When I first started in the fitness biz, my name was on a printed paper calendar hanging on the wall with push pins. The gym members would file in, take my class and check on the piece of paper to see when I would be teaching next. I taught at one gym and everyone knew where I was and when I would be there. There was only one gym in town and well…not much competition. Flash forward to today. There are 17 other fitness studios on the same street as the indoor cycling studio that I call home. There are two other cycling studios within one block of it (I call it Spinner’s Triangle)! Gyms are going by the wayside and boutique studios are the new norm. With new and exciting studios opening at such a rapid pace, everyone is vying for the attention of potential new clients and clinging on to the existing ones. Most gyms and fitness studios are doing very little advertising. They are relying on social media to spread the word. And, why not? For the most part, it’s free. As a fitness professional, it’s not enough to rely on the studio to promote you and your classes. You need to take action and use social media to promote yourself! And like I just said, why not? It’s free!
Let’s take a look at a few of the social media platforms and I’ll share a few tips that will help you get started promoting yourself.
I think Facebook is an awesome way to connect with your clients. For fitness pros, I prefer that you use your existing personal Facebook account to make your time spent there the most effective. If you start a “business page” all of your posts will not always be shown to people who “like” your page. If you use your personal page, you can tag people, mention them, etc and they will always see it. This means you need to clean up your act on Facebook if you post about your weekends drinking in Las Vegas. The strategy here is:
1. Get to know your clients by name, find them on Facebook and request to be their “friend”.
2. Post your weekly schedule on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings. You can see an example that did in the picture above.
3. Post motivational (funny, educational) pictures and tag them in the post.
4. Write a post thanking your class for kick butt energy that day and tag them. ”Today’s 10:30 killed those climbs! You made me so proud! Thanks to @Ann, @Sally and @Tim for your energy!” People LOVE this and…here’s the BIG bonus…because you mentioned or tagged them in the post, their friends will also see it and it could bring new clients to you!
I’m a huge fan of Twitter as a user. I get my “breaking news” there and it is also where I connect with other fitness industry peeps. I’m not finding a whole lot of my clients there. I still post my schedule, blog posts or articles that I’ve written and special events where I will be teaching. I think your time is better spent elsewhere unless you are looking to connect with industry specific folks.
Okay..I love Instagram. I’ve written a few posts on how fitness pros can use it. The key here is pictures. Post your schedule, pictures of your playlists, pictures of you doing amazing physical acts, pics of your clients after a sweaty class with you, pictures of your smoothie and the recipe, pictures of the studios where you work. I can go on and on. You are going to find and “follow” your clients (remember, you are getting to know them by name). You are going to tell them after class to find and follow you. Another great way to find them is to look at who is “following” the studios where you teach. Bingo! Your target audience. Follow them. Maybe there is a juice bar next door to the studio. Check their followers, too. They are your target. Post once or twice a day here. AND…comment on the posts of the people you follow. Let them know you care and want to get to know them.
There are other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest and YELP but I think these three are a good starting off point. You might be asking yourself how you will find the time to do this. First, you MUST find the time. It is now part of your business. Do you want the clients going to the other 17 fitness studios on the street? Okay, then! Once you get the hang of this, you should spend 15-30 minutes spread over the day on this. I typically check things over for about 15 minutes in the morning and then I go through and spend about 20-30 in the evening depending on if I have a lot to promote or want to check in with clients personally.
I have found that these basic approaches have brought me closer to my clientele and I’ve been able to help them be accountable. You start to build your “tribe” within the “tribe” of the fitness studio. Clients are receptive to this and appreciate it. Fitness studios also find YOU more valuable! Another bonus!
I challenge you to start implementing some of these steps into your fitness biz! Let me know how it goes!!!