Setting Up Your Gymnastics Club Facebook Page

gymnastics club

Facebook has grown dramatically over the last few years. You don’t need us to tell you that story; Hollywood has already done so in the film The Social Network. Facebook is huge, mammoth huge, well-over-a-billion-people huge, growing from the dorm room of a university student to the rooms of grandparents globally.

We all know this means a lot for us, and chances are you’re reading this because you know there’s more that you could do to ensure that you get the most out of your Facebook activity for your organisation.

Facebook dominates the social media strategy of any organisation, and rightly so. Some argue that because Facebook attracts people who are looking to spend time socialising, having fun, playing games and watching videos that it’s not a suitable place for businesses. Others counteract that by stating that because of the very fact that so many people are on Facebook, it’s essential to go where your customers and potential customers are. What do you think?

There are always rumours of Facebook’s demise. Initially, it was the lack of advertising presence on mobile. More currently it’s the growth of apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat. After Facebook developed into a publicly owned company, the share price dramatically dropped. Since then, and at current date of publication of this, the share price has risen in an ongoing manner and continues to rise. The truth is Facebook is not only innovative but also ruthless in the way that it will copy the features of many other popular sites and apps (if they are unable to buy these companies). We think it’s not going anywhere soon, and the time invested in it is not time wasted.

If you want a book to read more of the history and background around Facebook check out “The Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatrick.

Here at Gymnastics Club Manager, we think, out of all the social platforms, that this is the community that our customers need to centre most of their marketing energies. Unlike search engine automation or Google AdWords, where you’re trying to reach one person, whenever you reach one person effectively on Facebook (and they share this message or like a page) you’re also reaching their, on average, 140 contacts.

We know it’s essential for you to maximise your membership and your levels of engagement, and Facebook enables you to do both of these. This eBook will give you the initial tools and approaches to get going.

Once you have identified your niche, this is the perfect platform for you to gain engagement, traction and grow your membership base. But first it’s about growing your fan base on Facebook and before we go any further, let’s look at 5 simple steps to effectively and strategically set up your Facebook page.

5 Steps Towards Setting Up Your Facebook Page

Without stating the obvious, the Facebook page for your organisation is different from your personal page as an individual. A personal page requires someone to click “Add Friend’ to be able to see the content that’s shared on that person’s profile.

With a Facebook page, the content is visible and you can post on the page without being ‘A Friend’. You’re simply encouraging people to ‘Like’ the page so that your content comes up in their feed. (Incidentally, you can always moderate other people’s posts and disable the ability for people to leave posts if you want).

  1. When you’re setting up your Facebook page, the first important thing to consider is your name. The page name can be up to 70 characters and it’s normal to put in the name that people refer to when describing your club. Ask the question: ‘What would they put in the search engine to find us?’
  1. Choose which category you want your Facebook Page to be listed in. Go to facebook.com/pages/create. Some people get daunted or anxious because they’re not quite sure how to classify their business or organisation. For most of our customers, it’s likely you will be a Company, Organisation, or Community Group. Choose one of these categories, but don’t worry too much about this. Making a decision on which category you’re in will not determine whether your Facebook page is successful or not.
  1. Create a profile image. This might otherwise be referred to as an avatar. There are a few important guidelines to consider when choosing the right image for your avatar. The dimensions should be correct. They should be 180 x 180 pixels. This is the optimal size. It’s important to carefully choose the image that you will use for your avatar, as this will be the image that many see whenever you post on Facebook. Having words is not a good idea. Having your logo predominantly with words added to it can be a great idea.
  1. It’s also important to create a good cover image. This can take a number of different forms. The optimal size of the cover image would be 851 x 315 pixels. There’s no set rule as to what you should show in your cover image, but here are 8 potential ideas that you might wish to implement at some point:
  • Highlight what your club does, showing photographs of the activities e.g. different types of classes for different age groups, squads etc.
  • Use the cover image to promote an event. You might include the date, location, and event title. A strong image encourages people to attend the image.
  • Highlight your members. These can be members of your club or they could be fan page members.
  • Have a fan of the week or month, showing a photograph of them and a congratulatory message to them. This could be run in line with an offline campaign e.g. (the person responsible for referring most new friends as members this month).
  • Highlight a page/product/service that you want to draw attention to.
  • Highlight a free eBook that people can download from the link provided.
  • Highlight your location e.g. a gymnastics club, in Kent, pinning the precise location so that people at a glance know where you’re based.
  • Highlight your team or those who work for the club.
  1. Whenever you upload a new cover photo it’s important that your status update is visible, as this is free news. Include your website link in the text of the status update, so that people are able to click through to your site, which could be a specific page you’re wishing to drive traffic to.

There are a number of websites where you can hire a graphic designer to create a Facebook cover image or avatar for you. One of these would be peopleperhour.com. Look for ‘Facebook Profile’ under Hourlies.

