The Twin Lakes Recreation Center (TLRC), located at 1700 W. Bloomfield Rd. in Bloomington, is a sports, fitness and recreation facility owned and operated by the award-winning City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. Nearly 2,000 active TLRC members and 500 SilverSneakers members visit the facility about 63,000 times each year to work out, use the track, play sports, or join group exercise classes (TLRC Facebook).
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Community members look to the TLRC as part of their healthy, active lifestyles. The TLRC also facilities high-profile regional and national youth sports tournaments that bring thousands of players, coaches, parents, and spectators to the facility each year (bloomington.in.gov/tlrc).
City of Bloomington employees and TLRC full-time staff members utilize social media to market the facility and programs. I interviewed TLRC Health and Wellness Coordinator, Lindsay Buuck about the impact of social media for TLRC.
Overview and Interview:
According to Olivier Blanchard Social Media ROI, “[Social media] is
radically transforming the way companies do business, forcing shifts
in methodology, procedure, culture, and operational structure
(Blanchard, 2011).” I am interested in how social media has changed
the way Twin Lakes Recreation Center does business and how the
organization has adapted to the transformation and incorporated social media in their business model.
Me: What social media accounts does Twin Lakes Recreation Center have?
(i.e. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, GetGlue, Blogs or etc.)
LB: Twitter, YouTube and Facebook
Me: When did TLRC obtain its social media accounts and why (what is its
LB: Over a year ago. We started these pages because they are the 3 most popular social media sites. We were looking for innovative ways to market the facility and programs.
Me: Does TLRC have a social media policy and/or guidelines? If so, are
all members of your organization aware of the policy and/or
LB: Yes. The Parks Department has an in depth social media policy. All full-time staff are aware of the policy and who is allowed to run social media pages for the organization.
Me: How has social media (Twitter or Facebook) impacted TLRC?
LB: It was an inexpensive and effective way to get more information out to the community about our programs and events. Both Facebook and Twitter are fairly easy to use and it’s been very helpful in communicating to the public.
Me: What is the frequency that information is posted on social media?
LB: Daily or every other day.
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Me: If business objectives are set how have they been reached as a
result of social media?
LB: Our business goals as a whole are not reflected in social media.
Me: Has TLRC established goals for its social media outlets?
LB: The TLRC has goals for number of people who “like” or “follow” our pages.
Me: Does your organization utilize volunteers? If so, how does social
media assist with recruiting volunteers?
LB: Yes we do. Kim Ecenbarger is our Volunteer Coordinator and she will send requests if she needs assistance in recruiting volunteers for specific events.
Me: What actions has your organization taken to expand reach social
media (acquiring more friends or followers)?
LB: We cross promote on both Facebook and Twitter. We always say “follow us on Twitter” or “find us on Facebook”. There is a link on the TLRC website to both outlets, as well as in house marketing with the marquee sign outside and in our group exercise classes. Our instructors encourage participants to look us up on the sites for class information, which helps in acquiring more followers.
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Me: Has social media improved business for your organization? If so, how?
LB: I think it has in terms of communication of what we offer in terms of programs, classes, and events. It also helps to communicate when new things are coming up, when classes are postponed, and in recruiting participants and instructors!
Me: How do you measure the benefits of social media?
LB: We have a class and program evaluation form that we hand out for everything we offer. There is a question that asks “how you heard about this program or event” with a social media option. We track those numbers as well as how many people “like” or “follow” our pages.
Me: How has social media enhanced the presence of the TLRC?
LB: It’s another way to get the word out about what we do, where we are located, and also gives opportunity to post testimonials from participants on how they have bettered their health within the TLRC.
Me: What type of interaction does TLRC have with Facebook friends?
LB: We only post pictures of programs and events, post status updates, and videos of programming. We also answer any questions that come up on our page about programs and events.
Me: Does anyone inquire about information via social medium?
LB: Not necessarily, but I think more and more people are realizing we have those forms of communication and are more apt to seek out information that way.
Me: How long do you think your social media account will be a part of the TLRC?
LB: As long as it’s still a popular form of marketing and communication, we will be a part of it.
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Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have not had a significant impact on the TLRC business model. However, Buuck continues to utilize media as long as it remains a popular form of marketing and communication. A number of programs and services are marketed by word of mouth. Buuck has had tremendous feedback from a number of members about how they have heard about the programs and services.
Youtube has given people the opportunity to see the services available at the TLRC. A number of viewers have watched the videos posted on YouTube but after evaluation, it was concluded that the number of people who have signed up was not in connected with the number of viewers on YouTube. Despite the insignificance in the correlation between YouTube and sign-ups, TLRC still post the videos.
Although members do not inquire about information through social media, Buuck stated that it “gives [people an] opportunity to post testimonials from participants on how they have bettered their health within the TLRC.”
For more information and updates on the Twin Lakes Recreation Center visit the page and like it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.