Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is Your Gym Using Social Media to Effectively Attract and Retain Students?

Check out my latest article series in BJJWeekly:

Junior Achievement is an international non-profit that teaches children about business and financial literacy. They foster entrepreneurism and teach money management. Their programs have been proven to increase scholastic performance and reduce dropout rates, and they do a lot of good for the communities connected to their respective chapters, but with federal funding becoming increasingly sparse, Junior Achievement is relying more and more on fundraising to keep their doors open and their programs alive.

I recently helped the Western Pennsylvania chapter of Junior Achievement use social media to generate awareness for one of its largest annual fundraisers: a raffle for a package of season tickets for a variety of Pittsburgh sports teams. We boosted revenue by 9% over the previous year, and from the point that we launched the social media portion of the campaign to the time that the fundraiser ended, we raised $60,000.

What does a non-profit’s fundraiser have to do with jiu-jitsu?  A lot, actually. Their campaign serves as a case study, a model that other community-driven organizations can learn from.

Social media marketing is more than a new trend; it’s a powerful community building tool. Community building occurs in two stages: strengthening the loyalty of existing members and growing the community by acquiring new members. Your gym is a community, and incorporating social media into your gym culture can make that community stronger and healthier.

Community building as a form of marketing can sound dishonest, like you are using your students to turn a profit, but that’s not the case. By focusing on community, you are focusing on creating an environment that people enjoy being in and a lifestyle that people are proud to champion. A high quality community creates happy people, who gladly share the things that make them happy with their other communities: friends, family, coworkers, Facebook followers, Twitter followers, running buddies, etc.

It’s a win for your students and a win for your business. No advertisement is more powerful than a word of mouth recommendation for your gym.

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