The idea of building a strong online presence for your fitness business is exciting, but the actual task seems intimidating. Don’t worry. This isn’t a sprint- it’s a marathon. If you are training a client for a marathon would you set the treadmill to 26.4 miles on the first day? I hope not. Well, I won’t do that to you either. But, just like when training for a marathon, visualizing the end goal at the beginning helps keep all the little things you do in perspective.
The End Goal- 26.4 miles (26.385 to be exact)
To fully enjoy all the benefits the Internet can provide your business you will need to build a strong network of people, provide them with a hub, feed them useful information and intertwine everything into one seamless, well-oiled machine. Trying to do all of this at once isn’t practical. And even if it were, the magnitude of the task would be overwhelming (kind of like waking up one day and trying to run a marathon with no training). So lets start small, get some miles under your belt and build our way towards online greatness.
Getting Some Miles Under Your Belt
The first place you will want to start is with social media.
If you aren’t already on Facebook and Twitter, get there! If you are already on these stop using them to update people about the nuances of your life and start using them to promote your business – your name.
Another great tool is Google+. This is Google’s social networking platform. It is fairly new and hasn’t reached Facebook or Twitter status yet, but rest assured it will. If you start now, you will be well ahead of your competition.
Take some time to play around with these networks. Once you become familiar with the different user interfaces, you’ll want to start creating content and building a following.
The most important thing is to put your audience above all else. The biggest social media blunder is when people make it all about themselves. To put it plainly- unless your target audience is your mother-in-law and nosey aunt, the daily minutia of your life will not help you build a following. However, the plethora of knowledge you have on fitness and nutrition will. So, before each and every post, ask yourself if your audience can benefit from it.
Feed Your Audience Fresh Content
Engage with other users, ask them questions and provide content that will add value to their lives (a.k.a. the answers). This may sound like a lot of work, but think of the payoff. You have the potential to communicate with current and potential clients on a daily basis. It won’t happen instantly, but these online relationships can turn into real-life-business relationships.
Nurture Your New Relationships
Social media requires consistent attention day in and day out to make it grow and prosper. If you can connect with people by sharing your knowledge and helpful information, eventually they will want to know more about you as a person. The truth is- people buy from people they know and like. It’s okay to let your audience get to know who you are as person. Just do it without making it all about you.
Build Your Brand
Keep in mind, as a small business owner, everything you do and say reflects on your brand. The nice thing about social media is you can pick and choose what you share with your audience. Pick and choose wisely.
While your daily social media activity is geared towards your audience, the reason you’re doing it in the first place is to grow brand recognition, build clientele and increase revenue. To accomplish this you will want to establish a plan. Map out some long-term goals, and integrate the different sites to help you achieve these goals.
Having a well-organized strategy will allow you to keep track of potential clients, create content geared towards them, and turn online relationships into solid relationships.
Just Be You
Let’s be honest – you’re a social person. If you weren’t you wouldn’t be in this business. And, if you’re anything like me, you love talking about fitness – to anyone who will listen. So, take what you’ve been doing your entire career, find a way to apply it to social media and make it work for you. Have fun with it.
And remember, If you make a few mistakes you’ll learn from it, the world keep on spinning and you’ll come back better the next time around.
Think of social media as the first couple miles of training. They are often the most difficult, but they are also the most important.
You can do it! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. Ask us questions here or there – we’re here to help!