Over the past several articles we’ve talked about going local on Facebook and going local on Google+. Twitter is the third social network that most personal trainers should be using to market their business.
Twitter is also one of the hardest social networks to keep local. In fact, it’s safe to say that you will never keep your Twitter reach 100% local, because that’s simply not how Twitter is built.
However, you can make sure that 90% of your presence on Twitter is aimed in the right direction by following just a few simple best practices.
Localize your profile.
When you create your Twitter profile it’s important that you include your city and state. It’s also important to include a statement that helps you market your personal trainer business right in your bio.
So you might write something like this:
I’m a personal trainer in San Francisco, CA. I tweet about health, fitness, and stress-free living.
You can tweet that statement however you’d like. It’s important for the statement to reflect a little something about your personality and a little something about the type of content you plan to tweet.
Obviously if you are a Type-A personality personal trainer who goes gung-ho for corporate wellness programs that similarly target other Type-A personalities then your bio is probably not going to include that little tagline on stress free living. :) It might, however, talk about the pursuit of excellence, doing your best, or whatever appeals to you and matches your personality.
Finally, you want to be sure that you put a link back to your personal trainer website into your profile, since ultimately what you want is for people to follow you back there.
Follow other accounts selectively.
On Twitter you need to watch out for two account features. The first will be people and organizations in your local area and the second will be interests or information that intersects with what you do. You can use the search function to find both.
So you might want to follow your local chamber of commerce, local accounts that focus on health, fitness, better living, or whatever, local nutritionists, and even local doctors. You don’t necessarily want to follow every person in San Francisco just because you work there. You want to follow people who might be interested in what you have to say.
Watching the subject matter of people’s tweets or their listed interests serves another purpose as well. Twitter is all about having great conversations. You can’t have great conversations if your own feed is cluttered up with stuff you don’t care about.
However, a feed full of local nutritionists, doctors, moms, and health enthusiasts should give you plenty of great content to retweet, reply to, and interact with. That interaction is at least as posting your own blog links or fitness tips.
Use Twitter lists.
Creating Twitter lists can be a helpful way to attract some attention and provide some value to others. You’ll want to make these lists public.
For example, you might make a list of “San Francisco Nutritionists,” another one for “San Francisco Massage Therapists,” “San Francisco Health and Wellness,” or whatever. Making them public lets people browse your lists and use them to find accounts they might follow.
It also makes it pretty clear where you operate.
Use local Hashtags.
Hashtags help people search for content that interests them. While I don’t recommend going overboard with them a single hashtag is rarely annoying to anyone. Whenever it’s appropriate you can use your city hashtag to help localize your content.
Note that it won’t always be appropriate. A general fitness tip doesn’t need a local hashtag. It would look odd and awkward.
However, your announcement about the free fitness seminar you’re holding in 3 weeks will definitely benefit from a localized hashtag. So will more conversational tweets like, “Beautiful day in #SanFrancisco, time to work out at the park!”
If you’re feeling especially bold you can launch a Twitter chat and assign it some sort of hashtag like #SFHealth. Put up a website that describes the chat, run it at the same date and time every week or every month, and tweet about it well before your first session. Have a topic in mind. You will definitely reach out to people in your local area who are at least interested in improving their health and fitness.
How much business will you get from all of this local social media?
It’s difficult to say. Some people get a lot of business from social media. For others, the benefits are a lot more indirect, offering potential customers yet another place to check out what you’ve got to offer before they contact you.
However, even if you find you don’t get much direct business from Twitter I don’t recommend going silent. You are staying at the top of people’s minds and offering impressions and touches that might lead to a phone call later, even if you can’t trace it back to your social media efforts.