* This article was originally posted on Forbes.com *
Part of the battle of being an entrepreneur in today’s digital landscape is learning to use social media to evangelize for your brand effectively. Whether you’re a personal trainer or the owner of a multilocation gym, in the fitness industry, your target customers are the end consumer. You need to carefully consider how and where you speak to them.
After a decade of working in corporate marketing, I’m diving into the fitness sector. I’ve learned so much in my talks with gym owners and coaches about their unique social media needs, and I’ve formed some thoughts on how to approach social media content and management for fitness entrepreneurs.
Instagram And Facebook
These two channels are the most commonly used in the fitness sector, and they work together fluidly. To be effective on these platforms, though, you need to be operating in the business space.
It’s easiest to break into Instagram by establishing a personal profile, but to gain access to some of the advanced insights, reporting and promotional tools, you should establish a business account. And to do that, you have to have a Facebook business page.
Both channels have a very mature interface for business management, so if your long-term goals include leveraging these platforms for business marketing, you’re going to need the help of those tools that are only available for business pages.
When you set up a personal Instagram account, it can become difficult to control access and delegate management to your team. As the account owner, you’ll serve as a sort of super-admin, making it harder for the social media manager to do their job. When ownership and management are fractured like this, it’s harder to claim handles and bring them all into a centralized ad platform.
As far as content goes, the approach is simple. Generally, cross-post everything from Instagram to Facebook. Find things to easily document (e.g., photos of a training session, a candid interview with staff, video content from actual workouts), and don’t worry too much about production value. Just get the content out there, and let people start talking about it.
Consider Instagram your gateway. It’s the visual channel, while Facebook is where you nurture your community. That’s where you can link to your website, blog or partner assets. Find harmony between the channels by using images on Instagram to ignite conversations on Facebook.
One of my favorite bits of advice from serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is “Document. Don’t create.” Don’t overthink your content. Just document what you’re doing; put some thought behind it, and if you’re genuine, it will translate.
TikTok could be very powerful for brands if they move past the assumption that it’s for teenagers. It’s a very simple content creation platform, and the music element is especially intriguing. The song underpinning each video works like a hashtag, and you can ride the trend of a popular song to get noticed by a very large number of people.
It’s a great way to make things fun in an industry that’s easy to document. TikTok natively has a lot of capabilities for sharing quickly to other platforms as well (like Instagram and Facebook), so it can be a good way to get a quick win.
If you’re doing things like podcasts, instructional videos or tutorials, YouTube can serve as a great repository for those assets. Well-produced videos get high search traffic and rankings even years later.
Quality stands out. Because of this, production cost is typically higher than your other social content, but if you want to become known as someone who is a leader in the technique/movement space, this is how to do it.
If you’re doing podcasting or vlogging, this is also a great place to put raw, captured footage. You can use video interviews here to anchor your content while you split the audio asset to live on other channels, such as Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcast or even Patreon.
LinkedIn has a different kind of clientele, but it’s an interesting and untapped space for fitness entrepreneurs. The people engaging on this channel are typically business professionals whose mentality and lifestyles lead to them being more on top of their fitness.
As with all social media, LinkedIn is a community, and people want you to provide value and contribute more than you take. If you’re selling a program and that’s all you ever talk about, you’ll be dismissed as a sleazy salesperson.
However, if you’re providing value (e.g., movement tips, discussions of form and technique, evaluations of nutritional approaches), people are going to engage with you. LinkedIn’s video platform is constantly improving, and it’s a great place to share that content.
Before you do that, though, clean up your personal profile. Have a professional headshot. Ask for references from people you’ve trained, and connect with others in the industry so they can share your content. Then launch your business page.
Even if your company is just you, you still want a business page, as the functionality works differently. You can add employees down the road and create subpages to showcase products. Another plus is that business LinkedIn has great integration with the last channel I want to cover.
Twitter is honestly not a great marketing avenue. It’s not effective for promoting your business because there are approximately 6,000 tweets sent every second. The volume is astronomical; things get swept to the bottom very fast.
That said, Twitter is a great place to engage in dialogue. If you have a strong opinion about something in the fitness industry, such as certain types of diets, supplements, training regimens, etc., Twitter is the place to have spirited debates around those things.
But it’s not for everyone. Unless you’re digitally savvy and Twitter is already a part of your day, I wouldn’t spend too much time here.
Social media is constantly changing, but as we launch further into 2020, these channels are a great place for fitness entrepreneurs to start building and evangelizing for their brands.