Online fitness coaches can easily grow their social media presence to generate a 6-figure income without spending a penny. In your business’ infancy, there are various steps you must take to ensure that your social media presence begins to swell. Once you have a decent, high quality following, it won’t be too difficult to generate plenty of hot leads clamoring for your coaching services.
You may think that social media is saturated with online fitness coaches vying for a piece of the pie. While it is true, the vast majority of them don’t get to the top of the influencer lists for a variety of reasons that we will get into in this article.
The problem with many online fitness coaches is that they simply post whatever content comes to mind and hope that it does well, attract followers and prospects, with no discernible strategy.
Unfortunately, you must have a strategy when it comes to your social media presence. You can learn while you post, but this is far more time consuming than entering the fray with a plan of action.
Social media is litted with inactive online fitness coaches who have given up on their brands due to underwhelming results. The bottom line is your bottom line, while some posts generate traffic, they don’t necessarily generate revenue.
You need to learn how to generate high quality traffic that will pay the bills.
Let me show you some of the techniques I used to gain close to 200k followers for my online fitness brand.
If you are just starting out as an online fitness coach, read this article to help you start your business from scratch.
How to Grow Your Social Media Presence as an Online Fitness Coach
This is a multi-factorial approach that you must take.
Sadly, given the way that social media platforms are evolving, you can’t just show up and post whatever is on your mind and expect to gain a high quality audience.
There are layers you need to understand to get the best bang for your buck.
- Choosing Your Niche
- Market Research
- Trial and error (tracking your analytics)
Let’s jump right in.
1. Choosing Your Niche
But… but, my niche is fitness?! You might ask. Yes, while this is correct, you need to niche down even further. Bret Contreras is worth $50M by niching down to the bottom — literally, the glute guy has made a fortune by targeting the derriere.
The reason for this is because, as an online fitness coach, you are focusing on a specific pain point your prospects might have.
These may include:
- “I can’t lose weight”
- “I can’t gain muscle”
- “I am weak”
- “My libido is non-existent”
Ask yourself — what is your area of expertise when it comes to fitness?
In my personal case, I was obese and a national-level powerlifter, but I chose fat loss since I could empathize with my audience’s pain — being overweight and struggling to lose weight.
Your audience will look for somebody who can feel their pain and knows how to overcome it from personal experience. A fat loss coach who used to be fat is an easier sell than the guy who’s never been over 12% bodyfat.
By determining what your own fitness journey was like, it will be easier to find your ideal fitness niche.
Some fitness niche examples to help you choose:
- Fat loss
- Muscle gain
- Strength & Athleticism
- Hormone Optimization
- Performance Optimization
Once you have figured out your niche, then it is time to work on your positioning.
You may be thinking, “I am limiting myself to a very small subset of the fitness demographic.” While your services may appeal to a smaller % of people, your specialty is making YOU more scarce as a fitness coach.
We all see those generic fitness coaches offering advice for everyone, but charge extremely low prices for their services.
They, therefore, must counteract their low prices by working with a high volume of clients.
This will make it difficult for you to scale your business in future and diminish the quality of leads that you may attract.
Ideally, you want to be known as “the guy” for your specific services and expertise.
Remember Bret Contreras, it is easier to offer your services for a specific demographic than to be too generalized.
Here are some of the niches I suggested for you to look into:
- Fat loss
- Muscle gain
- Strength & Athleticism
- Hormone Optimization
- Performance Optimization
Now it’s time to position yourself for a specific demographic within these niches.
Before you think about how you will position yourself, consider the following:
- Am I as an online fitness coach relatable to the demographic I want to target?
- Does my chosen demographic have the disposable income to afford my services?
- Do I have expert knowledge on the pain my target audience suffers?
- Can I deliver promises for the clients I intend to serve?
Put simply — out of your preferred fitness niche, who are the people who can pay you top dollar and can help?
There are a lot of niches out there that can be narrowed down by clever positioning.
Let me give you a few examples:
- Fat loss for dads
- Fat loss for menopausal women
- Health optimization for entrepreneurs
- Hormone optimization for sufferers of mental illnesses
- Pharmacology for bodybuilders
- Strength training for elite athletes
- Fat loss with ketogenic diets
- Muscle gain for vegans
- Fast recomps for women
- Getting in shape at home
- Fitness for busy professionals
If you don’t want to position yourself so precisely, you don’t have to. You can grow a more expansive audience without having to produce such generalized content.
However, you will need to produce a wide range of high quality content to foster the highest quality audience.
And you will also need to know what bothers your future clients the most.
Which leads us to our next point.
3. Market Research
Many of you may groan at more homework before jumping into growing your social media presence.
