As a business, you want to be where your consumers or prospects are. These days that is the social media arena. However, this done come without risk. The health and fitness industry is no exception. They must take steps to lessen the risk and keep ahead of challenges.
Personal trainers can market themselves and clients can discover them on social media. They can also promote their instructing classes of boot camps, spinning, yoga or zumba. Basically, personal trainer can brand their name with their qualifications. Social media is an avenue to give advice, provide expertise and build relationships.
So I decided to research Jillian Michaels, who I always admired on one of my favorite television shows. Jillian Michaels is best known as a personal trainer, fitness guru and life coach on the hit television show, The Biggest Loser. She has become a brand and utilizes social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. She has slightly over a one million followers on Twitter and more than two million on Facebook. She is able to promote her book and her upcoming fitness/life coach tour on both venues with great success. Social media helped Jullian Michaels build a following for her fitness empire, which includes best-selling books, DVDs, video games, supplements, and workout equipment.
I like her posts on both Twitter and Facebook. They are meant to engage the following, not just sell to them. On Facebook, She has created custom tabs with testimonials, interactive polls, Ecommerce shopping site and general frequently asked question. The brand is consistent and keeps Jillian Michaels very prominent as part of that brand. Click here to check out Jillian Michaels facebook page. Below is a snap shot of her Twitter account.
However, Jillian Michaels advises other personal trainers and fitness gurus to consult with professionals before exercising the social media avenues. Jillian Michaels cites an incident in the Wall Street Journal in which someone asked her a question about caffeine via social media to which she responded with some of the health benefits of caffeine. She soon received a phone call from an unnamed company she’s working with on her supplement line, who said they’d need to consult an attorney; Ms. Michaels now limits her status updates on Twitter and Facebook to statements that won’t ruffle lawyers. There’s also the risk of giving unhealthy or unwise fitness tips on social media thus damaging the reputation of her brand.
So going forward, she keeps her brand friendly and light with not too much in depth consulting on social media platforms. She saves the more risky expert advice on JillianMichaels.com where visitors sign waivers.
I believe other personal trainers can learn from Jillian Michaels’ successes and failures on social media. Keep it engaging and interesting to build a brand, but do not give specific advice. Social media is not a venue for an injury diagnosis or a personalized training regimen. Something can simply not be done on social media. If you want to be where your prospective clients are, personal trainers need to be on social media.