5 Quick Page Setting Changes

Here are 5 quick changes you can make to your page settings that will be helpful:

  1. When you’re working on your Facebook page, and you want to make edits privately, you can hide the page whilst you do so. Go to: Edit page > Settings >Page visibility > Edit and check the box that says “Unpublish page”.
  1. To add your URL of your website to the About box, click: Edit page > Page info and change it there.
  1. To change your page name click: Edit page > Page info >Name and change it there. This is easy to do if you have less than 200 fans, but if you have more than 200 fans you need to request the change.
  1. To change the page’s custom URL, e.g. facebook.com/paysubsonline. Go to: Edit page > Page info > Facebook Web Address> Edit. Be aware that you can only make this change once. This is good to do if you want an easy address to put on your email footers or leaflets e.g. facebook.com/GymnasticsClubManager/ or @GymnasticsClubManager.
  1. It’s always essential to allow people to post on your timeline as this is how you get engagement. To do that, go to Edit page > Settings > Post visibility > Edit, and then adjust the menu to  “Allow posts by others on my page timeline”. In this page click the box to “Add a box to the top of your page so that others can see the posts”.

Facebook is an incredibly effective tool for getting your message out, and we hope that this article will give you some additional pointers to support you as you grow your presence there.

Here at Gymnastics Club Manager, we are committed to helping you grow your presence online, increase your numbers and give you the tools to improve your engagement. We’re interested in the success of your club. Therefore we will be providing you with resources and content that supports you to reach that goal.

Look out for parts 2 & 3 in this series, coming soon. In the meantime, make sure you ‘Like’ our page and download our free Facebook eBook for more help with Facebook Pages.

Image: Social Media Like Icon Designed by Freepik

How To Set Up Gymnastics Club Manager To Collect Monthly Class Fees

managing a gymnastics club

It goes without saying collecting fees is an integral part of managing a gymnastics club. If you are doing this monthly and collecting fees by standing order, cash, cheque or bank transfer the chances are you’re spending far more time reconciling payments (and making trips to the bank) than you need to. 

Gymnastics Club Manager offers a robust solution to end the recurring nightmare of monthly payments. Through our system you can set up monthly fees, to be collected and reconciled automatically from your members.

And because everything is held securely in the cloud, you no longer need to worry about incorrect entries, lost or missing payments.

Setting up your system to collect monthly payments is simple, as the video below explains. As part of our free system setup service, we will do this for you.

Take a few minutes to watch the video below, where we will walk you through the setup process.

Managing a gymnastics club should be all about the coaching and not the administration associated with it. Gymnastics Club Manager was created to help you achieve this, by streamlining the membership process, making fee collections easier and more manageable, and ensuring member information is always up to date.

Take our free video tour to see all the features our software has to offer and discover how you can change the way you manage your club admin – forever.

Developing Your Gymnastics Club Twitter Content Strategy

In this, part #3 of our Twitter series, we will look at creating your content strategy and 5 tools to help you manage your efforts on Twitter. If you missed the previous two parts, you can read Part #1 here and Part #2 here.

As with all social media strategies, it is essential that you have a good content strategy, and whilst it’s one thing to curate and share other people’s content, to have greater influence you need to create your own content.

Creating Your Content Strategy

Spend some time thinking what your audience would want to read, share and what would make their lives easier. Then create some content pieces to help them with that. It may be a time investment, but it’s fundamental for you to serve your followers.

You may be concerned that you don’t have someone within your team who can write, create videos, podcasts or other content and if this is the case then hire in a freelancer. A good place to find those would be peopleperhour.com

Create a calendar of content that you wish to create and watch to see the reaction you get. Set up a spreadsheet to record dates, titles, the message you want to send out, any links, images and of course hashtags. Alongside each message you can record the number of reactions it receives – likes, retweets, DM’s, replies etc.

Tweak the content accordingly based on the reaction you get from your gymnastics club followers and others. You want to make sure that what you create is what your users want and need. If you’re not sure, use SurveyMonkey to ask your followers and gymnastics club members what’s important to them.

5 Twitter Tools

  1. Hootsuite.com

This is a great tool to respond to Tweets, auto schedule the publication of Tweets and manage your community. You can have your Hootsuite account set up in teams, so specific people are able to manage individual Twitter accounts, with differing responsibility levels.

  1. Tweetdeck.com

Tweetdeck was originally a separate tool built independently of Twitter. Twitter than acquired it. It gives you the ability to have separate columns for multiple lists, mentions, hashtags or people that you may want to track. You can also follow Facebook mentions. 

It can run as software on your computer/ iPad so that in the background a message or notification pops up and then disappear after a few seconds. This gives you the chance to respond to it or not without being distracted from what you’re doing. This is great if you’re wanting to track your club’s name, but you don’t want to be watching or constantly checking Twitter.com for this.

  1. Buffer

For scheduling the publication of Tweets, Buffer enables you to set the times that you want a Tweet to be sent. It also works with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ so as a publication tool it’s ideal.

You can choose whether you share the same content on all the platforms or on individual ones, space out how frequently the messages are sent and analyse the best times to send tweets based on your past tweets. And most importantly you can keep your Buffer full of great content that people want to read.

