Social media is taking over our lives’. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with it. The problem is we know it’s a great tool for improving our fitness business.
It provides us with a platform to network with like-minded people in our industry, grow an audience and even advertise. That’s some powerful stuff right there.
So why do I hate it so much?
The first is - I value my time too much. Time really is our greatest asset, and when we are on social media, it is taking up our precious time. More importantly, this time is being spent consuming someone else’s content. When I’m consuming, I know I’m not creating.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to ensure that you spend more time creating than consuming. Sure, I believe a good creator also needs to be regularly consuming, but is social media the best platform to do this? Probably not.
That leads me on to reason number two…
If you’re connecting to people in the fitness industry, or with any brand or personality, you’re giving them permission to advertise to you. If you’re spending a lot of time on social platforms you’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot of their marketing.
It’s therefore a playground for people to market themselves, either directly or indirectly, via their profiles and updates. Or we also see a new trend - people moaning or ranting about someone else’s self promotion or marketing methods. It’s never ending.
The take home point here is to be careful about who you like, follow or connect with.
With this in mind, I personally have limited my social media use to around 1 hour a week. My question to you is – how much time are you wasting on these platforms currently? Track it for a week and see – it might just surprise you.
Reducing my social media usage has been a game changer for boosting my creative side and increasing my productivity. I’ve recently taken it a step further and I have really focused on connecting with people or brands outside of the fitness industry.
I no longer want my time-line cluttered with poor quality food pictures and half naked guys with their tops off. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s more to life than chicken breasts and abs.
Now before you get ready to start calling me out, I’ll make a full confession. I post on most social media platforms daily. But here is the lesson for this post. Let me explain...
Social media is an integral part of what we do as fitness professionals and business owners. There’s no debating that – it’s very important. The key is to find the right balance.
This means finding your most effective platforms and getting very efficient at using them. If you do this, you’ll probably find you only need 1, 2 or 3 social platforms to see a return on your efforts.
I know, that sounds crazy, right? Especially in this fast-paced world where new social platforms are being introduced at brake neck speed.
We are currently seeing the rise of video platforms such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Snapchat.
How many of your favourite personalities or brands have asked you to join them on Snapchat lately?
The truth is, there are a lot of people just following the herd here, because their business ‘Guru’ told them to do it. So I encourage you to go back to my previous point – find out what works for you and stick to your guns.
You might want to experiment with different channels but if a social media platform doesn’t work for you, or you hate using it, don’t sweat it. If that’s the case, then don’t believe the hype.
Adding in another social platform to your marketing should be a big commitment. You will have to invest more time and energy into making it a success. So always think about how that will impact on other areas of your life and business. There is only so much time in the day.
What I’m saying is to give things a try but don’t waste a ton of time and energy on it if it’s not going to be worth it.
I know the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ can feel all too much sometimes. That’s why it’s important to find which platforms you love the most, where your audience is and how much time and energy you can commit to each one.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s break down some tips and tricks for each.
Facebook gets bad press these days since changing up their algorithm to potentially reduce what we see. For me, this was great news. It’s ensured that people or pages are only sharing great stuff. So that’s my key tip for Facebook – you must only share great stuff.
That’s easier said than done, as social media platforms and blogging sites have enabled people to publish whatever the hell they like for too long. Facebook then stepped in and started to show more of the best stuff to us.
So if you want Facebook to work for you, then you have to come up with great stuff. The reward for doing so still appears to out-do pretty much every other platform out there.
It can therefore quickly expand your audience when it’s done correctly.
Twitter is said to be in trouble these days, as other platforms with all the bells and whistles are becoming more appealing. However most people are still on there and you should be too. It was one of the original platforms for building relationships with your audience as it lets you have personal conversations with people.
So this can still be used today, but you can take it to the next level. Why don’t you try to connect with the industry leaders on there, or people of influence. It’s not always easy to get someone’s number or email address, but you can bet they have a Twitter account. And you can also bet they are checking that daily.
Use this to connect with the right people. Ask them if they would like to read your blog which might relate to what they do, or ask them to create something with you, like a podcast.
Instagram is cool, but I only follow people who have an eye for great photography. You should too. It’s a visual platform and the better you can make your images or videos, the more success it’s likely to have.
Nobody wants to see last night’s meal that looks like my dog’s dinner (OK, I don’t have a dog but if I did that’s what I imagine his dinner would look like).
If you want to make Instagram your platform, invest in a good phone or camera and learn some basic photography skills. It will go a long way.
Snapchat and Periscope
I’m putting both Snapchat and Periscope under the same title. Both are similar in offering live video to your audience.
There’s no debating the power of video, it’s an incredible way to be seen and heard. People can really get to know you. So that’s my tip for these channels - show your personality first and foremost.
Most people on there aren’t watching stuff to discover anything new, they just want to connect on a deeper level with the people they’ve chosen to follow. These are therefore great platforms for building existing relationships with those who follow you. Jump on camera, be yourself, provide some simple tips or do a Q&A, and you’ll be noticed.
These aren’t growth platforms as most of the time you will need to transfer your existing audience onto that platform. But if you already have that audience then by all means go for it and get to know those who follow you even more.
YouTube is still a big contender in the social media world and that’s because it ticks a lot of boxes.
YouTube should be used differently to Snapchat or Periscope, as viewers are usually searching for information or guidance around a particular topic. So that’s what you should do – create short, high quality and engaging videos that not only entertain, but also provide value for the viewer.
Mix information with entertainment and you’re onto a winner. Do this around your chosen speciality and you’ll find your audience grows fast while also really getting to know you at the same time.
Just take a look around some of the fitness events and Expos, some of the busiest stands are those of popular YouTubers. Now you know why.
- Find 1-3 social media platforms that work well for you and your audience
- Don’t believe all the hype around every single platform, even if your favourite ‘Guru’ tells you so
- Don’t over consume social media but instead become a high quality contributor
- Really get to know the platforms you use and what they are best at offering you
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