A week or so back, we ran one of our regular social media trainingsessions for Gym, Fitness and Leisure businesses who want to understand how social media can help them with their key business challenges.

The results of one of the workshops came as a shock even to us, and provides a great illustration of how you can never assume there’s nothing going on online amongst your customer base.




Social media and customer retention

In the Leisure industry, the number one challenge right now is customer retention. For many businesses, the average customer lifecycle is almost identical to the minimum contract term – so, if someone signs up for six months, they’ll more likely than not cancel in month seven or eight. In the past, the focus has very much been on getting new subscribers signed up, with much less attention given to building the relationship with that customer once the contract is signed.

But, with many gyms running subscriber bases of a thousand or more, a small increase in that average membership length is going to have far more financial impact than signing up a few extra customers each month.

So, we look at how social media can be used to build an ongoing relationship with their members, to celebrate and reward, and even use peer pressure within the customer base to their advantage.

They’re not Twittering at the tees….are they?!

Part of the workshop involves looking at the attendee organisations’ existing “digital footprint” – basically, are they being discussed online, showing up on different social media websites or being mentioned on blogs.

One of the businesses that day was a Golf club. They initially shared our assumption that the stereotypical golf player may not be the most active group online – although, they have been actively marketing golf to the 18-30 sector with some success.

When the search results came back, we were amazed. (Not as amazed as they were, though.)  The club had been mentioned in over fifty communications, ranging from members using a golf-specific social site (swingbyswing.com) which syndicated their golfing achievements to Twitter, to blog posts from local networking groups who use their facilities and discussions about weddings they’d hosted.

How to make friends and influence people

Each of those mentions is an opportunity to “wow” that customer by responding to, or promoting, what they’d done, and each of them proof of the potential for actively engaging in social media for that business. What effect will a timely re-Tweet of someone celebrating a fantastic round have on their relationship with the club? It could make all the difference to their perception of that business.

Making a success of social media is all about understanding the underlying business goals (customer retention), the specific situation of that business (marketing to the younger sector) and seeing opportunities to make your business stand out from the crowd. What would that look like for your business?

Looking for Training?

If you’re in the Leisure, Gym or fitness sector and would like details of upcoming courses (held roughly monthly in the South East), please drop us an enquiry using the form here and we’ll keep you posted.