With over 2 billion active social media users worldwide, it's pretty clear that social media is a must-go channel for any fitness professional wanting to build an online presence. If you're still not sure about how it can help your business, check this article.
In this post, I will show you a few tips and tricks to go from zero to hero on social media.
Step 1 - Find a Social Media Management Tool
Shopping for a social media management tool should be the first step you take before you even start scheduling posts.
Why is a social media tool so important?
The right tool will save you from HOURS of sitting in front of your computer. It will automate some tasks for you, most importantly allowing you to schedule your posts in advance.
It's important to note that the social media tool you choose will, to some degree, influence your social media strategy and routine.
Since each social media tool has its own particularity and features, there are some things that will be easier to do using one tool that will be more difficult to implement using another. Choose wisely.
One example is the ability to schedule the exact same post to publish across your social media channels on multiple dates and times (Hootsuite makes this simple). Or, another feature allows you to set several "favourite" times to schedule your posts - the software then uses those times as a template so you don't have to even think about when your posts are scheduled (Buffer takes this approach).
Before deciding which tool you want to work with, you'd be wise to consider the following criteria:
- The ability to schedule posts in advance
- Integration with a variety of social media platforms
- The option to automatically shorten links when you create your posts
- The ability to post a variety of content types (e.g. images, video, links, etc.)
- And last but not least: What's the price?
Check these links to find a comparison of the main tools out there:
One of my favourite tools is
After trying many different tools, you'll find out that each has its own specific features. Of course, it would be great to find one tool that offers everything you'd ever want, but the truth is, there's a tiny chance you'll find all of the features in one place (even if you're ready to pay the price).
Instead of looking for every little feature, remember to avoid spreading yourself thin. Always keep things simple and try to focus on what's most important for you.
Step 2 - Find Sources of Great Content
Now that you have a tool to work with, you need to find great content to feed your social profiles.
You'll only start catching your potential clients' attention once you're nurturing them with content that really matters, content that is going to meet their needs, and content that is useful. The best way to make sure your social posts meet these criteria is to dedicate time to define reliable sources of content.
1. Use the First (and Best) Source of Reliable Content: Your Own Blog
If you don't have a blog yet, it's time to consider starting one. The problem is, many personal trainers (and other small business owners) start a blog, but fail to promote their content.
This is called the "publish and pray" method where a blog owner creates a great piece of content, posts it once on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and then crosses his fingers, hoping that people will magically show up to check it out.
This strategy does NOT work. Please don't "publish and pray."
Just think about it: There are about 9,100 tweets scrolling by per second on Twitter. The lifetime of a tweet is about 18 minutes, and the lifetime of a Facebook post is about 3 hours....
Publishing once on social media won't cut it. Few people are going to see your content when you only offer it up to them for a split second.
If you've put enough effort in producing high-quality content, then you should keep promoting them as long as they can be helpful to your community. By doing so, you'll skyrocket your website traffic and lead generation!
Roman Fitness Systems is a good example of a personal trainer who found a clever way of promoting his blog posts: You can't see how old his posts are because they don't show any publication dates. So, he can post and repost his articles over and over again, without them getting outdated. This is true "evergreen" content marketing.
4 Unexpected Ways to Be a Successful Personal Trainer https://t.co/spwjtnzjiz— John Romaniello (@JohnRomaniello) May 21, 2016
To get started promoting your own blog content:
- Make a lists of your blog posts that are still worth sharing.
- Schedule 2 social media posts per week for the next 2 weeks (more if it's a brand new article).
- Then schedule one promotional post per month for the next 6 months to give your followers plenty of opportunity to see and consume your great content.
2. Find Awesome External Content That's Within Your Niche
Sharing other people's content will show that you're not self-oriented - you genuinely want to pass along the best information that's out there. This will also help you build your network and get noticed by influencers in your niche.
Social Media Influencers
Influencers are well-established people in the industry who have already gathered a community behind them (i.e. They'll easily have more than 10k fans/followers on their various social media outlets).
Because they have this community to nurture, they're more likely to post new content on a regular basis. And because of their popularity, there's a good chance they're very aware of your targets' favourite topics of interest as well.
Sharing influencers' content is a good way to get noticed. If you're regularly interacting with their posts, they might return the favour by interacting with yours or by connecting with you. This can be a social media jackpot!
Spot the influencers in your niche who are consistent in producing quality content. Add them to a Twitter list so that you can interact with them, share their content, and eventually, reach out with some of your own content to share.
Other Sources of Valuable External Content
Check associations in your niche, specialized magazines, and also experts who might not be seen as influencers (yet!), but who provide high-quality content that is worth sharing.
A good way to find these experts is by checking your influencers' follower list on Twitter. Who are the up-and-comers that you should start tracking now?
Another source of external content is Google Alerts, which will send you notifications when fresh content has been published in your niche. Imagine that - getting a list of shareable content delivered directly to your inbox!
If you're interested in what's being discussed on Twitter on certain subjects, you can set Warble alerts. Warble will send you notifications on posts that match your keywords.
