… before your next tweet
If your fitness brand doesn’t have a proper social media strategy, you’re probably wasting time and losing out on fans and followers, says branding expert Jon Lipsey.
The brilliant thing about social media is its availability and immediacy. It’s quick to produce content and, thanks to mobile apps, it’s always there. These advantages can, however, also be drawbacks if you fail to approach your social output properly. Like every other part of your fitness brand, your social media activity should be backed by a strategy and see you working towards a goal. If, on the other hand, you’re posting when you feel like it, you may want to ask yourself the following questions before you next reach for your phone.
1. Why am I doing this?
This is an excellent and often overlooked question to ask before you embark on any brand-building exercise. You wouldn’t coach a client without knowing what they want to get out of their time with you, so don’t post things on social media without a clear idea about why you’re doing it. Are you, for example, looking to directly recruit new clients or are you trying to get your numbers up so you position yourself as being popular and open the door to potentially lucrative partnerships?
2. Who is your audience?
The profile of your audience should influence what social channels you’re on and how important social media is to your brand. A brand targeting people in their 20s will probably want to spend more time on social media than one aimed at people in their 50s, for example. Or, if you are a nutritionist who makes delicious-looking food or a physique coach, then you’d be daft not to be on Instagram, for example. And remember, a neglected social media feed is worse than a non-existent one, so only use a platform if you know you can post regulary.
3. What do they want?
Despite what some people in the fitness industry believe, you are not producing social media content to indulge yourself or tell the world what you think. You’re there to help your clients and potential clients, so ask yourself what they want from you. Do they want motivation? Do they want basic information? If they do, you may want to reign in those Facebook essays about ghrelin sensitivity and mTOR pathways and give them something that’s pitched at their level.
4. How much content are you going to produce?
If you’re on the fitness big three (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) aim to post at least once a day. You can re-use posts across platforms but try to customise them according to the channel. There isn’t a maximum number of times you should post per day. Your frequency should be determined by your ability to produce genuinely interesting, exciting and useful content. So, work out how much content you want to produce and then ask …
5. How are you going to produce it?
Producing your posts one at a time is unlikely to be the most efficient way of creating content. And while social media may be free to use, it can easily rob you of time. Instead, batch-produce your core content either once a week or once a month and then feed them out regularly. You’ll still need to hop on to your channels to chat with people and continue conversations, but this approach will save you time, increase your content quality and reduce the chances of you forgetting to post.
6. How can you use pictures?
US branding giant Landour Associates recently said that social media is now driven by pictures, not words. There is also a lot of data to suggest that picture posts get more likes and retweets. So, think about how you can include pictures in your posts. Images that feel like people are getting an insight into the ‘real’ you tend to work well because of the personal nature of social media.
7. Why would people share your content?
You want to create shareable content because that’s how you ensure new people see your stuff and join your community. If you want to increase your chances of a post being shared, ask yourself another question – how will this post make the user look good? Will sharing it make them look funny, knowledgeable, interesting or well informed? If the answer is yes to one or more of those questions, it’s more likely to get a thumbs up.
8. Why would they stay with you over time?
You may have hit on a popular formula for producing content but, if you fail to refresh it or add new elements, then eventually the novelty will wear off. The best thing you can do is to simultaneously foster regulars that people can become attached to while including the odd unexpected post so people feel like they could always find something new and interesting if they stick with you.
9. Why should they come to you rather than your rivals?
It’s likely that people in your target market will also follow your rivals because people tend to follow multiple brands in a category they’re interested in. Your challenge: to assess your competition and work out what you can do better.
10. How will you measure success?
So, you’ve done all of the above. You know why you’re doing this social media business, you know who you’re targeting and how you’re going to produce your varied and exciting content. The only remaining thing is to work out how you will measure success. This is going to be a slightly arbitrary decision but you would do well to set yourself some basic targets, such as page likes or follower numbers or new clients recruited through social media channels.
About the author
Jon Lipsey is the co-founder of Ironlife magazine and the creative agency Emote Media. Follow him on twitter at @jonLipseyMedia