The Top 8 Social Media Platforms for Fitness & Coaching Professionals (and how to use them)
Simple, proven strategies to expand your social reach and online influence
Have you ever heard of the book Social Media is Bulls#@! by B.J. Mendelson?
If so, you might be familiar with the author’s argument that social media can never replace real world business connections, and that social media marketing isn’t nearly as powerful as some marketing experts would have you believe. B.J. makes a pretty good point. After all, what’s the point of having thousands of Facebook fans if you’re not able to convert those fans into dollars signs for your business? However, in considering the following statistics, Mr. Mendelson may just need a new title – and a new perspective – for his book.
Dell Computers has increased its sales by $2 million thanks to its @DellOutlet Twitter handle, which offers exclusive deals to Twitter followers.
A partnership between fashionista Diane von Furstenberg and HauteLook resulted in over $100,000 in sales in a single day thanks to a well-positioned Facebook ad campaign.
PETCO has increased its new customer base by 40% by offering exclusive deals and engagement opportunities through its social channels.
Sorry, B.J. – big brands are making big bucks with social media, and individual fitness professionals are following in their footsteps.
Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working (and what to do about it)
It’s clear that social media is a powerful tool for growing a fitness business (or any business!) and getting more clients into the gym. But for most fitness pros, social media marketing is the first thing that ends up on the chopping block the second things start to get busy. With clients, classes, and the never-ending demands of running a fitness-based business, it can be hard to stay updated on the constantly changing world of social media, let alone stay consistent with your online efforts and monetize your social media marketing.
Are a “fitness person,” NOT a “marketing person”
Don’t have a dedicated social media expert on your team
Know how to use social media for personal reasons but not necessarily to drive business
Aren’t sure which platforms you should be using in the first place
Aren’t clear on how to convert social leads into paying customers
Have been trying to use social media for business but aren’t seeing the results you want
…then read on to discover exactly what you’re missing when it comes to social media, and exactly how to create a powerful strategy that will give you the results you’re looking for in just minutes per day.
But first, let’s make sure you’re not guilty of any of these 7 Deadly Social Media Sins:
You Have No Strategy – A lot of fitness professionals know they should be using social media, but have no clue how to begin. So, they create a Facebook page and a Twitter feed and dive in head first, without any way to measure their results.
You’re Tracking the Wrong Goals – Social media marketing, like other forms of content marketing, can be difficult to measure in terms of effectiveness. If you’re trying to track generated revenue based on non-revenue generating activities, you’re likely to crash and burn fast.
You’re Not Flexible – While it’s important to have a strategy in place, it’s just as important to continually tweak that strategy based on the shifting tides of social media. Social marketing changes constantly, which means your strategy has to change with it.
You’re Using the Wrong Platform(s) – If your social media strategy is dead in the water, it could be that you’re putting all of your energy and effort into the wrong platform. Just because Twitter is the second most popular social platform overall doesn’t mean it’s the second most popular with your clients.
You’re Too Salesy – An important part of your strategy is engaging your audience without constantly selling to them. After all, do you go on Facebook to be sold to? I doubt it! People use social media to connect with friends, share funny and awe-inspiring content, get news updates, and be entertained. That means that your strategy has to find ways to connect, inspire, inform, and entertain your audience, first and foremost.
You Don’t Post/Tweet/Share Enough – While each platform is different in terms of how often you should post, chances are you’re not posting enough.
You’re Selfish – One of the biggest mistakes fitness professionals tend to make in their social media strategy is being selfish. They “post and run” in Facebook groups, never liking or commenting on other people’s content, they share content THEY like instead of content their CLIENTS might like, or they treat social media like a megaphone instead of a two-way conversation
Uh-oh…are you guilty of one or more of these social media sins?
Don’t worry. In this chapter, you’re going to learn exactly how to solve these social media problems and create an effective strategy that wins you more business, clients, and customers.
The Social Media Solution
How to Generate HUGE Social Media Results in Just Minutes Per Day
Social media is all about engagement. Each social platform gives you the opportunity to get to know your future clients, answer their fitness questions, help them achieve their goals, and provide them with as much value as you can. When you create a social media strategy with the client in mind, you’re much more likely to secure their training business. Social media allows you to connect with clients and prospective gym members on a personal, social level. The bond you create through fun platforms like Facebook and Twitter breeds loyalty in customers, who’ll be more likely to stick with your gym and better yet, bring along their friends. In this way, social media is a powerful lead generator that costs next to nothing!
In this chapter, you’ll discover….
Which social platforms will appeal to your clients and customers
How to get started on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Periscope, Pinterest, Google Plus, and YouTube
Best practices for each platform, including do’s and don’ts
Growth strategies for expanding your following and influence
Advertising + monetization strategies for turning followers into paying customers
Social media isn’t an overnight revenue-booster, but it is part of a proven, long-term marketing strategy that expands your reach, endears you to prospective clients, and establishes your unique voice in a sea of competition.
Why you need it
There are lots of social media platforms that you DON’T need, especially if you’re targeting an older (think Baby Boomer) client base. Facebook is not one of them. That is to say, not having a Facebook presence is sort of like not having an online presence. It can even be argued that you can get away with not having a website, but you can’t get away with not having a Facebook page.
According to the company website, Facebook has…
968 million daily active users
844 million mobile daily active users
49 billion monthly active users
31 billion mobile monthly active users
If those numbers aren’t enough to convince you that your clients are hanging out on Facebook, the International Business Times recently published this statistic:
71% of online adult use Facebook.
Odds are good that your current and prospective clients fall into that 71%!
