Let’s face it – first impressions count. We sum up people, rightly or wrongly, in the first few seconds we meet them based on how they look, what they are wearing, how they talk, what they say and how they carry themselves.
The same applies to social media – when we first see a person’s profile, we make a number of assumptions, whether it be positive or negative. Sometimes the impression can be spot on and other times you can be way off the mark.
So when someone visits your business online, whether it is your Facebook profile, Instagram page or your web site, what will people think about you and your business? Will they be impressed, think you are professional and want to do work with you? Or will they quickly change pages and never visit you again?
To help you make a positive and lasting first impression in the online world, here are my top 10 tips.
1. Great photos
The pictures in a social media profile are usually the first thing that catches our eye. So make sure any photos you use are clear, up to date, flattering and look professional.
Ensure the dimensions are correct and the images fit the space properly – nothing worse than an image that is too small or distorted in shape. Check the resolution is high enough so the image is clear with no pixels.
Avoid pictures of empty gyms and unused equipment. If I see a picture of an empty gym, I wonder why no one is there. What is wrong with the place? Where are all the members?
We are in a personal business, so make it personal and feature pictures of healthy, happy people.
Try to avoid photos of supermodels – use realistic photos or better yet if you can, images of actual members, clients and staff. It will also help make your brand stand out more and appear more accessible.
It is worth having some professional shots taken if you are going to be the face of your business so you appear professional and look the part.
And unless you are marketing yourself as a fitness model, I would prefer to see clothes on!
2. Videos are even better
I know I keep saying it, but it is true – videos get more traction than pictures.
Again it is worth investing some money into a professional video of your business that highlights everything you offer – classes, facilities, testimonials from your clients, interviews with your staff, so to give people a much better idea of what you are offering.
Put this video on your home page of your web site and on all your social media channels to really bring your business to life.
3. All your details are filled in and up to date
Every social media channel has a variety of fields you can use such as your name, address, web site, contact details, opening hours etc. Ensure they are correct and up to date.
When it comes to a description, make sure it is obvious what you do.
Use all the fields available and use all the space you can so you can provide more info on what you do and how you can help people reach their fitness goals.
Check that every field on your profiles are filled out and easy to read. And don’t forget to add some keywords in too.
Regularly check your contact details, your services, prices, promotions and so forth to ensure the details are accurate and up to date.
Also get your page verified (such as on Twitter and Facebook) to give you added credibility and also eliminate the chance of any copycat accounts.
And please check for typos – one of my pet hates is bad grammar – if you can’t even spell properly, how can I trust you with my body!
4. Use a vanity URL
A vanity URL allows you to transform long links into shorter ones while increasing your brand recognition and traffic.
So for example, my Facebook URL is https://www.facebook.com/LeGrandMarketing/(oh and make sure you like my page and get a free 30 minute consult, OK shameless plug done) which reinforces my brand and is a lot easier to remember compared to the default one which is usually something along the lines of: https://www.facebook.com/LeGrandMarketing.3?hc_ref=&^&VGFRE*() well you get the picture.
5. Cross promote all your media channels
On your Web site you should have all your social media channels featured. On your social media channels, make sure you have your web site and contact details listed.
Keep your branding consistent such as your logo, colour, message and fonts. If you are on a variety of social media channels, make sure your branding is consistent to strengthen your message, values and vision. Different social media channels have a different audience so the message and tone may be slightly different between networks (for example, LinkedIn will be very professional but Instagram you can come across as more casual) but your overall brand should be the same to strengthen your business across all the platforms you use.
6. Lots of positive reviews
This is so important and could make the difference between someone choosing you or your competitor.
Get as many five star reviews as possible whether it be on Google or Facebook. Reviews carry a lot more weight than any paid ad.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for a review – you will find most are more than happy to do so.
Now I confess I have bought fake handbags but I really get frustrated with fake reviews and I know this is an issue with a number of fitness businesses. If you find you are getting a number of fake reviews, here are some steps you can take:
- As a first step contact the social media platform directly to see if they can do anything.
- Respond to the review exactly as you would if it was a legitimate bad review – ‘so sorry you are disappointed, please could you contact us directly to tell us exactly what you were unhappy with so we can rectify the situation’ or something like that. The way a business handles a complaint reflects on the type of business they are.
- You could use a more direct method such as ‘please contact us directly’ or ‘sorry we don’t have a record of a client with this name’ – if you don’t hear anything back, this indicates the review is not real.
- Now is the ideal time to get more and more positive reviews to push those bad ones down.
- If you start to get a LOT of fake reviews, then actually state what is happening – explain the situation – state you are not looking for fake FB positive reviews but to your loyal customers, you would welcome them to leave a positive review – your trusted clients will be only too willing to help.
7. Consistent posts with great content
I have always said that content is king so make sure anything you post is either unique, funny, engaging, timely, interesting or relevant.
Let’s face it, you are always more attracted to people who show an interest in you. It is the same with social media – if you show you care about your fans, if you ask your followers for feedback and if you offer competitions just for your fan base, it shows you care and it reflects more of your human side which people can relate to more.
Blogging is an important part of your brand and helps extend your online identity.
It positions you as a thought leader and an authority in your industry, is an effective way to warm up your leads and is a much more powerful message compared to a paid ad.
For more information on blogs and why they are an important part of your social media, read my blog on the importance of blogging!
Always be on the lookout for client success stories you can use on your web sites or social media channels.
People like to see evidence that you can back up your claims. By demonstrating you can deliver on your promises of helping people lose weight or build their strength (the old “before and after” shots always work a treat) can really influence a person’s choice.
Oh and videos are even better!
10. A strong call to action
So you have done everything from point 1 to 9, the person is so impressed with your profile that they are on the edge of contacting you. So lastly tell them exactly what the next step is and maybe have a free trial offer too. Whether it be a Book Now, Contact Us, Shop Now or Sign Up, make contacting you a simple click away. And put some urgency into the action too – call today, spots are limited, act now!
By doing all of the above, this can take the person from a casual visitor of your web site or social media channel to an strong lead.