  1. Flipboard

If you’re looking for good content to share, use Flipboard or Feedly. These give you the ability to find stories that will be relevant to your niche and therefore the interest of your followers. With both of these tools, you can automatically add this content into your Buffer Queue.

  1. ManageFlitter

There are lots of tools to attract and manage increasing your following count. For some time companies were selling software that enabled you to set up automated commands so that it followed and unfollowed people en masse.

In 2013 Twitter clamped down on this, to prevent spammers. If you want to find quicker ways to increase your follower account, without resorting to buying followers, Manage Flitter enables you to search out people based on their own follower count, interests, and location. You need to click on each individual person to follow them, but you can pay Manageflitter to do this remotely for you.

Finally, enjoy Twitter. Twitter is a great tool and way to reach people you’d never normally be able to reach. It’s a way to have your finger on what is important to people. And it’s a great way to raise the profile of your gymnastics club.

We hope you’ve found this series of articles helpful, why not download our free Twitter eBook.

If you have any further questions or comments, or simply want to reach out and say hello, tweet us – @GymnasticsMGR.

How Do You Manage Your Gymnastics Club Waiting Lists?

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There’s a lot to cope with when managing a gymnastics club, and keeping your member numbers healthy is probably your top priority. Adding to your talent pool can be done in a number of different ways, but the humble ‘waiting list’ will no doubt be your first port of call when space becomes available.

While you may consider your waiting list to be just that – a list, Gymnastics Club Manager offers you 3 ways to manage your list, ensuring you fill spaces in a way that best suits your club.

We have recently released 3 videos to help you navigate our waiting list tools. So let’s take a look …

Manage Your Waiting List By Age Group

Sorting your list by age group will allow you to approve the right children for the right sessions according to their age. Check out the video below to see how this works and how easy it is for you to find and approve new members for different age groups, as space becomes available.

Manage Your Waiting List By Class

You can allow people to register according to the class they prefer to attend. Our software allows you to show all available sessions on the online registration form. When a class is full the session will show ‘waiting list’ against it. Watch the video below to see this in action.

 

Manage Your Waiting List By Location

If your gymnastics club operates from different locations you can set up your registration form to display all your locations, as well as the classes run at each. This allows new registrants to select not only the class/age group they want but also their preferred location.

 

Managing waiting lists can be a headache without a robust administrative system in place. Imagine trying to sort through emails, voicemails, DM’s, spreadsheets, databases and other data files to bring in new members, to the right classes and locations? If this is you now then it is time for a change!

Gymnastics Club Manager makes it easy for you to not only add and move people to and from waiting lists but also makes it easier for new registrants to see what classes are available and where waiting lists exist.

Image Designed By Freepik

Casablanca: A Club With Plenty To Cheer About

Casablanca Gymnastics

When Doug Bacon and his family picked up the keys for their new gym in 2016 it was the culmination of a quarter of a century of hard work.

A new beginning. And to mark the occasion they turned to Gymnastics Club Manager Software to help cope with the increase in numbers and interest.

Casablanca Cheerleading, Gymnastics and Trampolining Club is a family-run business, the Bacon family consisting of Doug, his wife Claire and daughter and son Carli and Daniel.

Doug was a British International in Trampolining in the 1970s, Claire a gymnast. When they retired from their respective sports Doug worked in a sport centre and Claire as a nursery nurse. But the lure of the gym was always strong and in 1991 they started Casablanca, initially offering gymnastics and trampolining and hiring a local church hall to house a small number of enthusiastic participants.

New facilities, new software

Almost twenty five years on to the day from those small beginnings and inspired by the ambition of their children Carli and Daniel to expand,they received the keys to their new gym in Loughton, Essex. They needed somewhere with the space and height to cater for around a thousand members  taking classes in Trampolining, Gymnastics, Tumbling, Cheerleading and Hip Hop. In the end they found a warehouse which had been converted in to offices and stripped it back in to its original space to house the gym.

“It’s been great,” says Doug. “We had such long waiting lists and managed to clear them with the extra space and capacity. Only now – following London and Rio – we have a brand new waiting list.”

While the new building was being re-fitted and revamped they took the opportunity to try out the software at the same time. And, happy with the results, the Club decided to use it for members to coincide with the opening of the new facilities.

“Prior to that all of our information was in Excel spreadsheets and a book I carried with me everywhere. This is by far better.”

“The building was still being converted when we decided to go for the software. When we re-opened, everybody in the club had to register. They find it really easy to use, they’re used to doing things online in the rest of their lives.”

Casablanca gymnastics club

75% reduction in admin time

A significant factor in the dream to build a bigger club has been Carli, Daniel and the team’s efforts to develop the Cheerleading section. Now one of Britain’s fastest growing sports, cheerleading is the ideal sport for many – combining gymnastic and tumbling elements with dance. Casablanca boasts around 250 cheerleaders and the Cosmic 5 squad recently qualified to represent Britain at the World Championships in April. So these are exciting – but busy – times for the Club.

One of the most important aspects about the software for Carli is that it frees the coaches to focus on what they love doing – working with their squads.

