How To Build Social Media For Your Fitness Business

  • By Brian Keane

Last week- I had my monthly Skype calls with everyone coming through my mentorship program and this is something that came up with several of them and as it’s really fresh in my head, I wanted to put it as today’s blog post in the hopes that it helps anyone out there who runs their own business, want to build their fitness platform or just scale their presence online in general.

I’ve spoken in the past about using social media to become an ‘influencer’ i.e. you get paid to post links and get a lot of free products etc. vs. using social media to grow, build and scale your business. Now, you can definitely do both, see the blog pos ‘4 Tips For Running A Successful Personal Training Business’  but today I’m going to focus on using social media to build your actual business so that you generate more leads, convert more clients or build a waiting list that allows you to increase your price per hour or per package.

“If you help people get what they want, you’ll get everything you want” – Zig Ziglar

The Language Of Social Media

Something that has always helped me understand social media is seeing the different platforms like different languages. If you create a photo and call to action for Instagram, that content isn’t necessarily going to translate well to Facebook, Snapchat or YouTube. It’s like going to France and only speaking Spanish. When you understand that peoples psychology and intentions (not to mention the demographic) are different across the various platforms, you start to get much more intentional on what you post and where. Yes you can use the one piece of content for all the platforms but how it looks, formats and is consumed will be different across each. If you share one blog post or video with the same description to all of your social media channels, the engagement is going to be lower. Lower engagement means less attention and as you’ll read later, attention IS the game in 2018 business.

I’m going to use 1:1 personal training or online personal training as the main examples here but the truth is, this applies to nearly every business on the planet right now

Not only is what you post on which platform important (i.e. funny and snappy posts for Instagram stories or snapchat vs long form blog posts on Facebook and short 3-7 minute videos or Vlogs on YouTube), understanding who you’re speaking to and where their attention is crucial. You can’t serve, sell or help anyone if they don’t know who they are; so the first rule is asking ‘where is the attention’ and how do I get my content in front of them.

If you’re mainly working with 16, 17 or 18 year old athletes, you probably need to be focusing on snap chat. If you’re working with 22-31 year olds, you need to be prioritising Instagram. If you’re ideal client is 35+, look into Facebook. If you know your main avatar commutes 30-60 minutes every day- consider starting a podcast. Do you get me? Now, obviously being on all of them is always optimal, but the proportion of time you spend and the effort you put in is determined by deciding who is your ideal client and where is their virtual attention primarily.

One of my girls coming through my mentorship program at the moment works mainly women aged 35+ so her main focus is obviously Facebook (you can check the average user ages etc. on a Google search and you can check your personal demographic on your Facebook page on Facebook insights). To give you a gauge on my audience insights –my Instagram and Facebook is 55% male to 45% aged 24-35. If you fall into that bracket right now and you’re reading this, that’s the power of understanding who is actually following you and how you can best serve them. If I didn’t have your attention first, you wouldn’t even be reading this. Attention is everything!

I have another guy who is targeting 16 and 17 year old GAA players at the minute, so he’s creating a lot of valuable content on Snapchat and Instagarm stories right now. Before you just start randomly posting on social media- first, ask the question, who am I speaking to, where are they hanging out (virtually) and then how can I serve them and provide value directly to them. It’s actually as simple as that. Not easy, but simple.

Once you know who you are speaking to and where they are virtually, its providing them with value up front. If you work mainly with overweight 40+ male clients who have been referred by a GP, consider writing a blog post ‘5 Ways To Lose Weight Easily (And Keep It Off Safely)’ or something along those lines and post it on Facebook. If you really want to step it up a notch, run a seven day 5 or 10 Facebook targeting overweight, 40+ men in your local area and fifteen miles outside of it (driving distance). They see your post, read it, apply it, get value and guess who they’re going to sign up for 1:1 PT with? You got it, you. If you’ve build a back end package i.e. 10 sessions for a fixed price (which every PT should do), that 35-70e Facebook ad has now converted one person to a 250-500 package. That’s a ridiculous return on investment. Then you just rinse and repeat with the next post. It really is that simple and that’s just one example and I haven’t even talked about Instagram influencers, the power of Facebook groups or retargeting ads on watched video.

I live by a simple business philosophy ‘impact over income’ – however, a weird thing happens when you focus on having impact and serving first. Your income grows exponentially. Income, revenue and making money is generally a universal law of how much value you’re providing to others.

Want to scale or grown your business or make more money? Simple, provide more value, help more people or serve others better. It’s not super complicated. The beauty of business and working in the fitness industry in particular is that you have the knowledge or can provide the service that can help other people change their lives! Reframe it that way and see how quickly your mind-set shifts. When you change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

Personally, I’m very fortunate to make the living that I make but adding extra zeros to your bottom line or to your bank account lasts only so long. Yes, it feels great seeing those numbers on a bank statement but that fades pretty quickly. Working with an overweight girl who couldn’t look you in the eyes the first time you met or a guy who struggles to talk to that girl he likes and building their psychological confidence through physical transformation is worth more than any number on a bank statement. I am telling you right now, when they send you a message that for the first time in their life that their weight is low enough that they can fit into a ‘normal’ plane seat or that that shy, timid guy who walked in slumped over on day one just asked out that girl he’s been talking about for the last six weeks, that my friends, never leaves you. You have the ability, skills and knowledge to changes peoples lives forever.

Remember, impact over income.

I promise you that if you build your social media to have more impact, you’ll get more clients (or a higher price per client) and you’ll transform the lives of others as you do it. Change that thinking from “I need to get 2k followers, or 5k or 10k because so and so has that amount etc.’ to “I need to help and serve my followers in the best way that I can’ and realise that it doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing and see how quickly your bank account, your job satisfaction and your overall life fulfilment changes.

Three key tips to remember:

  1. Who are you speaking to?  – Who is your ideal client or avatar? When you know exactly who you’re speaking to (their age, background, pain points)- it becomes very easy to provide value and serve them.
  2. Where are your audience? Where is their attention? You can’t provide value or get your message across until you have their attention first.
  3. Are you providing value? Attention means nothing if you’re not providing value. However, once you know exactly whom you’re speaking to and what their problems or pain points are, it makes it very easy to help them.

The truth is, you don’t need 100k followers to grow and scale your business. Truthfully, I’d rather you had 477 followers, 400 of whom like, know and trust you than 1 million followers who are follow you just because you have a great ass or an awesome six pack.   Remember that social media numbers are vanity metrics; yes it’s cool to say you have a few thousand followers and if you want to be an influencer, its part of the package; but for building a business, making more money and having an impact- its about the quality of your followers, not the quantity.

Side note: These three tips also work for building up a brand as an influencer. The process is the same. If you want to be a fitness, GAA or vegan food influencer- the same general rules apply. First you need to know who you are talking to, then where their attention is at and after that provide them value so they follow you. The only difference is you’ll monetise through sponsors, endorsements and affiliates as opposed to direct conversion on a product of service.

I hope this blog post helped. If you have any questions, hit me up on DM on Instagram. 


Brian Keane Fitness Podcast

Brian is a qualified personal trainer, sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach.

He is the best selling author of the book The Fitness Mindset and currently travels the world as a professional speaker. He also hosts the #1 podcast The Brian Keane Podcast.

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