For those of you into healthy living, you have likely witnessed the merger of your fitness and digital worlds. I am no exception.
On my Facebook newsfeed, my spin instructor friend has announced an open spot in her 6:30pm spin class. When I check Foursquare, I can see that my friend Mike just checked into the Whole Foods, and is still the mayor of the organic restaurant across the street. And even though I want to make an excuse to skip a yoga class, the Mind Body yoga app on my i-Phone shows me that there are still 74 yoga classes happening before the day is done. And not to mention the various Facebook posts from friends who are “hitting up the gym” or “out on a long run.”
In my digital world, signs of healthy living are inescapable.
Hence, the fitness and wellness crowd is a great example of using social media to communicate, collaborate, motivate, and create community in a landscape that might otherwise be occupied by silos.
But what does this mean for brands? The adoption of social media by the fitness and wellness worlds benefits businesses in at least four ways:
1) Drive sales. The communication happening in the C-to-C space directly supports the B-to-C relationship. The more pressure I feel from my friends to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle, the more I will frequent my gym, go for a run, buy organic products at Whole Foods, or get new shoes from the local running store. Having a sense of accountability inspires energy, and energy inspires transactions. This can directly impact a business’s bottom line – for the better. By amplifying consumer activity, social media generates further spending activity.
2) Build and protect your consumer base. In the same vein, if your business is based on a healthy lifestyle, your consumers’ motivation to continue living healthy is essential. If too many “fall off the wagon,” it could have an adverse impact on your bottom line. Thus, the social pressure felt by consumers via social media fosters growth of your consumer base.
3) Spread your message. The beauty of the fitness and wellness industry is that it is broad enough to encompass a large consumer base, and involves products and services that center on lifestyle. This makes it easier to spread your message and create a dialogue with consumers because you have a built-in community of people excited to talk about what they love to do. For example, yoga retailer lululemon athletica may tweet back to me, “Did you enjoy the community yoga class today @kellylferraro?” While never mentioning the fact that it sells yoga apparel, lululemon has spread the message of the lifestyle it promotes while creating an organic connection. So, social media allows fitness and wellness brands to easily insert themselves into already-existing conversations and communities established around healthy lifestyle.
4) Create B-to-B relationships to boost your business. On Facebook, I have noticed that gyms and fitness studios have felt pressure from each other to join Facebook and start Twitter handles. I have also seen trainers and local gym and fitness studio owners become “introduced” through mutual friends or associations, then end up collaborating together on events, blog posts, and promotions. I imagine that this dynamic could likewise extend to larger businesses– for example, a manufacturer of jump ropes could easily pair with a running shoe manufacturer for a jump rope for charity event. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can help create these B-to-B connections, and enable brands to “keep tabs” on each other in case of future business opportunities.
Comments? How have you seen health, wellness, and fitness lifestyle brands make creative use of social media?