You’ve probably heard me say it before: you’ll never be able to take the “personal” out of personal training; you’ll never be able to take the “service” out of fitness services.
To deliver on both, there’s been a revolution recently, and that’s in the area of social media. I can’t think of a business that has the potential to benefit from it more than personal training and fitness services.
On that note, my buddy Ben London recently sent over a guest article on the subject. It’s a bit of a wake up call to anyone that’s not using online social platforms to communicate with their clients and prospects.
Ben, take it away:
If You Run Your Fitness Business Like Its 1997, How Do You Expect To Compete In 2010?
Special guest article by Ben London
Imagine if you will that you’re in the market to buy a small mobile personal training business; what would you look for in a good investment?
A decaled van, some equipment in reasonable condition and a solid client base with an efficient EFT infrastructure would be a nice start, wouldn’t you agree?
What if that same business had a branded twitter account attached with 1000 targeted followers, a bustling interactive facebook fan page, a Youtube channel full of exercise and nutrition instructional videos and a regularly updated blog with 200 avid subscribers?
All of a sudden this outfit is more than just a loud van full of smelly equipment; this is a global business with a veritable social media empire at its disposal.
As you can imagine, to a potential buyer, having those facilities attached would make it far more appealing than the same business offering a stock photo yellow pages ad and a stack of undelivered flyers as its branding powerhouse.
“But I don’t want to sell my business Ben!”
I’m not suggesting that you sell your business; I’m simply using the sales analogy to emphasize the fact that social media can make the difference between ‘just another fitness business’ and a stand alone, recognisable platform from which you can launch any number of business endeavors.
How do you build a valuable social media empire?
Good news, that’s the easy part! Have you ever played The Sims video game or fooled around with a Tamagotchi (you know that silly handheld pet game thing)? I often compare social media to those two nauseatingly repetitive but overwhelmingly addictive games.
Social media requires that same consistent attention day in day out to make it grow and prosper. You need to feed your audience fresh information and ask them questions every single day.
From what starts out slow, snowballs as more and more people come on board and begin to share what you’re putting out there and quite frankly there is no secret; your success will directly reflect your consistency, motivation and patience.
If you don’t already have them, I recommend branding the following free social media channels as an absolute minimum:
- Blog (your choice of platform)
- Youtube account
- Twitter account
- Facebook fan page (separate from your personal).
By having these platforms at your disposal, you inadvertently elevate yourself into a position where you may become viewed as an authority in your niche. This of course can provide you with many varied opportunities including media interview requests, more specialized client services and book publishing deals to name a few.
While it’s nice to see what the potential of having a strong social media presence can provide you with, it’s important to remind yourself that it takes time and a lot of work to achieve.
Make yourself a social media routine and stick to it. It’s VERY easy to get caught up and side tracked and lose focus on why you’re actually on there. Plan your material ahead of time to make it easier on days when you’re less motivated, make sure every single post, comment and link are designed to take you closer to your goals and most importantly, never give up.
Ben London is the author of my business is fitness.com; a personal training and fitness marketing blog. Ben specializes in innovative business strategies as well as offering effective solutions for utilizing social media to develop fitness businesses based on his 15 years experience within the industry.
You can become a fan of my business is fitness on facebook and you can also follow Ben on twitter @mybizisfitness.
Yes social media is all the rage. And I keep in contact with a few clients on facebook. But for the most part, I think it’s overrated.
Hey Travis – I half agree with you. I think a lot of people get carried away with it these days. But you do have to use it to some degree – you need a blog, to talk to clients on facebook, and be on twitter for a bit. If your customers are using it to talk, you should be talking to them with it. (Or else, someone else will!)
Yes, indeed. This is basically a requirement on several levels. At least have one, then build to others. I’ve gotten several leads from twitter without using a clear defined plan. Imagine if I used a organized plan. Matter of fact, each of the other’s have also served thier purpose to drive biz opportunitiy, leads, and further visability. I’ve only used them to maybe 15% of all thier potentional collectively. Great post that opens the minds of those unaware and great reminder to those that are using the tools.
Hey guys – great article.
Yup, I think everyone should be on social media these days for BUSIENSS purposes. It’s vital if you want to keep a good relationship with your cusomers. Like you said Kaiser, personal training is PERSONAL.
Kaiser, you’re right on the money with this again buddy! We started a social media initiative at my gym a few months ago and the members love it! We have a facebook and a twitter paeg, and for example recently with the set-up of our juice bar, we sent out tweets and updates about the entire process. I can’t tell you how many members commented about it, and the feeding frenzy we had once the juice bar opened!
It really goes to show the power in this. For anyone not doing it, you need to make it a part of your marketing strategy. Great job as always.
Kaiser, you nailed it right on the head with this post. Using social media is a cost effective means of reaching a much wider market. An online presence is like a doubled-edged sword; one’s good or bad reputation could go viral and significantly benefit or hurt business. Thanks for these excellent marketing tips.
Right on point with this one Ben. Good responses too.
Hey Kaiser and Super Trainers!
Thanks for putting up the article and thanks for the great responses!
I see that some of you guys are for and some against social media and that’s awesome, it’s purely personal choice based on the direction you want to take your fitness business.
Personally, I love the automation that social media offers, the ability to connect with a LOT of people, with the least amount of time and effort.
How much time someone invests in their social media accounts can also be pre determined by your personal career goals as a fitness professionals. Do you want to mass market products, online consultations, promote yours or someone elses products etc etc.
Really appreciate the post mate, thanks again and my apologies for not getting over here to comment sooner!