomers or the teenage population, consider a fast-paced platform such as Twitter.
4. Know your strategy. Whichever platform you choose, have a solid strategy. Instead of exhausting your time coming up with time-sensitive content, create valuable and timeless content you can share over a long period of time. Also, create a strategy that allows your followers to understand your culture and what you sell. And lastly, get their email address so you can include them in your email marketing for when you run promotions, trainings, or any other selling opportunities.
Victoria Patterson is the chief media officer for VicteliB, master trainer for VicteliB and Boot Camp Challenge trainer for Midwest Fitness Consulting. She holds a bachelor's of arts degree in film/video production from Columbia College Chicago. Throughout her career, with a well-rounded understanding of the fitness industry, she has implemented her knowledge from her degree into the industry through social media. You can reach Patterson at Victoria@victelib.com, at 636-699-0598 or through the web at www.victelib.com.