How to get started
The type of Facebook account you need to create will depend on your fitness business. If you are an entrepreneur and a personal trainer, you’ll use Facebook differently than if you’re a club employee in a locally based, single-location gym. Luckily, Facebook gives you easy-to-understand options when first setting up your account.
Step One: Create a Personal Facebook Account
I highly recommend you begin with a personal Facebook account if you don’t have one already. There are certain functions you can only access with a personal account, such as creating and participating in groups. While you won’t only want a personal account, you will want to have access to a personal account because of the flexibility and reach it will give you on Facebook.
Step Two: Create a Facebook Page
Once you have a personal account set up, you will want to create a Facebook page to represent your gym or your personal brand.
Here’s what you’ll need to create your page:
160×160 profile pic or logo
851×315 branded header image
Long description of your gym/brand
Mission statement for your gym/brand
Be sure to choose the right category for your page. For instance, if you are a personal trainer interested in becoming a motivational speaker and best-selling author, you might want to create a Public Figure Facebook page. If you represent a gym that has one location, or run the local branch of a franchise gym, you’ll want to create a Local Business Facebook page. There are lots of options, so choose the option that best represents your personal brand as a business owner or employee. Once you have your Facebook page setup, invite your personal friends to Like your page. These Likes will serve as the foundation from which you build your Facebook following.
Step Three: Create a Facebook Group
Facebook pages are going more and more in the direction of websites. It’s still important to have one, but chances are you’ll see far more engagement by participating in or starting your own Facebook group. A Facebook group is a more personalized experience for group members that share a common interest. There is a feeling of belonging to a particular club, and an exclusivity that comes from knowing posts are seen by group members only, not everyone on Facebook. People join groups because of a passion or a problem. Because of that, groups are a much better place to engage with prospective clients and show them what you have to offer.
Create a group and invite friends and clients to be members of your group. This group will set the stage for monetization at a later date. Even in a large Facebook group, you’ll instantly enjoy a closer bond with members who share the same interests, and be able to draw from this pool when searching for new clients.
Add past and current clients to your Facebook group
Add Facebook friends to your Facebook group
Invite email subscribers to your Facebook group
Reach out to the members of other relevant groups and invite them into your tribe
Facebook fans realize that posts to your newsfeed are public, and that they are targeted toward as many people as possible. They also realize that content posted in a group is much more targeted, more special, and more directly relevant to them.
Best practices (do’s and don’ts)
Post Content Daily
Facebook’s algorithm picks and chooses what it thinks are your most valuable posts. That means it’s likely less than 10% of your Facebook fans are seeing your posts at any given time. Posting content consistently is the best way to make sure you’re staying top-of-mind with fans and followers. A good rule of thumb is to post an engaging question, photo, link, or article at least once per day.
Strive for Engagement Above Numbers
Instead of striving for a bigger number of Facebook fans, strive for better quality connections. A Facebook group with 100 active, interested members will drive more business than a group with 1000 disengaged members.
Focus on the quality – not the quantity – of your Facebook fans
Don’t buy fan Likes on Fiverr – these are just low quality Likes of people not in your target market
Use Facebook as a tool to strengthen connections with current clients and meet new prospective clients
Respond to all comments in a timely manner, and acknowledge fans when they Like or share your content. This will help you create an engaged community of fans from which you can draw new clients and valuable market research.
Include a Call to Action
Facebook uses Call to Action (CTA) buttons to help you achieve your business goals. Whether you want to increase email signups, boost fan page Likes, or get prospects to sign up for a free training session, Facebook can help you do it. Choose from 7 different Facebook CTAs, including “Sign Up” and “Book Now,” and link to any page inside or outside Facebook.
Go easy on the automation
Apps like Hootsuite and SocialOomph can save you hours each week by automatically posting your content while you sleep, and you can now autoschedule posts directly from Facebook itself. The problem with this is that the interaction that follows can’t be automated. It’s crucial that you or a member of your team are monitoring your Facebook account daily, responding to comments, and encouraging engagement.
Respond to all questions, comments, and other forms of Facebook engagement as soon as possible
Mix up automated posts with ‘live’ posts and activity
Follow up with Facebook fans via phone or email and ask how you can help them with their lifestyle and fitness goals
Once you’ve set up a Facebook profile, page, and group, included a Call to Action, and found a way to balance automated posts with authentic interactions, it’s time to focus on growth. The #1 way to grow your Facebook community, and thus gain access to more and more prospective clients, is to increase fan engagement on your page.
8 Ways to Increase Engagement on your Facebook Page
Post signs throughout the gym asking for Facebook likes and offering a specific incentive for liking your page. For example, you might offer a free kickboxing class to those who like your page, or give exclusive discounts/rewards to Facebook fans only.
2. Observe the 80/20 rule – A good rule of thumb is to share other people’s content 80% of the time, and your own content 20% of the time. This keeps fans interested and prevents them from feeling “sold to” every time you post.
3. Post at the right time – You’re likely to get the most interaction right when you post, so choosing the best time is crucial. Generally speaking, the most people will see a post on your Facebook page between 6-8am or 2-5pm between Monday and Friday – but always test what works best for your audience.
Never buy Facebook likes – If a prospective client sees 5,000 likes on your Facebook page but hardly any shares or comments on your content, they’ll know you’re pulling a fast one! Instead, court real, authentic fans who are truly interested in you and your brand. When it comes to engagement, it’s far better to have 50 active, involved followers than 500 people who never respond.