Unfortunately, research is a relevant part of growing on social media.
And there are many things you will need to look at to determine your content.
- What your target audience struggles with the most in reaching their fitness goals
- What content the biggest content creators in your niche post
- The type of content that does the best numbers
First, if you specialize in fat loss for dads, you’re better off not posting content for 20-year-old women to grow their butts.
Find the best fat loss specialists for fathers on social media and take a look at the content they post.
Then take a look at the replies.
Then try to emulate their type of content — without plagiarizing!
You should draw up a list of 25-50 issues that your target audience suffers from then offer solutions in your content.
- Struggles your target audience faces
- What they cannot overcome
- How your own experiences can help them improve
- Things that you do or have done for others to help them improve
Second, depending on the social media platforms you use, you should research what type of content does best on each platform for each content creator.
Note: it may be wise to look at the top 10-20% within your niche. The top 1% of creators often have social media marketing teams or ghostwriters to create content for them. Their pre-existing success will ensure that a lot of their posts go viral due to their established presence and not the quality of their content.
On Twitter, your favorite online fitness coach influencer may write threads addressing a point that their target audience struggles with.
On Instagram, your favorite online fitness coach influencer may make reels or short-form video content that addresses a point that their target audience struggles with.
On YouTube, you should also look for the same patterns.
When it comes to your research on the best content creators/influencers, look for:
- The type of content they use
- The hooks they use
- Images they use
- Their style
- How they keep their audience engaged
- What performs best
- The questions they answer
- Their calls to action (CTA)
Third, you should also investigate what kind of content pulls in the best numbers.
Note: the best numbers often don’t correlate with the most money made. A meme can go mega viral but won’t necessarily make a ton of money. But the aim of the game for you now is growth.
According to each platform, study what content the best online fitness coaches post to attract the largest amount of engagement.
Putting all three of these points together will give a far clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t than 90% of your online fitness coaching peers (competitors).
But there will be content you’re naturally good at and content that you will need to work on.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you have achieved if your content is poor.
You may have heard the old mantra before, “content is king”.
And this is truer than ever on a saturated social media platform with thousands of online fitness coaches seeking out clients.
The good thing is, most social media content posted by online fitness coaches is relatively poor.
You have an opportunity to excel and shine a beacon of light to those who need your help.
Before we get into the nitty gritty about content, it is important to make a distinction between high quality content and low quality content.
High Quality Content
We will get into the best kind of content for each platform in the next chapter, but here are some points about high quality content that you should strive to aim for:
- Brings in high quality traffic (paying, willing to learn followers)
- Time consuming
- Provides expert knowledge
- Storytelling & reveals your own experiences
- Keeps audience glued
- Generates high quality leads
High quality social media content for online fitness coaches can take a lot of time and effort, but it also has the potential to go viral.
I have known other online fitness coaches to make 5-figures off one Twitter thread and Instagram reels.
They are worth the return on time investment.
Examples of high quality content:
- Twitter threads
- Blog posts
- YouTube videos longer than 10 minutes
- Instagram reels with visuals and captions
- Emails to mailing list
- Training/meal prep videos
- Backed with studies
- Actionable advice
However, just because you are writing a lengthy Twitter thread or Instagram reel, doesn’t mean the content itself is good, useful, or relevant. Make sure you do your research to ensure you deliver the best possible content to your audience.
The content itself needs to be sound.
Make sure you eliminate grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inaccurate information. Content is king and delivery is queen. Content fraught with errors is less likely to be taken seriously.
Low Quality Content
Although you should post a lot of high quality content, some low quality content is ok to post on social media as it makes you appear more authentic.
However, you should not be reliant on low quality content to grow your brand as an online fitness coach.
Unless your goal is simply to nothing more than to grow on social media, high quality content should be your primary focus. Low quality content, on the other hand, should be used when you lack the effort required and to give you a more personable status.
Why low quality content shouldn’t be your primary growth tactic on social media:
- Low quality traffic (one that doesn’t pay, follow, brings haters)
- Does little to improve your brand authority
- Followers may not be target audience
- Disloyal followers are attracted by low quality content
Low quality content will, ultimately, bring you a lot of headaches in the long run if this is your primary focus.
While you can grow an impressive following with low quality content (I have amassed close to a million organic social media followers on certain pages) but they aren’t followers that follow you for you or your content. These followers are not likely to buy from you and will either unfollower or unload hate on your timeline when you try to promote a service.
