How to Be a Personal Trainer and a Social Media Influencer

How to Be a Personal Trainer and a Social Media Influencer
Written By Erin Mahoney

Fitness influencers make up a big part of the personal training industry and have a major impact on trends in diet, exercise, and form. The exciting thing about being a social media influencer is that literally anyone can do it. As a personal trainer, having an online presence and some social media reach is an important way to expand your influence, client base, and earnings. A few simple steps will boost your online presence and social medial clout for the benefit of your business and your followers.

An important thing you need to know about social media influencers is that most of them didn’t stumble into success by accident. Sure, there are some that did just that, but most people who are making money on social media have worked hard for it.

What you need first is a plan. Consider the following before you dive in:

Decide on a social channel. Every social media channel has a purpose. The truth is, you don’t need to be on all of them in order to be successful. Facebook and Instagram are the two most popular channels where consumer information and imagery is shared – both of which are important to consider as a trainer and fitness pro. Don’t try to do every site or you’ll get burned out.

Develop your message. You need a guiding vision—a personal brand—or your social media sites will be all over the map. Will you target women’s fitness? Newbies? Are you going to be an inspirational trainer or a tough-love kind of trainer?

Create an editorial calendar. This is a marketing tool that helps guide content. Map out a month’s worth of updates and statuses for your pages in advance in a word document or excel spreadsheet to ensure your content matches your message.

Fill a Fitness Niche and Be the Expert

A big part of your planning should be to determine where you fit in the spectrum of existing fitness social media pages and influencers. You can do what everyone else is doing, but if you stand out you’ll get more attention. Scour your favorite sites and research the most popular fitness pages. Figure out what’s missing.

Post the Right Content and Post it Often

This is the real meat of social media. If you don’t post your followers will quickly lose interest. You need to post often, at least every day, and your content needs to be meaningful, relevant, and engaging for your audience.  Here are some examples of popular content types on fitness influencer pages:

  • Inspirational posts that include obstacles you have overcome and your own journey into fitness
  • Educational posts with photos or videos to improve form or a new workout to target a muscle group
  • Networking posts that help you connect with other fitness or nutrition professionals
  • Promotional posts that include a call to action for joining your email list or signing up for classes you teach at the gym

Posting often will help your posts receive more engagement, but go the extra mile. Make sure your content is showing up at the top of your follower’s feeds by using every feature your social platform has to offer. Get comfortable interacting with direct messages, posting on stories and using IGTV.

Partner with Other Influencers

Don’t be above jumping on the bandwagon of other influencers. This is how the internet works. You have to link up and connect to make an impact. Find your favorite influencers, both big and  small scale, and collaborate with ones that have a similar message and values that align with your training philosophy.

Share their site and links, but take it further. Contact them directly and ask for reciprocity. Give them some links to your posts that you think their followers will enjoy. It helps if you develop an active following first. Follow these influencers, like their posts, comment, and engage, and then start asking to link up.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Engage with your followers, and then engage some more. Unless you’re already a celebrity, the best way to develop a strong following on social media is to provide great content regularly and engage with the people consuming it. Don’t just post and walk away. Spend time responding to comments, answering direct messages, and asking questions that your followers can act on and respond to.

Becoming a social media influencer is a great way to boost your client list and your income. Take these steps and run with them. And don’t forget to have fun with it.


Erin Mahoney is Vice President of Education, International Sports Sciences Association