Those in the fitness game have heard names like Jillian Michaels, Tony Horton or Scott Herman—all icons in the coaching and trainer industry.
With their names etched in fitness forever, we forget sometimes that they started out like us—a person with a passion for fitness and dream to make a living teaching it. You’re reading this because you’ve decided it’s time to put your name next to theirs and start bringing in the bills as a fitness professional.
Guess what? We were there too.
We remember days that turned into nights and sometimes even weeks—that’s what we do as fitness lovers, we hustle. But, hustling is only helpful when done with intention and direction. That’s why you need social media marketing—a coach’s best friend.
Whether you’re looking to run an epic social campaign or just want to get a single follower, these are the tips, tricks, and practices we used to make over $2 million in revenue without hiring a marketing team.
Before we give away all our secrets, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
Why should fitness trainers give a squat about social media marketing?
Social media is a foundational element to any successful fitness brand—like your daily pushups and situps.
Here’s why you should be using it:
- Without social media, your client list is limited to your gym. If you’re hoping to scale your business and offer online services like group training, social media lets you reach thousands of people far outside your word-of-mouth circle and late-night wine club.
- It allows you to connect with a niche market. If you want to target exclusively young moms, who prefer home workouts, social media puts your content right in front of them.
- Sharing your personality on social enables you to engage with potential and current clients, build trust, and showcase that you’re the fitness guru you claim to be.
- 91% of all U.S. businesses use social media for marketing purposes. This one is obvious, as every successful fitness brand and business has a strong social media presence.
- It’s the ideal tool to build out your professional network. Besides gathering clients and growing an audience, you can also create a professional network with other fitness trainers and brands.
You’re probably asking yourself, “where do I even start?” Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here.
2 social platforms every trainer should be using to build a fitness army.
The fitness industry is wildly popular on social media, but two top dogs run this show: Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are best for building a strong audience and fostering a sense of community with potential and current clients.
With over a third of the world on Facebook, it takes the cake for the most widely used platform. Now, imagine if you could make all 2.37 billion users all your next client—that would be something.
Instagram is Facebook’s younger brother—popular, but not the talk of the school. With 1 billion active users, it’s where audiences exchange transformation stories and quick workout tips. Of that 1 billion, 68% of Instagram users are said to engage with brands regularly compared to just 32% of users on Facebook. Here, visual content is king, so be ready to get behind the camera.
Now that you’ve identified both of your platforms, it’s time to strategize.
Throw a One-Two Tag Punch
Creating relevant, engaging, and educational content for your audience is key. Nothing sucks more than crafting a perfect post that gets no love. That’s why you have to hashtag.
Hashtagging and tagging other fitness brands within your content is a must for building an audience and growing partnerships on social.
Start with hashtags.
Hashtags give your posts more exposure. When you hashtag a post, it gets grouped with a collection of other posts with the same hashtag. Think of it like a massive filing cabinet that keeps your content all together for those who want to see it.
Check this out; the “#fitness” hashtag has been used over 382 million times alone. Successful fitness brands don’t do this, rather, they find specific keywords their followers will search, like ‘fitnessmotivation’ or ‘instafit.’ Finding the perfect blend between a unique and popular hashtag is the key to narrowing down your niche and building an audience of real followers.
Here are a few of the top trending hashtags to use in your fitness posts:
If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, you can find other popular or trending hashtags on the “tags” tab or if you’re feeling bold, make your own. Just make sure to include 7-10 related hashtags per Instagram post.
INSIDER’S TIP: Since you can pile on the Instagram hashtags, post them in the comment section instead of the caption section so your followers don’t see a flood of hashtags when reading the caption. Check out this example from our Instagram.
What about tagging?
Your primary focus as a trainer should always be your clients—they’re what keeps you motivated and what pays the bills. But, social media is not limited to the digital disciples following your brand.
It’s a prime opportunity to grow your professional network with other trainers, coaches, and specialists who have audiences you’ve never touched before. Like you, they too have been leveraging social media to build their own fitness army, and are looking to connect their people with others.
This starts with tagging. Different from hashtagging—I know, they should have picked a better word—tagging lets you mention another profile (brand or person) on a post or your page. In the same vein, other trainers and coaches can do it as well, showcasing you and your content to an entirely new audience.
“But I just started this whole social media thing, I don’t even know who to partner with?”
Think broadly when brainstorming potential partners. Approach physical therapists, nutrition experts, health food store accounts, chiropractors, cyclers, and other health-related brands you think reflect your style and audience.
Keep in mind, this isn’t all about you and your attempt to dominate the world, but rather a mutually beneficial relationship focused on the people you serve.
Whether it’s sharing promotional materials from a brand or collaborating on a workout and sharing it across your channels, use it as an opportunity to try new ideas out and engage your audience in new ways. Whatever you do, don’t give your audience the 30-second infomercial about your partner.
Since you’re feeling warmed up, let’s talk about kicking this adventure off.
Sprinting builds glutes but it won’t build your business.
With social media, slow and steady wins the race. As excited as you are to scale a life-changing business, you must create a plan to stick with. I’m sure your clients have heard it before, “reaching your goal requires sticking to the plan for the long-haul.”
Now it’s time to taste your own medicine.
Remember, timing is everything on social—if you’re disorganized or inconsistent, you’re not going to see the results. Stick to a set schedule every week, so your fitness fans know when to expect your next post.
Just a little insider information: Fitness-focused accounts tend to see the most engagement in the mornings between 8-10 am—before everyone gets their day rolling. Wednesdays and Sundays tend to perform well, as people are looking for motivational boosts to start and continue their week.
Most importantly, experiment. Experiment with your timing, and figure out what your audience loves and double down on it.
Mind your own f*tness business.
Don’t be a content catfish. Creating content that is authentic to your brand is how you build a real following. Be willing to share the personal side of your brand, even if it’s not polished and pretty—nobody is perfect.
You got into this because you’re all about people and helping them find their best self. Now show them who you are. With plenty of “influencers” spewing replicated content around, you’re bound to stand out if you tap into your personality and use it to connect with an audience.
Explore the posts that you enjoy making. Whether that be motivational quotes, home workouts, how-to videos, or even follower encounters, find the blend between unique and strong content that will stand out in your audience’s feed.
For those wanting to see this in action, Under Armour Women crush it by balancing personal stories with example videos and promotional content.
Help the world survive while your business thrives.
You’ve heard of the coronavirus, right? Though it sucks, and it has shut down pretty much everything, it’s the perfect time to hone in and start going after your audience.
With gyms closing their doors and fanatics looking for alternative forms of fitness, you can be the solution. Everyone is on their couch swiping away at their screens already, why not be the content they’re clicking on.
Some brands have already made the switch and have seen a massive surge in new users and engagement. Here’s a few to check out:
The timing couldn’t be better for you to start getting your ass-kicking workouts in front of an audience. With the right tools to empower your growth, you can start building a fitness empire all your own.