“The demand for social media jobs has exploded, even as overall unemployment hovers around 10%. A recent study published by SocialMediaInfluence.com showed that 59 of the Fortune 100 companies have at least one employee who works full time in social media, and that job postings directly related to social media have soared 600% in the last five years.
– An excerpt from Fortune Magazine
But if you’re not a Fortune 100 company, then you have to be your own Social Media Manager.
When are the best times to post?
These are debatable, of course, but from my experience the best times to post are 8am, 12 noon, 6pm, & 9pm
Whenever you post, I am a firm believer in “doing you”. Everything on Social Media will come off exponentially better if it is truly reflective of who you are.
But how “me” should I make my social media account?
There are varying levels, but it’s important to decide right from the get-go how much you’re going to divulge. Consistency is key here. If you start your account with several personal posts mixed in each week, then it would make sense to continue this way as your followers grow. They will come to expect and even look forward to these personal posts as they get to know you.
I did not start my account this way. I mixed in a personal picture (like from a night out, or a wedding I attended) maybe once every 3 weeks to once every 2 months. I continue to operate this way now. I rarely ever post personal things.
I know why followers come to my page, what they are looking for and what they value. I will not even begin to assume they all of a sudden want to see more of my personal life. Always keep what your followers want in mind and present them with the highest quality content you can.
How do you know what to post?
Decide in the beginning what and how you would like your page to look and operate. My page primarily consists of exercise videos. It is a lot of videos – some would say too many. But videos are what come natural and are most successful form of post for me.
A mix of video, picture, & text posts would be the best way to start. That way followers understand that all of these posts are of value to them in different ways right from the beginning.
I have hindered myself a little in this way, as my text and photo posts don’t get near as much attention as my video posts. Followers consider my videos to be the most valuable content, simply because this is what I conveyed by starting my account by only posting videos.
So when I do post something other than a video, I have to think of creative ways to ensure that the post is read, understood, gets my point across, etc. If you start with lengthy descriptions, your followers will understand that what is written below the video is just as important as the video. I did not do this initially, which I regret.
Why not use your Instagram page to really, seriously teach people something?
I feel good knowing that anyone could come to my page, pick a few random videos, do them, and get a legitimate workout out of them. I think that is so cool. I know you can find free workouts everywhere – YouTube, etc. However, Instagram videos are unique in that they have to be quick & to the point. It’s a great way to share a quick, concise, & effective bit of knowledge.
Picking themes off the feedback of your followers is another way to really connect with them & provide them with whatever specific knowledge they’re craving.
Any other tips for what I should post?
Use your Instagram Page to announce everything. Announce a new feature to your website, a new class at your facility, a new certification you obtained, a new Online Program you are selling, etc.
If I had to rely solely on people finding my website on their own in order to purchase online Programs, I would not sell any. Instagram has allowed me to streamline what people are looking for in an Online Program, decide on pricing, and drive traffic to my site for purchases. My online sales allow me to keep my Personal Training Prices affordable (my own personal choice) and still make enough money to live.
Should I respond to people’s comments?
One of the best tips I can give you is to take the time to respond to followers as much as you can!
Maybe set yourself a rule. For example, two hours after every post, check your post and answer as many of the questions that have popped up in the comment section as you can. People have legitimate questions and they appreciate answers.
I have seen pages where the same question gets asked a thousand times in the comment section and it never gets answered. I understand that as your followers grow you will not be able to answer every question, but I’ve seen accounts with 10K pretending they can’t answer that one repeating question. If you have time to go on Instagram, like posts, and scroll through the discover page, then you can answer a few questions, too.
But what about the crazy questions? What should I do about them?
So you will get some crazies, some creeps, or some haters, that is bound to happen. Handle it with finesse and grace. If someone thinks you are not going low enough in your squat, or that you are going too low, or that your knees look janky, or that your form is off, my best advice would be to kindly ignore it whenever possible.
You can delete the comment if it’s staring you right in the face, making you angry, or you can just leave it up there, not dignified with a response. Do NOT get defensive.