5. Ask authentic questions – Ask questions of your fans when you truly want to know the answer. The authenticity will shine through and you’ll start a real conversation that could lead to real clients! For instance, if you’re having trouble choosing which movie to see, looking for a new hairdresser, or debating where to hold your next conference, ask your fans! People love to share their two cents, especially on social media.
6. Create timed offers, freebies, and discounts – Provide value in the form of a coupon, contest, discounted service or fun freebie. Teach your fans that your Facebook page is the only place to score these goods, and watch as engagement and likes soar.
7. Get personal – Great personal posts to your Facebook page might involve travel (share a few vacation photos!), checking in at a great restaurant (“Has anyone else been here?”), or doing a fun activity with your kids. Remember that these posts don’t necessarily have to be directly related to your business; their purpose is to connect with fans on a human level.
Advertising + Monetization
In addition to helping you build a platform of engaged fans and followers (all of whom will become your prospective clients), Facebook provides opportunities to monetize those relationships outside of the gym. These include selling products on Facebook, creating Facebook video campaigns, and creating Facebook advertising campaigns.
Sell directly on Facebook
Did you know that Facebook is one of the fastest growing eCommerce sites in the world? There’s no reason to spend money driving traffic from Facebook to your website when you can simply sell directly from Facebook itself. After all, everyone is already on Facebook anyway! Thanks to storefront solutions like Payment and 8thBridge, more and more solopreneurs and microbusinesses are selling their wares via social. Throw in Facebook video advertising and you have a multitude of powerful ways to increase awareness, engagement, and revenue.
Create a Facebook Video Campaign
A recent survey of over 100 industry leaders found that 87% percent of them have Facebook video marketing campaigns in the works (source: Global Newswire). There are two important lessons to take away from this: first, Facebook is a video marketing force to be reckoned with – consider using video for any Facebook ad campaigns you may be running in the future. Second, a huge majority (80%++!!) of thought leaders and successful businesses are using video marketing to increase brand awareness. These companies have millions to spend on marketing research each year, so why not follow in their footsteps and embrace their strategy for your own business and brand?
Create a Facebook Ad Campaign
Facebook has made it easier than ever to connect with your ideal clients by creating a targeted Facebook ad campaign. Unlike more impersonal pay-per-click advertising, Facebook ads are designed to be intimate, engaging, and hyper-personal. Whether they appear as a post in someone’s newsfeed or as a graphic advertisement sandwiched between their page Likes and friend’s list, Facebook ads are presented in a seamless way that results in high conversions.
Set Specific Goals – You can create a Facebook ad campaign to increase page Likes, promote a specific post, send traffic to your website, or increase conversions on a particular website or landing page.
Choose Ad Images – Choose eye-catching, shareable images that don’t contain too much text, as Facebook bans any graphics more than 20% text-heavy. You also want to make sure each image is a minimum of 600px wide, however ideal image specs are 1200 wide by 627 pixels high.
Create Ad Copy – Your Facebook ad campaign has a lot of rules about the length of your ad copy, so be sure to follow them to a tee:
Your headline cannot exceed 25 characters
Your ad body text cannot exceed 90 characters
Your link description cannot exceed 90 characters
Remember that Facebook is its own search engine, and including trending keywords will help your target market find you.
Choose Your Target Market – Choose the audience your ad will target based on age, interests, geographic location, and their connection to you on Facebook. For instance, if you’re creating an ad to get more Likes for your Facebook page, you don’t want to target people who already like your page. Facebook makes it easy to exclude your fans and target their friends instead.
Set Your Budget – If you’re running a campaign to promote a post, drive traffic to a website, or increase conversions, you’ll be charged on a pay-per-click basis: every time someone clicks your ad, you’ll be charged a pre-agreed upon fee. If you’re running a Facebook ad campaign to get more page Likes, you’ll be charged every time someone views your ad, regardless of whether or not they like your page.
During campaign set up, you’ll be asked if you’d like to “bid for clicks” or “bid for impressions.” The most effective way to ensure maximum engagement is to select “bid for clicks” and to set your budget higher than the amount Facebook recommends. Remember, you won’t necessarily spend your maximize bid every day. If you set a budget of $5/day, for example, you may only spend $2-$3 per day instead. But upping the maximum increases your chances of more clicks, and therefore more conversions.
Monitor Your Ad – Monitor your ad every day, or at least every few days, to see what’s working and what’s not. Export data from your campaign so you can get an accurate picture of how things are playing out, how many clicks/conversions you’re getting each day, and how much you’re spending each day.
Optimize Your Campaign – If a particular photo or headline is getting better results than others, you can ‘turn off’ all other options and only use the content that’s getting the best results. If you notice a particular demographic is responding to your campaign more than others, you may want to redo your targeting and only target people from that demographic.
While Facebook is growing and changing every single day, it’s clear that this social network is here to stay. By building an engaged tribe of Facebook fans, you’ll have a pool of prospective clients to target in order to grow your fitness business.
Why you need it
If you think only Millennials use Twitter, think again. With over 500 million tweets sent every day and 316+ million monthly users, Twitter is a force to be reckoned with. It’s also a completely different animal from Facebook, allowing you to target an entirely different audience of prospective clients and customers for your gym.
Twitter is a fast-paced, real time social network that lets users to connect through microblogging, or “tweeting” 140-characters at a time. Twitter is immensely powerful in that it lets you connect with thought leaders in the fitness industry by following them and mentioning them in your tweets. Unlike Facebook, it is relatively easy to grow a large following on Twitter simply by following others with similar interests to you. And since 80% of Twitter users engage with the platform via mobile devices, those who use Twitter most are active, on-the-go types who make ideal fitness clients.
