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Using Social Media as a Fitness Professional

by doctorjeal
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This article is an introduction to social media and how to best make the use of it to enhance your social presence and marketing yourself and services, it is not intended as a how to guide on how to perform or set up social media services.
Are you a personal trainer, fitness or class instructor, have knowledge in specific areas of fitness and exercise. You might run your own business or work for a gym, health club or similar, either way getting to grips with social media and knowing how you can use it to your advantage is very powerful in marketing yourself, getting information and sharing knowledge and instant updates to your clients and fan’s of your service and skills.
Where to start!
If you are not already active on social networks, you will need to start somewhere, to get the ball rolling let’s start with the two most popular and most powerful social networking sites, these are facebook and twitter.

Facebook
Join up
It’s likely you already have a facebook account and use it regularly to stay up to date with friends if not, head over to facebook.com & sign up. Facebook however can do much more than just keeping you in contact with your friends, family and co-workers; it can keep you in contact with your customers, clients and fans and prospective customers & clients.
Spread the word
There are a couple of ways this can be done, you could simply add your customers and clients as friends although not ideal and potentially subjecting these people to more information than you first intended. There is still no reason why you can’t do this though and to control what these people see and what information they have access to you can set up a group in facebooks privacy settings and select what they can and can’t see meaning you will only be sharing status updates etc you want them to see.
Create a page
If you are a freelance instructor, have your own business etc. I would recommend setting up a facebook page. A facebook page can be created from your existing facebook account and you can populate it with your service or business information, invite your friends and fans to like the page. A fan that likes a facebook page will receive updates from the facebook page via their news feed, this is direct marketing and information to your customers and clients yet without sharing any personal information from your facebook profile as these fans are not necessary your friends.
Getting into action
You are now set up on facebook and it’s time to interact with your fans, post status updates and encourage feedback in the form of likes and comments to increase your social presence. Take photos and videos; post these to your page or profile.
Twitter
A very powerful social networking tool is Twitter, an ideal platform for any fitness professional you can really make a name for yourself sharing knowledge on health or fitness or specialize in weight loss etc. People love to follow those that provide an insight into training and nutrition. Once more your clients can get instant access to you, via short timely and relevant messages, this encourages client communication.
How is it different from Facebook?
If you are new to the social networking seen then at first Twitter might seem very much like facebook or at least just the status part of Facebook, however it is much more useful than what it first appears.
Twitter enables people to follow your updates in the form of short timely messages, people can follow you however there is no extensive personal profile and therefore you share almost nothing personal with your followers. Because of this it has proven very popular with celebrates which enables fans to follow them and interact directly with them without worrying about sharing personal information.
Engaging in this platform can be rewarding, increasing the scope of potential customers and people interested in your knowledge and experience. 
 
Do I need a facebook and twitter?
Simply, No you don’t but i’d strongly advise it. I know many people with a facebook page who have yet to engage in twitter as they know little about it or its power.
Seeing the Facebook and Twitter icon together in almost any company is now very common even on TV and they do indeed go hand and hand, they work well together and because of their vast difference in function they are not seen as competition.
Ok, where to start!
Creating an account in Twitter is easy, populate your profile, most importantly pick a good name, this can be changed by the way so don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what to use from the get go.
Now get following and spread the word
It’s time to let existing customers and clients know about your new social networking, add it to your website or blog and even business cards etc.
There are many useful Twitter accounts you can follow, providing useful insight and nearly every major company has one. The beauty of Twitter is you can see who someone else follows and follow these too,

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