Examples of low-quality content:
- Short-form video content (skits, stunts, pranks, memes)
- Stream of consciousness posts (sh*tposts, thoughts, etc)
- Physique pics
- Travel pics
- Low quality training videos (poor lighting, form, poor editing)
Again, I am not advising against low quality social media content as it will comprises around 80% of your total social media content. Just make sure that the other 20% of your social media content is top tier.
Furthermore, as you will quickly learn, content that does well on one platform may not do as well on another.
Viral content with loads of likes doesn’t mean a ton of money.
Diversifying your content across the big five social media platforms is a must.
It is always a good idea to diversify your reach on social media.
While it’s true that you will probably excel at one social media platform over others — given your innate abilities — you should always strive to grow as much as you can and produce the best content across all platforms.
Some of you may be great writers, which makes Twitter your best fit.
Others reading this may have an elite physique, so Instagram or Facebook could be your best platform.
You may even have second-to-none video editing skills and charisma, making YouTube or TikTok your best platform.
Regardless, you should strive to spread your content as far and wide as possible.
Why you should diversify your content:
- To enjoy the widest possible reach on social media
- To protect yourself from algorithm updates
- To protect yourself against suspensions
- To develop a wider skill set
- To target new audiences
- Get the most out of your reach
It needs to be said that you are at the mercy of each social media platform.
At the time of writing this post, a lot of my friends have suffered immensely on Twitter with the recent algorithm update — despite my warnings to diversify their reach on other platforms.
Sometimes a social media platform may restrict or suspend your page without good reason. You will get haters — it’s part of the social media experience — and they may report your content just because they disagreed with your post.
If one of your traffic sources is taken down for whatever reason, as an online fitness coach, it is wise to ensure you have the most consistent available traffic pouring in.
Twitter for Online Fitness Coaches
Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to grow on for online fitness coaches.
If you are a natural writer, this will be one of the best social media platforms for you.
Another benefit of Twitter is that coaches who weren’t blessed by the genetic lottery can still make a good living by broadcasting their expertise on the bird app.
Twitter is like the training wheels of social media.
Moreover, Twitter is the easiest platform to network on for online fitness coaches.
Growing can be tough at first, which is why I recommend the following strategy:
- Write 3-5 value adding tweets per day
- Set notifications on influencers you’d like to notice you
- Send 10 EARLY replies to their tweets
- Write 3-5 quote tweets on their posts
- Send 5-10 DMs per day to create networks
The aim of the game on Twitter in your early days is to get noticed.
There’s no point tweeting into the ether.
Once you have at least 1000 followers, then you may begin to write threads.
A Twitter thread is the fasted way to grow, develop brand authority, and get the most eyeballs on your calls to action.
Study how the biggest influencers create threads on Twitter, then replicate their techniques without plagiarizing their content.
The most important things to consider are to get noticed and show off your lifestyle, demonstrating how much better life could become under your guidance.
Facebook for Online Fitness Coaches
Facebook is a great opportunity to grow and market your online fitness coaching services.
It may take longer to grow and monetize your Facebook following, but you can mirror your Instagram content so that you’re not spending hours attempting to grow your page.
Here’s what you should do for your daily posts (like with Instagram):
- Post a story
- Post a carousel
- Post a fitness meme
- Post your meal
- Short form video content
The difference is that using hashtags on Facebook isn’t as effective as on Instagram.
Page shares aren’t as effective as shout outs or stories on Instagram.
However, this isn’t a reason to avoid using the platform.
You can share your most viral Facebook content to large groups.
And to get the ball rolling for your page, you can invite your friends to follow your fitness coaching profile.
If you can get your content as “suggested for you”, you can experience intense virality. I have had posts getting over 400k likes in the past — unsurpassed levels of reach.
Like with Twitter, I recommend networking with other similar size online fitness coaches to get the most out of the platform.
Instagram for Online Fitness Coaches
Instagram is naturally the most saturated social media platform for online fitness coaches.
But Instagram remains the most effective platform for rapid growth on social media as well as the best platform to network with other fitness influencers.
The problem remains that the majority of fitness coaches don’t get anywhere on the platform.
It must be noted that follower count doesn’t equal income.
You should still follow a cogent growth strategy to excel on Instagram as an online fitness coach.
In order, you should post the following on a daily basis:
- Short form video
- Meals & prep
- Client testimonial
You should post a combination of evergreen and trending content and hashtags to get the most possible virality.
To get the ball rolling and to get noticed, you should also:
- Send 5-10 DMs per day
- Comment on 5-10 viral posts per day
- Research the best accounts
Remember, the algorithm will reward you for how long you can keep viewers on your content.
Don’t forget to add a link to anything you want viewers to see.
TikTok for Online Fitness Coaches
TikTok can be harder to monetize for online fitness coaches, but should not be overlooked.
