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This is Us: Building Your Small Business Social Media Community

Getting to Know You

sm-fingers
Social Media can provide a lucrative and completely free platform to promote your business, provided you are willing to put in the time to build a social network community. It all begins with opening an account for your business on the Social Media sites you’ll be using. Facebook is by far the Social Media site with the greatest membership and farthest reach, so you’ll want to put some thought into what your company’s page will look like, and what types of posts you will present to your potential customers.
Welcome to the Family
Once you have established your Social Media accounts, it is time to begin to reach out to your potential customers. If you already have established personal accounts through which you interact with friends and family, invite them to “Like” your business page and follow you. Creating memes with your business theme, and posting pictures and videos that depict your business in a positive and engaging way is an essential part of building your community. Your posts should be upbeat, professional and visually engaging. Keep text to a minimum, and always provide a link to your webpage.
We Belong Together

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Once you get a few posts circulating, visit your page periodically each day to read and respond to any comments that were made on your posts. By actively engaging with those who read your posts, you begin to build relationships that encourage ongoing interaction. Your continued presence on Social Media is key to drawing attention to what your business has to offer. Keep your comments friendly, and steer clear of arguments on controversial topics. You want to develop a professional persona that is likable and empathetic.
Spreading the Love
Keep your eyes peeled for the fitness posts of others in your news feed, and like, share and comment. By doing so, you begin to build a network in much the same way you would network at a business conference. Your support of others will be reciprocated, as long as your posts seem relevant and interesting, and you represent yourself as a likable professional. Remember that most Social Media users receive hundreds of posts each day, so post frequently, and make your images dynamic.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!

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You Are What You Share: Tips for Business Success on Social Media

Perfect Profile

guy-with-laptop
Building your brand on Social Media is a great low budget way to market and get your message out. But be aware that your posts represent your online business persona. Before you begin to tweet, post and share, put careful thought into the image you would like to portray. You should create a profile for your business that is separate from your personal profile. Make sure you flesh it out with complete details and images. When people click on your business page, they should immediately get a sense of what your business is about, and a feel for your target market.
Same-Same

female-handshake
The way you build business relationships online is virtually the same as building personal relationships. The key is to post material that is both engaging and informative, and that relates somehow to your business. Steer clear of blatant advertising, and instead focus on evocative images and compelling headlines, coupled with well written text. Keep articles short, but not too short. Four hundred to 600 words is about right to hold readers’ interests. Proofread for errors in grammar, syntax and spelling, which are unacceptable in business posts. Reference all your sources at the end of your article, and be sure to provide plenty of links to your website.
Balancing Act
There is a delicate balance between promoting your business and creating humanly appealing posts. The more business oriented your post, the less human it will sound, and the less likely it will be read. On the other hand, too much humanity can take away from the business message you are trying to send. Think of it in terms of going into a retail store. You want the staff to be polite, friendly and upbeat, but you don’t want them to become too personal. Your online persona should convey the same pleasant vibe as a well run retail outlet, without oversharing your personal information.
Touchy-Feely

phone in gym
Your posts should be entertaining and informative, while still getting your business message across. People respond to posts that catch their eyes, and that appeal to them on an emotional level. Keep your headlines fun and enticing, and infuse your text with a positive upbeat tone. Try playing upbeat music while you create, and smile to boost your own mood. That happy feeling will ooze through your fingers and onto your page. Your content should strike a balanced ratio of about 20 percent business to 80 percent information and entertainment.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!

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Pin Power: Marketing Your Small Fitness Business on Pinterest

Not Just for Cooking and Crafting

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There is no doubt that Pinterest is a favorite go-to site when you want inspiration for your creative ventures. Party planning, crafts and cooking tips abound, along with beautiful illustrations and infographics that pique your creative drive. But Pinterest is also a prime platform for health and fitness that you cannot afford to overlook if you are serious about marketing your small fitness business.
Inspiring Images

