Love it or loathe it, social media has established itself as a medium for reaching your prospective members and clients where they hang out, says Natasa Denman.
One of the fastest ways today to grow your business is via social media. There are those that love it and those that hate it. Whatever your feelings about using social media personally, your fitness business has the opportunity to use it to talk to your target market where they hang out, so it is a no brainer to get involved.
All progressive companies are using social media to engage with their customers where they spend their time and are in their comfortable, happy place. Put simply, if you and your business aren’t on social media, you are already one step behind your competitors.
I started using social media for my business over four years ago and focused mainly on the two biggest platforms for small business, Facebook and LinkedIn. I was still building my business the traditional way – getting out there networking, running workshops and meeting people – but saw the opportunity of reaching a wider audience online.
Trial and error, as well as research, taught me what works and what doesn’t. Although Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites are continually evolving their algorithms and structure, there are a few tips that I believe will hold you in good stead, regardless of how things change.
5 tips to grow your business via social media
Tip 1. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Spend some time understanding where your potential customers and clients spend their time on social media and then make sure you are active in that space. Every businesses’ customers are on Facebook, so that’s almost a given. Then choose between Pinterest (if your business best suits a visual medium), LinkedIn (for business connections), Twitter or Google+. I advise to choose two platforms that you will focus on and make them the priority rather than just do a little bit everywhere and run the risk of Social Media Burnout.
Tip 2. Be consistent. In the beginning you can often feel like you are talking to yourself. Your Facebook business page or status updates could well resemble a ghost town. Attracting a tribe, or community is not an easy thing to do unless you turn up every day and show that you are serious about being on social media. You must make a habit of posting every day, let’s use Facebook as the example, and commenting on and ‘liking’ any of your followers interactions. This way they feel that they are special to you and it is proven that when people like you and trust you, they are a lot more likely to do business with you.
Tip 3. Add value. Post relevant information that will make your audiences lives better. Solve their problem through your expertise and share stories or case studies that back up your information. This also positions you as a credible expert in your field.
Tip 4. Follow up. This is a pertinent tip for LinkedIn, but it’s just as important on other platforms. If someone connects with you or likes your Page or profile, make sure you have a follow-up system in place. Reply in a personal way and say how happy you are that they have connected with you. Ask what it was that made them choose to connect and offer to make yourself available to help them if they ever need it. This is another way of being building relationships in today’s online world.
Tip 5. Be the positive authority figure. No-one wants to hear about your ‘woe is me’ problems and stories on social media. If you are having challenges, wait until you overcome them and then share them as a lesson for your audience on how they can overcome their challenges, rather than use social media as a place to vent. Never post negative comments about any customers or competitors. Be the expert and authority figure that leads by example, and show your best side at all times. It’s not about being inauthentic – there’s just a time and place to vent, and it’s at Friday night drinks with friends rather than via your professional online presence.
Natasa Denman is a skilled executive coach, author of four best-selling books and founder of The Ultimate 48 Hour Author. For more information visit ultimate48hourauthor.com.au.