Stop me if this story sounds familiar: when I started my journey to build an online fitness business, I had very little actual business, branding, and marketing experience.
Soon after, I quit my job at a corporate gym to pursue my own companies of J2FIT and TheBarbellCEO. To say the least, I quickly learned the importance of branding, social media marketing, and bootstrapping my business from the ground up.
Believe me when I say that social media has played a huge role in the growth of my companies, and it can do the same for you, but there is a right and a wrong way to go about your social media strategy.
Here's the correct way.
Why You Need To Crush The Social Media Game If You Want To Be Successful Online
Social media is, by far, the easiest and best way to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build trust with brand followers
- Create brand advocates
- Increase web traffic
- Increase email sign ups
- Increase new leads for sale of products and services
- Attract attention from larger companies looking to collaborate/partner with
- Develop deeper networking connections with other influencers
- Grow your brand
- Make more money
By simply having a well thought out social media strategy, I've accomplished all of the above (and helped others to do the same). Believe me when I say that social media has the potential to turn even the smallest idea into a full-fledged, money generating business.
To prove my point, let's take a look at three case studies.
3 Case Studies Demonstrating the Life-Changing Power of Social Media
What follows are three powerful stories of how social media turned a small spark into a flame.
CASE STUDY A: The Barbell CEO
Last summer I was searching for websites out there geared towards athletes, coaches, and entrepreneurs who are looking for a way to become better, make more money, and do it in a way where they can still have free time to workout and have fun all day.
I decided, once again, with minimal capital (this time I paid $100 to host my website, and $300 for logo design), to launch my new idea.
Following the same model as J2FIT, I was able to build a solid social media presence, reaching over 5,000 followers in just over one year.
How was I able to accomplish this?
Through an aggressive but intelligent approach to social media content marketing, automated posts, and consistency, all of which required very little money.
Without social media, I wouldn’t have had the trajectory of growth that I have had at The Barbell CEO.
I would not have been able to connect with other coaches and influencers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Additionally, social media had helped me form and develop deeper relationships with companies like TrainHeroic, BarBend, BreakingMuscle, and ReebokONE, all of which have helped both of my business grow exponentially.
CASE STUDY B: J2FIT Human Performance
Back in 2013, I began J2FIT as a mere blog where I started writing workouts, mental pieces, and op-eds about anything and everything fitness.
I had zero money (I literally set up a free google blogger account), was unhappy at my job, and didn't have a great deal of free time to devote to building something of substance.
I wrote articles every week, pushed them out across my Facebook page, emailed posts to people I knew personally. When Instagram came around, things went to another level, as I was able to post clear and creative video and photo content of me working out, coaching, and living a fit lifestyle, all linked back to my website.
Fast forward a couple years to my life today: I'm self employed, have a ReebokONE sponsorship, and run a fully operating training business that supports myself, my co-founder and a part time strength coach.
Without social media and it’s zero cost nature, would not have had the start-up success; and maybe even working at the same draining job.
CASE STUDY C: Chris J Espinal
One of the proudest moments I have had as a mentor and branding consultant is with Chris.
When Chris came to me for branding and business consulting, he was a very successful CrossFit coach, both in the gym and behind the scenes. He was responsible for opening up three different gyms throughout the nation (Miami and two in New York City), however, he wanted to create more for himself.
After we reworked his models, he was able to launch a personal brand that would ultimately:
- Send him to travel South America for months to coach and train with Carl Paoli and other top movement coaches.
- Generate passive income from online training programs while traveling, from wherever, whenever.
- Help him fulfill his passions for travel, language, culture, and fitness.
With the help of social media, Chris was able to hone in on his message and spread it to thousands.
He was able to create content across Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, sell online programs (with the help of TrainHeroic of course), and connect with influencers that would elevate his trajectory of personal and professional growth.
Without social media, Chris very well may have never chased his dreams, or have the means now to continue to forge ahead!
Your Next Steps: Creating Your Social Media Content Calendar
Do those case studies get you fired up?
I hope so - because I'm here to tell you that it's entirely possible to build the lifestyle of your dreams, bu it takes hard work, a killer strategy and incredible consistency.
And it all starts with your social media calendar.
When developing social media calendars, I recommend listing out all of your social and content platforms. This list below is the ones that I have used and see the greatest ROI on for my brands (in no specific order of importance, since most of them are cross-promoted and repurposed):
- Contributing Authorships: Creating amazing content is key to being able to push it out across your social platforms. The ability to write and produce content for larger brands/businesses that have larger audiences than you exposes you to endless growth potentials. Writing for BreakingMuscle, BarBend, and now TrainHeroic has grown my YouTube subscriptions, email lists, and brand presences drastically.
