Whether you’re new to the fitness industry or you’ve been in the game for a while, chances are that finding and keeping your clients -- and getting them to recommend you -- is always a battle. Even if you have a full client list right now, sooner or later some of even the most loyal clients will fall by the wayside.
As a forward-thinking business owner, you need to be looking for new clients all the time. That includes using the free tools that social media provides. Here are a few ideas for getting your name out there.
Definitely have a Facebook page, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile and Instagram feed -- but get a second and third opinion about the look and style of each before you make them public. Just because you CAN do it on your own doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it ALL on your own. Having another professional who’s successful with social media -- or even a person who specializes in helping business with their profiles -- can give you another perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Simple tweaks to your profile photos, or changes to the wording on your feeds can make a big difference in how many clients you gain from those channels.
Offer value-added services. In other words, give some things away for free. Start a blog, for example, that details new workouts you’re using or discusses the importance of certain types of training. Make it a regular feature so that your followers know when to expect it. For example, you might initiate a "Workout Wednesday" or a "Fitness Friday" feature. Whatever you do, be consistent and follow through on what features you promise.
Engage in other people’s conversations. Sometimes, the soft sell is better than the hard one. Visit the websites and social media channels of your customers, your competitors or people in your business who live in other parts of the country, and comment on videos, blog posts or posts they put up. If the comment feature offers a place to include a link your website, do so, but don’t necessarily post a link to your website or social media feeds right in the comment, as that borders on the unethical. By posting meaningful or insightful advice, other people may organically navigate to your social feeds to check you out.
Ask questions -- don’t always post about your business. Sure, posting information about a special deal you’re offering for the holidays or talking about your upcoming boot camp is great, but there is such a thing as overkill. Christoper Litster, an executive at the newsletter provider Constant Contact, suggests following the "one in seven" rule, meaning you only post overt promotions for your business in one of seven posts. In the others, poll your followers about things you’re wondering about, post cool photos from the day’s activities, or repost other people’s content.
Ask to be a guest blogger on other people’s sites. This can be a great way to gain new followers, and possibly new fitness clients. You might have a friend who runs a clothing store for women, for example, which could a perfect place to write about weight loss. You might also write a blog post about healthy eating for a friend who runs a grocery store, or write about workouts for new moms on the website of a person who runs a day care. Poll your friends and associates and let them know what you’re seeking; you might be surprised at how many people are willing to let you write for them.
Your day-to-day activities may mostly involve helping clients get fit and stay motivated to exercise -- but by spending at least part of your work day engaged in building your online presence, you could reap big rewards.
Image courtesy Tomas Sobek, Flickr