Social Media and the Impact for the Future of Gymnastics – By Craig Zappa, Director/Co-Owner, ENA Paramus
Now, it’s their social media presence. I myself am now following all the collegiate teams and all the clubs I can find via their twitter or Facebook feeds. In the past, in order to find out what a club or team was doing was to go to each website and search for information on them. Now we can see what each team or club is doing on a daily basis.
How can this help my club?
Well, for starters, you can disseminate information at such an increased pace as never before. We use Twitter and Facebook on an almost daily basis. Reaching out and keeping the clientele informed is easier than ever. You can run contests to easily build up your “Likes” and followers. We have tried a free t-shirt after 10 check-ins, and we are going to start a vote on the best coloring age via Facebook. The client must “like” our Facebook page before they can vote.
We have reduced our postage cost by 50% over the last year by using email. In the past we would send a bill to every student for each session and then send reminders of payment. Since we do not use a Web based class management service, for my own personal reasons, we have to collect each email individually, 1100 students. We did a green initiative and gave a one-time $5.00 credit if you signed up for email statements. We saved the $5.00 after 3 sessions of enrollment of the student. Not only did we save on postage but we saved on office staff time by not having to stuff envelopes for hours on end.
As a club owner, I can’t think of anything more important than for students/parents knowing what is happening at gymnastics. We email, tweet, and post a “whats happening at ENA” at the beginning of each week, an idea from our office manager. We Tweet and post about closings, special events, team results and special news relating to the gym. One thing that bugs me is when a parent walks in and says “I didn’t know.”
How did we get to word out before? We posted flyers, we put up announcements, put ads in the paper, etc. This is a very inefficient way of doing things. Who actually sees the newspaper article and how much are we advertising for our competitors just by mentioning gymnastics in the ad. For the average student, they go where it is convenient for them at first. How many parents drop their kids off and don’t come in to see the flyers we put up and how many kids actually bring home the handouts we give?
What can we do now? By doing targeted email and social media advertising we have a much higher rate of success in getting the word out. Using social media to attract new gymnasts is based on what I call “internet word of mouth” or seeing something on someone else’s feed.
YouTube – We use this service to promote our competitive kids and highlight cool things that kids learn. The kids want to get their new skill on YouTube. We also use for college recruiting. This is, in my opinion, the best social media outlet for getting the word out on your athletes.
Venue’s for Social Media
- Facebook – Create a fan page of your gym and post information , pictures and video from your daily activities
- Twitter – “Tweet” short phrases about the activities of your gym on a regular basis.
- YouTube – Post videos of competitions and classes