“The software has definitely decreased the time we spend on admin. Every Monday I would spend at least four hours on admin, now it’s virtually nothing, I would say a 75% reduction at least. It means we can spend more time choreographing routines.”

gymnastics and trampolining club

Recommending other clubs

Doug also points to the ease with which the club can take and monitor payments.

“The big difference has been in taking payments. There’s no more waiting for people to pay. The direct debit works very well and if people don’t pay then they receive an automatic reminder.”

“Overall it makes life easier, everything is in front of you. It means we can deal with greater numbers but its less work. I have recommended the system to a lot of people. In fact we have a club coming to try it out today!”

As with so many other clubs around the country, Casablanca has plans to meet the need for a growing demand for gymnastics.  In the future Doug would love to be able to expand in to larger premises – a separate building which would deal with the extra interest. Cheerleading in one building, gymnastics and trampoline in the other.

But in the meantime Casablanca’s focus is on the Worlds in April and Gymnastics Club Manager will be following their progress in our blog.

Growing Your Gymnastics Club Audience With Twitter

gymnastics club

In part #1 of our Twitter series we showed you how to create your Twitter account, fill out your profile and send your first tweets. If you missed it, you can catch up here. In part #2 we are looking at how a gymnastics club can grow their audience on Twitter through easy engagement strategies and the creation of Twitter lists.

Lots of people want more followers and significant connections, but few people develop the practice and habits to implement these changes each day.

People will often refer to the number of followers a Twitter account may have. Our hope is over time, with the right strategies implemented, a number of these followers will turn into members (or at least their children will). And additionally, we’d anticipate that you’d grow your patterns and levels of engagement with these followers and members, using Twitter to help you do so.

If you were to spend your time following the guidance outlined in this post, you will find yourself

amongst a minority of clubs who are growing their accounts strategically without having to resort to guesswork.

Twitter Manners

Over time there have been so many unspoken Twitter rules that have grown up.

Here are 10 early ones you should employ, to prevent yourself from getting it wrong:

  1. Don’t ask anyone to Retweet something for you, unless they’re a close friend. It’s like saying to someone in a pub, ‘Can you buy me a drink?’. Their followers may have no interest in what you’re writing about, so therefore you’re putting others in an awkward position of having to ignore you (which is common) or say no to you.
  1. Don’t keep following and un-following someone hoping they will notice and then follow you back. If someone notices, they won’t be impressed by it, they’ll simply think you’re trying to spam or follow them in order to get your follower count up.
  1. Don’t follow people and then unfollow them once they have followed you. It just looks like you’re using them to increase your follower count. And, if you’re honest, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
  1. Different people use Twitter in different ways, and so therefore, there’s no set formula. If one of your goals is to grow an audience, you’ll simply succeed by providing tweets that people want to read (and implementing these other strategies). By focusing and delivering your content around a specific niche, this will help your audience know what tweets they can expect from you. Keep in mind what your audience wants to read. The days of ‘I’m about to have dinner’ as a regular tweet from accounts trying to grow a following are long gone. Unless you’re a celebrity and the product you’re offering is you, keep the dinner to yourself.
  1. Don’t forget to retweet other people’s content and don’t avoid referencing the source or person who tweeted it initially. It’s considered good etiquette to recognise those who’ve sourced content you like. Also, it’s a great way to build relationships with that person or organisation.
  1. Don’t over tweet (repeatedly more than 5 times an hour) or under tweet (less than 1 time each day).
  1. Get your links right. Don’t send out a Tweet if the link doesn’t work.
  1. Don’t click on DM’s that look spammy: eg ‘I saw this and was worried about you. Are you ok? http://linktospammersaccount.’ The rule here is, if it seems a little weird or bizarre that someone is sending you such a message then it probably is, especially if it has a link. Sadly, if you fall for this trick, you’ll find lots of your followers getting similar messages from your account. Quick way to lose respect.
  1. Don’t spend all your time trying to get a one-off interaction from a big superstar Twitter user. They either have a large number of followers because they’re already famous, or because they grew their account consistently and faithfully. One Tweet from them is not going to change your world. Tweets come and go within seconds. It’s more important for you to build your following from the ground up, albeit with influencers being a part of this strategy.
  1. Don’t forget to respond to people who send you @mentions. If you’re a company or an organisation, it’s considered bad practice not to respond to people. (It’s the equivalent of being kept on hold on the company phone). This is especially important from a customer service perspective. People feel permission led to moan in public about the service they may have received from an organisation, and if you don’t respond to messages quickly, it can damage your organisations reputation. As with email/ text messages/ any forms of communication; don’t leave people waiting.

And before you go any further, make sure you are familiar with Twitter’s terms and conditions. Twitter have set rules for the number of people you can follow each day and the number of tweets you can send. It’s important that you don’t break these as you’re in danger of having your account suspended if you did do so. You have been warned.

Growing Your Audience

Are you looking to have a large number of followers? Lots of people are and for good reason. The number of followers that someone has can be a quick indicator of credibility. The more people who are following you, the more apt you are technically and the more people consider you / your content to be of importance. Crowds attract crowds.

