In 2008, 24 Hour Fitness was faced with a challenge. Customers were disgruntled by trends towards long-term contracts, constantly changing rates and inconsistent club experiences. Across social media there was a growing, negative, conversation about fitness clubs and 24 Hour Fitness was not immune. To add to the problem, they weren’t participating in the conversation. It was time for a change.
As Creative Director at their digital agency, I led the strategic planning for the brand’s entry into social media. We took them from zero participation to social interaction being a core business driver.
Starting with Facebook, we developed a series of internal seminars that brought together Marketing, PR, Customer Service and Product teams to align goals and launch a process of active listening across their customer’s social communities. We created a detailed, year-round content calendar that aligned with new club openings, events, promotions and fitness education. We built a Facebook app that allowed members with similar fitness goals to connect with one another and provide mentorship and support. We also created and managed live chats with sponsored athletes like Derek Jeter and Shaquille O'Neal.
As our audience grew, we built stand-alone Facebook pages for each of the 400+ clubs across the country. This effort allowed each club provide targeted local promotion opportunities and regional customization that is already light years ahead of the competition.
On Twitter, we created programs for customers to track their personal fitness progress on Twitter and follow sponsored Winter Olympic athletes in real time.
With Pinterest and Instagram, we developed custom workouts assessments and programs that fans could easily collect and implement at home. We also engaged the 24 Hour Fitness staff to collect their own personal fitness tips to inspire our audience.
We launched the official 24 Hour Fitness brand channel on Youtube, developing a hard working content strategy around the goals of customer acquisition, retention, cross-sell and up-sell. We created walk throughs of marquee clubs, equipment tutorials and class demonstrations. We also syndicated premium content from partnerships with the Biggest Loser and the Olympics.
In addition, we developed a comprehensive mobile strategy—starting with the first responsive design for the brand’s website as well as their first iOS and Android app.
In less than two years, we helped move 24 Hour Fitness from having no business model in the social space to incorporating a broad set of reliable tools, effective best practices and straight forward capabilities across their entire organization. As a result they have been able to reduce their overall marketing spend while continuing to increase their new member referrals and deliver a higher quality product to their members.