Although the average age and disposable income levels on TikTok are significantly lower than other platforms, it should not be overlooked.
Here’s why you should use TikTok:
- Learn video editing skills
- Create content that can help you grow on other platforms
- Go ultra-viral
- Get a ton of leads for your mailing list
- Diversify your reach
One of the best reasons to use TikTok is that you can recycle the content you post there for ALL of the other big five platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
The important thing to come to terms with is the fact that you may not sell high ticket coaching services directly from TikTok.
But you can grow your mailing list as an entry point to your sales funnel.
Some important thing to remember for TikTok (and all social media):
- Grab the viewer’s attention with a solid hook
- Keep their attention with fast cuts
- Choose good trending music
- Try to elicit a response in the comment by keeping your content unique
- The algorithm rewards whoever can keep viewers on the platform the longest
Your short form video content can help give you the practice you need before making long form video content.
You can also begin to grow your YouTube channel by posting short-form video content.
YouTube for Online Fitness Coaches
YouTube is the best social media platform for coaches looking to build a loyal authoritative audience.
Good videos can be hard to create and master.
Most top YouTubers find their rhythm during their career.
Simply watch videos of established YouTubers and compare them to their early style.
Important points to consider for online fitness coaches on YouTube:
- Your Thumbnail must be enticing and colorful
- The first 5-8 seconds must give the viewer a reason to keep watching
- Keep your videos around 10-12 minutes in length
- You MUST have GOOD LIGHTING in all of your videos
- Deep dives into certain topics are a great way to generate trust
- Post your calls to action in the description
- Grow your YouTube with a combination of short-form video from TikTok and long form content
Another bonus with YouTube is the higher potential to monetize your following. Other platforms offer the option to monetize after reaching a certain milestone, which is something you may be willing to consider.
This is something no social media growth course will ever tell you. Most advice to grow on social media is mostly about following templates and algorithm hacks.
But networking should be one of your primary focuses on social media.
Growing good networks has no negatives — aside from having to keep up with all of your networks!
A good network will vouch for you, give you shout-outs and engagement, recommend your products and services, and be there for you whenever you need help.
This particular chapter of this article could be an entire eBook, but I will succinctly condense the benefits of networking:
- Help bring you engagement
- To vouch for you, your services and content
- Refer clients
- Open doors to opportunities (ventures, collabs, etc)
- Provide you assistance and tips
- Bring you social proof
- Give real world exposure (podcasts, guest posts, YouTube collabs, etc)
- Beta test business ideas
- Affiliate marketing
The list goes on and on, but these are the many points to look out for relative to your social media growth.
There’s a reason why celebrities don’t need social media courses to get millions of followers — their real life presence and association with other celebrities is what attracts their followers. This is something to remember going forward.
How to Network as an Online Fitness Coach on Social Media
There is a right way to network and a wrong way to network.
You can’t simply expect to comment under the post of an influencer with several million followers and expect a timely response.
That is one way for you to get noticed if your comment is quick, witty, and adds value. Since you will be posting into the abyss if you have few followers, you can put a notification on your app whenever they post or comment so that you can get noticed first.
But too many social media users make a short-term-focused mistake of requesting follows or posting a valueless, hollow remark in the comments.
This is a good way to both delegitimize your brand and/or get blocked by the influencer you replied to.
If you are going to reach out to another influencer or online fitness coach, your message or reply must:
- Add value
- Not be a regurgitation of what they said
- Not harass
- Have an inviting tone
- Be somewhat inquisitive to get a proper response
- Not be hateful
- Not be ill-spirited
- Not be inauthentic/salesy
Think about it this way. The top influencers CANNOT keep on top of their messages. They will mostly answer leads and other established content creators. You need to give them a good reason to respond.
A pitch or a dumb question will be ignored.
Don’t be too hesitant to set your sites lower.
Instead of targeting the top influencers, try going for influencers with 2-5x your following.
But the goal is not to expect them to do something for you. You must offer value to them with the end goal of creating a friendship.
You do this by asking questions, taking an interest in their experiences, and adding value.
Some influencers may not respond or be interested in making a friendship with you. That’s fine, it comes with the territory. Stick with the ones who are engaging and move on.
I go over all of these points in my course on how to become an online fitness coach.
7. Trial and Error
Social media growth doesn’t happen overnight.
In fact, the process can be slow but with a snowball effect. One day, after posting consistently for months, you may see a steep rise in followers.
The last thing you want to do is to waste your precious time and effort on content that doesn’t resonate with your followers.
This is why you must apply a broad philosophy of trial and error for all of your social media content.
Do monthly checks of your social media analytics to make sure that your content is good.