pinterest-smartphone
Pinterest is all about the image, so if you want to make the most marketing milage, you need to pin professional creative images that speak volumes. There are dozens of stock photo sites that offer attractive fitness images for a fee. However, if you have a Personal Training or Group Exercise business, images of you and your staff may be more impactful. Pinterest Analytics offers data on the most successful image size and quality for your pins, to ensure you get the most exposure.
Tantalizing Text
The text associated with your pins should be minimal, so you want to think carefully about the message you are trying to convey, and then economize on words to deliver the gist of your ideas. To optimize your reach, keep your word count between 150 to 300. Overlaying text on top of your image can be effective for enhancing your message, so long as it does not obscure the image. Also consider the actual words you use in your text. Keywords within your text will partially determine whether your pin comes up when a user launches a search.
Lots of Linking

girl on laptop
The whole idea of social media marketing is to drive users to your website, where they can get more information about how to access your services. When you create your pin, think about how your images and text will inspire Pinterest users to migrate to your site. Create multiple links within your text to encourage users to divert their browsing. For content, design and user behaviors, visit Pinterest Analytics for valuable tips on creating powerful pins.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!
References
Analytics: https://analytics.pinterest.com

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Make It Viral: Using Social Media to Build Your Small Fitness Business

Follow

Age of Social

fitness-social-media
There is no denying that Social Media has entrenched itself in the daily lives of humans worldwide. More importantly, Social Media has grown from a resource for keeping up with your classmates and sharing cool videos of your cat, to a global forum for promoting ideas and brand-building. Whether you are an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a gym or studio owner, you cannot afford to overlook this free and lucrative marketing medium. Yet according to the “2016 State of Small Business Report,” only 80 percent of small businesses use Social Media for marketing, and those businesses who do use it underutilize SEO (search engine optimization), blogging and video. Only 45 percent use Social Media to sell products or services, and 38 percent use it to build their fan base.
Tools Talk
As with anything new, there is a learning curve for mastering Social Media marketing. Thankfully, there’s an app for that! In fact, there are a growing number of tools, many of them free, created to help you track, post and assess your Social Media market. You can create instant surveys with Wufoo, see which of your posts and those of your competitors get most hits with Fanpage Karma, and view which times of day and days of the week your posts get the most traffic. Apps like Hootsuite can let you schedule posts to be released throughout the week, and Tailwind and Followerwonk can steer you toward likely new customers, and much, much more. And don’t forget to use Social Mention to see what people are saying about your company and about topics related to your services.
Being Present

 

fans
With hundreds or even thousands of posts appearing on the average user’s daily Social Media feed, you cannot afford to skimp on updates. Posting once a week, or worse, once a month, will not draw in the audience you desire. And while most of us are familiar with Twitter and Facebook, don’t forget there are a plethora of other Social Media sites, with millions of regular users. Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Google+ and Vine are just a handful of the most popular alternatives.
Make It Matter

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Resonating with your audience and making meaningful connections is the name of the Social Media marketing game. Make your posts engaging and relevant, but keep them short and to the point. Keep your target audience in mind, and steer clear of offensive language and off-color innuendo. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a short video is probably worth a million. Pay attention to design elements like color, tone, font, layout and images. Remember, you only have a split second to catch the attention of a scrolling Social Media user.
Resources
Want to up your Social Media game? W.I.T.S. has the continuing education tools you need to keep you in the running! Our online Social Media Marketing Series offers seven courses geared to helping you become an online fitness superstar. Topics like Creating Relationships, Attracting Clients, Branding and Increasing Your Presence are all covered. And don’t forget to add your Digital Badge to every post, to let the world know you are the best!
References
Social Pilot: 125 Amazing Social Media Statistics You Should Know in 2016
https://socialpilot.co/blog/125-amazing-social-media-statistics-know-2016/

Wasp Barcode Technologies: 2016 State of Small Business Report
http://www.waspbarcode.com/small-business-report

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Perception is Everything: Five Ways to Improve Your Professional Image

Our Fabulous Fitness Industry

80s aerobics
Whether you are a seasoned fitness practitioner or a novice just getting started, the fitness industry promises increasing opportunities for professional growth and career success. However, in order to gain and keep the respect of the public, we must all hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. In the near future, you can expect to see the bar raised for professional credentials and baseline qualifications. Our industry will be scrutinized for evidence that we deserve a place at the table with other health care providers. The measures that you take today to improve your professional image can play an important role in helping you secure a rewarding, lucrative and sustainable career in the future.

