This morning I stumbled upon a funny story on Instagram, it said: “imagine Instagram was gone. BOOM! You’re not a model anymore”. It’s about the fitness modeling trend that blew up a couple years ago on social media. There’s nothing wrong with being an instagram model or a facebook personality, just like there’s nothing wrong with being a youtuber; you can make a very decent living just doing that.
However, it does make sense that being a one-sided self-proclaiming profile on a third-party network is not your best business strategy. In this article, we’ll cover the business side of the fitness and wellness movement and how you can build your brand incorporating all your knowledge, hard work, and grind as well as the power of technology, smart UX design principles, and business strategy to achieve financial and cultural longevity.
Why social media fit feed is not enough
The reason we join social networks is they are alive. You don’t have to wait for people to see what you’re up to, instead, you rush to jump on that train and start contributing. Or just checking it out. That’s what most of us do – check shit out.
Then there are those who manage to seize their opportunity with both hands. They are the ones that become influencers and media personalities. The content they put out can be independent, their opinions unbiased, and their fame entirely theirs. But can it?
How long before a sponsor approaches you with an ad contract for something embarrassing or with questionable ethics but with a check big enough for you to say “yes” without too much doubt?
And once you realize how simple that is, it’s hard to stay off those types of earnings.
Fitness model sponsorships
If we’re talking about fitness personalities, they are usually a good media outlet for companies that produce supplements, training and performance gear, and facilities. Let’s look at how things might play out. Getting fit is super hard. Sustaining the shape regardless of the real-life situations is even harder.
For those, whose job becomes looking fit and feeling good, there can be no privilege of having a bad day.
Their job becomes wellness. Introduced in the late 2000’s, the term wellness means a state of life where the emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual aspects are in perfect balance or aspiring to one.
Seems like a fitness model can benefit from any brand producing any product, right? Unfortunately, it’s only physique that is usually seen as wellness. This limits the scope of brands that might be interested in sponsoring athletes, fitness people, coaches, etc. Let’s take supplementation. The soul of this business is enhancing performance fast.
This brings out a significant contradiction: as an athlete or a coach, your brand is hard work, dedication, and effort, while most supplementation campaigns target quick results with not a lot of effort.
Of course, there are ethical and amazingly vibrant wellness brands like Onnit and I hope they will only grow in number.
Furthermore, there is no space for growth in the niche, as the body tends to back down with time which means the loss of potential of your brand as an athlete. The success social media bring with millions of followers is as superficial as it gets. Every day users’ feeds get bombarded with hundreds of posts from the new fitness models and trainers and there seem to be no shortage in the supply.
Fitness content production
We’re getting closer now. If you are considering an inclusive approach to your personal brand instead of draining your one resource, you’d be thinking of engaging users on multiple levels. Putting in a little personality in everything you do makes you stand out and not be just another heartless profile with a killer body in every picture.
If you can provide content with a unique touch to it, if you are passionate about not just promoting that fact that you are out there, but rather appreciating the following you have to give more exposure to health and fitness, you will become an influencer.
The ones that have no fear of being vulnerable and open about where they are coming from, get clicks on “link in bio”.
They are the ones that have people commenting on their personal stuff. They are the ones that have people valuing the content rather than just scrolling through it. This takes us to the question of your online presence.
How to leverage your online presence
The fact that you are using an omnichannel platform to promote your business leaves you exposed to competition. Being on various social media platforms is good in terms of the reach, but it also means behaving in a certain way, obeying certain rules, and accepting the limitations of that platform. In other words,
why play by someone else’s rules when you can play by yours?
A wise move to make would be taking the competition out of the equation. You can still use social media as promotion tools, but you can’t rely on it as your primary source of income. So how do you convert your Instagram popularity into business and your followers into your customers?
Focus on your contribution
Along with the rise of media popularity, fitness folks have subscribed to a bunch of hate as well. Like any other type of public person, you become a subject of all sorts of chitchat, envy, and trolling.
The weak spot to hit will be obviously, the self-promotion. Or shameless self-promotion, and narcissism. Then there’s a low hanging fruit of parallelizing the size of muscles with the capacity of the muscle owner’s brain.
