This excerpt is from a graded journal that was assigned in my undergrad internship exercise science class ~ 2011. It is old but relevant and shares first hand experience on how I started using social media (facebook) to better directly advertise to prospective clients and members. My use of social media has grown since then and I will post more tips and ideas as time goes on so keep checking back!
Another psychological and business concept I have learned is how people respond to different marketing tools. Before I started this internship, my supervisors use of social media was next to nothing, only posting about once a week. This lack of activity gave members no reason to follow our pages or to stay informed. Soon after, I made a suggestion to my supervisor that I should be given editing powers on the social media pages and that I could help post more gym related content. However, I soon realized that posting more doesn't guarantee more member activity, the key was interaction.
The gym's budget for putting advertisements (events, promotions, etc) in the news paper was about $600 a year. This budget only allowed us about 3-4 different ads so we had to pick wisely about what items needed the most promotion. Having a few weeks experience with our facebook page and seeing data of page views, posts, activity etc, I noticed the same half dozen people "sharing" our posts to all of their friends. This would get our weekly information out to a couple hundred but that doesn't match what the news paper can reach. After more thought of how to use social media to reach into the thousands to make it a more reliable marketing tool, and to save money I needed more shares.
People love the word "free" and will take advantage of anything that might earn them something of value. I used this fact to induce a reward system to our posts. Now whenever something important, events, or promotion is posted we set a minimum number of required "shares". If that number is met we give away a free tshirt randomly to one of the people who shared. After trying this out I identified several benefits of this then putting ads in the paper. First, the people sharing where typically members of the gym so they were sharing to their own friends who are perfect candidates for new members. Second, it was way more cost efficient since shirts cost us only $8 to be made, so we can give away 2 shirts a month and still come below ad budget. Third, you can see the data of activity of the post, views and the interaction of the members , with the news paper you cannot. Finally, having more tshirts out circulating in our town it is like having a walking billboard every time someone wears them.