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In Part 1 of a two-part series on best social media practices, Laurie Greenspan with the JCC of Greater Buffalo shares insights on why social media marketing is a must in today’s increasingly digital world.

In recent years, social media marketing has taken the industry by storm. The plethora of platforms can your message out and in front of your members in seconds. However, technology can be daunting and therefore, not an appealing marketing strategy to some rec centers.

Below, Laurie Greenspan, the director of marketing at the JCC of Greater Buffalo, shares, in her own words, five benefits of using social media marketing:

1. Speed

“Social media gets your message out quickly and if someone has a question, they can ask directly instead of phoning, and we can respond quickly to reviews or direct messaging — any time of day or night.”

2. Collaborating

“It’s also great for when you partner with another agency — you can tag them or make them a co-sponsor of a program and vice versa. That helps increase your audience because then all their ‘likes’ can see what you are doing, and you have access to a whole new audience.”

3. Building Relationships

“Social media is about building relationships. It helps to look at it like you are speaking to a friend  — you can let your hair down a bit and not be so proper. People tend to respond better to a friend — someone they can trust. You can show off your brand’s culture and personality, and stand out among the rest for the traits that make your brand different. You can attract new, quality employees and further improve your business.”

4. Improving Your Brand and Building a Trust Factor

“Because folks feel uninhibited behind the mask of the world wide web, they might say or ask for things they wouldn’t face-to-face. This feedback can be used creatively to make your brand look good in all kinds of situations. On average, people take into account 10 reviews of a local business before making a purchasing decision. When you respond to your reviews, both good and bad, customers get a better sense of who you are and can make a more informed decision.”

5. Watching the Competition

“You can keep track of what your competitors and fellow agencies are doing. Social media channels also allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of not just other marketing tactics and practices, but also with the tactics used by direct competitors. I monitor what other JCCs are posting and what other fitness centers are offering. I even monitor local institutions to see if they are doing something I can adapt as ours or be aware of, and make a strategy so they don’t take away members. If it’s something that may work well at our agency, I forward a screenshot on to the department head.”

Ultimately, implementing a social media marketing strategy can have a big payoff at your community rec center, and these five benefits are just a few. Even if your rec center is hesitant, social media platforms are where your members are, and where your facility should be too.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor of Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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