And that is why some people have felt disappointed by others buying followers. This is understandable, as it’s gaming the system and that trust metric disappears. Anyone in the know can look to see if you’ve bought your followers, and organisations are being ‘outed’ for this.

So here are a number of ways you can grow your follower base without buying them:

  1. Tweet out interesting and good content. It’s always good content that people are drawn to.
  1. Respond to people when they @mention you. It’s not one-way traffic, it’s conversational. Therefore if people only ever seeing you pumping out content then they are far less likely to want to follow you. If you’re an organisation, respond to every mention. If you’re a person, you’re allowed to be more selective.
  1. Tweet content to people that you think their audience will like. They’re likely to retweet things onto others if they’re having to do less work in sourcing the content.
  1. People enjoy people who like them and speak positively. So be warm and friendly with others, and draw people to you. Send us a friendly Tweet @GymnasticsMGR and we’ll be sure to send you the love.
  1. Join in days like #FF (Follow Friday) to reach out to new audiences.
  1. Use the advanced search tool in Twitter to search around keywords that are important to you and start interacting with people who have similar interests. Use Twellow and WeFollow.
  1. Tweet pictures out. These are now displayed with more prominence. Therefore these Tweets are more striking.
  1. Follow people who are in your niche and they are more likely to follow back. Be careful that you don’t churn your account (the process used where you aggressively follow and un-follow people).
  1. Get your Twitter name on Twitter directories like Twellow so that when people are looking for specific people in their niche, they can find you.
  1. Have more followers than the number of people you’re following. People are far more likely to want to follow you if it doesn’t seem like you’re following them just to get your numbers up. This is implied when you are following more than those following you.

Engagement Strategies

Attracting new followers is one thing, but the deeper levels of interaction and engagement are where it gets far more exciting. We know that engaging with members is one of the major priorities for the clubs we work with. People want to feel like they’re important and being taken notice of.

But to start with, the problem you’ll initially face will be dealing with others ignoring you. Don’t let that put you off.

Here are 5 engagement strategies to build deeper connections with your members and followers (some of whom, we hope will convert to become members over time). Equally, it’s important to look to build a sense of community with your members. Therefore, think about how you can foster this community with these engagement strategies:

  1. Ask yourself what content someone would like to see and then seek it out for them. Provide them with value that benefits them and their followers.
  1. Make good quality introductions, introducing one party to another. Just as offline networking works on referrals, when you make introductions you’re not only helping both parties out, but you’re getting yourself known as someone who is generous with their contacts. By nature, you’re more likely to add more people to your contact list as a result.
  1. Respond to what other people are tweeting about and go out of your way to answer them, retweet them, support them, follow the link to their blog and leave a comment.
  1. Don’t just retweet their most recent tweet. Show them that you’re far more interested in them than that, and retweet past tweets they may have sent a few days ago.
  1. Intentionally, tweet regularly to a few superusers. It’s tempting to feel that you need to be all things to all people. And within a club, there will be those who are on Twitter a lot. You want to go deeper and tweet more regularly to those who can grow a sense of a wider community. By focusing on them, you give them the motivation and momentum to look after other followers, members and potential future customers. Set yourself weekly targets of people you want to reach. You may create a Twitter list for these people to enable quick access to others.

Adding Twitter Lists

Lists are vital for you to run an effective Twitter strategy. It’s a way for you to see a needle amongst the haystack and to group people effectively in order to prioritise your interaction with them.

There are two types of lists: public and private lists. When you add someone to a public list they are notified that they have been added. Other people can also subscribe to these lists. Not only are you providing yourself an effective list to track and engage with, you are also providing a service to others who don’t have to do the hard work of seeking such people out.

When you add someone to a private list, they are not notified of this and no one can see this list. This is helpful where you may have a client list or a list of people you want to keep confidential. eg may be a target list for of people you want to see become members.

Once you start using lists, you will quickly find it replaces your need to see all your followers tweets from your homepage. Why don’t you schedule 10 minutes interaction with people from a specific list once a week?

To find a good list, you’re normally finding good people and looking via their homepage to see what lists they have created. These could be people you already know or those you search for via Twellow or WeFollow. These sites allow you to search for people based on interests.

And that’s all for part #2 of our Twitter series. Once again if you missed part #1 you can read it here.

Post #3 will be published soon where we will talk about developing your content strategy and some of our favourite Twitter tools. Or click here to download our free Twitter eBook.

Until then, why not drop us a tweet with any questions or just to simply say hello: @GymnasticsMGR.

Gymnastics Clubs: Getting Started With Twitter

gymnastics clubs

Like the 218 million people on the planet, you’ve recognised that Twitter isn’t going away and so you’ve signed yourself up. Welcome to the club. Unlike many, you’re one of the minority who is tangibly thinking strategically about growing your influence and engagement levels on Twitter. Welcome to our club.

Twitter is a great tool and way to reach people you’d never normally be able to reach. It’s a way to have your finger on what is important to people. And it’s a way to raise the profile of your organisation.

More importantly, we know from listening to our customers that your two biggest priorities are increasing your membership numbers and additionally improving the levels of engagement and communication with them and between them.

