You’ve got the physical space, you’ve got a logo and company name, you’ve got your connections in the community and your regular clients, but what about your online presence? We’re sure you’ve heard hundreds of times before about the power of social media, but how do you capture this “power” and turn it into customers through your door resulting in a boost to your business’ bottom line?

Determining a direct return on investment (ROI) for your social media efforts can be challenging, and quite frankly doesn’t capture the entire benefit of using social media for your business. Instead of looking at it in simple dollars and cents, think of your social media investment as building brand awareness for your company.

Brand awareness is wide-ranging, but captures the level that people recognize your brand, the feelings they associate with your brand (positive or negative), and whether and how they choose to engage with your brand (monetarily or otherwise). Social media is a cost-effective way to build your brand awareness. It gives you direct access to your target audience and allows you to engage with them directly before they even come through the doors of your business. Because of all this, it becomes vital to build a strong and consistent online presence.

In the fitness world, competition is heavy. There are hundreds of other studios to choose from, so before someone decides on one, how can you show and tell them what sets your gym or studio apart? How can you get them to recognize, appreciate, and engage with your brand before they set foot in your studio? If you do it right, social media allows you this opportunity and can help guarantee that they’ll choose your gym over your competitors’.

We’ve developed five tips to help you create or improve your online presence and build brand awareness allowing you to more easily engage with your customers or potential customers.

Tip #1: When time is limited, just pick one and do it really well.

Vacant social media accounts are a death to a business’ online presence and prospective client-base. There is nothing worse for your company then having potential customers guessing if you are still in business or not. When you have social media accounts that haven’t had a post, image, or tweet in a few months, you are inadvertently telling your customers one of the following:

  • we may or may not have closed down;
  • our business is no longer relevant; or
  • we don’t care enough to engage with you.

If you don’t have the time to commit to multiple social media accounts, then just pick one and delete the rest. Some of our favorite companies are only on Facebook or Twitter. If we’re not able to find them on every social media platform, that’s okay as long as the one they’re on is maintained and updated regularly. You don’t need to be everywhere, but make sure the accounts that you do keep are used often and effectively.

Tip #2: The power of people.

Your customers and your employees are your greatest assets and sometimes the best advertisement for your business. If your followers are sharing content about your business without being asked, it speaks to the level of engagement they have with your brand and shows others online how awesome they think you are. Don’t be afraid to use this to your advantage. Sourcing photos from those around you is the easiest way to create content — just make sure you give credit where credit is due.When customers love your product or marketing service, they are more than willing to help your business. Don’t feel embarrassed or shy to ask a follower if you can share their image from your social media account. More likely than not they will be flattered that you asked and honoured to see their content shared by a brand they believe in.

Tip #3: Use your authentic voice.

Be real. Always. You better believe your audience will know when you’re making a fluffy post that doesn’t have any meaning behind it. They’ll tell you by either not “liking” your post, or un-following your account. Moreover, the connection that your followers feel with your business will decrease, lowering your brand engagement levels. Whether it’s weird and quirky or shy and demure, be true to yourself and the personality you’ve built for your brand. There is nothing more attractive to customers than a unique brand that stands out.

Tip #4: Create a signature theme.

People like knowing what is coming, so create a signature theme that your following will grow to expect from your brand. Whether it’s an amazing regular #WorkoutWednesday post, or a weekly “How to” video, your audience will begin to look forward to your signature posts. Building brand recognition can be a lengthy process, but posting consistently can decrease the amount of time it takes to build it up.

Tip #5: When in doubt, seek help

Too often, the importance of social media is not understood, or the time commitment is underestimated. To be clear, it takes a lot of time to curate, write, and post good content everyday, sometimes multiple times per day. If you’re a busy business owner, you’re probably more concerned with running your business than running your social media accounts, and that’s okay. If you find yourself failing to post regularly, or struggling to find the time to engage with your online audience, seek help. Find someone, or some company, who knows and understands each online platform, how to engage with your audience, and how to produce meaningful content. Develop and agree on a common online “voice” for your business and trust the expert to take it and run with it.

Social media is more than just setting up the account. It takes a lot of work to upkeep and the daily maintenance can seem overwhelming. With the right tools and strategies, the payoff can be big. Through consistency and engagement, you can quickly build strong brand awareness for your business and develop great relationships with your online audience that will inevitably translate to positive traffic through your door.