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  • Writer's pictureJames Cullen

Using Social Media as a Fitness Professional: A Handy Guide

Social media is a magical tool. From finding lost dogs and cats to influencing supermarkets to change the time they are allowed to sell pies from, there are a seemingly limitless amount of uses for social media and its many platforms. Whether you're offering a limited time discount code for your clothing brand on Twitter, sharing event photography of your nightclub on Facebook, uploading dream wedding gift ideas onto Pinterest, or simply showing off your muscles on Instagram. For law firms and boiler companies, social media needs a bit of retooling to work for you, but for some professions, such as those in the fitness industry, social media was designed with you in mind to truly kick-start your career and turn every muscle selfie like into a conversion and a sale.

What are Fitness Professionals?

Well, anyone from personal trainers, fitness class teachers, gym owners, workout plan and meal prep online coaches, or any other career that uses fitness knowledge to change people's lives. That's an important point. The fitness professional's key benefit that they are selling is their dedication and knowledge to change your life - for you to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply lower blood pressure or cholesterol. The fitness professional isn't selling services, but the prospect of a healthier and happier life. And that point is the first key to creating a social media strategy.

What Social Media Platforms Should a Fitness Professional Use?

With the underlying benefit of all fitness professionals in mind, you can look to the tools at your disposal that will help you turn your strategy into an actionable plan. Firstly, you should consider an audit of where you are now, what your industry looks like, and what your competitors are doing. Both internal and external audits can be beneficial to outline strengths and weaknesses and highlight opportunities and potential threats. A simple SWOT analysis can help.

SWOT Analysis for an Internal Audit

Strengths may include: degrees in sport related subjects, diplomas in personal training, access to top of the line equipment, specialist knowledge in the industry, and looking the part. Although somewhat superficial, this is a key point. Weaknesses revolve around the saturation of the market, possible competitors, or lack of gym space without shelling out to bigger gyms. Opportunities come in the form of links with protein companies or anything that could give you the edge over the competition, while threats mainly come from external factors such as the new crop of graduated fitness professionals, with seemingly more up to date information. Once you've established a list of internal and external factors for both success and to mitigate against, you are ready to employ this for your brand.

What is your Brand?

For most fitness professionals, your brand is you. Whether you trade as a personal trainer going by your own name or work for a partnership of other trainers and coaches, establishing a prime branding position is key. Are you specialising in muscle growth? Are you helping people lose weight and tone up for special occasions? Are you focusing on a certain age group or gender or even a type of exercise that might help you stand out as more than just a personal trainer? It's not too much trouble if you haven't honed down exactly what your brand is, as long as you have a rough idea. Let's say you want to be an all-round personal trainer that focuses on building muscle for men - and you yourself have been training for enough time to be a shining example of your own work. This will be important on social.

Setting Objectives

The key to a marketing strategy is to set SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based). These objectives will form the basis of your social media strategy i.e. what are you actually trying to achieve with social media? For example, your overall business and marketing objectives may be that you want to gain 5 extra clients through social media between August and October. Once you have this specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based objective, you can work out a social media strategy to help achieve this.

Social Media Strategy

Fitness professionals are a good example to outline how to use social media because they are a primarily visual business and can translate their brand identity, services, and benefits in simple images and videos, which work well on social media. With your objective in mind, you can begin to work on your social media strategy. To gain more clients, you need to be reaching people. You need to be showing them exactly what they can expect from you and what you can do for them. And you need to make sure that you connect your progress and expertise in the gym with a way they can get in touch too - a call to action. People will want to emulate your results, but won't want to think that the dream body is too far out of reach. You should be showing that through what you can do for people, they will be able to achieve their own dream body as you did. Simple. The best way to do this as a fitness professional is through examples of how you have helped people achieve, with links to blogs and info-graphics that outline your expertise, with videos of example workouts and meal plans that they can try at home before booking you. Your aim is to be piquing interest just enough that they are compelled to contact you and book you to help change their lives.

Need some help with putting yourself out there on social media?

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