// Use the internet to grow your profile
If you have the ambition to grow your profile, be an expert in your field, or make your business fly, then it’s time to master the online tools now available, says Amelia Burton.
The way businesses develop has changed. Gone are the days when small business owners would sit on their hands and wait for opportunities to come their way – with the internet you can take matters into your own hands and grow in the direction of your choosing.
Whether you want to be at the forefront of latest research, to establish yourself as an expert in a specific field, or simply reach more people, there are numerous online tools available that will set your career path on an upwards trajectory. Be warned, however, that mastering online tools can be a huge challenge if you are new to it. Frustrated by technology and overwhelmed by the volume and apparent complexity of online tools, many people throw in the towel after a short while, when all they need is a little bit of guidance. So, how can you use the internet to grow your profile?
Establish credibility online
Possessing knowledge and an educated opinion on a set topic will help to increase your credibility. If you are an expert or are passionate about a specific topic, then people will come to you for opinions, tips and suggestions. Initially, it might be community newsletters or local newspapers, but if your message is sound, requests will gradually come from larger outlets, such as magazines, radio and TV. With regular exposure, and a consistent message, people will begin to trust your credibility. By doing this, you become the ‘go-to’ person for health and fitness-related questions.
Here are some great ways to establish credibility online. Do one, or all of them!
- Blog: Start up your own blog (it’s free!) and aim to post one or two articles per week.
- Contribute: Request to write contributing articles in higher trafficked publications such as popular blogs, websites, local newspapers and magazines.
- Inform others: Post regular tips, facts and links to interesting articles on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.
- Newsletter: Start up a newsletter, giving awesome tips and advice that will leave readers wanting more from you. Build up a database of email addresses that may come in handy further down the track. Nurture these contacts, don’t become a spamming nuisance!
- Comment: Leave comments on other websites/blogs. Flag five of your favourite health and fitness related websites, and regularly leave constructive comments.
Learn and develop by tapping into latest research
There’s nothing better than knowing you are getting the most up-to-date research, trends and news. You can use the new information to constantly hone your expertise, raise your profile and establish credibility. If you have access to the best research it will quickly become evident to your peers and your client base, who will find themselves drawn to your authoritative opinion.
Here are some smart ways to stay ahead of the pack.
- RSS: Sign up to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from research websites, so you will be alerted when new content comes in.
- Google Alerts: Sign up to Google Alerts for specific keywords: you will receive a daily email linking to any websites that used your keywords.
- Source the best: Read high quality online and print publications, searching for latest research. Start collecting articles that you can use for article ideas later on.
- Tap into research: Contact your PT course provider (RTO, university, Tafe etc) to enquire whether you can tap into their research facility as an ex-student (many allow this).
Reach more people using social media
Social media is the caffeine boost for your profile. It allows many sets of eyeballs to follow what you do. It’s possibly the biggest phenomenon of our time, it’s one of the most powerful tools you can use to reach more people and it’s here to stay. Although there are many sites available, Facebook and Twitter are by far the most powerful. Four Square is fast rising in the ranks and definitely one to keep an eye on.
- Be professional: Separate personal from business in Facebook. Clients/customers should not be able to see what you got up to on the weekend!
- Connect with others: Get busy communicating with other fitness-related Facebook users.
- Add value: When connecting and communicating with others, make it constructive and try to add value whenever possible.
- Tweet: Twitter is a great, instant way of staying in touch with customers/clients and colleagues. It’s quick, easy to use from your phone and can generate a lot of business through referrals.
Is it really worth all the effort?
YES! Most people in the fitness industry are natural communicators, are thirsty for more knowledge and passionate about helping as many other people as possible. These online tools are simply another, powerful way to connect with others and raise your profile along the way. Invest a little time and effort, and it will open up many opportunities to grow your business and your profile.
Amelia Burton, BScHM, CertComm
Amelia has over 13 years experience as a personal trainer, health club owner, corporate speaker and online trainer. She runs a series of health and fitness websites, and has been blogging for four years. Amelia is the health and fitness expert on Mornings with Kerri-Anne, and contributes to many publications. Combining her training knowledge and online skills, Amelia runs online workshops for trainers wanting to grow their business online. Visit her at www.ameliaburton.com/workshops or Twitter or Facebook.
NETWORK • SPRING 2010 • PP 19-21