Using social media: a PT’s perspective


Written by Jacob Schepis
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Social media is a powerful marketing tool when used correctly, regardless of your industry. For personal trainers, alongside referrals of course, social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are fast becoming the most powerful weapons we have in our arsenal to generate leads and gain new clients. The question is:

How should personal trainers best use social media to create awareness, attract new clients, engage existing clients and build their client data base?

To give rise to what personal trainers should post about on the interwebs, it’s first important to understand what it is you are trying to achieve by using social media. Is it to

Gain a large online following OR
Build a business

If your goal is the first, then feel free to disregard anything else that I am going to say in this article. If, however, you actually care about developing a reputable, healthy, and sustainable business, then listen up.

Let’s first look at the 4 big no-nos when it comes to social media content for personal trainers wanting to grow their PT business:

  1. Don’t sell, all of the time
  2. Don’t post about yourself, all of the time
  3. Don’t post content about topics you don’t fully understand
  4. Don’t plagiarise

How to maximise social media for your personal training business
Posting selfies of your derriere is not a viable business model. While it may get you a bucket load of likes and a large fan base, it won’t necessarily translate to leads, clients and long-term growth of your business. There are a number of things that my business (JPS Health and Fitness )along with most successful personal training businesses, have used to great effect to develop a large client base.

Know your target audience
It is fundamental that you have an understanding of who you want your target audience to be. Having a clearly defined ‘ideal client’ is crucial for your social media content. Ask yourself: What information will help my clients achieve their goals?

This question should drive the majority of your social media content. For example, if your client base consists of predominantly general population clients looking to lose weight, then you wouldn’t post about increasing one rep max strength. It would be in your best interests to post content that will teach them about nutrition and exercise strategies for fat loss and weight management.

Become the expert
Following on from the aforementioned, once you know your niche, you need to become their go-to-trainer. There is no short cut to achieving this, it requires more than just information, but an understanding of how to apply your knowledge to that specific field of personal training.

Back up your content
All of the disciplines within personal training are controversial; nutrition; training; rehab; mobility and strength. We live in the information era, where social media is filled with content about weight loss, training and healthy living, with each coach, trainer and business having a different take on what constitutes healthy living. This conflicting information can cause your clients, and potential clients, to be confused. As the go-to-trainer, you need to be able to back up what you are saying, and not just with ‘results’ or a picture of your physique.

A great trainer is evidence based, which means their practice is based on the latest research combined with their experience and tailored to their clients needs and goals. Therefore, your content should be based on both the scientific literature and your time in the trenches, coupled with the results you get with your clients.

Nobody likes a wise crack, but being able to justify what you post about is crucial to building your businesses online presence and generating leads.

Have a point of difference
Nothing is new. No information in the fitness industry is completely novel, and it doesn’t need to be to become a great online, credible source of information. It just needs to be different.To build your social media profile as a coach and create a healthy business, your information must be presented in a manner which is unique, and embodies your brand.

Create a community
We may not have it all together, but together we have it all… We succeed far more when we work in numbers than when we work alone, and your clients need more than just you for support. Building an online community of fellow fitness enthusiasts can help build your business success. By having multiple people re-iterate and support your message, not only are you building trust online with potential clients, but you are fostering a positive, supportive environment for people to improve their health and wellbeing.

Do the job, and do it well
Last, but most importantly, you must be able to do the job. There is no point in worrying about marketing strategies if you cannot help your clients get the results they are paying you for. Learning the basics, mastering them and becoming highly skilled at the craft of personal training is THE best way to build a solid PT business.

No matter how great your marketing strategy, if you can’t coach, you are doomed. Developing a great personal training business is no easy feat, and is one that I have been continuously working towards achieving for the past eight years. There are no secrets, there are no magical methods that can be used to generate lead after lead and earn you 6 figures overnight.

Jacob Schepis is the Owner & Director of JPS Health & Fitness, Educator, Strength & Physique Coach, Competitive bodybuilder & powerlifter and loves to lift mass in a perpendicular fashion.