IHRSA Institute 2014 - Looking Forward To Teaching Social Media And Digital Strategies

Ok, so you know I love Gary Vaynerchuk . What makes me a big fan of Gary is that what he says gets to the heart of the matter and in this case that matter is how businesses, including health clubs, are marketing in 2014. By the way if you missed him at IHRSA this year I'm sorry because he was great. Another big reason I love Gary is this video he made for me - please watch it ;) and that's another story in and of itself.

The bottom line is many businesses, and health clubs, are marketing like its 2005. That's why I am excited to be teaching a class at the IHRSA Institute this year in Chapel Hill, NC on August 7, 2014. I'll get to share specifics as to how health clubs can use social media and digital strategies effectively.

Marketing is confusing to may business people today because marketing is changing. Heck its confusing to experts and whole industries. The whole idea of marketing is being redefined by an increasingly knowledgeable and connected consumer. As my colleague Denise Lee Yohn says, "Marketing Is Customer Experience". It used to be you could publish and push a story or a message, promote it and sell your service or product around it and that was marketing. Now the "Moments of Truth" are a continual process and cycle that involves much more than just the initial message and buy in. You see increasingly brands are suffering from a gap between what the brand is promising and what is being delivered. This reflects misguided efforts to push a message while failing to deliver what is necessary to delight the customer. The problem exists across all industries and health clubs are no exception.

Brian Solis's book What's The Future Of Business , explores the challenges of competing in the marketplace today and identifies the customer's brand journey and the new way companies have to consider today's dynamics to be successful. You see to be successful we have to think like its 2015 not 2005 .


Gary Vaynerchuk's book , Jab Jab Jab Right Hook , further details how we need to tell stories in a world where there is an increasing competition for consumer's attention.


I'll address these and many other sources and subjects at the 2014 IHRSA Institute next month and I am so looking forward to it. Hopefully you can be there for a fresh view on how your organization can adopt social media and digital strategies effectively.Thanks to the professionals at IHRSA for their kind invitation to attend.

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is a thought leader on technology, health club, consumer and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 800 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Before Jumping Into Paid Social Media Advertising - Keep These Tips In Mind

Social Media Platforms Are Offering New Types Of Paid Advertisement Opportunities. Here Are Some Things Health Club Owners Should Keep In Mind Before Taking The Plunge.

One of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior during the past decade is the increasing use of the Internet as a key part of decision making when people shop for goods and services. Health clubs are not immune from this trend and as a result, many marketers are evaluating and rethinking traditional advertising methods. The fact is that club members trust traditional advertising less and less. Therefore, marketing’s key goal should be to gain the trust of potential and existing customers. As a result smart health club owners and brands are evaluating their messages and engagement efforts closely (see my recent post Still Investing In Old School Advertising ? to learn more). They are also considering how customers are relying on social media networks more and more as part of the buying process.

Customers relied mainly on search engines like Google to obtain information from the Internet in the recent past as part of their buying process. However, more people are now spending time on Facebook and other social platforms than Google. As the age of Social Media has emerged, networks, including Google’s own new social platform Google+, are evaluating or actually providing paid advertising opportunities for businesses to reach customers in new ways. Given multiple online advertising options what should gym owners do? I recommend trying these new soadvertising options and here are five key things you should keep in mind if you do.

1. Plan For It

While being a different medium, paid advertising on social media platforms like Facebook still requires a plan and must fit inside the context of a business and marketing strategy. If your goal is to build your membership base by 15% and personal training revenues by 20% you need the marketing budget and promotional tactics to get those results. If you are ready to try paid advertising on social media platforms make certain you budget and plan for it. That often means you’ll have to spend less money on other forms of promotion as a result. Make sure you resource the advertising effort appropriately.

2. Know Who You Are Targeting

People who use social networks divulge a lot of personal information in their profiles, which is helpful to advertisers. Social networks like Facebook let you choose which groups you want your ads to reach. Health clubs can target ads based on profile information, like age, gender, location, and interests. You can choose to target people who are fans of your company's Facebook page or friends of your fans. You can avoid your fans altogether, if your goal is to broaden your pool of customers or target fans of competing gyms. You can also advertise only to Facebook users who mention certain words in their profiles or status messages. Knowing who you are targeting is really important so think about it.

3. Test A Lot 

Ad prices on Facebook and most other social networks are set by an auction process, similar to Google AdWords. You can pay based on the number of times people see an ad or how many times the ad is clicked. Most Facebook advertisers choose the click through payment method. However, it's worth testing both payment types to see which is more cost effective. Try spending $20 for a small advertisement using both methods. It's also very inexpensive and easy to test ads on different targeted groups you are trying to reach to discover what the most effective approaches are.