How to get started
It’s easy to get started on Twitter in just a few minutes, but you’ll need to do some brand-related prep work before your account goes live.
Choose your Twitter handle
Your Twitter “handle” is the username you’ll use on Twitter and how other users will connect with and follow you. Be sure to choose a name that represents your brand as a fitness trainer or fitness club. Fitness entrepreneurs should choose their full name if possible, while clubs can tweet under @NameOfClub.
Upload your materials
For your Twitter profile, you will need:
400×400 profile pic
If you are a fitness entrepreneur or personal trainer, make sure your profile pic is a picture of you. If you own/run a gym, you may want to use the gym’s logo as your profile picture.
1500×500 branded header
The header is a great place to post an image of you during a training session or otherwise showing what you do. You can also create a custom Twitter background that uses the same colors and textures as your logo or marketing materials.
140-character profile description
Use the 140-character profile description like it’s SEO copy. Include keywords and hashtags people are likely to search for if they’re looking for a trainer or coach. Do hashtag research on RiteTag.com to find out what fitness searches are trending on Twitter, and don’t forget to include the URL to your website as well.
Follow relevant people and brands
The third way to get started on Twitter is to follow fitness-related people and brands. This can include other fitness trainers, gyms, authors, and entrepreneurs in the health and wellness field. Just be sure to take it slow when first starting out. If you follow too many people at one time, Twitter will think you’re a spammer or a bot and lock your account. Just like on Facebook, choose quality over quantity and only follow those who you’re truly interested in connecting with.
Best practices (do’s and don’t)
Tweet Early, Tweet Often
A single tweet is seen by less than 2% of your followers. That means sending 3 tweets per day is only enough to reach 6% of your audience! Marketing psychologists now say it takes 12 impressions for people to remember a brand. Tweet less than that each week and you’re sure to get lost in the shuffle! It’s not unreasonable to tweet every 10 minutes, as long as the content is valuable and interesting to your followers. Use automated services like Hootsuite to pre-schedule tweets throughout the day and make your presence known.
Share Great Content (with pictures)
Just like on other social networks, it’s a great idea to share other people’s content on Twitter. This means frequently retweeting relevant content your followers will love. Use an app like Twibble to curate content from other fitness professionals. Each time they post something new, your Twitter account will automatically tweet a link to their content.Followers will keep following you because you’re a reliable source for fresh, interesting content and because you’re not constantly ‘selling’ them your own content.
It’s also a great idea to tweet content from popular sites (think HuffPo or The NY Times). Look for articles or blog posts that a) are relevant to your followers, and b) already have several thousand retweets and shares. Since the content has proven itself to be popular, you’re much more likely to get lots of retweets and interaction on Twitter.
Automate Your Tweets (but not your interactions)
Live tweeting is fantastic when and if you have time, but it’s also crucial to be tweeting consistently throughout the day. In order to do that, make sure you’re using an app like Hootsuite or SocialOomph to automate your tweets. A good Twitter strategy is to create and schedule all of your content for the week on Sunday or Monday, then focus your Twitter time on engagement throughout the rest of the week.
Use Social plugins to cross-promote on other platforms
Give your followers an opportunity to promote your content on Twitter no matter where they happen to be online. Include social sharing icons in your emails and on your blog posts, and be sure to link your Twitter account with your Facebook and other social accounts.
Reward your followers
Do you thank each and every new follower you get? You should. Sending out a “thank you Tweet” to every new person who follows you makes Twitter a more personal place to interact online. It also drastically reduces the chances of your new follower unfollowing you in the near future. Feel free to batch your “new follower tweets” by using up to 5 Twitter handles at a time, and composing a tweet like this: “Awesome new followers: @soandso, @fitnessfreak, @coach2stars….” Etc.
By giving each of your new followers a “shout out,” you’re promoting them to the rest of your followers and giving them some exposure. Be sure to follow them back as well, especially if they are a potential client, competitor, or colleague.
Your Twitter strategy will only work if you are consistent. That means consistently using Twitter in the following ways:
Consistently posting fresh content using an automation app (Step 3) and content curation app (Step 2)
Consistently engaging your followers with retweets, replies, favorites, and “shout-out’s” at least 15 minutes every day (ideally more!)
Consistently tweeting to share your content, services, and brand
Remember that sending out one tweet is akin to connecting with 1% of your followers. Twitter moves quickly, and chances are that 99% of those who follow you will miss your tweet! Don’t be afraid to tweet multiple times per hour. Most Twitter feeds are so chockfull of tweets that users won’t even notice how often you’re tweeting.
Finally, remember that tweets aren’t precious – follow best practices by keeping it short and sweet, and using relevant hashtags whenever possible. But don’t labor for hours over a single tweet (unless, of course, you’re already a huge celebrity with followers hanging onto your every tweet. In that case, leave your Twitter strategy in the hands of an expensive PR team and go enjoy a massage or something!).
Keep It Clean (clean up your followers)
Are you following or being followed by a bunch of spammers? You know the type – the people constantly hitting you up with tweets like “Get 24k followers for $24!!!” Clean up your list and make sure those you follow, and those who follow you, are made up of (real) targeted tweeters. A targeted tweeter is someone who falls into your target market and could be a potential client or customer someday. That, or they have the potential to become a brand advocate or partner and refer friends and family to you and your brand.
When clients, prospects, event bookers and TV producers look at your Twitter account, they’re not simply looking at your number of followers. They’re looking for authentic engagement with real people who are passionate about what you do.