1. Get Certified

CPTBadge
Despite certification being a widespread requirement throughout the fitness industry, there are still many gifted and capable personal trainers and group exercise instructors who have never been certified, or whose certifications have lapsed. In most states you are not required by law to be certified. However, obtaining and maintaining a national certification shows that you are a dedicated professional. Using your Digital Badge on social media is a great way to broadcast your professionalism.

2. Stay Informed

Exercise science, biomechanics and nutrition are relatively young fields, and new research is released daily that challenges long held ideas and beliefs. As a professional, it is up to you to stay current. Spend time searching the internet for new information, and keep up with trends by pursuing professional development and continuing education. Your clients will recognize your commitment and appreciate your dedication to your profession.

3. Get Involved

On both the state and federal levels, there is legislation being considered that will impact the future of the fitness industry. Licensure, baseline credentials and liability issues are all on the table. Writing or calling your representatives to voice your opinion can have a huge impact on the outcomes of such measures. Band together with other fitness professionals to steer the conversation in your favor.

4. Walk the Talk

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It is hard to influence others if you don’t practice what you preach. Make sure that your lifestyle behaviors reflect your convictions. You are a role model for others to emulate. Not only your clients but other fitness professionals are looking to you to set the bar for professionalism. Be the real deal.

5. Give Back

Despite the massive acceptance of fitness as critical to human health, Americans are increasingly afflicted with lifestyle related disease, and obesity continues to be on the rise. Look for opportunities in your community where you can get involved to change the downward health spiral. Volunteering to take a leadership role will crystalize your standing as a professional in your field.

Resources

We at W.I.T.S. are proud of our professionals, and we are here to support your growth and professional development with state of the art Certifications and Continuing Education courses. If you don’t yet have your Digital Badge, what are you waiting for? Visit our Digital Badge page and get the ball rolling! If you need more credentials, add a new Certification, or expand your professionalism by visiting our Fitness Business Institute. We highly recommend the courses, Establishing Your Brand and Image; Developing Relationships; Finding Customers; or any of our other great business success courses! To enhance your presence on Social Media, check out our numerous courses about Social Media Marketing.

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The Professional Future of Fitness

Crossroads

directions
The fitness industry is at a crossroads and the decisions we collectively make today will impact our careers in decades to come. The industry as we currently know it draws its business model from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Back then, gyms were largely the domain of men, although there were plenty of exercise studios that catered to women, and exercise goals were commonly cosmetic in nature. The idea of exercise as foundational to health and appropriate for humans of all ages did not come into focus until the late ‘90s, when then Surgeon General C. Everett Koup declared, “Exercise is medicine.”

Horizons

ab-exercise
Despite the fact that we have demonstrated the important role fitness plays in human health, we have failed to establish ourselves as a legitimate arm of the health care community. The problem is a complex one, with many moving parts, some couched in the business model itself. Yet if we are to survive and grow, we must reinvent ourselves in ways that legitimize our practice in the eyes of medical practitioners and insurers. We must agree on industry-wide standards of practice and competency, with mechanisms in place to oversee adherence.

Challenges

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As we strive to obtain our place at the health care table, we face many hurdles, including opposition from physical therapists and the powerful pharmaceutical industry who see fitness practitioners as a threat. Even within our own industry, there are voices of dissent from fitness business leaders who oppose standardization of credentials for fitness practitioners. They argue that our current system of certification is all that is needed for effective practice. Yet there is a gaping difference among certifying bodies and in the quality of certification programs.

Solutions

Despite opposition, the fitness community deserves to have access to sustainable professional careers. Our practice is the solution to lifestyle-related disorders that the medical industry only treats. As universities churn out more and more degreed fitness professionals, it is up to us to absorb them into our fold in ways that are sustainable, lucrative and rewarding. This can only happen when we as an industry steer our ship toward standardization, licensure and universal competence.

Resources

We at W.I.T.S. are proud of our professionals, and we are here to support your growth and professional development with state of the art Certifications and Continuing Education courses. If you don’t yet have your Digital Badge, what are you waiting for? Visit our Digital Badge page and get the ball rolling! If you need more credentials, add a new Certification, or expand your professionalism by visiting our Fitness Business Institute. We highly recommend the courses, Establishing Your Brand and Image; Developing Relationships; Finding Customers; or any of our other great business success courses! To enhance your presence on Social Media, check out our numerous courses about Social Media Marketing.

