4:31 — Tony is incredibly excited to see Life Time Fitness members in the audience and thanks them for their membership. Now they “know a guy!”
4:33 — Tony: I’m here to talk about operationalizing social, scaling social, and then a philosophy called, “Think big, start small, move fast.” The philosophy is an entrepreneurial philosophy that guides how Life Time does business. Their messaging is to paint their brand as a healthy way of life destination — meaning they want to help people to find ways to meet their health objectives in an enjoyable way.
4:35 — Tony: Helping members find their interest area and fitness passion is our ultimate goal. That connection mirrors the social goal of connection — every team member within the club shares the same “why.”
4:37 — Tony shares how one way they use the social channels is to ask important questions. One example included asking members on Facebook what their fitness barriers were. Fantastic conversation ensued, and one of their members went from never attending a fitness class to attending two in a single day. Tony says that THIS is what matters, changing lives.
4:40 — Tony: We have clubs, fitness programs, and even events to offer our members. That means we are supporting 107 clubs spanning more than 600 social pages that factor in nearly 24,000 team members. So began the quest of using social to activate members of the club, despite the large number of social pages started by enthusiastic and well-intentioned employees that may have lacked strategy. It became apparent that the team members could play a larger role than they had previously and could really carry the social torch for the company.
4:42 — Tony: Team members seemed like great ambassadors because they are passionate, they’re experts in the realm of fitness, they have their own networks which go far beyond the organization’s network, and they have their own customers who trust the team members as a credible source.
4:43 — Tony asks, “How do we actually achieve this?”
4:44 — Tony: The first decision is where it will happen. We had to figure out what we actually wanted to do in social and how we could have our people on the ground translate their experiences into social.
4:46 — Tony: We created a very simple operating procedure for engaging on social: employees must know the organization’s mission, the “why” behind why something would go on social, a focus on members at all times, and a friendly and inviting tone. This way, there were guiding principles for posting, and then there was a brief training for interested employees before they were turned loose on the social world.
4:48 — Tony: In the first few weeks, engagement was… OK. People were trying things, and that was key! But then something excited happened: measurement showing that attendance increased when events were promoted on social really WOW’ed management.
4:49 — Tony: A few road bumps came up. Questions about how frequently things should be posted or how much time employees should be spending creating social content had to be answered. Tony and his team created a template to help address these needs. The commitment was boiled down to one 30-minute training call, 5-7 minutes to post, and then 1-2 times daily monitoring of posts and comments.
4:50 — Tony: We encouraged the organization to think of valuation — not ROI — because the only investment was employee time. Valuation was defined by impressions, clicks, and engagements. The company pays nothing for this exposure, so any of these provide value.
4:51 — Tony: Big wins were exponential impact and growth. The clubs generate 2,500 pieces of content a month and an estimated $740K in earned media! Conversation rates on the local pages are double that of the national page. It was great earned media exposure.
Q & A:
Q: Was the content calendar you provided to the clubs something mandatory or just a guide?
A: Tony: We wanted there to be no barriers to posting. If they were struggling to come up with something to post, they could use this calendar, but ultimately clubs had the autonomy to decide what material they used. Even the material we did provide on the content calendar could be modified to make it more relevant to the local clubs.
Q: Did the hyper-local focus negatively affect your national engagement?
A: Tony: From a search perspective, not at all — you still typically land on the national page. But we focus on different things. The national page is about inspiration, whereas the local page is about making things happen.
Q: Have you done anything with internal competition to promote greater engagement on the pages?
A: Tony: We use quarterly results across the whole company, between regions, and with our five “superstars” to help clubs earn bragging rights. This motivates the clubs to look good against their peers.
Q: Do you have an internal process for quality control?
A: Tony: We do monthly, informal audits for a handful of clubs, and then quarterly we do exhaustive, 90-day audits of content. That’s how we determine our quarterly results.
Q: When you set up all of the pages, did you make sure your national team had admin rights to all of the local pages?
A: Tony: Every one of our authorized pages gives my whole team admin rights, and we are the only ones across the company who have admin status for those pages. The local participants only have content rights to the pages.
Q: Do you determine who can and cannot post to a page in order to prevent employees posting inappropriate content?
A: Anyone who has undergone our training can contribute. The training session we use gives them guidelines about appropriate content and what our national branding will permit. This has served us well so far.