Give Frequent Shout-out’s
Acknowledge each and every new follower you receive with an individual, personalized tweet. Yes, this takes time, but it can easily be outsourced to a VA and the benefits are awesome – you’ll have hardly any unfollows which means your list is always growing, and your followers will return the ‘shout out’ favor by retweeting your content.
If someone takes the time to mention, favorite, or retweet something you’ve posted on Twitter, acknowledge it with a mention, favorite, or retweet. This is a fantastic Twitter hack because it’s so simple and not enough people do it. When you reward your followers for “good behavior,” they’re far more likely to continue engaging with you and sharing your content. This in turn leads to more followers, more engagement, and the creation of a loyal Twitter tribe.
TweetAdder keeps you tweeting day and night, even while you sleep. This app lets you pre-schedule tweets in bulk so your content is constantly being pumped out. This tool is particularly useful for increasing podcast downloads and getting found through hashtags. Remember that Twitter is its own search engine, so tag your tweets appropriately to increase their chances of being found!
Work Your Followers (Case study)
Twitter is not just about growing your following, but engaging the followers you already have. Fitness trainer Ben recently hit the 60,000 follower mark on Twitter, and he did it by working his followers. In addition to the “shout out’s” mentioned above, Ben chooses 5 followers per day to focus on. He mentions them in his tweets, retweets their content, and otherwise engages them. The next day, he moves onto the next 5 people on his list.
Yes, it takes time to get to everyone on his list, but the personalized attention makes people stick with him. And clearly this technique is working – 60,000 followers is nothing to sneeze at, especially for your average fitness coach!
The best Twitter hacks combine awesome apps and technology with a personalized touch. Remember that a lot of these Twitter to-do’s can be outsourced to an assistant or freelancer, but be sure to spend at least 15 minutes per day giving your followers the personal touch only you can give. Having a loyal, engaged following on Twitter is one of the fastest ways to grow your brand, build a tribe, and convert followers into paying clients!
Advertising + Monetization
Your long-term Twitter monetization strategy is the same as it is on Facebook: by expanding your reach and connecting with prospective clients, you will position yourself as an expert within the fitness industry and remain top-of-mind when clients are ready to hire a trainer or join a gym.You can enhance and speed that experience with paid advertising on Twitter, which allows you to promote your account, individual tweets, and specific trends.
Begin on the Twitter for Business website (Business.Twitter.com). Before you create an ad campaign, you’ll be asked to choose between three different campaign types:
Promoted Accounts – promote your Twitter handle under the “Who to follow” stream in order to increase targeted followers.
Promoted Tweets – promote a specific tweet that you want to make a big splash, such as info on an open house at your gym, or a link to your upcoming webinar.
Promoted Trends – promote topics and hashtags you want people to see. For instance, if you’re attending or hosting a fitness conference, you can promote a trend related to that conference, encouraging targeted followers to view all tweets and updates related to that conference.
From there, you can create a pay-per-click advertising campaign that targets users based on location. Twitter’s targeting is not as specific as Facebook’s, but that may change soon. After the campaign runs, use Twitter’s Analytics tool to view the number of impressions your campaign generated, as well as the traffic it drove to your website.
Twitter is a powerful tool for fitness professionals because it allows you to connect with followers in real time and build a substantial following quickly. Remember to tweet frequently and consistently, share valuable content with links and images, and consider investing in paid advertising to boost your reach even further.
Why you need it
Okay, let’s admit it – LinkedIn just isn’t as sexy as Facebook, Twitter, and all the other “fun” social media platforms that are used for both work and play. But forget about LinkedIn’s clean-cut, professional exterior. The fact is that your LinkedIn profile may be able to do more to grow your business this year than all other social platforms combined.
That’s because there are over 100 million active LinkedIn users in the United States, and nearly 380 million users worldwide. 40% of LinkedIn users use the application every day, and in 2014 alone LinkedIn user profiles were viewed 28 billion (with a b!) times. (source: Digital Marketing Stats).
When it first started, LinkedIn served as a sort of online resume posting site for job seekers and recruiters. Today, it’s an important way for all business professionals to assert their expertise and status within their chosen industry. Whether you’re a personal trainer or a club employee, having both a personal and business profile on LinkedIn is essential for:
Attracting new clients
Creating a tribe
Staying top of mind
How to get started
Just like Facebook and Twitter, you will need some basic marketing materials to get started on LinkedIn. If you are a personal trainer or independent fitness entrepreneur, you’ll be creating a profile page. If you own or work at a gym or fitness company, you will want to create a profile page and a company page.
Create Your Profile
On LinkedIn, it’s important to differentiate between personal and business profiles. Don’t write your company LinkedIn profile as if you’re a single person (even if you are), and don’t write your personal LinkedIn profile as if you are a company (even if you are!). A personal LinkedIn profile should talk about you, your background, and what you do to help your clients succeed. Let’s say you’re the CEO of a company called Fearless Fitness. Your personal profile should talk about your role within the company, how you’ve helped it to grow, your personal history with the company, and how you work to help your customers and clients. The company page can then give a broader overview of your business and the services it provides.
Keep in mind that both your personal and company profiles should be focused on the end user and how you can help solve their most pressing problems.
Your profile picture appears as 200×200 pixels. There is no maximum file size so the bigger, the better! If you choose to get a premium (paid) LinkedIn account, a profile picture that is 240×240 is recommended.
Choose a background image that is 1400×425 pixels.
Consider using the same profile picture and background image you are using on Facebook and Twitter so it’s easy to recognize you across multiple platforms.
Include a standard logo that is 100×60 pixels. This is what users will see when they land on your company page.