Twitter can help you do both of these.

In the first part of a 3-post series, we look at how to setup your Twitter account and how to make your first tweet!

Setting Up Your Twitter Account

  1. Username

When you are setting up your account, consider using a @username that has as few characters as possible, whilst still being in keeping with the rest of your brand. This will become important when you want people to Retweet your content as you only have 140 characters to work with. If your username is long it may take your tweet over 140 characters. As a result, they’re likely to delete your username in the tweet so they can send it. That would be a shame to go to all that work where people want to share your tweet, and they can’t easily. Start with a short username.

  1. Bio

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. As you look to increase your membership numbers and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of engaging with them, inspire them by communicating what makes your club different from the others out there. Let your bio communicate this fact. Make sure you add a website link into the bio text, as this will act as a live link when your name comes up in search results. If one of your desires and aims is to drive traffic back to your club website this is crucial.

  1. Homepage

Your homepage (which is the background people see when you click on someone’s name) is where others get a flavour of your club. They form more of a picture of your organisation and what is important to you. What do you want to display here? Pictures of your members to help engage them / design work that inspires others to enquire about becoming members/quotes you think others will like? It’s good practice to keep a consistent design from one social media account to the next when promoting your club.

  1. Picture

This picture will accompany you wherever you Tweet. Often it’s a great idea to use a similar image on all your social profiles so people are able to recognise you quickly, and your brand is consistent. As a club, it’s likely you’ll have a logo or some thing that denotes that. If you’re displaying a photo, we’d recommend looking into the camera. Smile and be engaging, so people want to respond to you. Whatever you do, get rid of the egg!

Once you’ve put your profile together, take a step back and ask whether you’d follow yourself. Keep tweaking your profile until you would. Getting a profile that people will follow is one thing. As our ultimate goal is to help you grow your membership numbers and increase the levels of engagement with existing members, we now need to look at what you communicate.

How To Tweet

  1. Length

A tweet is a maximum of 140 characters long. Think short bite-sized conversations as opposed to in-depth discussions. On the basis that our attention spans are much shorter, learning to say more with fewer words is critical. But you actually need it shorter than 140 characters. You really want it about 100 to allow space for people to add in a Re-Tweet and their username.

  1. Who are you tweeting it to?

This often gets people a little confused, as you’re not sending someone a tweet to what seems like a fixed destination. (A Facebook wall seems easier to comprehend because it’s always visible there). In short, all of your activity on Twitter is public unless you send a DM.

a) New Tweet. To tweet just to your followers (think of it as a status update on Facebook) and so in ‘Compose a New Tweet’ write anything. To bring this message to the attention of someone else add their @username at any point apart from the beginning of the Tweet and everyone will see it and the person you’ve added with be notified of it.

b) A Mention. To tweet to one person non-privately (think of it as posting it to someone’s wall on Facebook), add their @username at the beginning of your Tweet. If someone is following both you and the person you’re tweeting, then they’ll see this Tweet. Otherwise, it would only be seen by those who visit your profile to read your specific Tweets. Send us a Tweet @GymnasticsMGR and say hello.

c) Direct Message. To send a message to a person or organisation privately (think of it as an email to one person) send a Direct Message. They alone can see it. DM us @GymnasticsMGR to try it out.

d) RT. Retweeting is where you press retweet and it copies the message of the tweet you’re wishing to retweet along with the original tweeter’s username. You’d do this when you want your followers to see someone else’s content, and when you’re affirming someone else for what they’ve written.

e) Favourite. This is a simple star tool to say you like the Tweet. It’s a good way to affirm others if used in moderation, and equally, a good way to keep track of important tweets you may want to go back to at another time.

Adding Images & Videos

Images and videos have increasingly become more significant on Twitter in recent times. Twitter has made moves to move a little into Pinterest’s territory with the photographs being given more prominence in search results.

Naturally, it’s a great idea to have a series of images that you can utilise. Get images and videos from your club’s events. Alternatively, Flickr.com is a great resource to get Creative Commons images, which can be adapted for the purpose.

Hashtags

A hashtag is the sign #. When a word is put after this, you can search all the other people who have used this hashtag on Twitter, eg #gymnastics. Sometimes it can be very helpful to interact with a group of people around a hashtag.

For instance, if you were putting on an event and you wanted the people in the room to be able to communicate easily with each other, there could be a hashtag for the event eg #XYZGCAGM (XYZ Gymnastics Club, AGM).

Different hashtags become popular at different times when many people tweet it. Often when people are watching TV programmes, various TV programmes will trend e.g. #QuestionTime. Hashtags ‘trend’ in different areas: these can work on a city basis or on a Global basis e.g. #RIPNelsonMandela.

Engaging on a hashtag, especially if it’s in an area of your expertise where you have some helpful content, can be an easy way to meet others online who have similar interests.  Additionally looking at the trending hashtags can give you a quick level of awareness of what the world is talking about. Many news stories are broken initially on Twitter now before it arrives on more traditional news channels.