4. Track Campaigns

Services like Facebook track how many times your ads are shown and the number of clicks they receive. It doesn't track what users do after they click. For example, did the prospect join your gym or just visit your website as the result of the ad? This is a big drawback of Facebook's ad service, but there is a solution. While Facebook is working to include more information in its reporting tools its important to do your own tracking. Programs like Google Analytics, which is free, or HitsLink, can help to track which Facebook ads actually create new business. Use these services to track your campaigns.

5. Make Creative Ads

It's tough to get noticed so creating good ads is important. Usually ads from different advertisers run next to one another. Photos and messages from friends also compete for users' attention. You need to stand out and unconventional advertisements often work best.  Being irreverent, different and trying to share unconventional messages and images that connect with prospects is the most effective way to advertise. Be creative and your ads will generate better results.

With over 800 million Facebook users, social media platforms are becoming a viable place for health clubs to advertise because the ads can be highly targeted and cost effective.  As with any marketing medium, social networks require time and effort in order to generate results. Investing in social network advertising without keeping these things in mind can be a waste of your resources. Paid advertising on social networks is only good for health club owners if they take it seriously!

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness and health club companies. He serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and is a partner in The Health Club For Women and Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Still Investing In Old School Advertising ? Don't [VIDEO]

Advertising; its a big part of any marketing strategy, but I'm not sure many business owners, particularly in the health club industry or the fitness industry in general, understand it. A lot of marketing practices are flawed and as a result advertising resources wasted [burned hence the photo] and therefore I'd suggest people take time to carefully reevaluate their strategy and advertising campaigns.

Fundamental shifts have occurred in how people decide to buy. You've heard it, buyers don't trust advertising anymore. Fitness industry players, both in the B2C and B2B world need to reevaluate their messaging and engagement efforts in light of these changes.

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Think Mobile Trends & Social Media Are Related - You Bet They Are

The infographic above shows the current size of major social networks as well as the other well-known online services used on a daily basis relative to their peers. It also overlays the size of each company’s mobile user base. You’ll see Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, MySpace, LinkedIn, and more (wonder why Microsoft paid what they did for Skype?). Check out the agency’s infographic from last year to see the relative changes. Notable differences include: The rise of Chinese Qzone and Twitter, the fall of Myspace, and the stasis of Friendster.

Below are stats from JESS3 to consider. Please tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what are your thoughts about these trends ? Is your business, your fitness or wellness business or any business or organization for that matter, planning, thinking or preparing for the revolution tied to these technologies ? I look forward to hearing your thoughts about what is happening and what is next.

Some other notable trends in the geosocial universe, courtesy of JESS3:

  • Mobile: 5.3 billion mobile devices are used worldwide — that’s 77 percent of the world’s population
  • Smartphones: 21.8 percent of all mobile devices are smartphones. Despite what one might think, Apple does not top the list in sales—Nokia does
  • Skype: Mobile usage continues to increase thanks to Skype’s wise investment in apps and its mobile platform
  • Facebook: Now tops 629 million registered users with almost 250 million people accessing the site via mobile
  • Qzone: China’s version of Facebook, Qzone, is experiencing supernova-like growth with 480 million registered users
  • Twitter: Broke the 200 million registered user mark with nearly 40 percent of people tweeting via mobile
  • Email: Hotmail still dominates email, but Gmail is gaining fast
  • Yelp: Yelp is topping 50 million unique visitors per month. Its move to team up with OpenTable earlier this year will only increase its relevancy
  • Foursquare and Gowalla: These geosocial specialists are still growing, but growth seems to be slowing down a bit

NAYDO 2011 - How Social Media Is Changing Philanthropy

I had the pleasure yesterday to engage in an interesting event that brought together YMCA executives : NAYDO 2011 . Star Trac sponsored a reception at NAYDO where I shared key trends in social media and philanthropy. Lots of fun and thanks to all of you who attended, especially Lisa Ramirez and others from the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, one of our fitmarc customers. Watch this funny video with Sal Pellegrino in it from NAYDO.

When I say a revolution is happening that is and will turn every industry on its head, non-profits and philanthropy are no exception. The deck is included below. Please join the new Linkined group "ePhilanthropy" to learn more and engage in the conversation. What do you think ?

Contact me Bryan O'Rourke and share your views. Do you believe Social Media will revolutionize philanthropy and how ? Thanks to NAYDO


EPhilanthropy, NAYDO 2011
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