Currently on Instagram there are 182,094,824 posts with the hashtag “fitness” and 91,720,969 posts with the hashtag “gym.” According to the PewResearchCenter, of the 79% of online adults, 68% use Facebook. What’s more intriguing is that on a daily basis, 76% of adults use Facebook, 51% check Instagram daily and 42% check Twitter. With these statistics wouldn’t it seem like a no-brainer to feature your services on social media, especially if it’s free. I must note that reaching a larger audience sometimes requires paid advertising services on social media, but to set up basic accounts and post, it’s 100% free.
So why do some fitness professionals opt out of using this great tool?
While I’m not going to say it will ruin your career if you don’t, but utilizing social media to promote your brand as a new fitness professional can help you grow your client list and also increase other revenue sources. If you’re a personal trainer, consumers want to know that you live a healthy lifestyle and that they can invest in your services to help them reach their goals. If working at a gym, promoting your club’s amenities can help attract new members, while also helping retain current ones. Right now, one of the top reasons a potential member joins a gym or health club is mainly the location. But if a gym that’s a bit further away has amenities that the local gym doesn’t, how are they supposed to know? Social media provides a platform that consumers can search to find information about which gym to join, and also return to find out about different offerings such as group exercise and personal training.
Below are some basic functions you want to make sure you provide on your social media platform.
Include contact information (address, email, phone number, etc).
On most social media platforms, they make it easy and have big “Contact Us” buttons so that consumers can easily inquire about business services, but adding or updating your business information can help streamline the process. Also, by keeping up to date with your business information keeps your brand circulating on “local” business algorithms. On most social media platforms, they list local businesses near you or businesses that are similar to the one you are currently viewing. Making sure that your address and business type are up to date allows your business to be listed and therefore increase views.
The majority of social media platforms use hashtags. Using relevant hashtags are important to reaching different audiences that are searching for the same topics. For example, on Instagram a hashtag is used to connect with a larger audience by making the image or video more visible by other Instagram users. When posting a picture about fitness motivation, using the hashtag “#fitspo”, short for “fitness inspiration”, will place the post in a feed of people looking for inspiring fitness posts. Adding a location hashtag is a smart way to locate people in your target market. For example, hash-tagging the city that your health club is located will put the post with others within the same city.
Another popular way to utilize hashtags is to create a unique one for your business. By starting a hashtag with the company name or for a promotion, you can track how many people are using the hashtag and connect with them. For example, KIPS uses the hashtag “kipsonline” on Instagram and Twitter. If you search this hashtag you will find others who have used it and their profile.
A great way to promote your business on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is to post videos or photos of your service. Therefore, potential clients can get an idea of what your business is like. A potential buyer wants to see that you or your gym is popular, and is in-line with something they could see themselves doing. For example, a good photo to post could show you in-front of a full class of members. This would show how popular the class is and give a new member an idea of what they could expect on their first day.
Don’t Just Post to Post
The old saying “any advertising is good advertising” does not always apply. If you own a gym and are posting photos from your trip to a basketball game or your dog, your audience might get confused on what your business is about and look at other companies. If you want to showcase your personal brand/life, starting your own social media accounts is a good start. The idea is build a brand that a consumers want to invest in.
If you are using a business account, try to utilize software and websites that can allow you to schedule posts. This way you can keep consistency with your messages and ensure that you aren’t scrambling to create content. One such site is called Later.com. With Later you can schedule Instagram posts for an entire month and once a post is supposed to be deployed, you will get a notification sent to your phone. With technology these days, posting on social media has also become more accessible, and posting a photo on Instagram can also be posted directly to Twitter and Facebook with one click of the share button. This ability makes posting on social media much easier, and increases your reach across multiple platforms.
Creating an audience on social media takes time and effort, but in reality it is a free marketing tool. When we look at how many consumers use social media on a daily basis, it becomes apparent why time and money should be invested in this area. As a personal trainer you can reach across multiple states and even create networking opportunities that help generate multiple revenue streams. For example, when a company looks for brand ambassadors they are often looking for individuals that share a common audience and have followers that invest in the products they sell. As a gym owner, promoting your club on social media can let your audience know the type of equipment and members that you have. Every potential consumer is looking for a gym that they can feel comfortable attending and potentially help them reach their goals. If you have a group exercise class that is different than your competitors, social media can be a great way to let the public know and attract new members!
But don’t forget—social media, if used inappropriately, can also hurt your brand. The message that you convey across each platform can damage your reputation with one post. Make sure that you stay professional and consistent.
Originally printed on the KIPS website. Reprinted with permission from Tyler Valencia.
Tyler Valencia MS, PFT, PES, is the President of Kinesiology Institute for Performance Specialists (KIPS). While working for a Southern California online education company he started his first business, Time 2 Train Fitness which specialized in bootcamp and personal training. Time 2 Train Fitness went on to receive the distinction of 3X Best Bootcamp and 2X Best Personal Trainer with the Long Beach Press Telegram.