Hopefully over the last few years you have become more connected though the various types of social media outlets available. If you haven’t, you could be really missing out on driving class attendance and attracting new members. Keep in mind, that there are now a number of platforms that exist, and each of these platforms targets different demographics. If you are looking to differentiate your classes, whether as a facility manager or just a traveling instructor, you are going to need to dabble deeper into the world of social media.
According to Reuters, just over 2/3 of the American people flock to Facebook in order to receive their daily news. With more and more of the population logging on, it is time to get acclimated to Facebook. One of the first things to decide when using Facebook is do you want a separate page for your classes/business? The answer is usually an overwhelming yes because if you are going to post a lot (which you should), the people who are your friends that are not interested in aquatic fitness may decide to stop following you. Likewise, in today's political climate, someone may choose to not stop following your personal page, but still get the updates from what you post on your aquatic page. I would recommend setting up a personal page and keep it as active as possible. Facebook transcends almost all demographics today but is weakest with the younger generations. If you only use Facebook, there is a good chance you are missing a lot of advertising to those under 40.
Twitter still remains an anomaly to me because there doesn't seem to be an exact trend with who uses twitter. I think it is better now that they have increased the max characters to 280 and you can use pictures and videos, but it is not a platform that I think is as useful as Facebook and Instagram. However, to make sure you are not missing out; I would create an account and link to Instagram just to cover your bases!
Instagram is another unique platform that was created originally to share pictures. When posting to Instagram you must use a picture but can optionally use a caption if you so choose. As social media evolved since the early 2000's more emphasis has been placed on pictures and videos, which is why Facebook followed suit and started encouraging more pictures and videos when creating your own page. Instagram is a far more popular platform for younger generations, e.g. teens and those 20-50. So, if you're looking to reach out to this group, download the app and get started with your first post! The great thing about Instagram is that you can link your Facebook and Twitter accounts within your settings and really make yourself a major social media powerhouse. Post to all three platforms at once saving yourself time and energy.
Snapchat as it is today does not link to other platforms but has its own loyal following. Primarily for pictures and videos with some unique features that would take hours to explain. In terms of marketing, I'm not sure how beneficial this platform is and thus would recommend exploring at your leisure for now.
#EVERYTHING! Yes, you read that right. You can make a hashtag about anything now so try to make your own hashtag and use it every time you post. For instance, open up your Facebook or Instagram and search #aeawave or #aea. See what you find. Some people create fun hashtags like #waterwarrior or #splashandbefit. Be unique and create whatever you are comfortable with but be consistent! Always use your hashtags each and every time if you want to see your followers grow.
In short, because so many people are using various types of social media in their daily living, this is a great place to focus your attention for growing your business. To be the most efficient, get set up on all the platforms, but post to Instagram and link to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Snapchat is great but is still more in its infancy in terms of advertising. My advice would be to create an account and get comfortable with it first. Last but not least – #everything!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Craig Yaniglos is the Aquatic Fitness Director at the Hubbard Community Pool in northeast Ohio. Craig holds group fitness certifications with AEA, AFAA and ACE and is an AEA Aquatic Training Specialist and AEA CEC Provider. Craig is passionate about attracting all types of populations to the pool and educating aquatic fitness professionals around the globe.