Holiday dinners are a great time to talk. This past Christmas, I chatted with my nephew, Denver Whitley, a former U.S. Marine, Afghanistan veteran, and now an independent personal trainer in Reno, Nevada. (I wish I lived closer to Denver as I would like to have half his strength and fitness.) Like any professional, Denver is faced with the challenge of expanding his clientele. Word of mouth is working, but he would like to grow his business even faster.

At dinner, he asked me for some suggestions on marketing, and I gave him a quick demo of ways to market his biz on-line, using social media. Of course, with all the hubbub, I promised to send him a summary of my suggestions in writing in case he missed my sage comments in between eggnog and prime rib.

Below, is my start to that promised letter.

Hi Denver!

I just wanted to get back to you about the marketing tips I promised. It was fun discussing Twitter, Facebook and MySpace marketing!  Thanks for not telling your Aunt Debbie that I took seconds of the potato casserole.

In looking at your MySpace Page, I like that you have good exercise photos and useful info. You can set up the same on Facebook. However, instead of putting this on your personal FB page, set up a Fan Page for Engage Personal Training (or call it “Denver Whitley’s Fitness Training” whatever works for the long term). As I mentioned, the reason to focus more on Facebook than MySpace is the demographics of who uses each. Facebook is just more widely followed by people in their 30s-50s, who are your target customers.

To set up a fan page, you’ll have to log-out of Facebook, then, on the login page, note the small link at the bottom of the page that says “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.” After it’s started, invite all your friends to “fan” the page, and start mentioning it to your clients so they will sign up too.  Print out a screen print of the page and post it at the gym where you work.  Add a link at the bottom of your business card.

Using Twitter to Brand Your Skills
To get more followers, and more potential customers, broadcast your content to the world through Twitter.  In addition to the photos of exercises you have on MySpace, another type of content would be “fitness tips” in list form. This might sound time-consuming, but here are some ways to make it easier which I’ll list below. To start, write down the top 20 suggestions you make right off the top of your mind and post these on your MySpace blog and copy them to your Facebook fan page (in the “notes” section).  Then, post one of these tips on Twitter every few days and include a link to the notes page on your fan page.  (To show your local angle, add #Reno to all of your tweets.)*

Spend a minute each day thinking of one tip on fitness and tweet it. It might be a question you were asked by a client about how to lose weight, to fix an injury (like your Uncle Greg!), or build muscle. You might carry a notepad ion your clipboard you carry with you to jot these things down as they pop up. Or sit down and brainstorm a list of 50 with other fitness-minded buddies and write them all down.

Here are some thoughts I had just as an example of some blog posts that would give you lots of Tweets to broadcast:

– The 10 most common fitness problems faced by women, by men; by men over 50, by women over 50, etc. etc..  
– Ten common misperceptions people have about fitness.
– Tips for preparing for the marathon.
– Core training – It’s easier than you think.
– Functional training at home and at the gym
– Losing the gut – it’s more than doing crunches.  

Each problem and solution goes on a list that you create in Facebook and MySpace blogs. (Remember: blog titles that include a number are immediately engaging: “Top Ten Ways to Lose Weight for Men Over 50.”) (In addition, you can set up a free blog on WordPress or Google Blogs and copy and paste the same content between that, your MySpace and your Facebook page. These blogs can draw more followers, and can be searched and found on Google and other search engines.)

Go Hollywood, Man!
If you’ve taken any videos of exercises, demos, etc. that’s all good stuff to post on YouTube and then link from Facebook and your Twitter Tweets. People love seeing exactly how something is done. If you know someone who has video editing capabilities (even a simple program on a PC) create a version of the video that displays your URL to your Myspace and/or Facebook fan pages. Good advertising!

Feel free to call me any time you want to bounce some ideas off of me. As my nephew, and a really talented trainer, I feel a personal calling to help you succeed.

Best regards,

Greg Imlay

Dear Reader: Please weigh in!

Well, marketing pros, what have I left out? What could you offer that will help a Vet and a really nice guy?

* Remember: to use a short link – go to, paste the full link into the form and then you can use the short URL in Twitter or your MySpace/Facebook status updates.