Since you can't control the frequency of these Google or Warble notifications, I'd recommend you use these methods only if you think you might lack content, or if you haven't managed to create your list of reliable sources. These automated content delivery services definitely work, but they can become information overload if not used correctly.
Compiling Your External Content Sources
Now that you have listed your content sources, you need to find a way to have all of this content available in one place so you can easily sort it and share it. Feedly is a good option for that.
Check with your social media management platform to see if it integrates with Feedly. In Rignite, you can set integration with your Feedly account from the 'Monitor' page.
Step 3 - Define Your Posting Frequency and Formats
Okay, you've got a great tool and great content to share. But, before you start scheduling like crazy, you need to be clear on your posting frequency and formats. How many times do you need to post per day and what should you post?
According to the Social Media Frequency Guide, ideally it would be to post 5 posts per day on Twitter, 2 per day on Facebook, and once per day on Linkedin.
Use the rule of thirds:
- 1/3 should promote your business
- 1/3 should promote ideas from others
- 1/3 should be made of personal interactions with other users
Regarding the best posting times, it really depends on your community. Start by testing multiple times based on the template below, then figure out which ones are working best for you.
Be sure to vary your post types. Many people will post only one type of content on their timeline, mainly texts or links, which is not a good strategy if you want to optimize engagement.
Post a variety of updates: images, texts, links, videos, quotes, etc. Why? Each type of post will better reach a certain type of follower. Some prefer to read; others want to watch. So the more you vary your posts, the higher your chance of getting engagement will be.
Finally, determine a time once or twice a week that you'll dedicate to managing your social media accounts and stick to it. It might take a while for you to get your social media machine up and running, but you'll get more efficient with practice.
Step 4 - Schedule Your Posts
Time to schedule your posts!
Here's a good template showing when to schedule promotions of your own content across each social media platform:
Use different headlines to increase your chances of getting engagement and click-throughs. See below for an example of how to use multiple headlines to promote one article:
Now you need to schedule your external content....
Go through your streams to sort out the external posts that could be interesting for your community. Again, these don't have to be articles only; they can be quotes, videos, images, questions, etc.
Only share articles that you find to be of really good quality. That means reading them. And, don't forget to personalize your posts by giving your opinion or highlighting a specific part of the article instead of just sharing the title. That goes particularly for Facebook, which automatically adds the preview of the link you're sharing.
PRO TIP: USE TAGS
Hashtags show your posts in the search results when users are searching for that specific keyword. When you're sharing other people's posts, always tag them so they can return the favour and you can build connections.
Click here to learn how to use hashtags on social media and here to see how to tag someone on Twitter and Facebook.
Confused about hashtags? Here you go : http://t.co/FOF4RAf4uW #fitnessindustry #socialmediafit pic.twitter.com/IkDcvOwZWx— Amanda Vogel (@amandavogel) February 23, 2015
PRO TIP: START A FIRE
Use Start a Fire to promote your content while sharing others'. Start a Fire is a free plugin that promotes your content on links you share. Try it out!
Finally, it's time to interact with your community.
First, make sure that you respond to all of the direct solicitations from your community (i.e. comments, messages, tweets, etc.) as they come in.
Thank people for commenting on your content and sharing your posts - everyone loves to be appreciated!
@PaulSwainson Thanks Paul!— David Gill (@Total_Coaching) June 6, 2016
If you apply the steps outlined above, you should already see more interaction with your social account AND more traffic heading back to your website. Click here to see how you can get your fitness website selling for you to begin monetizing this traffic!
Step 5 - Leverage Relationships with Influencers
Once you get more familiar with social media publishing and conversations, you'll want to start leveraging relationships with influencers in your niche who you've connected with.
But, don't ruin your chances (or burn any bridges) by approaching these influencers in the wrong way. Your top influencers get tons of solicitations per day. Asking for favours right away isn't going to cut through the clutter and elicit a positive response.
So here are a few DON'Ts you should always remember:
- Don't try to get something from them if they haven't expressed any interest in you.
- Don't ask them to visit your website.
- Don't ask them to share your content or follow you.
Instead, try to build a relationship with them.
One of the best ways to do that is to be one of their best fans. This is what I call the 'Giver' approach: Follow them, frequently share their updates, congratulate them for their great posts, give your expert feedback on the topics that matter to them. Show that you care and that you can be someone valuable.
It takes time, but one day they'll return the favour, and it will highly increase your chances of building a long-term relationship that will ultimately help you increase your visibility online.
Check this great article about how to engage with influencers on Twitter the right way.
One Step at a Time
When you're just starting on social media, it can feel like stepping into a swimming pool, but ending up in an ocean! The more you dig in, the more work you find that needs to be done. But, once you get these first steps up and running, you will start to see the results of your efforts and will get more confident in what to do next.
Anyways, remember this: keep things simple! Focus on what's most important, and take one step at a time. The simple steps outlined above will help you get started on the right path towards becoming a social media rockstar!