What to Post to Generate Social-Media Engagement

A close-up image of hands holding a smartphone with social-media notifications popping up.

People who like or comment on your social posts are leads.

Same deal with people who follow/friend you or your business.

I’ve long said that likes on posts and follower counts are “glory metrics” that don’t really move the needle in a business.

And that’s still true—if you don’t nurture these leads.

For example, you can probably post a thirst trap to your feed and get some new followers who are scattered all over the world and will never, ever buy any sort of service from your coaching business. If that’s your plan, you might have posts with 1,000 likes, an empty gym and a bank account that includes a minus symbol before the balance.

But focusing on raw follower and like counts isn’t the same as building an audience of prospective clients.

When your audience is made up of people who are interested in you—at least a little—and willing to learn more, follower counts, likes and comments matter.

And when you engage with followers, likers and commenters, you can use on-platform direct messages to sell by chat. (I have a brand new guide that will teach you how to do this. Get it here: Gym Owners United.)

So what do you post to get people to follow, like and comment? A hundred thousand gurus will sell you their “algorithm hacking secrets,” but the reality is that organic exposure on social media is harder and harder to get.

The best plan is very simple: Regularly post interesting, thoughtful, authentic content that triggers a response when someone sees it.

Here are some examples.

What to Post

You can use all sorts of gimmicks on social media—trending audio, GIFs, hashtags, transitions, reels, carousels, captions, and so on.

I won’t tell you how to master any social platform, but I will say that you should learn how to use the features available on the platform where your prospective clients spend the most time.

From there, the principles of engagement are no different than they are in person: You must ask questions, start conversations, solve problems, tell stories and create emotional connections.

This was true around the campfire 200 years ago and on Instagram today.

Ask Questions and Start Conversations

If you wanted to get someone to talk to you in a coffee store, would you:

A. Do a series of sick dance moves?

B. Introduce yourself and ask a question.

A might work once in a while. B works every time.

In person, I’ll do this: Take coffee to a neighboring business and say, “Hi, I’m Chris from the gym next door. I brought coffee. How’s business?”

I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve earned this way. Simple meet and greets like this have generated steady streams of clients for years at my gym.

On social, you have to be slightly more creative, but asking questions is a great way to generate a response.

  • “What’s your No. 1 fitness question today?”
  • “Do you prefer weights or cardio?”
  • “What’s your favorite piece of fitness equipment?”

Simple stuff like this will get a response. Then you keep the conversation going.

Another technique: Make a statement and ask for a response.

  • “I’ve never seen anyone maximize results in the gym without addressing nutrition. What do you think?”
  • “Squats are the best lower-body movement for athletic training. When’s the last time you did some?”
  • “This triceps pull-down variation gets real results. What’s your favorite cable attachment?”

Solve Problems

Some of the best social media accounts just solve problems.

If you want to learn the approach, head to your favorite platform and search for “home repair tips” or anything similar. You’ll find all kinds of accounts that show simple tricks pros know but amateurs don’t, as well as new tools, cool techniques and clever hacks.

For example, how do pros remove a stripped screw? Or measure angles quickly? Or patch a hole in drywall?

Check out these accounts and make notes. Which ones make you want to hit “like” or “follow” or leave a comment? Which ones don’t? And why?

Now apply what you’ve learned to fitness coaching, and start making content that solves problems.

For example, “The ‘plate model’ is a quick hack that will help you eat better today without forcing you to weigh everything. Here’s how it works.”

Another one: “Ever seen this implement in a gym? Here’s how to use it properly.”

With posts like this, you are establishing expertise. You win if a person thinks “this person knows their stuff!” but you can invite engagement, too.

Example: “Seen any other gym stuff you don’t know how to use? Shoot me a DM!”

Tell Stories and Create Emotional Connections

Sticky stories sell. That’s been the case for millennia.

I like to write, and so I’ll often write very short social-media stories for my gym. I’ve actually collected the ones that generate the most engagement in a document Two-Brain clients can download. They’re free to customize, edit and reuse my words.

I’ll give you one here:

Your vet just called. Your dog needs 30 more minutes of exercise every day.

He needs to drink three more cups of water. He needs to cut back to one treat per day.

He needs to go to bed before 10. He needs to see his friends at least 3 times every week. And he needs a bit more fibre in his diet.

You’d do it for him, right? No question.

Will you do it for yourself?

I posted this and got 208 likes—and I know a chunk of them came from other gym owners who aren’t going to move to Sault Ste. Marie to train with me, but my audience is gym owners and prospective gym clients.

When another gym owner used this post, he got 44 likes and six comments. So it’s sticky, and it provides a starting point for a conversation.

What story could you tell today to get people in your audience to react? Post it! (And if you’re a Two-Brain client, use my battle-tested “greatest hits” collection.)

Interaction: The Same as It Ever Was

The rules of human interaction don’t change even if the medium has changed a lot.

To engage people, you must ask questions, start conversations, solve problems, tell stories and create emotional connections.

Then—and here’s the important part—you must take steps to nurture these relationships. It’s an active process, and it goes beyond just posting more stuff. You must connect with your leads and nurture them until they’re ready to use your services to change their lives.

Post something today and message someone who likes or comments. That’s your starting point.

And if you don’t know what to say, get my new guide here.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.