Friday, 28 January 2011

(How to use) Social Media for Member Retention

Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are part of many clubs’ marketing strategy. The focus is often on getting more members. However sites like Facebook can also play a big part in member retention, or getting your existing members more active, more often.

The golden rule of social media engagement is to plan before you start. You should educate, encourage and acknowledge your members on the channels that they use.

Educating is relatively simple; let members know about classes, challenges, events and the like. To get the most from social media and extend your reach you need to identify the influencers and amplifiers among your members. These are the ones who forward invites onto their contacts; both existing members and prospects. Then reward these influencers – a thank you is a good start, and for some members will be all the reward they need to continue spreading the word.

Encouraging members towards their goals and congratulating them on reaching a goal is another great use of social media for retention. While all goals are individual, achieving a goal is something every member can do. Whether it’s visiting once a week for 2 months, running 20k a month, or bench pressing 10 x 100kg, a Tweet or Facebook message saying “well done” goes a long way, especially if 10 more of the members friends ‘like’ it.

Publishing members’ photos when they achieve something (as individuals or as a team) can have a really positive effect. This can serve as a reminder of their achievement, particularly with ‘before and after’ photos. When you ask for a testimonial, ask to take a quick video as well. This reminds the member of the value they’re getting, and strengthens their bond with your club.

Location-based services like Foursquare are a great way of identifying and rewarding members who shout about your club. There’s more to it than the Gym Rat badge (awarded if you visit a gym more than 10 times in 30 days). Acknowledge or reward your ‘mayor’ (user who checks-in the most), and give specials to members based on number or frequency of check-ins.

These are just a few ideas of how to use social media for member retention. Many tools are free (check out Socialoomph, Cotweet, Howsociable), but they take time and resource to manage. Find out more, get some examples, or add your own thoughts as comments below. Most importantly, ask your members which channels they use and what interactions they would like.

This is an extract from Workout Magazine - February 2011


albert marshal said...

Oganizations with membership recruitment, retention can benefit from membership surveys….

guygriff said...

Thanks Albert, you're right of course, surveys are a great retention tool. Look out for our survey tips & tricks article coming soon.