This article will take you through;
- Engaging Your Community During Coronavirus
- Best practice for community engagement
- Communication tools
- Next steps and additional support
Engaging Your Community During Coronavirus
Recently there have been rapid and highly impactful changes across every industry. The fitness sector is no different, and COVID-19 has changed the way most gyms operate which has led to the temporary closure of many facilities across the world
Gyms and fitness studios that have spent years building up a brand, but now face the possibility of temporary closures. This situation may seem tough, but there is one thing that you can rely on to get you through this challenging time - your community of members.
At this time, more than ever, you will need your community. And, they will need you, especially if members have to isolate themselves socially. Depending on what stage your business is at, be it limited capacity classes, a reduced time table, or a complete movement to streaming live classes online, you will need to have a clear communication strategy to update and engage your members.
In this article, we will look at the best practice for all your communications, the main channels of communication you can use, and 5 ways to engage and update your members during this time.
Best practice for community engagement
Follow Official Guidelines Only
At the moment, our news channels, social media feeds, and Whatsapp groups are dominated by COVID-19. Sporting, cultural, and other large scale events have been temporarily suspended, meaning there is little else to discuss. Unfortunately, there have been incidents where false and misleading information has been spread about COVID-19, intending to cause panic. Any update you give to your members should be in line with advice from the WHO and your country's government. For example, in the USA, the CDC is the official source of health information, and its dedicated business page is here.
Positive Tone of Voice Is Key
Uncertainty and fear are some of the more common things people are feeling at the moment. With closures of businesses, social distancing, and isolation recommended for many people; there's been a shift in how people live their lives right now. Before this escalated, your studio and gym was likely a positive and motivating space for your members to break up their daily routine. Now, this positivity and motivation must be expressed in any communication you have with your members. With every message they get now likely to be negative in some way, position yourself as a friendly and positive voice in these uncertain times. Let your members know your plans for the future, talk about their goals and how you're going to help them stick to them.
Check out some of our suggested email templates here:
Define Clear Channels of Communication
If you have successfully built a strong community in your fitness business, you will no doubt have clear channels of communication between you and your members. If not, now is a great time to start. Focus on having one public arena where you and your members can talk. Also, have a private line of communication where your members can access you individually with any concerns or issues they may have. For public forums of discussion, a News section of your Member App is a great place to start. Even if this isn't part of your usual package, we have given you a temporary upgrade to get the help you reach your client's in the easiest way possible.
For more information on our new and improved Member App, read the following article;
One of the great things about today's world is that it's never been easier or cheaper to communicate through a range of different channels and platforms. The same applies to how we create content to get the message across. In truth, we are better prepared for the impact of COVID-19 than ever when it comes to reaching and engaging with our members remotely. Here are the main channels of communication you can use right now.
Using the Push messages is a great way to engage with your current members about updates to schedules and gym closures. Read more about using Push messages here;
Email and SMS
Both email and SMS are channels that you will no doubt be using regularly. For any communications that you send out, you must get them out on as many channels as you can to ensure each member gets updated with the latest updates from your gym or studio. For example, some members don't like participating in group chats, but you will have their email address from signing them up so you can connect with them there. Email can be specifically useful for sending out more detailed information such as workout and nutrition plans.
The News section of the Member App
The News section of the Member App is a great place to highlight important information like gym closure updates, class changes, etc, but it's also a great place to share teasers for Live Workout Classes or Pre-recorded Workout Classes that your hosting. Find out more about this feature here;
Social Media Marketing
Most people are constantly engaging with their social media channels, and around 45% of the world's population now use social media, spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes a day on various platforms. Most fitness business will have a presence on social media already, with Facebook and Instagram being the most effective platforms. We have detailed how you build communities on social media, and now it's more important than ever to do so. Use your social media channels to update followers about your studio or to share and promote workout plans, nutrition plans, and live workouts. On Instagram, especially, there are several ways to share updates, be it a regular post, a live stream, Stories, or Instagram TV.
As we discussed in the previous section of this article, group chats are an excellent platform for engaging with all your members in the one space. Most gyms and studios will have this set up already, typically Whatsapp is the most popular. Within these groups, you can update your members with the latest news on the status of classes or any online activity you will be doing. Members can also reassure and encourage each other. However, as we have laid clearly on the previous section, do not allow members to share unverified sources of information on COVID-19.
Next steps and additional support
You might also be interested in the following:
If you haven’t seen or read our previous emails please reach out now to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like to opt into free and discounted SMSs over the next few months.