USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO CONNECT WITH CLIENTS

Posted on 18. Jan, 2012 by in Marketing Fitness

As you look for personal trainer marketing tips, keep in mind that it’s not just about drumming up new prospects. Much of our time and effort must be devoted to strengthening relationships with existing clients and ferreting out valuable referrals. This will bring us the most pre-qualified traffic and the easiest sales. We’re in the business of marketing ourselves, even more than the business of marketing our training programs. When you think of it that way, there is no better vehicle for self-promotion than social media.

HOW DO PERSONAL TRAINERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THEIR BUSINESSES?

According to a neat infographic by WeightTraining.com…
• 85% of personal trainers use Facebook.
• 81% of trainers plan to increase their social media budgets this year.
• 77% of personal trainers use Twitter.
• 67% increased their social media budgets over the last year.
• 61% just started dabbling in social media.
• 58% of personal trainers use LinkedIn.
• 49% of personal trainers use YouTube.
• 25% of personal trainers say they are “heavily involved” in social media.

Personal trainers are using all the tools at their disposal, including social media websites, online fitness communities and apps. They are using regular blog and social media posts to engage existing clients. They are using seminars and regular newsletters to mine for prospects. They are staying in touch and sharing ideas with mentors and fellow fitness business professionals through social media email systems.

PERSONAL TRAINER MARKETING TIPS: GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

Getting started on a social media presence is not as easy as running through the steps to just set up an account. If you were coaching a football team, you wouldn’t tell your guys to just “go out there and play the game” – without discussing an overarching strategy or training beforehand! So I recommend contacting a social media expert or a business coach to discuss how you’ll roll out a really solid personal trainer marketing plan. You will need to decide who will be writing your content and what type of content you’ll create – be it blogs, videos, images or whatever. Without a glut of valuable, buzzworthy CONTENT, your social media efforts are doomed to failure. You will also need someone to be in charge of the updates and maintenance of these pages. Nothing is worse than a poorly-kept social media portal. Remember, if you’re not active and present in engaging your audience, someone else may step in to fill the void – and you may not like what they have to say. Be sure you respond to each and every comment posted and stay on top of the conversation. Once all these pieces are in place, you can think about hiring someone to design unique social media sites for you that offer some continuity in their look and feel to create a cohesive brand presence. Now you’re looking like a real professional!

HERE ARE A FEW OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS THE TOP TRAINERS USE TO MARKET THEIR CONTENT, THEIR PERSONALITIES AND THEIR PROGRAMS…
1. Facebook – Connect with your clients by sharing updates of where you are, posting motivational memes, sharing your latest YouTube video, linking to healthy recipes, posting your blogs, and starting fun conversations with your boot campers.
2. Twitter – Broadcast to your clients in 140 characters or less. You can post links here as well. You’ll find your clients are devoted to either Twitter or Facebook, so you’re usually appealing to different audiences here.
3. LinkedIn – Connect with other business professionals for your Joint Venture Marketing efforts. This is a more professional space used for the sole purpose of networking and building an alliance with other fitness industry professionals.
4. YouTube – If you’re not creating videos on a regular basis to connect with your clients and promote yourself, then you are absolutely insane! YouTube has always been – and continues to be – one of the most effective mediums out there for our industry.
5. Pinterest – Create a fitness-related “board” with videos and pictures that others will re-pin to their boards. Link your YouTube account and your squeeze page link with your Pinterest account to drive traffic to both of those sites as well.
6. Instagram –Transform your photos into artistic masterpieces. Many people love the retro / vintage look of an Instagram photo and you can add diversity to the look of your websites or social media pages with a few of these photos sprinkled in there.
7. FourSquare – Run special contests rewarding your brand ambassadors. Clients will post messages in their social networks that they’re at your fitness studio for a workout. The person who posts the most messages will become “the mayor” and receive a prize of your choosing. They might receive a free t-shirt or a free workout session, for example.
8. About.Me – AOL’s online business service card makes it easier than ever to dole out your contact information and connect with new prospects or business partners, wherever you may find them. It’s a professional way to make an impression.
9. Hootsuite – Schedule your Twitter or Facebook messages in advance with this helpful tool. You can sit down for a few hours when the mood strikes you and plan out all the messages to your clients for the entire week or month.
10. Skype – Share fitness training tips, demonstrate exercises and routines, or do a cooking demo live by video feed with a bunch of your clients. It’s a great way to field questions, provide advice and have a round-table discussion with your most loyal fans.
These personal trainer marketing tips are just a start. I have a number of more advanced techniques and tools to share with you in my business coaching program and training manuals. Keep in mind that social media is a long, slow journey. You may not see a return on your investment overnight. In your earliest months – or even years – you may feel that no one is listening to what you have to say. You’ll likely see your fan and follower numbers creeping up, even though no one is engaging you in direct discussion. While this may seem disheartening, your diligent efforts will result in solidifying more customer relationships than you will ever truly know.

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