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Core Stabilization for Your Social Media Marketing Plan

I’ve spent much of the last year in social media seminars, both as a presenter and a participant, and the sheer volume of information never ceases to amaze me. Though the tools and trends continue to evolve, there are some basic, evergreen points that come up time and again. They remind me of core stabilization exercises, only they are for your social media marketing plan.

  1. Despite all of the hardware between us, social media involves two-way conversations between humans. Be friendly. Ask questions. Share useful information. Have integrity. Focus on building relationships, and the ROI will follow.
  2. Social media is in its infancy. What everyone is “sure of” today could change tomorrow. Be open to new ideas and learn from the experiences of others while staying true to what makes sense for you and/or your company.
  3. Social media is a lot like exercise. A long-term goal of regular activity will be more effective than sporadic bouts. Having a plan will help you stay focused on the goals you want to achieve.

Whether you currently use social media for marketing or plan to in the future, it is a good idea to think through some basic questions to see if your planned activities are in alignment with your goals. My next Step-by-Step article in Club Industry walks readers through some important points to consider when crafting a social media strategy. Once it is published, I’ll link to it here.
What kinds of things do you think should be on that list?

Slideshare presentations from my IHRSA30 session on Social Media:

A Fitness Revolution

Last week’s IHRSA conference in San Diego was a great experience for industry newcomers and veterans alike. Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author and staff writer for The New Yorker Magazine, delivered an outstanding keynote address that addressed some burning questions that many in our industry have asked over the past decade: If the majority of people recognize the powerful benefits of exercise, why are inactivity rates and obesity at an all-time high? What will it take to reach what Gladwell calls the “tipping point”, or “level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable”? There must be a better way for us, as fitness and wellness professionals, to reach out to inactive populations.

If most people believe that exercise can improve both mental and physical health, why is the call to action being ignored? Where is the disconnect? If you understand the theory behind stages of change, it is easy to see why there is not a simple answer. What propels someone from “could” to “should” to “will” is very personal. Both internal and external circumstances can act on individuals to precipitate change. Triggers can include changes to the following dynamics:

1) Relevance. Unfortunately, it often takes a personal health crisis for individuals to prioritize changes to lifestyle behaviors. A medical emergency or a diagnosed illness can make change urgent.

2) Pleasure vs. pain. The acute discomfort in creating lifestyle change can trump the anticipation of longer-term benefits, which typically take time to realize. Sometimes bumping up against an emotional marker—perhaps reaching a new high on the bathroom scale or having someone make a comment that really hits home—makes the prospect of NOT changing even more unbearable than the difficulty of change.

3) Accessibility. If you think of points 1 & 2 above as “mental proximity”, accessibility is the actual availability of tools for change. These tools might include access to experts, programs, health clubs—any entity that is a vehicle for the desired change. Will simply having improved access to resources make people desire to change? Probably not, because unless the underlying readiness to change is there, it will not be a lasting endeavor. But, notwithstanding, accessibility is a critical factor for success, and our industry should be focused on improving outreach strategies.

Finding logical access points for individuals interested in change is where fitness and wellness professionals can start a fitness revolution. Throwing open the gym doors is not enough. We need to actively seek opportunities outside of our club’s four walls and build relationships in our communities so that we can influence individuals contemplating change, as well as those who are ready to act. Corporate wellness and medical fitness are prospective areas of growth for our industry. Last week at IHRSA, I spoke on corporate wellness and a few of my colleagues spoke on medical fitness. Next blog, I’ll recap our session highlights with some suggested resources and strategies.

Fitness Fights Back

My mother had it. A close friend had it, too. My aunt had it. A neighbor had it. Even her friend had it. What is it? Breast cancer. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in life. Because the rate of incidence increases as women age, estimates of risk at particular age spans are more meaningful than lifetime risk.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the chance that a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer is:

  • 1 in 233 between the ages 30 – 39
  • 1 in 69 between the ages 40 – 49
  • 1 in 38 between the ages 50 – 59
  • 1 in 27 between the ages of 60 – 69

The above statistics represent the probability for the entire population. It is important to note that an individual’s risk may be higher or lower depending on family history, reproductive history, race/ethnicity and lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, alcohol consumption, and being overweight or obese. The two greatest risk factors in developing breast cancer are being female and aging–neither of which we have any control over.

If you are curious about your individual risk, use this calculator developed by the National Cancer Institute. If you are concerned about your risk, discuss it with your doctor.

The role of nutrition and exercise in preventing cancer is not fully known, but healthy lifestyle habits are increasingly linked with reduced risk and improved outcomes for individuals diagnosed with and being treated for cancer. Here are some recent headlines:

Regular Exercise in Middle Age Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Weight Lifting Benefits Breast Cancer Survivors

Excess Body Weight Causes Over 124,000 Cancers a Year in Europe

Protect Your Breasts – Get Your Heart Pumping

Exercise Can Cut Risk of Dying from Breast Cancer

Exercise and Yoga Improves Quality of Life in Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Supervised Exercise May Relieve Fatigue During Chemotherapy

Lifetime Exercise May Cut Breast Cancer Death Risk and Recurrence

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As health and fitness professionals, we can have a direct impact on the lives of so many people. Educate others and encourage them to be physically active and follow a healthy diet. You may save a life!

(Source: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2003. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute, 2006.)