Include a square 50×50 logo. This smaller version of your logo will be used throughout other areas of LinkedIn and will be visible in your newsfeed, so make sure it’s the right size.
Upload a banner image that is 646×220 pixels for a standard company page, and 947x330pixels for a company showcase (paid) page.
Once you have your images uploaded, it’s time to write your LinkedIn profile. Both personal and company profiles will benefit from the inclusion of keyword-rich SEO copy. Make it easy for others to find you by including terms such as “personal trainer,” “[Your City] fitness center,” etc. Be sure to include these keywords in the title and subheading of your profile or company page.
In your personal profile, you’ll be asked to list and describe jobs you’ve held in the past. Feel free to eliminate jobs that are not relevant to your current fitness business. Focus on the Skills section of LinkedIn and incorporate all of your fitness-related skills into your profile. When crafting your summary, which is a short bio that introduces you to the LinkedIn community, consider writing in the first person to make it more personal (“I’ve been a personal trainer for the past 13 years and I’m passionate about my job!”).
In your company profile, it’s time to create a page that represents your business as an entity that reaches beyond you as an individual. Here, use third person when writing your profile (“XYZ Fitness was established in 2009 and has become the most popular fitness center in Atlanta”). Includes specialties (personal training, yoga, aerobics, etc), details on products and services you provide, your number of employees, and the year your company was founded.
Keep in mind that LinkedIn hides most of your profile to make room for your most recent status updates, so viewers can only see the first few sentences when they land on your page. For this reason, make sure those first few sentences are enticing and induce curiosity to make the reader click “read more.”
Be sure to include a specific Call To Action in your profile on both your personal and company pages. Invite viewers to visit your website, opt in to your email list, schedule a free consultation, or connect with you on Facebook.
LinkedIn will help you make connections by showing you who you already know on the platform. This is done by giving the application access to your email address book. You can also reach out to personal connections from Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms and ask to connect with them on LinkedIn as well. The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the larger your network will be and the easier it will be to find qualified leads, promote your fitness business, and establish a professional reputation online.
Start sharing updates
Just like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn allows you to share status updates with your network. Choose relevant content, include an eye-catching image, and post consistently. Consider the professional nature of LinkedIn before selecting what you want to share – this is not necessarily the platform for sharing personal pictures. Keep it focused on career and business updates and content your audience will love.
Best practices (do’s and don’ts)
Further optimize your use of keywords
Your LinkedIn profile provides lots of different opportunities to insert relevant keywords, making it easier for prospective clients and customers to find you. But having keywords in your headline and summary alone just doesn’t cut it. Make sure to do your keyword research within LinkedIn itself (as opposed to on Google or by using another SEO tool). Use LinkedIn’s search bar and see what pops up, or go to the profiles of colleagues and competitors to get keyword ideas.
From there, make sure to use keywords in all of the following areas of your profile:
Remember that when it comes to keyword optimization, your goal is to make it easy for others to find you. Be willing to sacrifice a bit of eloquence and creative copywriting in favor of the perfect keywords.
Highlight the right parts of your profile
Did you know that you can change the order of the different sections that appear on your LinkedIn profile? If you’re an employee seeking a full-time job, you’ll want to highlight different sections than you would as an entrepreneur, author, or coach. For example, if you’re a personal trainer who’s also an author or speaker, you’ll want to highlight the Publications section so your published works and articles are among the first things potential clients see when they view your profile.
Here is how to change the order of your profile:
In the top nav bar within your LinkedIn profile, select Profile à Edit Profile
Mouse over the section you’d like to move
Drag the section to its new position.
Consider what your ideal customer is looking for when they view your profile. Highlight the areas you’d want them to see first, leaving the least important sections at the bottom of your profile.
Separate your Summary from your Skills/Specialties
If possible, keep your Summary section separate from your Specialties section. Keeping these two areas separate gives you more space in the Summary section to pitch yourself and incorporate relevant keywords. If you combine the two, you’ll have far less space to work with and won’t be able to accurately represent yourself in either area.
If you have already combined Summary with Specialties, don’t worry! You can create a “mock” Specialties section in your Summary by first typing in “Specialties,” and then choosing from a drop down list of relevant keywords.
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to endorse your connections for certain skillsets and areas of expertise. The more people you endorse, the more people are likely to endorse you in return. Be selective, however – when you recommend a colleague to another colleague, it’s your reputation on the line!
Get others to share your content – The best way to get your social content shared is to first get to know your LinkedIn connections as intimately as possible.
Research their LinkedIn accounts and see what kind of content they share the most
Stay clean, positive, and “office cooler-friendly” with your content
Experiment with different content lengths, images, and descriptions
Create helpful content that is user-focused and that makes their lives better in some way
Post Once per Day – consistently sharing high quality content is the fastest way to build a fitness-based following on LinkedIn.
Engage, Engage, Engage – if you want others to share and comment on your updates, be sure to share and comment on theirs. On LinkedIn, you get what you give, so spend at least a few minutes every day acknowledging other people’s status updates and news.
Ask for connections – LinkedIn suggests connections for you from right within your profile. If you’d like to connect with someone in the fitness industry, or someone who could be a potential client, simply click “connect.” With a paid account, you can send connection requests to people you don’t yet know but would like to.
Join groups – Just like on Facebook, participating in groups on LinkedIn amplifies your ability to make connections. There is a group search function on LinkedIn where you can search specifically by group topic, select relevant fitness-related groups, and ask to join.
Use a Call to Action (CTA) – As a fitness professional, your LinkedIn profile is going to be slightly different than that of a typical employee. Because you’re not necessarily looking for a new job (at least not in the traditional sense), it’s important to include a strong Call to Action (CTA) in your LinkedIn profile. In the summary section, give the viewer specific instructions for how to get in touch with you or what to do next.
Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn
Reveal how they can get a free gift on your website
Ask to connect on other social networks (y’know, the sexy ones)
Whatever you do, don’t leave your prospect hanging! By telling them what to do next with a strong CTA, you’ll greatly improve the chances of them contacting you in the future.
Promote outside LinkedIn – Include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your personal email as well as any email campaigns you send to your list. Ask Facebook fans to connect with you on LinkedIn and tweet your LinkedIn profile to Twitter followers. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your website. Consider using sharing plugins to make it easy for your audience to share your content to LinkedIn, as well as follow you on LinkedIn.
Advertising + Monetization
Monetizing your LinkedIn profile is easy with LinkedIn’s built-in ad campaigns. The way you advertise on LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in terms of targeting power, but lacks the flexibility to promote your LinkedIn profile. Instead, the pay-per-click setup only allows you to promote a third party link, like a link to your website or landing page.
Let’s say you’re launching a new Pilates class at your gym. LinkedIn advertising will allow you to create a targeted ad campaign by gender, age, and industry, but also by hyper-specific qualities like job title, city, company size, or LinkedIn group membership. Choose exactly who you want to sign up for your new class, then create a campaign with a set pay-per-click daily budget.
For each ad, LinkedIn requires
25-character text headline
Your name or company name
A 50×50 image
The URL you want people to visit
While there is not yet an option to promote your LinkedIn profile like there is on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn’s targeting options make advertising a great way to monetize your account and attract targeted traffic likely to purchase your fitness-related services.
Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn to attract new clients and customers. It’s also perhaps the best social network out there for networking with industry colleagues and securing career-boosting opportunities like speaking engagements and joint ventures.
Why you need it
If a picture speaks a thousand words, then Instagram just can’t shut up! This youthful social media platform is fiercely popular with Millennials and younger audiences, with 90% of users under the age of 35. It’s also being used by more and more brands, companies, and celebrities to build big followings and make connections using exciting images.
75 million daily active users
300 million monthly active users
A reach that includes 34% of the entire U.S. population
Instagram lets you post pictures and videos instantly, allowing you to share the most exciting moments of your day with your followers. With cool filtering options, your photos can look artsy and interesting even if you have no experience as a photographer. This platform is 100% mobile based and works with Android and iOS.
Unlike Facebook, whose algorithm decides what you do and don’t see in your newsfeed, Instagram shows you every image of those you follow. This means that your followers are seeing your images too, and that you can have a much bigger, more consistent impact each time you post. Videos posted to Instagram automatically play in the feed, making it easy to share exercise videos, fitness tips, and training sessions with your followers. The totally mobile nature of Instagram makes it a great platform for fitness professionals who are always in the gym and can’t always access a laptop or desktop computer.
How to get started
Download the Instagram app for your smartphone or tablet from within the app store or by visiting Instagram.com.
You will need:
A 161×161 profile picture – use the same profile pic you’re using on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
A username that represents you or your company
A 150-word bio that is SEO-friendly and includes keywords and hashtags
Your website URL included in your bio
Images are meant to be uploaded to your Instagram account from your mobile device in real time and will be displayed in your feed at 510×510 pixels. Your most recent uploads will also be displayed on your profile.
Best practices (do’s and don’ts)
Instagram is not Facebook! – Instagram is NOT the place to share photos of you going out to dinner with your favorite aunt. Instagram is artsy, and at its core is about great photography and exciting, inspiring snapshots. When you post an image, you’re competing with other pictures of exotic destinations and awe-inspiring happenings. A simple snapshot of you lounging around the gym just isn’t going to cut it, so be selective with what you choose to share with your followers. Is your photo beautiful, interesting, or helpful in some way? If not, don’t post it and wait til you have one that is.
Don’t blast your followers – “Blasting” is a big faux pas on Instagram, so make sure you’re not guilty of this common sin! While it’s kosher to post Instagram pics throughout the day, your followers do not want to see 10 similar pictures posted within a few seconds of each other. Why? Because Instagram is all about what’s fresh, interesting, and different. Sharing a pic of the same plank hold from 16 different angles is sure to make your followers yawn.
Encourage Client Sharing – Instagram is a great social tool for gym owners and personal trainers because it’s so easy to get your clients involved. Encourage members to post pictures of their accomplishments or favorite workouts using a hashtag specific to your gym. Whenever they share a photo on Instagram, all of their Instagram followers will see that photo and be exposed to your brand, which in turn will drive more traffic to your website.
Maintain your brand identity – Getting more training clients is easy when you have a strong understanding of who your clients are: what makes them tick, what they’re afraid of, and what they value most. If your Instagram photos don’t resonate with that identity, your content won’t get shared. Make sure you have a deep understanding of your clients and other social connections. If in doubt, look at what they tend to post and share on Facebook and Twitter. What values can you assume from analyzing their content? If most of your fans are sharing inspirational quotes with each other, rest assured that inspirational photos on Instagram will be a shoe-in for sharing.
Use hashtags – Hashtags are not only a great way to help potential clients find you on Instagram; they can also be strategically used to increase your number of followers. In addition to hashtags like #fitnessaddict and #fitnessmotivation, use hashtags like #l4l (like for like), #tagforlikes and #instafollow to attract new followers and build your network.
Hold a contest – Post a photo announcing your fitness-related contest on Instagram. Ask people to follow you and/or like the photo in order to enter the contest. Be sure to offer a fitness-themed prize to the contest winner and include related Calls to Action, such as subscribing to your email list to find out who won the contest.