It isn’t glamorous but you need to know whether or not your content works. This number crunching is fundamental to your social media growth — how else would you know what your target audience likes?
Each of the big 5 social media platforms has analytics you can track.
Identify the content that brings you the most traffic, followers, profile visitors, and money.
Then double down on it.
Ignore the content that doesn’t move the needle.
And there’s more to your analytics than raw engagement to follower count.
You will also need to see how many potential followers you are bleeding without an optimized social media profile.
- A good profile picture
- Pinned tweet/stories
- Organized posts
- Who follows you (association)
- Your follower to following ratio (don’t follow more people than you have following you)
- A good landing page in your bio
All of these will determine whether somebody follows you.
Imagine, you could have a viral post that attracts a lot of people to your page, but your profile is poorly optimized so they decide not to follow you.
These missed opportunities mean fewer followers and less revenue.
If you are looking to start as an online fitness coach, I suggest you read our article on what you need to get started.
Do I Need Social Media as a Personal Trainer?
It is crucial that any personal trainer looking to grow their business online starts a social media presence. Even in-person personal trainers should start a social media presence for free advertisement in order to find local clients. With the greater potential for finding clients on the internet, personal trainers may consider taking their business online.
Do I Need a Large Social Media Following as an Online Fitness Coach?
No, a large social media following isn’t necessary as an online fitness coach, although it can help. The important thing to build on social media is brand authority and a loyal following. Plenty of online fitness coaches are making a sizable income with small followings. A large following with poor positioning and confusing viral content is less valuable than a small following with good positioning and a cult-like following.
What Content Should I Post as a Personal Trainer?
You should post a variety of content across all platforms as a personal trainer. Remember, fitness coaching is a brand of life coaching, so you must give your audience an insight into your lifestyle.
Post some or more of the following:
- Physique pictures
- Training videos
- Meal prep
- Meals (with good plating)
- Your hobbies
- Reels & Carousels
- Short-form video
- Twitter threads
- Case studies & testimonials
What are Some Good Social Media Content Ideas for Personal Trainers?
Personal trainers should look at the main points bothering their ideal clients. For example, if their target audience can’t lose fat, offer solutions as to why that may be. You should also look at what the top content creators post and emulate some of the topics they address and styles they employ. Research is everything to see what resonates with your audience and the people you want to work with. Then it is a question of trial and error to double down on what works while discarding what does not work.
What are Some Good Instagram Ideas for Personal Trainers?
You should look at what the top influencers post. Find out what bothers your target audience the most when it comes to reaching their fitness goals. Then you should post a range of content that tackles the problems your target audience faces. If they can’t build muscle, offer training tips & methods they can supplement their calorie intake. Use an ordered combination of the following:
- Reels & Carousels
- Daily Stories
- Meal prep & meals
- Training videos
- Short form video content (you can do fun videos)
Just make sure everything is well-presented.
What is The Best Social Media Platform for Personal Trainers?
Instagram is the most saturated platform for personal trainers, but Twitter is the easiest platform to grow on and practice creating social media posts.
This question depends most on your key demographic and your marketing skills.
- Twitter is the best platform for natural writers
- Facebook & Instagram is great for naturally good picture takers
- TikTok & YouTube for handy video editors
As I have listed above, each platform has pros and cons and it is a question of finding the platform your natural abilities perform the best.
Then you will have to cross-reference your natural marketing abilities with your key demographic. For example, if your target audience is 60+ year old women but you’re a good video editor, you may need to consider placing your focus on Facebook rather than TikTok.
Having said that, all online fitness coaches should become proficient at all social media platforms.
What is The Risk of Using Social Media as a Fitness Instructor?
There are a few risks in using social media as a fitness instructor. Some of you may not want fame or clout — and that is completely understandable. However, you will be reaching a significantly wider audience by using social media to market your services.
You can try to run an anonymous account for your brand, but it is extremely difficult to build trust with your audience if you do.
The potential to generate more revenue on social media is greater than in-person training. But you need to ask yourself whether any sticklers on social media are worth the extra cash. You will get haters by starting a personal brand. It is inevitable.
What is The Best Social Media Platform for Female Personal Trainers?
Although most articles will tell you Instagram is the best social media platform for female personal trainers, I would strongly disagree.
Instagram is exceptionally saturated with female personal trainers, making it difficult to compete.
Twitter, on the other hand, has relatively few female personal trainers. You may enjoy less competition on the platform.
But ultimately, the best social media platform for female personal trainers depends on who your target audience may be and where your social media marketing skills lie.
You should always diversify your reach on social media, but focus on where your clients may be. This requires market research, but you should always go where the money is.