Social Media Sins of the Small Fitness Business

A set of six very negative common social media face emojis.

You can’t mic-drop on social and succeed.

I’ll qualify that.

If you’re Taylor Swift, LeBron James, Tesla or Coca-Cola, you can do whatever you want.

But for the rest of us—and especially gym business owners—social success hinges on interaction.

Sadly, a lot of us don’t interact on social media. At all.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

I get it: Social media can be a chore. It’s just one more thing on a huge to-do list for a gym owner. And some people truly hate content creation.

But social media isn’t going away, and if you’re going to set aside a little time to post—which is most certainly “marketing time”—you should also set aside some time to interact.

If you just post and leave, you’re missing out on critical aspects of audience building, lead generation and lead nurturing.

Giant, dominant companies like Nike and Apple can get away with a lot because of the status they’ve built over decades by spending billions on advertising.

Stated: “Behold Scottie Scheffler.” Implied: “Buy our stuff.”

Nike doesn’t bother to respond to comments below posts because of Tier 1 status few brands can hope to achieve.

At the small-business level, where you’re looking for about 150 wonderful, high-value clients, you can’t let the world come to you. Because it probably won’t.

It’s essential to do this stuff:

  • Respond to each and every comment—comments on your posts represent huge wins.
  • Follow your followers back—and leave your mark on their accounts in return.
  • Take initiative and follow people who don’t follow you back (I know: This is super scary on social media, but do it anyway).
  • Hammer likes and comments on content you see—especially great stuff posted by other local people and businesses.
  • DM people. Chris Cooper’s talking about selling by chat this week, but why not send messages to other people/companies just to build relationships? (“Hey, from another local biz owner, that’s a great pic of your veggie stand! I’m stopping by Saturday morning for tomatoes!”)

I’ll regularly check out gym’s social media accounts and see comments that are neither liked nor responded to. Or I’ll leave comments on small-business accounts and see them ignored even though the page is starving for engagement.

I know many people do nothing but post to an account and click out—which means they definitely miss non-member Jo Smith’s repeated liking of their posts. (Insight: Jo is interested in joining the gym but isn’t going to take the step without help.)

Do 3 Things Daily in 5 Minutes

I’m not saying you need to devote hours to social engagement. That’s not a good use of your time. So I’ll give you three things you can do to build your business in minutes:

1. Like and respond to every comment left on your account.

2. DM one follower a day to thank them for following and ask how they’re doing. (Conversations will follow.)

3. Follow one local account each day, like of few of its posts and leave a comment. Don’t be afraid to go first.

Bonus: If you have a social media manager, put these duties on their tasks list.

I’d suggest you can check all three boxes in 5 minutes a day.

Maybe you aren’t ready for selling by chat on social. That’s OK—Coop created a free guide to help you when you want to go further. Get it here.

Until then, build your audience. That can be accomplished by posting engaging content and then interacting online for a few minutes before you move on to another task.


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.