Aug 3, 2016

Producing The Right Content to Capture Your Audience's Attention

This post was written by our guest blogger, Joe Hall. Joe has a wealth of experience in driving online engagement, and operates the social media strategy for the fast growing UK-based gym chain XERCISE4LESS, one of Perkville's clients.

Read Part 1 of this series here.

Now that you've established your audience and picked the right platform to reach them, you can't just sit around waiting for the likes and the followers to come flooding in.

This is where your content strategy comes into play.

Social Media Content Types

Is your audience going to appreciate short questions? Will they engage better with video?

These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when picking the right content to capture your audience's attention. Check out my break down of the content types and my suggested pro's and con's that come along when posting each type of content.

Meaningful images: If the image is right, your happier members of all ages will share, retweet, and repost it.

This type of content works well across most social media platforms. Prospective members may also be enticed to ask questions if they see a visual they can relate to. If the image is overly promotional, though, you won’t see as many shares from your audience.

(See what I say about posting offers/adverts to learn more about why you shouldn't post overly promotional messages.)

Below: Equinox uses a great visual to inspire their Instagram audience.

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Videos: If a picture speaks a thousand words, then what does a video do?

It tells a story! That's exactly what social media is about!

If the video is entertaining, younger generations are likely to share this type of content. Videos, albeit at different lengths, work well on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and Vine. It's worth allocating part of your marketing budget to video production.

There is a downside, however. If the video is too long, your audience may not engage with it. Keep it short and sweet.

Below: GoodLife Fitness in Canada posted a home workout video that racked up over 100 likes.

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Short Text-based Questions: If the question is easy to answer, your audience will get behind it.

Questions prompt your audience to comment on the post or tweet about it, thus driving more attention to your post. This type of content works tremendously well on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, and other social platforms, you'll need to ask questions through a video or visual. Services like Canva make this easy.

Below: OrangeTheory Fitness masters the short text-based post. Rather than asking a question, they invite members to fill in the blanks, a great move to boost comments.

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Competitions: If the prize is right for your audience, they’ll want to take part.

Run a contest using your social media accounts. Facebook, on one hand, isn’t too keen on competitions since there are specialized Facebook apps for holding sweepstakes, such as Woobox and Rafflecopter. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat don't have this problem, but you will need to host your competition through a visual or design.

Below: Gold’s Gym not only hosts a competition but also encourages its members to post on other social media platforms, giving all their channels some coverage.

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Stories: Inspire and inform through storytelling.

Earlier, I stated that social media is all about telling stories – when you use it effectively, you'll capture the all-important attention of your audience. The fitness industry’s success stories work brilliantly to inspire current members but also help to market your gym as a place to achieve results (which is essentially what most people join a gym to do). I always recommend you share member-related stories rather than stories about your organization.

Below: YouFit Health Clubs deliver a compelling Transformation Story from one of their members.

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News Stories: If the article is powerful enough to ride the emotions of the reader this type of post will be successful.

On Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Periscope, you'll have to get really creative to share a news story. Facebook, however, will reward you for sharing good content and accelerate the reach of contemporary articles as it acknowledges you as a credible source for sharing relevant news. On Twitter, your audience will appreciate a news story as more and more users are turning to Twitter to get news updates.

Don’t know where to start? Check out the website BuzzSumo, which allows you to see the most viral news articles related to your industry.

Below: Planet Fitness discusses how one member lost 97 lbs.

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Infographics: Combine the right images with the right statistics.

This type of content can work well across most mainstream social media platforms, but particularly Pinterest. As infographics often require your audience to engage for up to 60 seconds, they have to be very eye catching and meaningful to be effective on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where, in a cluttered newsfeed your audience has less room for paying attention.

Below: Fitbit showcases an infographic on how the best times to go to the gym.

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We'd love to hear what social media posts work best for you. Tell us in the comments below.