The Value of Relationships to Your Business
How much does a relationship mean to your business? Kind of a silly question, isn’t it? It’s an understatement to say that relationships are key to any business. Oddly enough, so often businesses neglect maintaining and strengthening relationships when it comes to online marketing. In the same way that a personal trainer may send a text to a client after a workout with a tip about relieving sore muscles, this same type of behavior also needs to happen online. And, of course, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are ideal places to execute this well.
Social media & relationships – 2 peas in a pod
Hate to burst your bubble, but social media needs to be about more than just pushing products and services. While social does allow you to do this, more conversions will happen when you put relationship-building first. It’s cliché, but it’s really about keeping the “social” side of social media alive. When you think about how these platforms began, the sole purpose was to communicate online – to have conversations.
But, the intention has gotten somewhat convoluted even in the small number of years that social networking has been around. Businesses are largely to blame for this. Not all have done this, but many have taken what was very personable and made it quite the opposite. Simply put, businesses, just like people, need to be real and human. If businesses can do this, they have the ability to not only strengthen existing client relationships, but they also have the opportunity to grow new ones.
How can fitness professionals build relationships on social networks?
Businesses ranging from corporations to small businesses such as a local gym frequently get bogged down by the business side of social media strategy, planning, tracking, and analyzing and simply forget what they’re actually trying to do. While these areas are very important, they have to be accompanied by real human behavior. One way fitness professionals can do this is to facilitate conversations.
What conversations happen when you’re training someone? What do people want to know when they call the gym? Answer these types of questions to keep the human element alive on your various social accounts.
Images and videos are great conversation starters as well. According to research firm Simply Measured, photos account for 77% of all post engagement for brands. We live in a social media-centric world meaning that society is used to digesting information in the form of 140 characters or less, an Instagram photo, Snapchat, or some other form of very speedy media. And, images, including memes, seem to the goldmine to initiate conversations.
Secondly, and what some would incorrectly consider counter-productive to building relationships, is the need for fitness pros to listen on their social networks. Listening is hands down one of the most important elements of an effective social media strategy. One-sided conversations never work, which means one-sided relationships fail as well.
If you’re struggling to find content, listen. Your audience and clients will tell you what they want to know. Based on what you hear, you can establish yourself as a go-to that they always refer to on matters related to proper techniques for training the core and any other issues that they have.
Lastly, every strong relationship has its ups and downs, and social media is no exception. In other words, there are times when businesses of all sizes make mistakes. Digital marketing research agency Econsultancy recently published the top social media fails of 2014. Incidentally, these fails are from brands like Delta Airlines, J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Build-A-Bear and other highly visible brands. If they mess up, understand that you will make mistakes too.
Still, if you handle them correctly, you’ll walk away more respected than you were before. Zappos is one company that is known for its exceptional customer service. If someone calls out on Facebook that their delivery was late, Zappos jumps on and offers a sincere apology and a coupon. This is how it should be done. Mistakes shouldn’t be covered up and not acknowledged. This is NOT human behavior. If you are honest and try to make it right, chances are, the client or prospect will walk away unscathed and may even turn into an ambassador for you.
For fitness pros specifically, clients expect authenticity. Sensitivity and egos play a large role in the fitness world, which is why consumers seek trainers and gyms they can trust. If you build these trusting relationships offline, there is no reason why you can’t do the same on your social media channels to advance your business efforts.