We met up with Sara Hunter – founder and CEO of Inspire Pilates in Honley, West Yorkshire – to find out about her business and social strategy. We also talk to husband Dave, a big supporter of Sara’s enterprise who’s also helping out with their social media.
Tell us a bit about why you started Inspire Pilates?
Sara: I’ve been qualified for 25 years as a personal trainer and fitness instructor – delivering a number of different classes including Pilates, Barre and Kettlebells.
What I really love is Pilates and over the years I have continued my learning around the subject to the highest level. For many years I worked at a big brand gym and putting on community classes in church halls and the like. My dream was always to have my own studio housing state of the art Pilates Reformer apparatus and a studio for mat work where I could utilise all the different accessories for different forms of Pilates like foam rollers, hedgehogs, bands etc.
2 years ago, I opened up Inspire Pilates!
What do you do at the studio?
Sara: I have 2 studios – a large one for mat work, I can fit around 10 people. And a smaller studio with apparatus ideally for 4 people. We specialise in mat and apparatus classes and Barre fitness. I do most of the teaching but I have another Pilates instructor Wendy who helps out with a few classes in the week. I have a timetable of classes that run throughout the week suitable for all ages and abilities. There are a number of clients who prefer one to one and I fit those in around the class timetable.
I also work closely with a number of local physiotherapists and osteopaths to help their patients strengthen their backs after injury – this is a special part of my job as I really do love helping people to be healthier and stronger!
What types of clients to you look for?
Sara: To be honest we have got something for males and females of all age groups – with classes that cater for mixed abilities. People come for all sorts of different reasons including core strength, back problems, pelvic floor strengthening, well-being, mindfulness, social interaction and friendship.
So you use socialsendr, how did you chose it?
Dave: We’ve known Michelle (socialsendr Co-Founder) for years, she’s been a PT client for 15 years and has attended every type of class we offer and is a regular at both Mat and Reformer classes. We were thinking about how to do more on the social media platforms – particularly Facebook and Twitter at around the time that the app was launched. The timing was great as we were very haphazard in our social media activity and we were really struggling with what to put out that was relevant to our followers.
How do you use the App?
Dave: When we first signed up to the App we selected the health, fitness, well-being and sport tags, it was great to see posts that would go out to our social accounts over the next 30 days. I tend to work with the app on a weekly basis, I go in and review what’s coming up and see if I can adapt the message to be more relevant to the studio and the work we do here. Say for instance we get a post about the Grand Prix, I do a bit of research, find out that Lewis Hamilton does Pilates and adapt the post to inform our customer. I sometimes change the pictures – we love Caturday Saturday, I found an image of a cat stretching in a tutu, so we now use that. Another day it was World Octupus Day, mentioning that octopus have 3 hearts, I adapted the message something along the lines of we only have one and we should look after it. We are really looking to engage our followers by telling them what we do but also to inform and educate in Sara’s field of expertise.
What value does the business gain from using the App?
Dave: We were discussing this recently. It’s really difficult to work out if we actually gain any new business, but that’s not really why we wanted to use it. It’s more about being visible to our customers and followers, having a steady flow of posts which hopefully means that we stay in peoples’ minds. Before we got the app it was a struggle to come up with interesting relevant posts on a regular basis and because we can schedule for different times we are not tied to the internet at the times we want to put something out.
Would you recommend the App to others?
Dave: Yes, of course – we do! We always try to like, share and retweet the socialsendr content on social media.