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Fitness centres pump up membership with social media

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Fitness centres are feeling the burn of social media. That’s gymrat-ese for “it’s working.”

According to a trend report by Australian debit service provider Ezypay, gyms are increasingly using established online people connectors such as Facebook and Twitter to bring their members together for lasting relationships with each other and their fitness centre. Some gyms are experimenting with Foursquare and Twitter Places to see what their focus on location can do.

“As the year has progressed more and more options have emerged that are highly relevant to the fitness industry,” said Celeste Kirby-Brown, Ezypay director of sales and marketing. “Many of the latest options are geared towards bringing online connections offline to encourage real world meetings and create genuine long term relationships that promote and encourage more participation in the group sessions, personal training sessions and self-start gym attendance.”

Brown’s trend report offers four “mass mingling” ideas for the fitness industry:

Meet a training buddy: Develop a place online — such as the gym’s fan page — where members can create a community, stating training preferences, fitness level, location and availability. Members then can make workout connections.

Find a personal trainer: Start with a directory of trainers, listing location, experiences and training specialities. But make it interactive by giving people a way to rate the trainer and post comments.

Fitness chef: Use a Facebook fan page to encourage members to share their healthy recipes. Develop a fitness-chef event and use the website to invite members and fans. Assemble the recipes in an e-book that’s downloadable from the gym’s site.

Sweat for charity: Offer trainer clients or gym members an online fitness journal. Add a journal login on the website and use it as a marketing tool. Taking it a step further, use the journals to create charity competitions or challenges among members.

“Social media has opened up so many opportunities for gyms to bring their communities back together for the benefit of both members and owners,” Celeste said. “We’ve seen many of our clients using social media to encourage the sharing of ideas, community building and membership growth.”

Image by lululemon athletica

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