How to Be a Personal Trainer and a Social Media Influencer
Social media influencer is truly a twenty first century career. People actually make money simply by developing a strong follower base and selling their own products and services or someone else’s. Fitness influencers make up a big part of this industry and have a major impact on trends in diet, exercise, and training.
The exciting thing about being a social media all-star is that literally anyone can do it. As a personal trainer, having an online presence and some social media reach is an important way to expand your influence, client base, and earnings.
You don’t have to become a top influencer, or even that trainer who plugs products. But you can take inspiration from those big-time influencers. A few simple steps will boost your online presence and social medial clout for the benefit of your business and your followers.
To learn more about brand development and building a personal training business, check out this ISSA mini-course.
Why Every Trainer Needs a Social Media Presence
Maybe you dream of becoming a true influencer or you just want stronger social media accounts to help build your business. Regardless of how far you take it, there are several benefits of getting better at social media. Your online presence can do a lot for your training business:
- Get more clients. Growing your business is all about building that client list. There is a lot to be said for in-person networking and word-of-mouth, but in the digital age it isn’t always enough.
- Market your skills, what makes you unique. Social media is fun and games in your personal life, but as a professional, it’s all about marketing. Use your accounts to sell you.
- Develop your email list. Email is a powerful marketing strategy that can help you pull in new clients and push your current clients to sign up for more sessions or try new classes.
- Earn more. A strong presence on social media platforms, an influential one, lends you more authority as a fitness professional. This means you can command a higher rate.
- Land your dream job. Not every trainer is into building an independent business. Employers love to take on people who already have an online following.
Become a Personal Trainer, Social Media Influencer Superstar
Now you’re convinced, and you’re ready to become a superstar at social media. That means you need followers and you need those followers to act. It’s not just enough to have thousands of followers or to have a few followers who engage, jump on your email list, and tag you. Ideally you want both.
Here are some things you need to know and do to both boost followers and get them to click, share, like, and promote your personal training business.
Plan and Strategize First
An important thing you need to know about social media influencers: most didn’t stumble into success by accident. Sure, there are some that did just that, but most people who are making money on social media have worked hard for it.
What you need first is a plan. Most people will not accidentally get thousands of followers; don’t expect it to just happen for you if you post a few things on your Facebook or Instagram pages. Consider the following before you dive in:
- Which sites will you really focus on? Instagram is popular, especially with images, which you need as a trainer and fitness pro. Don’t try to do every site or you’ll get burned out.
- Develop your message. You need a guiding vision—a personal brand—or your social media sites will be all over the map. Will you target women’s fitness? Newbies? Are you going to be an inspirational trainer or a tough-love kind of trainer?
- Make an editorial calendar. This is a marketing tool that helps guide content. Map out a month’s worth of updates and statuses for your pages in advance to streamline the process, ensure your content matches your message, and avoid duplicates.
Fill a Fitness Niche and Be the Expert
A big part of your planning should be to determine where you fit in the spectrum of existing fitness social media pages and influencers. You can do what everyone else is doing, but if you stand out you’ll get more attention. Scour your favorite sites and research the most popular fitness pages. Figure out what’s missing.
Post the Right Content and Post it Often
This is the real meat of social media. If you don’t post your followers will quickly lose interest. You need to post often, at least every day, and your content needs to be meaningful, relevant, and engaging for your audience. Here are some examples of popular content types on fitness influencer pages:
- Inspirational posts, like before and after pictures of clients and thoughtful quotes
- Educational posts, including videos to improve form or a new workout to target a muscle group as well as links to informative and useful articles or daily tips
- Networking posts that help you connect with other fitness or nutrition professionals, like links to other pages
- Promotional posts, which will specifically promote your business and training sessions, including calls to action for joining your email list or signing up for classes you teach at the gym
Your posts should include a variety of content types, including copy, links to other posts or pages, images, GIFs, and videos. And go easy on the promotional posts. Influencers never oversell; it drives people away.
Partner with Other Influencers
Don’t be above jumping on the bandwagon of other influencers. This is how the internet works. You have to link up and connect to make an impact. Find your favorite influencers, even smaller ones, those that have a similar message and values that align with your training philosophy.
Share their site and links, but take it further. Contact them directly and ask for reciprocity. Give them some links to your posts that you think their followers will enjoy. It helps if you develop an active following first. Follow these influencers, like their posts, comment, and engage, and then start asking to link up.
Engage, Engage, Engage
Engage with your followers, and then engage some more. Unless you’re already a celebrity, the best way to develop a strong following on social media is to provide great content regularly and engage with the people consuming it. Don’t just post and walk away. Spend time responding to comments, answering direct messages, and asking questions that your followers can act on and respond to.
More Tips for Becoming a Superstar Online
The above basics of building social media influencer status will form the foundation of your efforts, but here are some additional tips to keep in mind as you work toward your goal:
- Use high-quality photos, and enlist a pro to take them if necessary. Consider using a photo editing app.
- Hashtag your posts thoughtfully. They should be specific and true to your brand and message.
- Tag people in your posts, including clients and followers as well as influencers.
- Before posting a piece of content, ask yourself if it is valuable to followers; useless content isn’t worth their time or yours.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal. Let your followers know where you’ve made mistakes and how you learned from them.
- Connect various social media accounts so one post will automatically update on all platforms. Save yourself time and effort.
- Use an editorial calendar for guidance, but be flexible when inspiration hits mid-schedule.
- Don’t be too salesy, but do include calls to action to get new customers on board or at least on your email list.
Becoming a social media influencer is a great way to boost your client list and your income. Take these steps and run with them. And don’t forget to have fun with it.
Check out the ISSA’s specialty certification programs to become a better trainer and have even more expert knowledge to offer your followers.
Click HERE to download this handout and share with your clients!