Getting the most from your social media engagement is getting tougher. Facebook growth in the UK has slowed over the last 12 months (although some age groups still continue to rise quickly) and other channels such as Instagram and Pinterest continue to gain market share.

With the largest audience base Facebook is still the place to be but you need to start considering your time investment in other social media channels. Here are some top tips to improve your social media activity over the next 3 months.

Facebook: stop preaching to the converted
When was the last time you looked at your Facebook page insights? Most leisure centres’ Facebook posts reach between 5-20% of their followers and the weekly growth in new followers is less than 1%. Most, if not all, Fans will be existing users of the centre and experience tells us that the majority are aerobic attendees. So if you are just talking to so few people with your posts have you got a strategy to increase your audience? Or are you writing great content that is being shared and therefore reaching an exponential audience? Take some time to look at your Insights today and see how effective your posts are being.

Invest some time in other channels
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare. Yes, you really have to setup all these channels. Why? Because your existing and future customers are using them and if you want to engage with them you have to be present in their social media space. The key with these different channels is to understand their individual nuances, the likely user groups and the type of content required. Once you have done a bit of research (our previous article giving an overview of each channel may help) then take some time to compose a multi-channel strategy. Online social media tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social or EveryPost can then help with your post engagement across these channels, although giving your staff access on their mobile devices will help with certain channels such as Instagram and Twitter.

Create some value, not just content
Content is King is a phrase that has long been true and whether it’s for your website or your social media channels you have to plan great content. But what content? Funny fitness-related anecdotes, new activities, sales offers, member success stories? What does your Insights say is working best? The key here is does it provide value to the customer – something they’ll share, something educational, relevant discount or promo code. Don’t try to oversell. Keep your sales messages to subtle references following a valuable piece of content. For example, customer testimonials followed by a ‘do you want the same success?’ message, or nutritional tips followed by a free nutrition planner session.

Invest in your Social Media Strategy
How many hours a week do you spend planning, writing, monitoring and evaluating your social media presence? That’s right, hours per week. How can you expect to get decent returns if you only occasionally post reactive content with no plan in place or expectation of returns?
Consider my 4 As:
Aims – what do you hope to achieve from this campaign or next month of activity?
Audience – who are you targeting? and what is their preferred network?
Action – execute your planned activity
Assess – monitor your channels and look for positives you can replicate and weaknesses you can fix

Platform for Advertising
So what if your goal is pure sales? Your social media channels are not the best place to directly drive high-volume sales. For starters, most of your followers are already your customers, and secondly they are not following you to be hassled with constant sales messages. If you want to focus on lead generation then exploit your social media platforms for the built-in advertising opportunities. Facebook provides Boosts, Offers and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, all of which can target a specific audience within a catchment of your business. Twitter also offers PPC advertising and can target users based on keywords, interests or behaviours. Pinterest is due to offer Promoted Pins to the UK shortly following a successful rollout across the US earlier this year. And finally, Instagram, owned by Facebook, now offers PPC advertising including image, video and carousel formats.

John Leaver Head of Alliance Digital As Head of Alliance Digital, John is the go-to expert for all things digital and marketing.  With a passion for technology, gadgets and marketing John delivers exceptional insight into a quickly-changing and often confusing world of digital media channels. @JohnLeaver M: 07909988532