This is a guest post contributed by Mara Thompson, owner of Social Status, a social media company helping wellness thrive online using proven methods and strategies for local growth. With over 10 years of experience using organic strategies and expanding with Facebook advertising for yoga and fitness businesses, Mara’s insider industry knowledge is that edge you need to drive traffic, increase your online presence, and increase studio profits.
It seems like every day, there is a new tool or app that makes social media easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to take advantage of. These apps make it possible for almost anyone—with a bit of vision and dedication—to put together a brand's social media plan and execute it like a pro.
Social Media expert, Mara Thompson, has tried every app that comes out that can save time, money, or stress. There have been a LOT of them, and some have made life easier. Others,not so much. With so many new apps and tools coming to the market to help entrepreneurs, Mara shares her top five that she (and studio fitness business owners!) can’t live without.
Hands down, Canva is the BEST design tool on the market. It's simple, user-friendly, and incredibly inspiring when you have no idea where to start.
Canva helps you create unique and engaging content for anything, including social media posts, slide show presentations, PDFs, business card designs, posters, branded assets, and so much more. It was launched in 2013 with a mission to empower people to design anything and publish it anywhere, and boy have they delivered!
The basic account is free to sign up. Once you have your account, you can choose to upgrade to Canva Pro to access ALL the features (highly recommend—it's only $119 for a years' subscription).
If you have no idea where to begin with a design, there are thousands of templates to choose from to get you started! There are also so many fantastic stock photos to use royalty-free If you don't have professional branded photos yet, Canva's got your back!
To keep you on brand, set up your 'Brand Kit' with your business's colors, fonts, and logos making everything easily accessible in any design or template.
Canva is always staying with the trends to up their ante and add in new features. There is always something new and valuable to look forward to and utilize.
Ditch the communication notebook at the front desk and use Slack instead for your fitness studio! Slack is easy, quick to communicate with your team, and portable so everyone can access their messages right away and get notifications on their phones or computers. Likely, you have many employees that you’re managing, and using an app like Slack can help keep you all organized and on the same page.
We get it, you’re a fitness guru, not a social media whiz! So you may have a team member or two helping you out with your strategy and content creation. Slack can bring it all together by providing you an accessible platform to keep all your social media plans in one place and visible for everyone to approve and provide insight. Communicate with a private channel dedicated to social media where you can assign specific tasks, share strategy ideas, brainstorm, create checklists, and even link calendars to.
Slack eliminates the need for group chats or emailing team members and gives everyone one user-friendly space to talk about what your studio needs in one organized place. Bonus, if you have multiple studio locations with different team members, you can easily separate the teams and social media channels for each location.
We get it, you’re busy running your fitness studio so using a scheduling software is the number one thing you need to achieve organizational bliss. If you have multiple social media platforms (which you should), then my most significant piece of advice is to simplify your life by scheduling your content in advance.
Once your team has coordinated everything in Slack, and your content is built in Canva, Planoly or Creator Studio is your next step to managing your socials.
When you use scheduling software, you can schedule content ahead of time so you don't have to stress about what to post and when it should be posted. You also don’t need to log into your accounts to post content manually every single day.
Planoly is my favorite for Instagram for a few reasons. It allows you to easily plan out and schedule posts in advance, and it gives you a visual of what your grid will look like before publishing. You can save your key hashtags to have at your fingertips for any post. Lastly, their analytics are the most comprehensive in the industry, yet they are still easy to understand.
Analytics are essential because they can help you figure out what is working well and what is not so you can optimize your social strategy accordingly.
The only negative thing about Planoly that I've experienced is sometimes videos and carousels fail to auto-post, but I have a simple solution, cue Facebook Creator Studio!
Facebook Creator Studio can be accessed by everyone who has a Facebook Business page; it's completely free and the most reliable! You can schedule content on both Facebook and Instagram in Creator Studio, as well as IGTV. I've found it is the best place to post videos and carousels on Instagram without worrying about your scheduled posts failing.
This is the most underestimated tool but easily the most important for any fitness studio. Google Drive gives you access to powerful business applications to use for social media and so much more such as spreadsheets, documents, forms, and storage.
Google Sheets creates powerful spreadsheets, which I use for all of my clients' Social Media Calendar templates and tracking important data. Google Docs is their word processing software to create social media post copy, content brainstorms, agendas, meeting minutes, blog post drafts, and almost anything you can imagine. Google Forms are perfect when you need to collect data to create student and team spotlights on social media.
And most importantly, it is a drive to organize ALL of your social media content in one place without any hassles of individual accounts needing to upgrade to access stuff. You can store your studio photos or workout videos to use on your socials, and all of your team can be connected to access the files.
Plus, all documents are live, meaning they're updated for everyone instantly. If you need to go in and approve posts on the social media calendar, you can do it quickly so your team can get to scheduling sooner.
And bonus, if you use Slack, you can integrate your Google Drive and get notifications when new files are added to the Drive, or documents when you’ve been tagged to approve updates.
Adobe Rush, the entry-level version of Premiere Pro, is an all-in-one video editing tool that you can use on Mac or PC. Desktop and mobile app versions are available.
It's super simple to learn and understand as a beginner. One of my favorite features is that you can resize videos for YouTube (16:9), story (9:16), and Instagram (1:1) so you can easily create videos for any social media platform. Rush has a great selection of transitions, elements, and titles that you can easily add to your videos. You can also customize your videos as much as you want with your own brand elements.
Adobe Rush produces polished, professional-looking videos that you can create on your own!
My top takeaways from Adobe Rush:
Social Media has become one of the best, most effective and, let's face it, interactive ways to reach your community. Every business, no matter what size, can now reach more people than with old-school marketing efforts. You have an opportunity to show the world exactly who you are and what you do.
With these 5 key tools, you can take your marketing and social media efforts into your own hands. Your only limit is your imagination!
It's time to plan for your boutique gym's Black Friday campaigns. Studio owners will often pull out the previous year's deals, dust them off, and send them back out, but let's look at your offers strategically this year to get the results that will support your business.
You want your boutique fitness studio or gym to be the best. You likely even have an idea of everything your studio needs to attract more clients, compete against other studios, or fulfill the dream you set out to create.