- Organic Content: Creating content on your website is great for building out your audiences. I noticed that I was still seeing greater ROI if I wrote more on larger websites, wrote less frequent but great pieces on mine, and re-shared a lot of my pieces that were successful from my other outlets. Whether you are creating videos, eBooks, workout programs/PDFs, infographics, or blog posts, having that on your website will encourage people who visit to stay there. I have built exercise libraries in my website that have provide a great pool of shareable content that is back-linked to website that offers readers a great value, for free.
- YouTube: Besides the fact that Google owns YouTube, and SEO recognizes that relationship, YouTube is a great source of video content for millions. The ability to share videos across social media, embed in articles both from contributing works and orphaning princes allows you to offer more to your followers. My very first article on BreakingMuscle, called “Cleaning Up Your Dirty Clean”, which through embedding YouTube videos with got my channel 150+ subscribers and to date over 50,000 views.
- Facebook: One of the most popular platforms out there, Facebook allows you to share and link content directly back to your website, allowing for great web traffic and email subscriptions. You can even market, create private groups, and more. Not to mention MILLIONS of potential customers are on there multiple times per day.
- Instagram: Creating videos and imagery that motivate, informs, and get followers addicted to your brand? Why not! You can even link things in your bio, a great way to cross promote and brand.
- Twitter: I'll admit, I'm not very into Twitter, however I do still post frequently, and have seen a great deal of web traffic from Twitter, which is great for sharing articles and other content.
- LinkedIn: Establishing yourself among other successful people is huge for developing business and networking relationships. I have used this build relationships with other coaches and businesses to open up doors for collaborations and business opportunities.
Once you have established your best platforms, you can then find the best times and frequency to post on each. In my eBook, I go through everything in much more detail!
Automating Your Posts
Managing your social media accounts can be a full-time job, and for most of us, we only have 24 hours in a day, and can’t always afford to pay big bucks to hire a social media manager.
Fortunately, after listening to Pat Flynn, of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, I came across CoSchedule, arguably the best social media content management and automation software out there.
I sit down once every month for two hours to plan, personalize, and automate nearly 80% of my social content. Automating has increased my brand development and given my hours back into my day to train myself, spend more time with my wife, travel the world, make more money, and sleep!
Additionally, after reading one of the most powerful entrepreneurial books, “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss, I decided to hire a freelance virtual assistant on UpWork, who has helped me carry out my initiatives for a very reasonable price. The money spent for that additional help has freed up more than 5 hours per week of my time, which if you qualify what you are worth in that time, is 100% worth it!
By using software to help me schedule, collaborate with my team, and plan out all my automated posting across all major platforms (minus my exclusive Barbell CEO Mastermind Group and Instagram pages), I have seen hours added back into my day, more money into my accounts, and opportunities knocking left and right.
Interacting With Your Audience
Social interaction is key to building relationships, trust, and business online. Gaining the trust of your followers (which should be earned and a mutual and respectful relationship) takes time, effort, and MORE TIME!
I have found that putting meaningful content out there for the masses is moderately effective at best. What has made those efforts have a larger ROI is targeting the content and conversation towards groups that I know will want to interact with it.
Through systems to track, and they chatter with my communities, I am able to stay on top of the conversations. At the bare minimum, I urge you to take 5-10 minutes per day and respond to comments on Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even email. Karma is always something you want on your side.
If you're coaching on TrainHeroic, be sure to post to the team feed on a daily (yes - DAILY) basis to keep your athletes engaged.
You Must Be Consistent
No matter the systems, if you are not consistent with your posting and content, you will have a very tough time building your following.
Being an overnight sensation is like winning the lottery - while you might be "successful" today, that success rarely stands the test of time.
The majority of us need to continue to move forward, day in day out, the same methodical way you would train your athletes to become better.
There are no shortcuts to greatness.
Monetizing Your Social Media Accounts
This could be an entire book in itself. This $1,000,000 question can be answered in so many ways, and is very specific to the situation/individual.
At the end of the day, you must convert your social media following to more active lead sources. Converting your social media followers into email addresses that build up your email list is critical to scaling and generating more profit from your social media endeavours.
Many people find creative ways to convert followers into more email addresses by:
- Newsletter lists
- Free offerings like program downloads, ebooks, etc.
- Sign up links for events
Whatever you put out to your audiences, social media will allow you to grow your brand and email lists, which in turn deepens your relationships with potential customers and brand advocates.
Using email marketing and management systems like the high-powered InfusionSoft allows you to convert social media followers to email leads, enter those new leads into various sales funnels, track their consumer behaviors to better provide them with automated content that they want, and ultimately keep the doors open for future purchases down the road.