I signed out of my personal Facebook account, permanently, aeons ago. At that time I did not have an alternative social media outlet like Instagram or Tumblr. My remaining account was on Twitter, but I did not post anything; I just read any notable news. At the start of my journey to become a professional personal trainer, and opening my own business Incremental Fitness, there were a lot of things I did not know. Targeting social media platforms to boost my business was one of them. I was still in school, studying, and not exactly thinking about marketing. During my studies I mentioned to my friend Joseph (of Techie Design) that I was busy preparing for an important exam. Joseph instructed me to promptly start blogging. I was like, “What? Blogging?”
Of course, I knew what Joseph meant by blogging. But I did not fully understand the priority of establishing my online presence. I should be blogging to not only gain exposure by starting this process, but share my still-valid experience and expertise with the world. Enter: Wordpress. Here I learned how to set up my site, get my domain (Joseph suggested GoDaddy) and figure out the “mapping.” Joseph also emphasized that I did have things to share, even though I was not yet certified. So I began establishing myself online.
Blogging Takes Time
In one sentence: it takes time to produce quality. What I mean is, I want to publish work that has both meaning and avoids redundancy. I want to create content that gives potential clients a glimpse of not just me as a personal, professional trainer, but of me as an individual. It is still, and always will be, a challenge to come up with something original. I am always impressed with other bloggers that produce solid content nearly every day; I am happy with once a week right now. I am learning to be exceptionally creative in the blog posts I promote, and not just throw the same kind of content out into the internet universe. I also understand the benefits of guest-blogging (yes, I am a bit tongue-in-cheek since I am guest-blogging on Joseph’s site). So far, I have applied to many blogs, and accepted to one. I guess I just need to make more applications.
Websites are Essential
This is of course a no-brainer. This is linked with the piece on blogging but still deserves its own paragraph. I understood the need for my own website and having a platform for prospective clients, the general public, and current clients to see, but I have since learned a lot.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Your Own Website
Begin by creating a website on your own and playing around. As I mentioned above, WordPress is the platform I used. It took some trial and error to format a site that was easy to navigate as well as visually pleasing. One quick note on a possibly deceiving area with Wordpress: you get a view of optional website templates, then after you select one, you have to figure out how to build back a rather bare-bones design to resemble the original template! I have also learned that pictures give an audience something to look at while still providing information. In addition, images produce a kind of guided experience for the user. I had many friends (as well as friends of friends) give me feedback about my site. After hours of working alone with your own art, it is always a good idea to have some fresh eyes. Something else I learned from Joseph is that the site should be “aging” online. By that, I mean the longer the site has been in existence, the more search engines will pull it up. I am sure there is a more technical way Joseph can describe this (this is just layman’s terms). One last thing – grab that domain even if you do not plan on using it yet!
Instagram and Twitter
At some point in the day it is more than likely that the average American has their head (and phone) in social media. Of course, the amount of time spent varies person to person, but I am now aware of how important it is to be visible on Instagram. Not just any picture, but something significant that appeals to me, or something funny that is relevant. With Joseph’s help, I have learned about the need for picking effective (and popular) hashtags. I pride myself that I continue to learn. However I also am not the type of person constantly pulling out their phone to take a shot on their camera. But I am getting better at documenting new clients as well as quickly recording anything I find notable to post throughout the day.
Video media tends to receive more attention. I will admit I was skeptical when Joseph first shared this fact. Since then I have had other personal trainers tell me that adding instructional videos to one’s online presence makes a big difference. That will be my next big step soon! Techie Design recently shot a great video, garnering a good amount of attention on YouTube and Instagram. As someone that jumped on the social media bandwagon for professional reasons, I am seeing how important a presence is, especially when you are first establishing your brand. Lastly, all of your account name handles on social media should match up with your domain so it is easy to find your business!
Designing a logo was not high on my to-do list when I was introducing Incremental Fitness to the world. Though I soon found that a proper logo reflects what the company means and makes a powerful, lasting impression. While not artistically inclined, I bravely tried for a day or so to sketch something out. I did not even have the right software! Instead I decided to use an online service. I described my vision for the logo, the color scheme, and the philosophy behind Incremental Fitness. Graphic Designers then sent me drafts of the logo and I picked the one that stood out to me. You want a logo that visually embodies what you see in your company. But before you get there, you must ask yourself some important questions: How will it look on a business card? How will it look on a shirt? How will it look if printed grayscale? These are all good topics to keep in mind.
Again, like many efforts, the more time you provide the better your returns. Social media is no exception, and your business is inextricably linked with the process of online branding. Remaining mindful of your audience is crucial. Of course it may take some time to categorize your audience (in any comprehensive way), but the result is efficiency. Until then, focus on quality content ranging anywhere from quality pictures, popular and relevant hashtags, and quality video. Above all: investing in a quality professional like Joseph will immediately place a business on the right foot, establishing the correct order of priorities by utilizing social media for one’s business.