If the thought of creating a social media presence for your personal training business has you overwhelmed, don’t be. When you break it down into baby steps, it boils down to a relaxing nightly habit of just 15 minutes.
Here are the steps we recommend you take to find and attract the crowd that will understand your value:
1. Do some research on your target audience, and create a list of where they spend their time on- and offline. Go to www.city-data.com and www.google.com/trends to start word searching your market. Make a list of your market’s qualities, and keep it handy.
2. Search online for blogs relating to the subject matter you just uncovered in step one. Bookmark the sites, or add their links to your “favorites” folder.
3. Write a list of 10 topics related to your industry that you’re knowledgeable on.
4. Write a list of 10 problems that your audience has, and convert those problems into article topics peppered with your knowledge.
5. Buy an inexpensive digital camera with at least a 5-megapixel video capability. With the rapid rise in quality of smartphones cameras, you can use a phone, but if you do, buy a phone specifically for your business instead of clogging up your personal phone with lots of video.
6. Go to WordPress, and set up a blog. Make sure to take advantage of the attractive features WordPress offers, like stylized backgrounds, widgets that link your other online profiles to your blog and subscriber buttons. Sign up for an account on PR Newswire to get access to some of their sharp photos and articles to spiff up your blog and make it attention-getting.
7. Go to YouTube and set up a channel.
8. Go to Facebook and set up a business page, not a personal page. Pepper it with photos, a business bio and a few short articles about your goals.
9. Consider the information you’ve collected in steps one through four, and pick a topic from the list of your audience’s problems. Turn it into a catchy article title that would capture your demographic interest. For example, you could address the single parents among your audience who have trouble getting a babysitter for their kids with an article titled, “Working Out with Your Kids Can Teach Great Habits.”
In the article, be creative and talk about how parents can empower their kids to be coaches, riding their bikes while the parent jogs, cheering them on and the benefits of doing this activity together.
Your article only needs to be two or three paragraphs and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to write. You’ve got 20 articles to write, so make it snappy and don’t choose topics you know nothing about!
Now, either take photos that relate to your topic or use a stock photography site and choose some images that complement your article. Just search “royalty free photos” and you’ll find sites offering free and low-cost images.
10. Repeat this process until you have about 10 articles with accompanying images, and post them in an organized fashion on your WordPress blog.
If you put a subscriber button on your blog, you’ll be notified each time someone subscribes and they, in turn, will get an email alert each time you post another fascinating article. This is a good way to stay connected to people who are interested in what you do. Later, when you have something else to tell them about, such as an event or contest, you’ll have all their emails.
11. Get that camera out, make a tutorial on one of your signature exercises, and post it on your YouTube channel. Make sure to give it a catchy title. Repeat this until you have 10 videos. Of course, you can also create tutorials with photo stills and insert them singly on your blog or insert them into a slideshow program on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or Shutterfly. If you use photos you’ve taken of other people in your post, use a “Model Release” form to get their permission.
Take a look at this site to see good examples of instruction coupled with displaying proper form in a linear style, and videos with narration.
12. Cross-reference all your sites to one another. Your Facebook site should contain a brief profile of your business, some great photos, a few videos and three or four sentences or headline teasers that link to the articles on your blog. Your YouTube channel should contain teasers leading to your blog and Facebook page and so on.
13. Do a word-specific search on Google that expresses what your audience is looking for. In other words, pretend you’re them, looking for you. Look at each of the top 20 sites that come up, and if it is or has a blog within it, read a bit, then contact the blogger to see if you may post a link to their site on yours and ask if you may submit an article to them to post. They may say no. Sometimes it’s best to just ask if you can feature them on your site and wait to see if they return the favor. If not, move on to the next site.
14. Now that you have an online presence, it’s time to get out into the real world and complete the circle with actual, face-to-face networking. We don’t want you to just stand in a room, drink wine and talk politics. We want you to find a group of people who are already interested in fitness or being very active, join them in their activities and offer to help them. You can help other people while you’re helping yourself.
15. Look up fitness-related events in your city on Meetup. Choose a couple of groups with a lot of members, and start to go to their events regularly.
Bring your camera and take photos of the event. If you feel the need to ask permission to do this, go ahead, but because Meetup is a social organization, events are photographed by multiple participants for fun, and if they aren’t, people seem to always want more photos to be taken. If it’s a hike in the woods or a trail run, get nice photos of the physicality and nature.
Tell the group moderator and guests at the event that you’ll be posting the photos on your blog, then hand them a card with your blog address on it. People will tune in to look at the group photos and see all of your top-notch fitness tutorials and be impressed. At the next meeting, they’ll probably start asking you about your services. You can repeat this process with other fitness social groups.
16. Go to Yelp, and create a business profile replete with photos, a crisp, dynamic bio and links back to your other sites.
17. List a low-cost or free social exercise event on Yelp that will be held in a beautiful outdoor venue, such as a nature preserve or city park. Remember to use keywords when listing your event. Try to host one of these each month so guests can get to know one another. At these events, they’ll also learn about your other fitness offerings.
18. The circle closes by starting at the beginning — in-person networking can be greatly complemented before or after events by using blogs and social connection sites such as Yelp, Meetup, and Facebook to:
- Brief members on news about the group
- Show off photos of the event
- Announce future engagements and speakers
- Re-engage group members on related topics for further online discussion
- Expose group members to elements of your business that would help them
- Post industry news links from other sites
- Review products, services, and places your audience uses
19. Now’s the time to blow your trumpet to everyone you know. Show off all your hard work on the internet by inviting all your contacts to experience particular aspects of your profile. Be specific and write a personal email to each person that says something like, “I know you like yoga, so I thought you’d appreciate this,” and send them the link to the related article on your blog. Or send one of your core exercise tutorials on YouTube to someone who’s struggling with that area of strength building.