So now you should have a great looking profile page, a Tweet-friendly username and have sent out your first tweet(s). Look out for post #2 or click here to download our free Twitter eBook where we will talk about growing your following and easy engagement strategies you can follow.

Until then, why not drop us a tweet with any questions or just to simply say hello: @GymnasticsMGR.

Planning your Gymnastics Club Christmas Party

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With barely a month to go until Santa’s sleigh and a host of reindeer sweep across the starry sky, Christmas is on the minds of many – and that includes your average gymnastics club manager.

Christmas is a time for giving. And for many of us it brings joy. But it can also give us headaches and present us with dilemmas. What to buy, what to wear, how to party?

Many clubs now open up their facilities to host parties for special occasions including the festive season and birthdays. It brings in much-needed cash and helps raise the profile of your venue as well as bringing the sport to new audiences. But your party may also just be looking forward to an opportunity to celebrating the end of another successful year with your members.

So whether you’re planning to host an informal Club Christmas get-together or a festively-themed party for patrons there are a sackful of gymnastic party ideas to help liven up proceedings. Here are a few top tips ‘yule’ maybe try out if you’re having a party!

Themes and decorations

Alongside the glitter and glamour of trees and baubles why not give your party an Olympic theme? 2016 has seen Britain’s leading gymnasts storm the podium in Rio and a legion of would-be Whitlocks are keen to get in on the action.

So ramp it up to the Max by playing an Olympian theme tune – Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire or Heather Small’s Proud are normally sure fire winners. Build on the atmosphere by allocating partygoers in to teams and marching them in like competitors. Form a centrepiece by using hoops for a five-ring Olympic symbol and covering them with different coloured tinsel. Display your club’s medals and trophies to help inspire participants and then … get the action started.

Games and activities

If your partygoers are new to gymnastics then often just having supervised access to the apparatus can be enough to provide plenty of fun. Some basic floor exercises, vaults and walks along the beam or time on the trampoline will get the blood pumping and laughter flowing.

But there are dozens of innovative yet simple ways of using your equipment to make things more memorable. From who can hula the longest to forward roll relays across the mat. But for your trained gymnasts you can also try a form of musical statues while balancing on balls with the last one standing the winner or use the same format for the steadiest landed back flip. And gymnastics apparatus is ideally suited for an all-swinging, all-tumbling assault course.

Of course there should be prizes for everyone, for both the winners and losers alike.

Food for thought

No party is complete without a little creative catering. But we all know you need to be a little careful when it comes to mixing food with your facilities. And also full stomachs and excited kids are not always the best combination. So many people prefer to play and then eat. It’s Christmas so don’t be shy of the traditional fayre of mince pies and sausage rolls but how about going healthy and assembling a Christmas Tree made of fruit? Then you can indulge in a cake topped with icing and smarties for Olympic rings.  

At the end of the day parties should be fun. But if you find a successful template then you can apply it all year round by just changing the theme. Making best use of your facilities is the key. Then everyone can profit from you hosting a party.

Case Study: Colchester Gymnastics Club – A Big Club With Big Ambitions

 

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Colchester Gymnastics Club is a big club … with an equally big admin workload. So they turned to Gymnastics Club Manager software for help. And the decision is already paying dividends.

A few weeks into the new setup, Gymnastics Club Manager caught up with Wayne Southby and Louise Pennell who combine coaching with admin manager roles and Keeley Hazelhurst who runs a tight financial ship.

Wayne says, “We were living in Excel World, it was death by spreadsheet. Now we have a system which has improved everything from class organisation to register keeping and payment collection. It almost eliminates the possibility of human error.”

Inspired By The Greats

Like so many gymnastics clubs in the UK, Colchester has mushroomed thanks to the dedication of coaches and volunteers and the successes of our Olympians. It all began in 1977 when the club launched with approximately 100 members.

The Club built their first gym in 1991 and grew steadily following a merger with Colchester School of Gymnastics in 1998. But the club’s real turning point was London 2012 when interest was sparked by a quartet of medals won at the O2 Arena.

In response, the Club decided to extend their facilities and the inspirational Beth Tweddle MBE officially opened the new gym in August 2014.

The ceremony featuring displays and, along with Tweddle, the participation of the Mayor of Colchester and a number of VIPs.

“Although national gymnasts can always be called upon to open new facilities, Beth’s cousin trains with us so that was a massive help in bringing her to Colchester. She stayed for hours meeting the gymnasts and signing autographs,” says Wayne.

New Facilities, New Challenges

The opening was a huge day for the club. Wayne says, “In 2014 we went from 600 to 1200 in one day and since then we have increased to 2,000 plus the waiting list.”

The charity-run club relies on fundraising and fees to run facilities and offers a fantastic variety of gymnast classes from recreational and artistic to adult novice and freestyle. There are also opportunities for tumbling and trampolining, school and special needs gymnasts. And the club provides space and support for locals who are undergoing stroke rehabilitation.

“It’s something we’ve been doing for years,” says Louise. “People who have suffered a stroke need to be able to cope with walking on uneven surfaces. They bring an instructor and use our facilities to build confidence.”

