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“How do you utilize social media to market/network your personal training business?”

Social media is all about making connections with people in my community. I find that because I do not have a “brick-and-mortar” location to call my own, I use social media to make stronger connections with like-minded business owners and people of influence within my town. My primary goal is to make my name “top of mind” with the influencers in the community.

I have a profile on all the major social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. By far, Twitter is the most powerful network for connecting with influencers—our town’s mayor is on Twitter, local media is on Twitter and other business owners are on Twitter. I have set up private lists with these local influencers so that I can be sure to interact and engage with them and, ultimately, form a real relationship with them. I also make sure to use #Redmond in some of my tweets, so that they can find me!

Facebook groups are another way that I have found helpful in making connections within my community. I don’t use these groups directly for promotion/marketing purposes. Instead, I am part of local buy-sell groups, local mom/parenting groups and local female entrepreneur groups. In these groups, I contribute to the conversation, ask for advice, offer advice, and participate in the fun or silly questions—all with the purpose of getting my name out there. It’s far more likely that I will be hired by a prospective client if he or she sees the “real me” in these groups than it is for that person to randomly stumble upon my Facebook business page.

I love social media because it’s social.

Jaime Slutzky

Owner, Fit with Flair

Redmond, Washington

I like to use a multifaceted approach to marketing my personal training business through Facebook, combining both paid and organic posts. I’m a huge advocate of using paid advertising to maximize my Facebook efforts, and I’ve found this has worked amazingly well for both my fitness business and my coaching business.

For organic Facebook posts, always begin by creating a content calendar. This will enable you to maintain a consistent message and will brand your fitness business the right way. Too many fit pros are inconsistent in what they talk about on Facebook, and this leads to a major disconnect with their fans. Make sure you offer a chance to try your services, but send at least 10 content posts for every sales post.

If you’ve never done any paid Facebook marketing or you’re just starting out using paid tactics, here is what I suggest: Don’t go straight after the sale. Instead, start paying to share great content like blog posts. Paying to strategically boost posts that link to your blog helps position you as the expert and establishes trust. Most people won’t buy until they trust you, so start building trust. Ensure that you target people in or near your specific postal code (or suburb if you live outside the U.S. or U.K.). After paying to promote a couple of blog posts, create an ad that offers services, such as a 30-day exercise program.

Scott Rawcliffe

Owner, Revera Health

Social Media Consultant for Fit Pros

Gold Coast, Australia

Facebook is my only social media tool at this time. I try to keep three things in mind when I utilize social media to market/network my personal training business: Create a sense of community; share reliable information about health and fitness; and post upcoming event information.

Create a sense of community.

I post accolades whenever possible! If a client or someone who comes to group fitness class on a regular basis participates in a 5K or triathlon or meets a goal, I post a picture with his or her accomplishment. I also like to acknowledge occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and so on (with permission, of course). Most people love to see themselves on social media and enjoy being acknowledged for their accomplishments. These types of posts help create a sense of community; help people to see that they aren’t alone in their quest for wellness; and empower them to step out of their comfort zone. I have also found that posting accolades has enabled people to meet others with similar interests.

Share reliable information.

I minimize the number of fitness/nutrition articles that I post because there is so much information overload and I don’t want to add to the confusion. I want my clients to feel compelled to read an article I post because they know if I post it, it’s an important read.

Post upcoming events.

I post information about upcoming fitness events, whether they are group fitness classes, group training, or running, swimming or biking events, etc. When doing this, I invite people to attend and share if someone in the “network” has plans to participate. First-timers often find strength in knowing others they recognize will be there. This often turns into a group of people who train and participate together. And that leads us back to the beginning—creating a sense of community.

I share other things, too. Some clients need a little more interaction to keep them moving forward with their fitness journey. I try to inspire by posting motivational quotes and funny pictures on a daily basis. Sometimes, I will post healthy recipes that I have tried and found tasty. Ultimately, I try to post something every day but keep posts short and simple.

Heather Simpson

Heather Simpson Fitness

Fort Myers, Florida

Social media, specifically Facebook, is the modern day Cheers, our favorite Boston bar. It’s the place where people want to share, be heard, hang out, laugh, learn and just be with friends.

You can use social media in the way that it is intended—to be social—and weave in your business message and special offers without disrupting the news feed. You can promote your brand without posting blatant ads for your services. You can open your world to new clients, new energy and new revenue.

Using social media to grow your business is smart. However, you want to make sure you have done an analysis of the look and feel of your social media page. The banner should look like your website and your facility, with similar colors and themes. Your page should be a great mix of pictures, videos and valuable text. You should offer fresh content a minimum of once per day.

You can connect your Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts to get your content on multiple platforms. If you aren’t on them all, that’s fine. Sometimes that can be better. Master one or two social media formats. We focus on Facebook and YouTube and have fresh content year round.

We’ve implemented a few best practices to help us share our message with the community:

  1. Do not be a billboard by screaming your offer at people and only promoting a sale.
  2. Do be a magazine. Post great content that educates, inspires and entertains people on topics that are relevant to your business and their lives.
  3. Do tell stories, share success and, after you’ve inspired people, tell them how they can get involved.
  4. Do make your content about your clients and their transformations, as well as about overall healthy-living tips that fit your brand. (Don’t make it all about you!)
  5. Do not post boring or generic tips. Pretend that every post costs you $100 in advertising, like a small ad in a community flier or newspaper. Think “Would I spend $100 to share this with my audience?” If not, redo it.
  6. Do create original content. Use your own pictures, quotes from your clients and your own recipes or grocery-shopping tips. When you do share a link, article or video of someone else’s, personalize it. Tell people why this topic matters to you and why it could be valuable to them.

We tell our story on social media by constantly showing clients’ successes and rotating content that fits our brand. Only every sixth post should include any type of “offer.” The idea is to give, educate, entertain and then ask! Ideas for regular content include member transformations, nutrition tips, welcoming new clients, thanking clients for referrals, sweaty pictures from boot camp or class, team shout-outs, fitness tips to spice up clients’ workouts, and upcoming programs.

Invite current clients to tag themselves in your pictures, share your posts on their pages and write comments back. The more “traction” your post gets, the more it is seen in the news feed and the greater your reach. When in doubt, ask a question and get people engaged. Comment back and start a dialogue. Be a place on social media where people want to hang out. Lift people up with a positive message. They’ll get to know your brand and will eventually put their trust in you.

Trina Gray

Owner, Bay Athletic Club

Alpena, Michigan

If you have a question, send it to IDEA Fitness Journal via regular mail (see “Your Membership” page); email ([email protected]); or fax (858-535-8234). Include name, company, city, state/province and phone number.

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