I recently read an article that asked, “For coaches and trainers, is it worth the time to engage on social media? For personal trainers, what’s in it for them?” And I think this can be extrapolated to essentially all professions where social media has become prevalent says Peter Decaprio. The answer is yes; it is important because you are your own brand. Social media should not be overlooked as merely a secondary priority or administration job; you are building (or helping build) something much bigger than yourself. And if you’re involved professionally in bodybuilding or physique sports then there really isn’t any debate about whether you should be taking advantage of these platforms.
Furthermore, simply saying that one engages with other professionals on these channels should not constitute an entire professional social media strategy. One should have a plan for what they want to achieve, what goals they have in mind and how these goals align with the goals of their brand/clientele/etc.
The following are some tips on engaging in social media that I’ve developed over my career online thus far.
1) Responding vs Starting Conversations
Responding is much easier than starting conversations or debates amongst professionals who are not familiar with you yet, never mind potential clients who may be watching your interactions. When simply responding it can come off as very natural because there’s no real thought process involved to formulate exactly what you’re going to say or how you’re going to respond to someone else’s statement; this leads me to point #2.
Engaging in conversations is difficult because it requires you to give thought to the topic at hand, develop an argument or point of view and then express that opinion. To build trust amongst your peers it’s important to show that you’re not just saying things for likes, favorites or retweet but that you actually stand behind what you say; it shows consumers of your brand (in this case other professionals) that you are capable of critical thinking and not simply spouting out talking points like most brand spokespeople do.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying one needs to be rude, abrasive or controversial on social media (although there are some who feel they need to act that way on occasion), merely that they shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinion when they have one says Peter Decaprio. It shows that you are confident in your abilities, experience and knowledge. If you can express yourself intelligently enough on social media then it gives the impression that you will be able to do so in real time interactions with clients or customers.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone will agree. With what you have to say even if it is correct or valid. People will attack Facebook pages or Twitter profiles just for expressing an opposing view point sometimes. Because they feel threatened by someone being more successful than them personally, professionally or both! But negative feedback from a true naysayer is often easier to spot and reject accordingly. Whereas those who try to sound intelligent/knowledgeable but are actually misinformed may not always be so simple to identify. Sometimes it’s necessary to get others involved in the conversation or research for you so you can offer a definitive answer to whatever questions/statements they bring up; at the very least you should put thought into it. Before simply ignoring them because “a stranger on the internet said something stupid.”
2) Research, Research, Research
This goes hand-in-hand with point #1 but if someone brings up a topic. That you’re unfamiliar with then don’t be afraid to admit that says Peter Decaprio. Similarly, if there is no way for you to find an answer online (for instance when someone asks what your opinion is about some certain drug or supplement). Then why ask them to conduct the research for you? It doesn’t reflect well on someone if they have to ask others what the correct information is. Especially when it’s something within their profession.
When possible, try to find articles written by credible sources; Wikipedia isn’t always the best answer since anyone can write/edit articles there. However it can be a great resource for finding links to more credible sites. However, finding an article published in a primary source like ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’. Or even an article found in free publications like PLoS ONE are usually good indicators. That the information you’re reading is accurate and peer-reviewed. Even then it pays to look at who has authored the research (which journal did they work for?).
Although the online arena is becoming more important for everyone. It isn’t necessary to spend 24/7 on social media networks explains Peter Decaprio. Just make sure you are using them correctly by promoting your brand, showing thought process behind. What you say and having a general awareness of the topics being discussed.