Instagram can be an incredibly beneficial marketing tool for fitness professionals at all levels. Whether you teach group exercises classes at a local church, take personal training clients at a local gym, or provide online/virtual fitness services, Instagram is the fastest growing tool for reaching both current and potential clients.
Here are a few quick tips to maximize your #instaefforts:
1. Create a profile specifically for your business, and make classify it as a "business" account. You want to do this for two reasons: First, it's more professional. Potential clients will take you more seriously if you focus the account on content that provides them with valuable information related directly to your service. Second, a business account distinguishes you from "hobbyists" when potential clients are searching for a professional. A business account also gives you the ability to put your contact information and a call to action directly in your bio, making it easier for a potential client to initiate contact with you. Additionally, a business account will give you access to valuable insights/analytics about your content to let you know if it's "working."
2. Show some personality. Let potential clients see who you are and understand your values and fitness philosophy. This will help them determine if you are the right fitness professional to meet their needs. Share images or videos of you being active with friends, family, pets and in your community. Share the mantras that are essential to your fitness philosophy. Give them a taste of what it is like to work with you directly. They need to feel comfortable about you as a person before they will consider hiring you.
3. Display your expertise. Think about sharing client testimonials, videos showing proper technique, images of you attending professional education classes or a combination of these along with any other measures. A client will be more likely to contact you if you've demonstrated that you really know your stuff. After all, entrusting someone with your fitness journey is a big commitment!
4. Use #hashtags correctly. There are a lot of different philosophies on how to "correctly" use hashtags, but the truth is, what will work best for you completely relies on your intended goals. If you teach classes or take clients in-person at a local facility, it's important to attract clients within a specific geographic area. Therefore, use hashtags that have local relevance. For example, #FitAtlanta would be more targeted than #fitness. If you're offering online services, use hashtags that are directly relevant to the clients you're looking for, i.e. a virtual trainer looking for weight loss clients would be wise to use #weightlosstrainer.
- Part two of this rule is: do your research! Look to see what hashtags your peer fitness professionals are using. By peer, I mean those who are marketing to the same clientele that you want to attract. Also vet your hashtags before you use them. Be sure that they don't have a double meaning that you could misspeak on, or that they aren't too widely used or are too generic. The likelihood that your use of #fitness would be seen in the sea of 220 million+ posts using that hashtag is SMALL. The likelihood of being found using a targeted hashtag like #weightlosstrainer, which only has about 1,700 posts, is more significant.
5. Consider using paid ads. You would be surprised how many potential clients you can reach with a very small budget if you do it right! Some things to consider:
- Be VERY SPECIFIC when selecting your target audience for an ad: gender, age, geographic location, interests, etc.
- Make sure that the visual in your ad is a solid representation of who you are and the service that you offer. Keep this image free of any large graphics that contain too many words or information. Let the image "speak for itself." *Inserting a logo for your fitness business in a corner is totally great and even encouraged, though. It's a display of professionalism and that you take your business seriously.
- Keep your accompanying copy brief and to the point, with a specific call to action. Be sure to let them know what you want them to do. Use wording like "Click for more information," with a link to your website contact page, or "Call now!" followed by your phone number. An effective ad will leave no doubt in the customers mind as to what you are offering and how they should proceed.
I hope that these tips will help you get started (or continue) building a solid Instagram presence that will boost your fitness career. Stay tuned to the ACSM Certification blog for more helpful tips, and be sure to follow our special media accounts for content inspiration and information!
Caitlin is ACSM's Social Media and Digital Content Manager. She has over five years of experience developing social media strategies for businesses of all sizes, from solopreneurs to large, internationally-recognized brands. She has been teaching fitness classes since 2010, and spent two years as the owner/manager of a boutique fitness studio. You can followher @caitlinmarie89.