Which social media channels do professional fitness trainers in the US use, and how and why do they use them (i.e. to get their names known with clients, to connect to other trainers)?

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Which social media channels do professional fitness trainers in the US use, and how and why do they use them (i.e. to get their names known with clients, to connect to other trainers)?

Hi there! Thanks for coming to Wonder with your question about fitness professionals and social media. In short, Facebook is the most used social media platform for personal trainers, with 85% engaged. Following Facebook, personal trainers also regularly use Twitter (77%), LinkedIn (58%), Instagram (no exact figure), and YouTube (49%). Please see below for more details.

METHODOLOGY
One of the best sources I was able to find was this article, which goes through the eight best social media platforms for training and coaching pros, including why to use them and how to be successful on each. I used this list as a base, and then combined that information with data from other sources to round out each platform.

FINDINGS
Per the article discussed above, the top eight social media channels for fitness professionals are:

1) Facebook -- According to the author, Facebook is crucial because of how popular it is -- the article cites a figure of 71% of adults using Facebook. More simply, a Facebook page is a necessity -- perhaps even more so than a website, and a Facebook group may be worthwhile as well because they allow direct interaction with current and future clients. According to Exercise.com, 85% of personal trainers are on Facebook. The primary uses of Facebook (and Twitter) are to showcase news, tips, and sharing.

2) Twitter - The author identifies Twitter as being important not only because of the volume (316+ million monthly users), but because it allows one to "connect with thought leaders in the fitness industry." According to Exercise.com, 77% of personal trainers are on Twitter. Again, the primary uses of Twitter (and Facebook) are to showcase news, tips, and sharing.

3) LinkedIn -- The author points to LinkedIn as being important for this industry because it allows professionals to show their "expertise and status within their chosen industry." This makes a fitness trainer look professional and allows interested clients to view their qualifications. According to Exercise.com, 58% of personal trainers use LinkedIn.

4) Instagram -- Like Twitter, Instagram allows trainers to reach a larger audience more quickly, and to build followers more quickly than other platforms such as Facebook. The platform is also becoming more and more popular, with 51% of adults checking it daily. According to this article, as of April 2017, there were over 182 million posts with the hashtag "fitness" and over 91 million with the hashtag "gym." Specific to fitness professionals - "videos posted to Instagram automatically play in the feed, making it easy to share exercise videos, fitness tips, and training sessions with your followers."

5) Periscope -- Periscope, Twitter's live-streaming app, is important for fitness professionals because it allows potential clients to connect your face and voice, allowing them to "get a sense of what it’d be like to work with you while vetting your expertise." While there's a lot of information on how Periscope could be useful for fitness professionals, I wasn't able to find a lot of data on how many are using it and how useful it is for the average personal trainer. If you're less familiar with this platform compared to the others, this article goes through some of the basics.

6) Pinterest -- According to the author, health, fitness, and personal growth pins are amongst the most popular on this platform, meaning you are again likely to reach a group much larger than just your followers.

7) Google+ -- This platform, per the John Spencer Ellis article, is vital in helping improve your SEO (search engine optimization) and page rank in Google searches. This article confirms that Google+ can be extremely important for small businesses because "everything you post on your Google Plus for Business page is immediately indexed by Google. Thus, the content you post to your page can rank in search results even if your website doesn’t. This is huge for companies and professionals, because the websites that appear on the first page of Google, and especially in the first few positions, get 54.8% of all clicks from users."

8) YouTube -- Finally, YouTube is "the perfect platform for creating web-based personal training services and an online fitness brand." According to Exercise.com, 49% of personal trainers use YouTube. The primary purpose of YouTube is to showcase routines, blogs, and products.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, the most used and most useful social media platforms are, not surprisingly, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Periscope, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube also have many possible applications for fitness professionals.

I hope that helps! Thanks for using Wonder.
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