Social media provides you with the platform and tools to build relationships with existing and potential clients. It’s free; it’s targeted and can showcase your personality and your PT expertise. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be highly effective marketing tools, but they need to be used in the right way. Some general tips to keep in mind include:
- Quality content over quantity, but…
- Update consistently – be realistic about the time you can commit to promoting your business through social media. In the beginning, pick one platform (which will probably be Facebook) and focus on updating regularly – at least 3 times a week if not every day. Keep checking in and respond quickly to comments or questions from followers.
- Cross promote your business – if you have a website, include your website address on your social media profiles and include social media buttons on your website.
- Keep it professional, but personal – let your followers see your personality, but keep the conversation to fitness, motivation and health.
- Recruit clients – run promotions or offers to recruit new clients and create a buzz around your business.
What to post?
It’s important to remember that your overall aim is to increase your client base, not just to gain a large following. You do this by building your image and reputation as an expert in your field. This means you need to stay on top of new developments in the fitness industry which you can share with your followers. Subscribe to health and fitness blogs, read the papers, share everything you think your clients would be interested in. Fitness can be an emotional issue for some people, so it’s important to be sensitive when choosing what to post.
To maintain interest in your page, it’s a good idea to mix up the types of posts you publish. Aim to post a combination of motivational quotes, links to relevant articles and daily fitness tips. Instead of asking for new clients, ask your current clients to share your posts with anyone they think would be interested in your services – despite the social media boom, word of mouth and referrals are still the most powerful form of endorsement.
Another type of post that can work well is a challenge. A week-long challenge may be a good place to start, as you start to build your confidence and skills in determining what to post. Ask your followers to share if they’re participating and to share their ongoing results. Remember, you may encounter negative comments on your page – this is ok as long as it’s not defamatory. Responding to criticism in a timely and diplomatic manner can actually improve your standing among your followers.
What social media platforms should I use?
Every social media platform has its advantages and drawbacks – there isn’t one perfect platform to use. Facebook has long been the most popular platform, followed by Twitter, but Instagram is making rapid and significant inroads into their market share. Below is an overview of the pros and cons of using each of these methods. At the end of the day, you need to use something you’re comfortable with, and that you’ll be able to update easily and regularly.
|Most popular form of social media – more than 1.4 billion users worldwide||There’s always the risk of negative comments being left, so regular monitoring of your page is required|
|You can included detailed info or include URLs (website links) to multiple websites|
|Very high engagement levels – people are highly likely to like, share or comment on posts||While scheduling posts means you don’t have to be posting all the time, you do need to regularly check your page – responding in a timely manner to messages and comments is vital for building your client base|
|If you have a website, Facebook can be used to steer potential clients to it, by including a link on your Facebook page||Most people’s newsfeeds are so busy and crowded, it can be hard to make your posts stand out|
|You can schedule posts days, weeks and months in advance – saves time as you don’t have to be posting continuously during the week||Moving to pay-only platform|
|Facebook can be used for creating and inviting people to events|
|Very simple to use, tweets are easy to create – not a time consuming marketing tool for small businesses||140 characters can be limiting|
|140 character limit means you can be succinct and less formal compared to other social media platforms||Twitter streams move fast – this means it’s easy for your tweet to get lost in the constant deluge of incoming tweets. The average life of a single tweet is no more than 4 hours.|
|It’s highly interactive – allowing for businesses to respond to queries directly||Many users follow many different feeds, so it can be hard to have your tweet ‘heard’. Unlike Facebook, you can’t measure how many people have actually seen your tweet|
|Twitter is becoming more visual – images and videos have been shown to increase engagement||Direct (private) messages can only be sent to one user at a time – this may not be a problem for a small business, but can be a time consuming way to communicate if you’re trying to reach a large number of followers|
|Fastest growing social media platform||Photos can only be shared from mobile devices|
|Is very popular in the fitness industry as it’s such a highly visual medium|
|50 times engagement rate of Facebook, 20 times that of Twitter||As it’s such a visual medium, it can be hard to provide detailed further info|
|Appeals very strongly to millennials (aka Gen Y) – people born from the early 1980s – 2000. Is this the client base you’re trying to reach?||URLs can’t be linked in the comments section – if you’re trying to refer people to your website, you are relying on them to go back to your ‘bio’ on your profile page|
|Created specifically for mobile devices|
|Hashtags are a targeted filtering tool – they can help you look for people who are actively using a particular term eg #realpeople_realfitness|
Ideas and inspiration
Want to see how it’s done? Have a look at the following PTs’ social media accounts, and see how they post on a variety of topics and the differences between their Instagram and Facebook accounts.
Bret Contreras: https://www.instagram.com/bretcontreras1/ and on Twitter: @bretcontreras
Keon Hudoba: https://www.instagram.com/keonihudoba/
Girls gone strong: https://www.facebook.com/GirlsGoneStrong
Bob Harper on Twitter: @MyTrainerBob
Get out there and give it a go! Whether you’re a brand new graduate just starting out or an established PT looking to increase your connections and client base, social media can work for you. Also check out How to Double Your Sales with Facebook Ads by NPE Coaching. Any questions, give us a call at the PAA office – 1300 784 467.