There is a point though, everybody has a job, but we don’t get to see every tooth a dentist fixes, or every brick a construction worker lays, and damn sure we don’t get to see every fucking meal they have. Okay every now and then, we do. I believe it’s the specifics of the platforms people spot things on, that irritate them. How do you put out a somewhat complete workout instructional within a minute-long video post? Is there any viable opportunity to turn a social media page into a subscription-based boot camp? Obviously, no.
What we suggest, is let what was created for entertainment remain so. All the tweaks allowing business integration through Facebook pages are total bullshit. Again, nothing wrong with them being promotional and link-building marketing tools as well as awesome time killers.
To make a significant impact, gain traction, and ultimately manage to sustain yourself through your independent personal fitness brand, you need your own digital product that is client-based while supported by real evidence and led by your example.
So, what could that digital product be? A website is not handy enough, as even being responsive and optimized for mobility, it can’t run offline and give a native mobile UX we’ve all been used to by now. How about an app?
Fitness and workout apps are the s**t
Almost every gym nowadays has a TV on every wall. Almost every person in the gym has their earbuds in, listening to music or podcasts. That really is a cool way to do two things like working out and listening to an enlightening conversation at the same time. This means we have our phones on us all the time, including the gym time. This makes mobile applications the most accessible digital source of information ever.
If you can’t afford a personal trainer or can’t train under the guidance of a specific trainer, you can now have them in your pocket.
The core of a fitness app
What helps people endure through pain and grind of crossfit workouts or martial arts training routine? It’s the motivation. There‘s nothing like the sense of accomplishment you get when you actually win a physical contest. But before that, there has to be a strong push towards that goal. And a fitness app can be the means to get there.
The core of a fitness app is the proficiency and the skill of the trainer, so if you have that down, there’s nothing to stop you from getting huge. A fitness app has to be user-focused. The trainer’s body is a motivational factor and the proof, but it’s not about the trainer.
Let’s take a look at how fight training camps organize their training methods in a complete way. There are gyms specializing on the striking aspect, then there are those that focus on the wrestling and the ground game parts, however, in order to be a complete camp with athletes training exclusively in a specific camp, you need to provide a 360-degree experience.
A fitness app has to be a user’s one-stop shop for getting fit. In this case, you have to address as much client goals as possible – from slimming down and getting a little stretch to a serious weightlifting program.
The trainer is there to get a client to the destination they want and beyond just that.
The UX of a fitness app
A fitness app has to be functional and clear. People want to see the move, have it explained, and broken down into a set of simple segments. Also, they want to have the options of selecting a routine and most importantly, know what it does for them.
As a coach, your demeanor is half the battle. The charismatic trainer produces the content that the clients demand. The UX of a fitness app depends entirely on the ability of a user to enroll into the training program and get the result going. Of course, this is not a video game and getting fit is not like clearing the level, it’ll take time and it’s your duty to get your users to understand that. As a mobile design agency, we can convert your approach into the interactive and engaging user interface.
We strongly believe that a trainer’s personality has to shine through every feature of the app and be the extension of that personality, able to address every client individually.
But how do you engage every user personally? I believe every trainer knows exactly where most people stand in terms of the beginning of their fitness journey. That knowledge can be categorized, structured and logically put together into a chatbot scenario. Add to that a personal touch to every message, and you give the app your voice. After that comes the work with the informative output you get.
Wearable devices like smartwatches are a good way to keep users engaged in the fitness activity while staying off the actual app. You can deliver dietary guidance by sending relevant information to the client’s wearable throughout the day.
Build your own digital fitness brand
There is a reason why we respect athletes so much. Every high-level athlete is a person who never quit regardless of the circumstance. This is what all of us would love to have. By adopting a workout routine all of us can approach that reality. I consider fitness trainers to be the guides into the world of physical fitness. That’s why their responsibility has to be spread across everything they do.
Mobile app as a delivery media is not only a business tool that has to generate revenue, it’s the face of your fitness brand. We are ready to take that responsibility upon ourselves. That’s why our 2018 goal is to build and release a fitness app that is going to change the game.
Originally published at The Startup.