As we are coming to the end of 2018, now is a great time to start planning your 2019 social media strategies. But social media is always changing so it is important to keep an eye on any new developments which you can take advantage of in the New Year.
To help you stay ahead of the curve, read my top 10 social media trends for 2019 and how you can use them for your fitness business
1. The Power of Podcasting
Podcasts are on demand audio files which can be listened to over the Internet whenever you like. Anyone with a smartphone and the right app can create their own radio-like show.
A podcast is a simple, cost-efficient way of expressing your thoughts, values, and processes in front of your ideal customers on a regular basis.
Podcasting is not new and there are millions of podcasts you can access, however I anticipate more and more people will start to tap into the potential of podcasts.
This medium not only guarantees reach but is also a great way for you to share more intimate and profound thoughts, opinions and advice with your audience on a personal level.
You could do a weekly podcast on health and fitness issues, answering questions people submit to you or interview clients to talk about their fitness journey. So if you are not already doing regular podcasts, consider adding this to your social media plans.
2. The rise of Generation Z
Generation Z (those born after 1995) are now starting to enter the workforce. This means they have money to spend including fitness memberships and health related goods and services.
If you feel this is a good target for your fitness business, then look at starting to target this generation now. Generation Z know all about the benefits of an active lifestyle and regular exercise. They were raised with the perception that wellness is about a holistic balance. This generation could even be the ones that reverse the trend of expanding waistlines and soaring levels of lifestyle related diseases.
Generation Z know much more about healthy lifestyles, from a very young age, than any previous generation. Having a health-aware generation means a great future for the fitness and wellness industries.
Generation Z was born surrounded by technology so the best way to develop a relationship with them is through social media. They use social apps almost constantly throughout the day, so ensure you are on their radar.
If you are targeting this audience, make sure you are on YouTube to show people what you do, giving them information and building your following. Start doing videos and giving people information in order to build that authenticity and credibility you need to develop the relationship.
Snapchat and Youtube is where Z-ers go to search for information, to learn how to do things and to follow influencers they admire. So make sure you have a presence on these channels.
3. Live Video
Video marketing is an interactive way to deliver your brand’s message and grab the attention of your audience. It can dramatically help in increasing engagement on social media.
Live video as a part of a video marketing strategy is gaining popularity. I expect this will be an even bigger trend in 2019. People spend three times more watching a Facebook Live video compared to pre-recorded videos.
Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have introduced the live streaming concept to make people share their life events with their friends and family.
The concept of live video is evolving and it is a great way to strengthen the bond and connection with your fans on a more human level. It also lets people participate in brand storytelling in ways that can enhance the consumer experience. You could use Facebook live to record a class, give a live tour of your fitness business, host Q&As, run live contests, post demo videos and so forth.
4. Messenger Apps
After social media, the rise of social messaging is the next transformational shift that’s now happening. People used to communicate with businesses via the phone, then emails, and then social media. Now, it’s social messaging.
In fact, social messaging has already surpassed social media usage. According to Business Insider, there are more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn). Facebook Messenger alone has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users and Instagram is officially testing a standalone messaging app.
The growth in social messaging is not showing signs of slowing down. Despite having three years of double-digit growth, the number of mobile messaging users is still growing at a significant rate.
Facebook studied the messaging behavior of 12,500 people across 14 markets to understand consumers’ growing preference for messaging businesses. They found that messaging is helping businesses connect with their customers more than ever. Consumers use messaging to ask businesses questions, make appointments and purchases, and provide feedback.
So how can you use Messengers for your fitness business?
- Deliver great content (people may want to receive updates via Messenger rather than email so ask people what they prefer),
- Use Facebook Messenger ads to re-engage potential clients,
- Reach your clients one-on-one (Facebook posts can easily be missed),
- Offer great unique services.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is basically when a business collaborates with an influential person on social media to promote a product, service or campaign. For more on Influencer Marketing, read my blog on the top 10 tips to successful influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing was big in 2018 and I can only seeing it play a bigger role in 2019. Some tips for successful influencer marketing in 2019:
- Take your influencer relationship from transactional to partnership, treat them as a human being and not as a marketing channel.