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Profile of a Fitness Professional

What Does It Even Mean?

extended hand
If asked to imagine a business professional, you might conjure up an image of a meticulously groomed individual sporting a power suit, shoes polished to a gleaming shine, with a firm handshake and unwavering eye contact. However, the nature of our business does not sync up with that image. A fitness professional shares some of the same attributes of other business professionals, but the gym environment is not conducive to designer duds and deals over dinner. We have our own unique code when it comes to projecting a professional profile.

A Firm Foundation

CPTBadge
Skills and knowledge are fundamental to professionalism in a service industry like ours. Over the past three decades, research about exercise science, movement mechanics and nutrition has exploded, giving us more information than ever to explore and process. Becoming certified is only the first step in what should become a lifelong journey of professional growth and development. If you are W.I.T.S. certified, you already have a competitive advantage when it comes to basic skills and science. Keep the shine on your apple by continuing to learn through continuing education courses and independent study.

Good Communication

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Fitness is a people business, and our interactions with others are the substance of our services. Communication is a two-way street that involves both speaking and listening. A true fitness professional listens attentively to the needs and feelings of clients, conveying empathy and trust. Good communication also includes projecting and interpreting non-verbal signals like body language, facial expressions and emotional undercurrents. Many of these skills are acquired over time, but you can only achieve them if you pay attention. Leave your cell phone in your locker and give your clients the undivided attention they deserve.

Core Values

Asian fitness girl
Effective and successful fitness professionals share certain core values that define professionalism. Integrity means that you are honest in your dealings with others, and you can be counted on to deliver the services promised. Discretion means that you hold what your client shares with you in confidence, and you do not share it with others. Accountability means that you accept responsibility for your words and actions, and that you take your commitments seriously. In addition to these core values, fitness professionals embrace and model the lifestyle behaviors that we encourage and foster in our clients.

Resources

We at W.I.T.S. are proud of our professionals, and we are here to support your growth and professional development with state of the art Certifications and Continuing Education courses. If you don’t yet have your Digital Badge, what are you waiting for? Visit our Digital Badge page and get the ball rolling! If you need more credentials, add a new Certification, or expand your professionalism by visiting our Fitness Business Institute. We highly recommend the courses, Establishing Your Brand and Image; Developing Relationships; Finding Customers; or any of our other great business success courses! To enhance your presence on Social Media, check out our numerous courses about Social Media Marketing.

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Time is Money: Your Hidden Currency for Marketing Success

Tapping Into Time

wrist watch
Most of us will agree that time is a valuable commodity that there never seems to be enough of. But if you’re launching a new business on a small budget, time can become a lucrative currency for marketing your business. Strategically placing yourself in the middle of your market population in a timely manner can build credibility and position you to become known as an expert in your field.

Give Yourself Away

happy black man
It’s easier than you think to turn the limelight on yourself and your business. There are literally dozens of venues where extra hands are needed to create a successful experience. Get involved with your local high school athletics program or with a Little League team. Volunteer with Special Olympics or your local Boys and Girls Clubs. Show your support by volunteering at local fundraiser races. Performing arts companies are always in need of extra help. Teach a free yoga or Pilates class at your local dance studio. Volunteering your time and talent gives you an opportunity to plug into your community and create a social network that you would not otherwise have access to.

Partner Up

Health care providers often recommend fitness to their patients, but without specific guidelines. Forge a partnership with your local health care community by volunteering. Offer free fitness testing or body fat assessments in the hospital cafeteria. Set up a booth at corporate health fairs. Ask permission to place fliers or business cards in your doctor’s or dentist’s office. Build relationships with event organizers and stay on top of upcoming opportunities.

Be a Mentor

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Community centers, public libraries and retirement communities are ideal venues to offer free mentoring. Give free seminars on older adult nutrition and exercise. Hold a public forum to address the problem of childhood obesity. Set up a table in your local health food store and offer free fitness advice to customers. Be sure to create a press release and invite the local media to your event.

