The most successful brands develop "cult-like" followings. They create advertisements by getting their customersto talk about them... a lot. They have the community aspect down to a science.They build relationships and those relationships build communities. Their brand becomes unstoppable.
We are not in the fitness business, we arein the relationship business. Our relationships are our biggest allies inhaving a successful, profitable business. The best among us build relationships and communities fast and thus thrive, the ones who can't struggle and fizzle out. To take it a step further, when your customers spread the gospel of your business, it is your best marketing and advertising that you could ever want.People will enjoy coming to your facility, not only because of the results they see but because they enjoy being in the environment and everyone knows everyone. It becomes a second home. This is a community.
So as a fitness professional how to do youcreate a community? Well lets define what I am calling a community. A communityis a group of individuals who interact with a brand as well as with each other,motivating and inspiring each other along the way. This can be in the physical (while at the gym) or via other outlets, most notably social media. In addition, the community will interact with the outside community, singing the praises of he brand to anyone who will listen. Finally, the brand and the community will have a cause that they support, such as a local charity, where they invite others into the community to share common beliefs and activities.
For me and my business, this has proved more successful than any other marketing/advertising campaign I could come up with. Community outreach both inside and outside my studio has taken mybusiness to new heights. Here are some important nuggets of information to remember:
Community Starts with You
The driver of the fitness community is youand how you interact with your clients. Go above and beyond the call of duty, interacting with your clients as much as you can via phone calls, text messages, emails and social media. Show them you care and are willing to help them as much aspossible. You will build trust and loyalty, the bases for allcommunities.
The Environment Matters
Most people are intimidated of gyms andstudios. They would rather go to the dentist than walk in a gym. Knowing that you can overcome it by being inviting and caring. Create an environment around you that shows how much you care about your clients and members. Interact with them, talk to them, high five them. Being a positive person in a negative worldgoes a long way with most people.
Use Your Resources
Social media is the biggest way you can build a community with people who don't know each other. Creative and motivational posts go a long way with most clients, especially if they are tagged with one another. This way your fans can get to know each other. Also, highlighting particular clients via video or pictures helps in associating your brand with community and educating the masses on what you are about.
Do Things as a Team
At my studio, every year, we have an event where we invite all clients and significant others. We supply food and let them interact with each other, getting to know each other better. This is a gamechanger in my opinion. Also, we do run/walks as a team. Everyone wants to be a part of something, give your clients a chance to be a part of your team and thus apart of your brand.