Social media – love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s here to stay.
There are many reasons to use social media marketing to grow your business. It’s a great way of connecting with potential clients and showing your fabulous personality as a trainer.
Still, social media marketing definitely has its challenges. Do any of these sound familiar?
Common social media marketing challenges
- Feelings of overwhelm – you know you ‘ought’ to be using social media but don’t really know where to start or if you’re doing the right things
- Concern that you’re spending hours writing posts or finding images your clients will love but that you could be spending time on more important business activities
- Uncertainty – will you even get the results you want?
- Inconsistency – you feel fired up, go all out for a few weeks/days and then lose momentum
- Self-doubt – your competitors have a larger social media following and are doing such a good job that you feel like you can’t compete
These are all understandable concerns. Social media marketing can be a huge time suck and you may sometimes feel like you’re battling to navigate the ever-evolving algorithms that decide who sees what and when.
I don’t want you to be disheartened. Social media marketing can work for you. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful ways I know to grow a training business. It’s one of the key tools I’ve used to grow The Trainers Training Company. Using social media, I’m able to drive people to my website, sell courses, build the Trainer Talk community and so much more. Social media marketing has also helped me to meet and build relationships with fantastic people (many of whom I work with collaboratively) and who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.
My five favourite tips
I want to try and cut through some of the clutter for you. Here are my five social tips guaranteed to get results:
1. Develop a strategy
To be effective as a business on social media, you have to know why you’re using it. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and energy.
Do you want to raise your profile so clients come to you? Build links with other trainers? Drive traffic to your website?
Once you know what your main goal is, you then need to start thinking about the kinds of content that will help you achieve this. Do you need to be doing live videos? How about sharing hints, tips, advice or industry news? What calls to action would work best?
2. Focus on one platform at a time
Social media is so fast-moving that it can feel like you have to be everywhere all the time. The problem is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to achieve this (especially without help) and you could end up diluting your message.
My advice is to spend some time investigating which social media platforms your ideal clients love. If your business is already up and running, ask your existing clients how they use social media and which platforms they prefer (and why). If you’re just starting out in business, check out your competitors. Where do they seem to attract the most engagement?
Armed with this information, limit yourself to using a single platform to start off with and get really good at using it. You can always add one or more platforms to the mix as you get a feel for what content your audience wants to see.
3. Develop a daily action list
Have you ever popped on to social media to perform a quick task and then fallen down the rabbit hole of mindless scrolling and clicking on links that take you far away from your original action? Me too!
The antidote to this is sticking to a daily action list that’s based on what you need to do to achieve the goal that’s driving your social media use.
Your daily action list might include things like:
- Spend 30 minutes replying to comments, sharing content, or chatting in groups
- Scheduling batches of posts
- Setting up a Google Alert to get and share links that your followers might find useful
- Taking pictures to use in posts
- Browsing stock image sites for images
- Do a 5-minute live broadcast
There are various tools to help you automate some of your social media activity. The great thing about this is that you can post in batches but still look like you’re active online every day. It’s the ideal way to maintain a constant presence even when you’re not there.
Many of the social media platforms have scheduling tools or you can use social media management software (here’s a list of some of the current popular choices).
Don’t forget to still check in to engage with people though!
5. Participate consistently
For your social media marketing to work, it’s essential that you show up consistently. Automation can help or even outsourcing your social media management if your budget allows.
Be realistic about what you can achieve. If you have a Twitter/Facebook/Instagram account but only plan to use it sporadically, then now might be the time to close that account down and focus on a platform that you’re more likely to use (and your clients are more likely to see).
People need to see you every day if they are to really connect with you and understand what it is that you do.
My bonus tip: Track everything!
Each of the social media platforms shares insights into how posts are performing and yet many people forget to look at these.
My bonus tip is that you check out your insights at least once a week. Which posts are getting loads of engagement? Is there a certain type of post that does better? Does the conversation heat up when you talk about certain topics? Do people love posts with links or images in them? Do they prefer pre-recorded or live videos? Does animating a graphic (which you can do using a tool like Canva) make a difference to engagement?
The more you track, the more you can target your future content to your audience. Forget to track and you’re just throwing content into the ether and hoping something hits the right target!
Note: This article was first written in March 2012 and updated in July 2021