So Colchester has a lot to juggle. Cue Rio and the Max Whitlock Factor and the waiting list grew even further. The admin team realised that relying on spreadsheets and paperwork was no longer tenable.

A Big Tick For The Test Period

One feature the team at Colchester really loved was the dummy period when you could try out the system without worrying about making mistakes. Alongside face-to-face and online support from the team at Gymnastics Club Manager, this helped them tinker with the settings

Louise admits that it really helped quell her doubts during the changeover, “To be honest I was nervous about it. But it has been a lot easier to swap over than I thought.”

Wayne says, “When you first look at it may not look that user-friendly but it’s been great. It does exactly what you need it to and only took a few days to get used to.”

“You can manage all of one person’s info with the click of a button,” adds Louise.

Expect More, Then Expect More!

The team admit that when they went live on 1 September admin increased slightly while they got used to the new setup but it has reduced drastically now that things have bedded in.

Keeley comments, “Initially some parents had a few issues getting used to it but now they are really quite happy. It is so much easier for them to log on, manage the classes and check if they have paid.”

Wayne adds, “Collecting money for fees and insurance is so much easier as you can keep track of who has paid. The basket system of payments is also very easy to understand.”

As the team learn the ropes of their Gymnastics Club Manager software they look forward to a future where they realise the potential of their brilliant facilities with far less time spent on paperwork.

Gymnastics Clubs: Does ‘Time of Year’ Influence Membership Uptake?

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Ever considered that time of year could be an influencing factor in your efforts to attract new gymnasts to your club? Often gymnastics clubs will hold membership drives at the same time every year. And often with varying results.

Raising member numbers is a key part of your club activities, after all, no members, no club. But influencing those numbers could all be down to something as simple as timing.

In this post we will look at how a little seasonal planning can be an effective tool in your quest to attract new gymnasts to your club.

Thinking About Seasonal Variations

Gymnastics clubs are a business – they sell a service to the public. And just like any other business, it is vital you know and understand your target market. An important part of this is knowing when is the right time to pitch to them.

Market research will suggest you target new customers at certain times of the year. Consider for a moment all the seasonal campaigns retailers and businesses launch – Christmas, Easter, Summer, Valentine’s Day…. all of which are designed to tap into pools of customers ready to buy at these times of year.

Aside from seasonal events, sporting events are also a great opportunity for gymnastics clubs to tap into interest in sport, and in particular gymnastics – how many of you ran recruitment campaigns before, during and after the Rio Olympics?

The Olympics are a good example of tapping into target markets when interest is at it’s peak. Football clubs for example are wise to launch recruitment campaigns at the start of the new football season. Gym’s launch their campaigns at the beginning of the New Year – a time when many of us have getting fit high on our list of resolutions.

Trying to run campaigns at the end of the season or in the middle of summer when many of us are on holiday are unlikely to result in a high take-up.

This is why seasonal variations is a key factor in deciding when to run your membership campaigns – you need to identify a time when potential new members are ready and able to commit to your coaching sessions. Get this right and your numbers will be higher.

Choosing The Best Time of Year to Recruit New Gymnasts

Now you understand how seasonal variations play a part in raising member numbers, you need to determine the right time of year to launch your campaign to your target market.

As we talked about earlier, this might be obvious, especially as you give it more thought. One thing that is obvious is you should recruit when new gymnasts can come and enjoy what is on offer. Thinking about how you run your club and when your classes are running, when is the best time of year to prospect for new members? As you close for the summer break or at the beginning of September when you reopen your doors for the new season?

You’d be surprised how many gymnastics clubs choose the former!

What else could you do to discover ‘the right time’?

You can dig a little deeper into your club and look at the behaviours of your current members. Look at when they joined and the times of year which saw the highest number of new members join. Take out those instances where an event or recruitment drive were employed – you are looking only for the numbers of new members who joined without club influence.

Look at this data further to identify what factors were in play at the time e.g. seasons, pricing, sporting events. As mentioned earlier, major sporting events such as the Olympics or British Championships can have a significant impact on new members joining local clubs. These can be used to your advantage – check out what local, national and even international events are coming up over the next year and leverage these to help promote your gymnastics classes.

Using Gymnastics Club Software

Looking through your membership data can be tricky if you are using manual systems, such as spreadsheets and desktop databases, to manage your member information. Gymnastics Club Manager can help you analyse your member data quickly, easily and efficiently, helping you arrive at the figures you need much faster.

The software not only shows you the best times to recruit new members based on when your existing members joined, but can also let you look at sub-groups such as age, gender or any other type of data you hold for them.

The group email feature can help you reach out to your current members and other prospects on your contact list, to let them know about new member incentives and events you might be running.

Get the timing right and you stand a good chance of engaging those people and those within members networks, into joining.

And don’t forget about targeting lapsed members – those who left or cancelled their membership before they could really appreciate what you are offering. Don’t think that because they cancelled, it does not mean they are not open to rejoining.

Managing your membership is more than looking after your current members and the occasional notice hoping to entice new people to join. Do your research and you will discover the best time to pitch new members and raise your numbers.

Image: Time For Business Designed by Freepik