I think the most successful Trainers and Fitness Professionals (any professional for that matter) are the ones who are always learning and are always open to new methods, ideas, forms, and situations. This is how you evolve. Radiate this to your followers by not getting hot and bothered by someone’s archaic way of attacking your credibility.
If someone disguises a diss as a question, then respond with knowledge. Answer the question in an open ended way. Provide them with a cool, supporting article, thought process, or example, so that they can maybe do their own research and decide for themselves. While your initial reaction may be to go ape on them, resist the urge. You don’t know everything, they don’t know everything. Let’s act accordingly.
What about Shout Outs?
Shout Outs are most often used to “grow” your follower base. I personally never liked the look of shout outs and so I have never and will never do one.
A Shout Out consists of picking someone who has about the same number of followers as you and is in the same field. You post a video or any post from their page and repost it on yours, saying something like “Guys, this chick so-n-so is awesome, check out her page for great healthy recipes!” The other person does the same thing on their page and you decide how long each of you will leaving the post up. Some people decide on a day or a few hours.
Again there is nothing really wrong with this, other than I just personally don’t like the feel of them. Do Shout-Outs get you more followers? Yes.
Now I am not against tagging someone in a post on my page, which I believe is also effective and more genuine. So if I try out a workout by someone else that I really liked, then I will tag them in the post of me doing the workout. That seems more genuine to me, but again this is simply personal preference. However, I have heard multiple complaints about other pages that do “too many shout outs”. So be clever.
Should I sell out?
Sure. Just decide how much you are going to sell out. Haha, I’m just kidding. Well, kind of.
As followers grow you will get offers, both paid and not, to advertise things on your account. Decide ahead of time what is genuine and legitimately fits with your account.
For example, I was offered to advertise some pretty sweet watches, not fitness watches, just gorgeous, fashionable watches. Did I like them? Yes. Do they make sense for my account? No, unfortunately not. I also decline to do any detox teas or detox business of any sort because I personally would never use these things.
Now if you would use it, like it, have a strong feeling behind it, then do it. Your followers will appreciate your opinion and your genuine insight and experience with the product. I choose to do mainly only workout clothing, because I personally love cute workout clothes, particularly those with ridiculously bright patterns. This is obvious on my page and real to me as a person.
What’s one of the most important pieces of advice you can give someone?
Please, please, please do not be a know-it-all troll.
I sometimes feel like the Fitness Industry can be one of the most resistant fields when it comes to accepting creativity. Luckily more and more places like Onnit Academy are popping up, where creativity and variety are celebrated.
No one has the same body. There are so many factors that play into what your body versus someone else’s body is able to do. How do you know that squatting that way hurts someone? In terms of social media, carry this idea over by NOT commenting on someone else’s form, ever.
I don’t care if you think that it looks like they’re going to break their face and shave a layer of shin bone off. There is a whole gang of people who are ready to comment or have already commented their disgust, disapproval, whatever. Why be another one? It does not do anything for you, your business, your image, or your credibility.
If someone comes to you asking for your input, then obviously that is entirely different. That is your chance to really shine & share your knowledge.
Can I ever stop being my own social media manager?
When you officially blow up, get a million followers, and people start to want to create a Fitness Business around you, then, boom. Here comes your own personal social media manager. While I may be killing it with Instagram, that is about the only social media platform that I am using successfully. I have Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Periscope, but I only really use Instagram and occasionally, Facebook.
Believe me, it is hard to find the time to create valuable, genuine, and useful content across all these platforms. If you can handle more than one successfully, then I applaud you. I, myself completely understand why social media managers are necessary. Definitely do get all your platforms secured though, just so no one else out there can have an @mytrainer______ SnapChat full of pics no one wants to see. 😉
The next big thing in self-promotion is podcasting. Almost every major fitness influencer now has one. It’s also become a lucrative stream of income for some.
If you’re interested in learning how to start your own podcast, a good resource to do so can be found at Podcasting Pro.