Like other pictures – Engage with others on Instagram by liking their photos and following them. Search fitness-related hashtags to find users who are interested in fitness and likely to be members of your target market. Then engage with them by following their Instagram feed and liking their pictures. You’re sure to get a fair amount of people liking and following you back!
Promote your account – Sync your Instagram account with Facebook, include an Instagram icon on your website, and ask for Instagram follows on Twitter and other social networks. Cross promotion is the best way to bring the followers you already have over to Instagram.
Share helpful images – Travel bloggers can get away with sharing beautiful locales on Instagram all day long. You, on the other hand, are most likely working from the same location and can’t rely on beauty alone to grow your Instagram following. If you can’t be awe-inspiring, be helpful, engaging, and beneficial. Share photos and videos that show your followers how to make a tangible change in their lives through fitness. Doing so will not only build brand trust between you and prospective clients; it will dramatically increase the shareability of your Instagram photos and grow your following.
Stay focused on the client – Feel free to share photos you’re passionate about, but remember that the content isn’t for you – it’s for your clients and prospective clients, and should therefore be presented with their needs, wants, and problems in mind.
Stay focused on goals – People share content when it’s in alignment with their life’s goals. Because of this, it’s crucial to know what kinds of goals your clients have and help them reach those goals through the photos you share on Instagram. Identify specific goals that many of your clients have. If weight loss is a common goal, for instance, your photos should not only reflect that goal, but show people exactly how to reach that goal through targeted action steps.
Use the “Get Followers” app – Designed for iPhone and iPad, this app helps you find Instagrammers in your target market and promote your profile to them. While you’re still responsible for posting interesting images, the app does work to help you connect with people interested in fitness and health.
Advertising + Monetization
Since Facebook owns Instagram, the way to advertise on Instagram is through Facebook. Specifically, you need to use the Facebook Power Editor or the Facebook Ads API in order to create an ad campaign for Instagram. At the time of writing, Facebook promises to have Instagram functionality from within its more user-friendly “ad creation” application by late 2015.
If you have already created an ad campaign on Facebook, you can use that same advertising account to create ads on Instagram. Since Instagram users are shown all posts from every account they follow, the likelihood of them seeing your Instagram ad is much higher than if you were to use Facebook’s algorithm alone.
Your Instagram ad will appear exactly as a normal post would appear – as a square or landscape image with a text description underneath. The only difference is that users will see a blue “Sponsored” icon in the upper right hand corner of your image. Be sure to include relevant keywords, hashtags, and a strong Call to Action.
This year Instagram has begun allowing advertisers to use clickable URLs within their ads. This is done with a “learn more” button placed within a carousel ad (several photos that are viewed in sequence by swiping within the application). On the last photo in the series, users can click to learn more and be sent to your website. Note that they will view the site from within Instagram, so it’s crucial to have a compelling reason for them to stay on your site and complete an action instead of continuing to scroll their Instagram feed.
Instagram is fresh and edgier than many of the other social networks out there. Its visual nature makes it perfect for providing exercise instruction, sharing healthy recipes, and demonstrating proper form.
Why you need it
As a coach, personal trainer, or solopreneur, video lets you engage your audience on a whole new level. By connecting with your face and voice, clients and prospective customers can get a sense of what it’d be like to work with you while vetting your expertise. Now take all of those benefits and amplify them tenfold with the growing popularity of live video streaming, and you’ve got a recipe for marketing success.
Real-time video applications like Periscope are giving social users and brands the ability to connect in real-time.
Personal trainers and fitness experts can live-stream their training sessions with current clients
Coaches can livestream talks, podcast recordings, and interviews
Wellness experts can livestream Q&A sessions with clients and give new customers a no-risk way to ‘try on’ their brand for free (and in real time)
Are people really looking for live-streamed videos? Wouldn’t it be better to spend time and money creating a more polished, pre-recorded video for your brand?
The data says no.
Since its Twitter launch in late March 2015, Periscope has seen some 50,000 tweets per day that include live video streams. (source: Marketing Land). If video marketing is powerful, then live video marketing is positively almighty. Periscope already has 10 million users, 2 million daily active users, and streams over 40 years (not hours, not days, but years) of video every single day.
Periscope allows users to see the world through other people’s eyes by watching video through their smartphone, sort of like FaceTiming with strangers. The live, real-time nature of Periscope encourages its users to “pop in” and view video feeds from all over the world. Users can comment on the stream in real time, and the person filming can respond in real time. When users find a stream that’s interesting to them, they will follow the person or company that created that stream and “tune in” the next time they stream on Periscope.
Businesses and entrepreneurs are using Periscope to do all sorts of exciting things. Using the app, you can live stream product launches, exercise classes, or simply let people join you on your commute to work. The implications for fitness trainers are particularly exciting because with Periscope, you can invite prospective clients to experience your training sessions, classes, and workshops with you as a way of building your brand and reputation. People get a chance to “try before they buy” and get to trust you, which will make closing a sale and winning a new client that much easier.
Periscope also records each live stream and stores it for viewing for up to 24 hours. With the right storage apps, you can download and store each Periscope you create. This means that every time you stream, you are creating content that can then be repurposed and used on your website or other marketing channels.
How to get started
To get started using Periscope, you need an iPhone or Android mobile device and a Twitter account. Download the Periscope app and follow the instructions for logging in to Twitter. Your Periscope account will automatically be connected to your Twitter account, and you’ll see a list of people you follow on Twitter who have recently streamed on Periscope.
Watch a few videos to get a sense of what