Social Media For Your Gym - Pick a Lane and Stay In It

If you follow Cressey Sports Performance on any social media platform, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that we train baseball players. In fact, you may assume ballplayers to be just about the only type of athletes who walks through our doors in a given day.

Would it surprise you if I told you we have just a shade under 50 adults from the general fitness population who make it in for our Strength Camps three to four times per week? How about the fact that yesterday more than 50% of the semi-private clients who completed supervised training sessions in our Massachusetts facility were over 35 years of age and lifting weights because they knew it would improve their quality of life, and not their fastball?

We now generate roughly 25% of our revenue by working with general fitness population clients. We don’t, however, allocate that percentage of our social media outputs to that segment of the training population.

This isn’t to say that we’re uninspired by this collection of clients, or that we’re trying to hide something from people who follow our brand.

Instead, we’re making a deliberate choice to fine-tune our message. We’re opting to speak to a specific segment of the athletic population again and again. Our attitude is that if we want to be known for something (the baseball-specific training niche), we owe it to ourselves to stay on-message as often as possible. If you’re wondering why we’re okay with only marketing to a single audience, you can find a detailed explanation here.

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This approach would likely work in your performance training business as well. Instead of firing up the Instagram account today and wandering around aimlessly to collect sporadic content, maybe you should step into the gym with an actual game plan.

Here are three reasons why every performance training business could benefit from picking a specific audience and hammering away at it consistently in their social strategy, regardless of the variety of clients walking through the doors:

1. Picking a target reduces the stress of identifying worthy content.

I’ve come across a number of gym owners over the years who both resent the need to generate social media content (to drive leads), and feel overwhelmed by the task of doing so. Curating visuals that are intended to inspire people to pick up the phone to inquire about your services isn’t a task to be rushed, and the best way to alleviate this stress is to be consistent in the audience you are targeting.

If you are only concerning yourself with appealing to a single client avatar, you can be direct in your message and approach. No more snapping shots that vaguely show a mom, an athlete, and a grandparent scattered in the background with the intention of conveying the message that “all are welcome here at my gym.” Unless you’ve named your business “Nothing But Basketball Players,” it’s already assumed that all are welcome. You can stop advertising yourself as a jack of all trades and master of none.

Pick a type of athlete, concern yourself with learning the language of the sport, and begin speaking that language in your content. You’re far more likely to achieve perceived expert status if you get specific than you are in taking a generalist approach to content creation.

2. The feed is too noisy and cluttered to allow for “we do it all” to stand out.

Think of how you mindlessly scroll through the endless feed of Facebook and Instagram posts. For me, it’s the half hour after my wife and I get our kids down for bed. We’re both exhausted from a day of work and an evening of refereeing (this will make sense to you if you have two little kids), and all we want to do is zone out for “five to ten minutes” before re-engaging in conversation.

So, what do we do? We pick up our phones and unknowingly tune out the world for a five minute break that occasionally turns into thirty. When I come out of my haze of consuming images, videos and informational posts, rarely do I remember even 5% of what I just saw.

This sounds like you, right?

Stop kidding 100% does.

So what can we do as content creators to break the habits that result in unmemorable material? We can establish a level of consistency that allows for our audience to instinctually identify our posts based on look and feel.

People move quickly through the Instagram feed, often missing quality information simply because nothing caught their eye. If we’re consistent in the colors we choose, the fonts we utilize, and the filters employed, we increase the likelihood that the people we’re trying to reach spot our material while in the midst of an endless scroll.

Your goal should be for platform users to know they’ve reached a post from your gym before even bothering to read a caption or listen do dialogue. People should almost instantaneously think to themselves, that is obviously a post from Pete Dupuis every time they encounter one of my Instagram images showcasing a visual of a recent “business-specific” tweet.

(An example of the look and feel of roughly 90% of my own IG posts…)

(An example of the look and feel of roughly 90% of my own IG posts…)

Remember, your audience is there willingly. You didn’t hit the follow button for them, so you can interpret their strong engagement with any recent post as a demonstration that they’d like to see more of the same. You don’t need to continuously reinvent the wheel if you’ve found an approach that clicks.

3. Picking an audience means picking a proposed area of expertise to pursue.

I’ve yet to find a gym owner who isn’t interested in drawing clients from a wider geographic range than they already do.

How do we convince the kids from outside of a 15-min driving to make the trip to train with us?

The answer to this one is to establish perceived expertise. Youth baseball players can’t convince their parents to spend extra time in the car to go train at that place that makes no effort to differentiate itself on social media. “I’m not driving an extra hour in traffic to pay extra for something that you can get right around the corner for $10/month” is a far more likely response in this case than “let me grab my keys and checkbook.”

And this is good news for you…

I say this because forcing yourself to differentiate by picking a target population requires that you also force yourself to learn as much as possible about training them. There’s more free material out there on strength and conditioning than any individual coach or fitness team could ever consume, so the best way to establish a clear approach to information consumption is to get specific about your goals.

Spend all the extra time you can studying a specific topic, and the outcome will eventually be specificity in the material you feel compelled to share. The more nuanced your message, the more likely you are to establish yourself or your business as a destination training facility and not a fitness commodity.

People tune out the perceived generalists as they endure unnecessarily long commutes and crummy traffic to work with experts.

The algorithm is the least of your worries…

Everyone finds the energy to bitch about the ever-changing algorithm burying their posts from reaching current and potential clients, but few are honest with themselves about whether their information actually brings value in the first place.

So ask yourself: In a perfect world, where I could guarantee that my social media posts hit the newsfeed of my entire desired audience, would those people even hit the pause button as they scrolled by?

It’s probably time for you to get more intentional about the way you attack the content creation process.


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