Many fitness pros are growing tired of the social media “game” as we know it: posting pictures or videos to attract a lot of likes, complimentary comments, and a potential flood of new followers.
As social media becomes more crowded with fitness-based content designed to entice eyeballs, it can feel especially vapid out there, which is bound to reduce anyone's motivation to market a fitness business on Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels.
Luckily, there's hope! It's possible to market your fitness business on social media without getting caught up in the hype. Here are many ideas for posting with a better purpose and creating more meaningful human connections on social media through intentional fitness marketing.
Also! Check out our new stay healthy during COVID-19 guide - where we provide even more context about the power of social media
Rely More on Private Content
For some time, the trend on social media has been toward creating more “private” spaces for people to interact and connect. Here are three avenues for working this valuable trend into your fitness marketing.
It's abundantly evident that posting to a public Facebook Business Page has become an exercise in futility for many brands with modest follower counts. That's because it's hard to get decent reach and engagement via a Business Page these days (Facebook would prefer you pay for it with advertising dollars).
Many fitness brands have found it more fruitful to gather in private Facebook Groups where people can share ideas and experiences on topics that are most relevant to them. Participants discuss things like exercising after having a baby, training for a 10K, or issues related to being a NASM-certified trainer. Might your clients and prospects enjoy gathering in a Facebook Group? Could you leverage this feature as part of your own health/fitness services and education?
Instagram Stories are probably the hottest feature on social media at the moment (Facebook Stories, not so much), so it's worth incorporating into your fitness marketing if you aren't already. Any engagement you get from Stories is private, so only you can see how people react to your content in the form of poll responses, questions, comments, emojis, etc.
This element of privacy not only reduces pressure to "prove yourself" through public engagement, but it also intensifies the potential for human connection because private interactions sparked by Stories happen only between you and whoever chooses to respond.
Direct messages in Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and TikTok are another way to connect with people on social media but in a private setting. When someone comments via DM about your Instagram or Facebook Story—perhaps sharing a similar experience or asking a question—it has the potential to turn into a friendly one-on-one exchange. That interaction can be far more meaningful than the emojis, gifs, or hasty comments people often drop in public feeds before quickly scrolling onward.
Public-facing activity on social media is the norm; however, you could also send a DM (as text or audio) in response to someone else's public post on a topic that resonates with you. Or perhaps use a DM to greet a new follower who could potentially become a client.
Refrain from sending obvious copy/paste greetings or trying to sell a program or product to someone who did not already express interest in it—it's not proper social etiquette and increases your chances of getting blocked.
Foster Real-Life Interactions from Social Media
Have you ever had a colleague or client bring up something you posted on social media when the two of you are face to face? As social media gets more popular, a funny thing is happening: more people are choosing to talk about social posts in real life versus on the post itself! Here are two ways to positively leverage this tendency.
One of the best ways to encourage in-person discussions (in addition to online engagement) is to post with intention toward content that your audience finds most relevant and ultimately feels moved to discuss. If you know your target audience well, this won’t be hard. The tricky part, however, is the balance between producing content with your audience in mind and staying true to your own brand’s marketing goals.
For example, let’s say a lot of your clients have kids. With that in mind, you could post content related to encouraging an active family. That might get a great response, but if your business doesn’t revolve around “family fitness,” posting that type of content too often runs the risk of diluting your brand and marketing efforts.
On the other hand, if family fitness is your niche, you stand to gain excellent traction from topics that clients want to connect about online and in-person—in this case, their kids. With careful planning, you'll be able to zero in on the right balance between your clients' interests and your own brand's marketing.
Some fitness pros might think that opening up about their challenges or hesitations on Facebook and Instagram might put them in a bad light. In reality, if done with strategy and tact, sharing some of your vulnerabilities on social media can have a positive impact on how people respond to you as a businessperson, both online and offline.
Social media can sometimes feel devoid of human connection, which is why sharing something close to the heart makes people pay attention, and in turn, carry over that discussion to real-life interactions.
What’s more, when people relate to your story or appreciate that you're sharing something a bit vulnerable, they might be more likely to reach out for health and fitness support.
And in the end, the opportunity to help someone integrate health and fitness into their everyday life is the ultimate in meaningful connections for any dedicated fitness professional.