- Be consistent in your communication, outline what you want from the very beginning, avoid micromanagement and always approach them with the mindset that it’ll be a long-term arrangement.
- The content which you collaborate with your influencers on needs to be unique and add value to your target audience. Blatant promotions that are in your face and offer no added value won’t position your brand as an organisation that followers can engage with or create a connection with.
- Although the majority of influencers do exist on Instagram, it’s always worth considering other channels when searching for the right people to work with. A part of this is knowing your audience and what platforms they like to devote their time to and interact with.
6. User-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content is content created by unpaid fans of businesses that you can use to promote your business. So I am basically referring to content for your brand that you didn’t create yourself.
It can come in the form of photos, videos, or memes. Doing this is a fantastic way of getting your customers involved with the business strategy, which leads to a better overall customer experience.
People often get tired of brands trying to persuade them to buy their products with canned messages and flawless images. User-generated content personalises and makes a business more authentic in ways businesses simply can’t and is a great way to connect with people.
So what are some ways your fitness business can use UGC:
- Combine UGC with contests and giveaways,
- Partner with speakers, sponsors or influencers,
- Word-of-mouth reviews and testimonials (these probably play the most significant role in this area).
7. Messenger Marketing
So you know how you get all these emails and occasional text messages from brands trying to sell you something? Well, messenger marketing is the next step. And if you just thought “But I hate those emails!” – messenger marketing is different. Studies show that messaging apps have open rates, read rates and click through rates as much as 10 times more than those of emails and SMS.
Messenger marketing is quite different from more traditional means such as SMS and email. You get messages voluntarily. Before sending a message, a marketer will need permission. Moreover, if you ever change your mind, it’s much easier to opt out — we all know how annoyingly difficult it can be to unsubscribe from a newsletter.
The nature of messenger apps makes your message short and straight to the point, which is often more appreciated by people who are used to fast content consumption.
With messenger marketing, you’re not just sending out a plain notification, you’re starting a conversation, you’re giving the client a chance to respond and make a connection. Relationships are the most valuable thing a brand can have, and messenger marketing allows you to build them more easily.
8. Social media stories
With the growing popularity of social media “stories,” it is important for you to consider this format in your digital marketing strategy. Savvy marketers can even make use of live video, one of the most profitable social rollouts to date, to promote engagement and brand awareness.
First Snapchat came out with the concept of “My Story” then Instagram and Facebook stories were introduced and now YouTube have unveiled their own story format “Reels.”
Since stories disappear after a set period of time, this is a great opportunity to make use of FOMO (fear of missing out). You can feature your employees in the Stories, show exclusive behind the scenes, ask for reviews about your products and services or have a 24 hour fire sale.
Chatbots are programs built to automatically engage with received messages. They can be programmed to respond the same way each time, to respond differently to messages containing certain keywords and even to use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation.
Chatbots leverage chat mediums like SMS text, website chat windows and social messaging services across platforms like Facebook and Twitter to receive and respond to messages.
One way to stay competitive in the fitness industry is to automate as many of your processes as possible. This is going to save you time and money, generate leads and revenue, and provide after hours support.
If you don’t have any chatbots and want to get started:
- Define your goals and what you want your chatbot to achieve.
- Choose where to use the chatbot (such as your web site, Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Message).
- Think about the most common questions asked and what the answers will be (such as opening hours and prices).
- Think about your bot’s tone and personality (and make sure it reflects your own).
Social media storytelling is telling a compelling story that inspires people to take a desired action with your brand. You are not pushing anything on your audience, you are entertaining them with your message.
The in-your-face marketing of yesteryear — radio, television, and print — has been unseated by digital storytelling. Consumers and buyers expect more from everything now. They are customising their experiences to get what they want and need.
With social media, the goal is not to interrupt that experience with your Facebook ad or promotional tweet. That’s adding to the noise, not standing out from it. The goal is to tell a great story that gently leads to a sale. Building your social media campaigns around stories helps you stand out from your competitors and will grab the attention of your audience.
There are a few ways you can craft a story:
- Create a Facebook photo album,
- Produce a series of videosUse live video,
- Sequence your ads,
- Use stories,
- Use your own hashtags,
- Create a Youtube channel or playlist.