A Simple Social Solution For Gym Marketing

When you have a business where you’ve put everything into it and you spend every waking hour of the day trying to get it going, when you’re always on call to respond to daily crises, you owe it to yourself to get every advantage possible. The humble hashtag might just be the thing to help you do that.

Do you have a social media hashtag for shout-outs about your gym?  The hashtag has become such a simple branding tool so quickly that it’s easy to overlook.  These little tags can get you some free advertising and credibility with a social media audience that you might’ve not yet considered.

Labelling Attention With Hashtags For Gyms

It’s pretty difficult to avoid the buzzwords of recent years and “hashtag” certainly qualifies as one of those. But here’s the thing: Hashtags are so simple that they almost had to invent themselves. Yes, the misuse and abuse of tags could easily be, uh… #awkward (sorry), but there is a beauty to the simplicity and catchiness that makes this part of social media so powerful.

You can apply tags that reflect the trends in the gym business like say #gym. A quick search on an online tool such as Hashtagify.me will turn up the top related tags and how they are being applied. But understand that just because it sounds good doesn’t mean that it’s safe. There have been numerous cases of brands and celebrities (or their managers/staff) jumping on tags too quickly and getting burned.#hashtag

Find A Hashtag To Tie Your Social Media Campaigns Together

To get the most out of tags, create your own unique tag to attach to your social media messages.  The How To Hashtag website sets out some rules that define how to make that happen. For a longer introduction and usage guide, the Hashtagify.com website has a four-page tutorial that goes into greater detail. These guides are well worth reading to get the backstory and general etiquette involved. I have briefly paraphrased them here:

  • Define your tag to suit your brand
  • Don’t overuse your tag
  • Keep tags short
  • Beware of outrageous alternative meanings
  • Check for current usage to avoid unfortunate crossovers
  • Reference your brand with a bit of style
  • Two tags on Twitter but on other channels such as Instagram and Tumblr you can use many more
  • No spaces or punctuation as these automatically end tags

The #mycalvins tag is a good example of what to do. The first brand and product that you associate to it when you see the tag is probably the right one. The best practice is to use it in a way that directly references your brand.

If you can create the engagement, your members will figure out exactly how to use your hashtag on their own. When one member starts to use your tag it doesn’t mean much, but when their friends all join in then you really have something. A little buy-in from members of your gym’s community will have a dramatic effect on how well you are known.

Going Viral The Right Way

The dangers of misunderstandings that have led to so-called Internet shaming and recriminations have been epic and literally destroyed careers in the last five years. So a severe warning is in order but at the same time, if you stick within the bounds of polite conversation and think before you post you can do so safely. The Internet is a very literal place; you cannot assume that anyone is going to get the context of your publicly shared ironic in-joke.

Social media and the sort of things that they bring to us are new and young and developing rapidly. Done right, hashtags can get some low-cost marketing buzz going. It’s worth the risk of negative feedback; you might even be able to get a sense of how you’re perceived that would never occur otherwise. That means that a bad response is better than no response at all, as long as you make an effort to pay attention and take action in response.

Bibliography

Fagan, Lawrence. First Things First In Digital Name Selection. February 19, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3156-first-things-first-in-digital-name-selection/ (accessed October 4, 2015).

Hashtagify Me. Hashtags 101. 2015. http://hashtagify.me/orientation/hashtags_101_power_of_hashtags_marketing (accessed November 23, 2015).

Hurlburt, Brittany. Hashtag Fails That Are Downright Embarrassing. 2015. http://blog.loginradius.com/2015/04/hashtag-fails/ (accessed November 23, 2015).

Ido8all. #Fail, Brands That Misused Hashtags. May 11, 2014. http://ido8all.com/2014/11/05/fail-brands-that-misused-hashtags/ (accessed November 23, 2015).

Kalner Williams, Lisa. 5 Must-Dos When Using Popular Instagram Hashtags. May 27, 2015. http://www.agorapulse.com/blog/popular-instagram-hashtags (accessed November 23, 2015).

Missbird, Amber. How To Hashtag. http://www.howtohashtag.com/ (accessed November 23, 2015).

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