Let’s face it; It’s challenging to build a sense of community within a gym. You have people from all different backgrounds with individual interests, goals, and needs training under the same roof. Regardless of these differences, you need to find ways of bringing a sense of community to your membership base to truly develop brand loyalty.
What does “community” actually mean? The word is derived from the old French “comuneté,” which comes from the Latin “communitas” which means “public spirit.” The word describes a shared set of beliefs, needs, preferences, likes, and dislikes. I prefer “public spirit” as a way to communicate “community” building initiatives with my staff. I feel that public spirit is more straightforward to wrap your mind around and also gives a perception of a team atmosphere.
The following are some of the ways you can conquer the challenges that you encounter in building a gym community.
- Brag about staff
This technique is straightforward and practical. Take time to get to know the staff and brag about them and what they bring to your club. This works well with group fitness instructors and personal trainers. Both of these groups innately build teams or members that like their workouts and style of fitness. Bragging about them builds your relationship with them as well as giving your members a chance to chime in and provide their positive feedback and a gateway to interact with others the feel the same way.
- Facebook Groups
Creating a Facebook group that is exclusively for the member and allowing them to post pictures, comment on posts, like and contribute can help you to build a gym community. Give your members a social outlet to post their workouts and pictures. To go the extra mile, spend some time commenting on their posts. The members who post about their workouts and your club want to be noticed. Give them some recognition to see their loyalty increase tenfold.
- Give out branded swag!
Think about it; everyone likes T-shirts, hats, glasses, magnets, stickers… branded swag has a high perceived value and often minimal expense. This swag also can bring people together because when someone is rocking one of your branded t-shirts, and they see someone else wearing one it’s an instant connection. This branded gear makes them part of your tribe. This works the same way as when you meet with someone in a t-shirt of the sports team that you love you automatically feel that you have a connection.
- Nutrition Challenge
Develop a weight loss or a nutrition challenge for your members to participate in. Everyone loves competing especially when the competition has fun. The trial could be a long-term approach but works miracles in building teamwork. Create groups of staff and members that participate in local fitness runs and events. Sponsor these groups and give them some of the branded swag you ‘ve created. Then on race day show up and cheer on your group of brand ambassadors.
To have a real community at your gym, you must prove to your members that they are a part of the team. Communication is critical with this so keep your front desk on point using their name when they check in and out of the club. The essence of having a community and creating public spirit is to build relationships. Everyone wants to feel like they “belong.” Your engagement and efforts are necessary to establish this.