Resources

Getting the word out about the awesome services you offer calls for some creative marketing strategies. As always, W.I.T.S. is on the cutting edge of the fitness biz with dozens of courses to help you succeed. Visit our Fitness Business Institute page to get an overview. For marketing strategies, check out the following continuing education courses: Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy, Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing for the Successful Fitness Professional, Identifying Your Products and Services, Establishing Your Brand and Image, and many more!

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The Write Way to Market: Blogging to Build Your Business

Blogging Basics

girl on laptop
A blog is an ongoing series of written entries that can provide information and opinions, and which often reflects the philosophy of the writer. In business, a blog can be a useful tool that showcases your knowledge and expertise, and reflects your business philosophy. Fitness blogs often introduce new ideas or trends, and debunk common myths that contradict recent scientific evidence. Writing a regular blog and posting it on social media can be a great marketing tool for your fitness business.

Hit a Bullseye

bullseye
To optimize your blog’s marketing impact, think carefully about your target audience. If you want to attract a specific demographic, your blog should reflect the values and needs of that market. For example, if your niche is pre-and post-natal women, blogging about CrossFit will not hit a bullseye. Similarly, if your target is competitive bodybuilders, don’t write about weight loss. Focusing on the clients you want to attract is critical if you want your blog to bring in new business.

Lengthy Matters

While you may have tons of information to share on a particular topic, making your post too long can be a turnoff for many readers. An optimal post should be between 400 to 600 words in length. Break broader topics down into subtopics, and write individual entries for each. Create sub-headings that highlight distinct thoughts or arguments. Stay on topic and omit excessive rambling. Provide hyperlinks to steer potential clients to your website.

Mind Your Language

mind your language
Spelling, grammar, vocabulary and syntax separate good writers from amateurs. Unless you are extremely confident about your language arts skills, seek out someone who can proofread and edit your posts. Bad grammar and poor syntax act like speed bumps that make reading a chore. Spelling errors are inexcusable in the age of spellcheck. Use a thesaurus to select the best words to express your ideas.

Resources

Getting the word out about the awesome services you offer calls for some creative marketing strategies. As always, W.I.T.S. is on the cutting edge of the fitness biz with dozens of courses to help you succeed. Visit our Fitness Business Institute page to get an overview. For marketing strategies, check out the following continuing education courses: Developing Your Marketing and Promotion Strategy, Insider Secrets of Advertising and Marketing for the Successful Fitness Professional, Identifying Your Products and Services, Establishing Your Brand and Image, and many more!

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Promote your Professionalism with Digital Badges!

Pathway of Professionalism

pathway
You chose a fitness career because you have a passion for fitness and believe it is your chosen pathway to help others. But passion is not enough to establish yourself as a professional and to create a sustainable career. You need to ground yourself in sound business practices and professional growth in order to build and sustain a life-long legacy for yourself and your family. One exciting new way to establish your professional standing in the fitness industry is to display your Digital Badges.

Badge of Honor

InstructorPractical
A Digital Badge is an earned icon that tells the world that you take your career seriously. It is a constant reminder to the public that you are in it to win it as a fitness professional. Your Digital Badge is both an honor and a proclamation that you revere and practice the highest professional standards. When you display your Digital Badge, it adds credibility and reminds your clients and customers that they are working with the best in the business.

Spread the Word

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There are countless ways in which you can use your Digital Badgehttps://www.witseducation.com/fit/general/digital-badges/digital-badges-faq/ to grow your business. Display it prominently on your webpage and on your marketing materials. Include it on your business cards and add it to your email signature tag. Include it on all of your social media posts and blogposts. Embellish your resume or CV with your Digital Badge, and include it in cover letters to potential employers. Your Digital Badge tells the world that you are Certified, qualified and dedicated to excellence!

Resources

We at W.I.T.S. are proud of our professionals, and we are here to support your growth and professional development with state of the art Certifications and Continuing Education courses. If you don’t yet have your Digital Badge, what are you waiting for? Visit our Digital Badge page and get the ball rolling! If you need more credentials, add a new Certification, or expand your professionalism by visiting our Fitness Business Institute. We highly recommend the courses, Establishing Your Brand and Image; Developing Relationships; Finding Customers; or any of our other great business success courses! To enhance your presence on Social Media, check out our numerous courses about Social Media Marketing.