Tag Archives: fitness marketing

Why do some HR and IT departments hate social media marketing?

It’s a great time to be a marketer. The Internet and social media have changed the game completely in less than a decade. TV advertising, although still restricted to those with big budgets, is no longer as effective as it was when there were only two commercial channels. Now there are hundreds, and in addition the web offers other types of entertainment. So grabbing people’s attention is much harder.

Back before video and TiVo/Sky+ the only way to escape an advert was to mute, or turn off, or go and make a cup of tea. Now you can flash through it. Consumers are no longer interrupted by marketing communications. They can ignore us. They are in control.

IT departments hate social media marketing

But whilst they can shut the adverts out, consumers still have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. If they want to buy a new pair of shoes they’ll most likely Google the brand. Looking for a hotel in Spain, they’ll go online and look for reviews on TripAdviser. And they’ll ask specific questions like, “What’s the best Indian Restaurant in Preston?” Or, “Where can I find a Personal Trainer in Luton?”

Businesses who provide content that answers these specific questions will find their customers coming to them. Actually seeking them out. Social media and the web means that marketers can create a fine mesh of links from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIin, Pinterest to their own content of web pages, blogs, Q&As, videos, podcasts, white papers, and info-graphics. Interruption marketing (TV adverts, Billboards, posters) is giving way to content marketing. And whilst the former will never disappear, the advertisers have to work harder to successfully interrupt their customers and get them to react.

IT departments hate social media marketing

The great thing about this is that really powerful marketing is now much more accessible to smaller businesses with tighter budgets. And another advantage a small company is that they won’t be constrained by their own departments. In some places there is so much resistance to social media and online content that they create their own barriers to taking advantage of technology.

Social media is often blocked from employees. The HR department don’t want their staff on Facebook when they should be working now do they? But here’s the thing. This is no different to when individual phones started to appear on people’s desks. In those days, HR’s argument was that staff would spend all their time on the phone talking to friends. It didn’t happen.

It’s never been about the technology? It wasn’t back then and it isn’t now. It’s always been about managing the staff. Don’t block social media, because in reality your staff might be able to help promote the company or create good content for you.

Then there is the IT departments. Why do some IT departments hate social media marketing?

Why to they never phone you up and say, “Listen we’ve just seen this new App, and the marketing opportunities for you are amazing”? No, it’s me that phones them and says, “I’ve just seen this new App and the marketing opportunities are amazing?”

IT departments hate social media marketing

And they say, “We can’t let you use that we haven’t the bandwidth.”

Or, “We’ll leave ourselves open to infection with nasty viruses.”

Or, “We can’t take the risk of data leakage.”

You can’t fight against innovation you need to embrace it. No doubt some people resisted in introduction of mobile phones and of the Internet itself. But now it’s impossible to imagine life without these. But HR and IT resistance can hinder big businesses and give smaller players the advantage.

Social media and content are changing the way we engage with consumers, and unlike traditional marketing communications channels they are not restricted to those with huge advertising budgets.

The smallest business can take advantage of these wonderful innovations and make themselves visible. And when you are visible and you give people answers they want, they will want to do business with you.

Over to you: Have you experienced resistance to using social media from your own HR and IT departments? How have you addressed their concerns. Have you got them on board? Please leave a comment by clicking on “leave a reply” below here.

3 Fitness Marketing Tips inspired by a Dragon

Last year I spent a couple of weeks traveling the UK doing a roadshow for my day job. Our guest presenter was well known Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne. Through his contribution to the seminars, and over a few drinks and dinners, it was fascinating to hear his stories about how he built up, first a care home chain, and now an empire of health and fitness clubs. Given my alter ego as a fitness and Yoga instructor, and my keen interest in the fitness industry, his insights into marketing, communications and business development were relevant for both my guises.

fitness marketing tips inspired by a dragon

Here are some of the fitness marketing tips I came away with which I think will interest to my fitness friends.

1) PR your business within the local community

This is not just about advertising in local newspapers, it’s developing PR relationships with those newspapers. Getting onto local radio. Sponsoring events in local schools and clubs. And above all embracing social media to create a network of links across Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to draw visitors to your website.

For more on PR see my earlier blog on PR for fitness professionals.

2) Seek business development opportunities from change

When Margaret Thatcher changed legislation for the care of the elderly in the 1980s, Bannatyne cashed in on this opportunity by building a chain of care homes. Whilst we are not seeing legislative change in the fitness industry it is still evolving daily. New programmes like ViPR create opportunities for new adopters. And just look at the success of Zumba and how that has taken fitness out of the club chains and back into the community. Some instructors have tapped into the huge demand for Zumba and seen their earnings rocket.

The most exciting change is in marketing itself and this makes it easier to be successful. The Internet has ushered in a new era of “content based marketing” (know as inbound marketing by academics). Until recently we have been more used to “interruption marketing” (known as outbound marketing).

That’s adverts on TV, unsolicited calls, junk mail; i.e. stuff that companies bombard us with to try and get us to buy their products and experiences. With content marketing the customer is in control because they are the ones searching the web for information. Whether it is the price of clothes, the cost of a car, or information about a new fitness programme, they are searching for specifics. If you have a website or blog that provides content that meets that specific desire for information you can succeed at this new marketing style.

3 fitness marketing tips

As a fitness professional do you have your own website and blog? Maybe you think you haven’t got time or the writing skills to think of enough things to say. Well just create a list of all the questions your clients ask about exercise, diet, classes and lifestyle. Then provide the answers. There you immediately have the content you need. Get it online, ensure that the search engines can find it and customers will start to come.

Of course it isn’t quite that easy, but with a little planning this is an exciting way forward.

3) Relentlessly network for new ideas and opportunities

Network either online or face to face. Our industry colleagues, and again those in the local community, all face similar challenges but all will have different views and solutions as to how to solve them. Again through social media we have access to a world wide club of like minded people, and a library of ideas, and business tools.

But the most important lesson a entrepreneurial Dragon can impart is to “get on and do it”. Yes there is information out there. You could read websites and white papers on how to use content marketing forever. The best thing to do to expand your business is to do more marketing straight away.

Over to you: Have you been successfully marketing your business via a blog or content based website? What are your fitness marketing tips? Please leave a comment and post a link. Would you like to read more on this subject on this blog? Please let me know.