Let’s get the obvious out of the way: social media can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of brain power to think about what you should post, how often, at what time, etc. In fact, there are so many moving pieces that it’s easy to sit and overthink how you want to portray your brand, whether you should build a following around motivation or education, and how to encourage more engagement on your page.
You might feel even more stressed when you open up Instagram and see so many people with massive followings who post revealing pictures of their physique or colorful photos of themselves living their best lives. This can send you down a negative hole of self-deprecation, where you stop yourself from posting something because your abs don’t look a certain way or your life maybe isn’t interesting enough.
You can’t help but wonder, what is the real value of social media anyway? Are people with big followings actually making a ton of money? Is there a payoff to having a certain number of followers?
We get it — it feels like everything people do these days is for the ‘gram. We’d be lying if we said that building a big following isn’t useful. But we prefer to look at, say, Instagram as a digital handshake. If you come across a brand or figure you’ve never met before, you can take one look at their page and get a quick download of who they are and what they’re about. If you go about it the right way, you can grow your business efficiently and quickly.
What are the benefits of each social media platform?
Fitness is dominant in the Instagram and Youtube world and is still heavily present in the Facebook realm, but more from a paid traffic standpoint versus an organic reach. One of the things Facebook does really well that the other platforms don’t is providing the opportunity to host private groups or forums where an entire community can receive targeted information and connect with like-minded folks. This in and of itself can be a very worthwhile investment, especially when you’re an online trainer who wants to help their clients find community and support.
Instagram, on the other hand, is a fantastic way to create ongoing engagement and grow your following. If you play the Instagram game the right way (posting at the right time, using the right hashtags, engaging with multiple accounts), you can successfully increase your followers and extend your outreach. It’s also a fantastic platform to connect with other accounts who have common interests and potentially partner with them to create useful content. Instagram has also become an effective platform to sell products and present a cohesive, consistent brand that catches people’s eyes. And with the rise of IGTV, you can now post content that doesn’t have to be compressed into 60-second videos.
How do you choose which platform to build?
When aiming for a return on investment with your social media following, first figure out what your goals are and why you’re building these platforms. Ask yourself if you’re hoping for an immediate return on investment or you’re building out for the long run. Are you interested in posting in-depth educational videos? Maybe Instagram or YouTube is the place for you. Are you trying to build communities of like-minded people who want to share ideas and information? Perhaps Facebook is your home. Trying to make some quick cash? Put some ads on Instagram or push some product on your feed. Do you want to release a ton of information at multiple points of the day? Go on Twitter.
At the same time, know your audience and why they’re following you, because you can have a huge social media following and yet make zero dollars from it. For example, if you’re a woman selling fitness training packages and 90 percent of your followers are male, all those bikini selfies you’re posting aren’t going to sell you a damn thing. Additionally, your huge following may not have very high engagement, which doesn’t convert well into sales.
Analyzing your metrics is a great place to start. Evaluate how much time you use social media and find out how many of your followers are converting into paid customers. You might be surprised to find out that you make more money from in-person training sessions than you do from filming a ton of Instagram videos. That doesn’t mean all social media is useless, but you may have to rethink how much time you devote to it.
You might be wondering in frustration, what’s even the point in posting then? Don’t be discouraged. You may not need social media to be successful, but we would love for you to benefit from it in the long run. It would be naive to neglect social media as a tool to gain more customers and share your brand. Remember that advertising is how you convince people to come in and marketing is where you tell them why to come in. Social media can help you with both.
What should you be posting on your social media platforms?
If you’re a local gym, highlight your community, success stories, group classes, important announcements, and maybe some fun teasers as to what they’ll be doing with you. If you’re a semi-private facility, maybe some technique videos would be valuable. If you train mostly the general population, the verbiage of your posts shouldn’t be focused on hardcore or athlete training. It should be more “servicey” content, like daily squat mobility, neck stretches, or bodyweight HIIT workouts.
If you’re a local trainer or gym that doesn’t offer online services, focus your efforts on people within your local area because someone in Iowa who finds you on Instagram when you’re located in New York won’t be of much financial benefit to you. If you do have online programs or offer online coaching, your content can be a catalyst for people to discover you and potentially be a customer.
Before you post anything, know where the majority of your clients found you. If you have 50 percent or more of your business coming directly from social media, invest more time and money into creating an amazing feed of unique, useful photos and videos. But if the majority of your business is coming through other doors, don’t detour from the efforts that will get you the most business. So if you’re getting a ton of potential clients at events, leave behind the obsession with posting on Instagram and instead focus on events. If it’s been through local mailings, put your energy in that. We know your business comes from multiple sources, but as a coach, you should know how much of your business comes from where, and who your clients are.
We don’t share this information to detour you from posting on your social media platforms, but rather to give insight as to how to approach these platforms, because time is money, and we want every second you spend on social media to be useful in driving your business forward.