HOW TO WIN CLASSES AND INFLUENCE STUDIO MANAGERS
by Sarah Shortt
The fitness industry can be highly competitive, requiring Instructors to be more creative to get noticed by clubs. Focusing strategically on your online presence can make all the difference to getting your foot in the door at a new club.
1. CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORM
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok… with so many platforms out there it can be overwhelming to know where you should be focusing your energy. It really comes down to your style and how you want to engage with your audience.
In this case, our audience are club and group fitness managers. Think about where this group are spending most of their time, and where your energy would be best placed to attract their attention.
- Facebook is really about your close family/friends/and close community.
- Twitter is a rapid fire always-on feed of constant interactions.
- Instagram is a blend of curated visuals and dialogue.
- Snap and TikTok are about short irreverent creativity.
- LinkedIn is a professional network for business connections.
2. SHARE AN ONLINE RESUME AND SHOWCASE YOUR CLASSES
LinkedIn is the ideal platform for sharing your resume, although you could also create your own website. LinkedIn has the added advantages of building your network, making connections and alerting you to job postings in your location.
When putting together this profile, try to capture video content that shows you in action. High-energy busy classes are your greatest promotional tool, because what club manager doesn’t want to see that you can get numbers through the door?
3. APPROACH THE CLUB MANAGER DIRECTLY
As former Group Fitness Manager (GFM) for Les Mills Auckland City, Chris Richardson ran the timetable with the most coveted slots in the world. With some of the fiercest competition in the world for classes (Instructors are competing directly with Program Directors for slots), what’s his advice for how to ensure your “pitch” stands out?
“When I was a GFM, the main social media was Facebook and I absolutely jumped on this immediately whenever I was approached by someone.
“For me the stuff that stood out was…
- Personalise the message – use my name
- Do your research – have you visited the facility, experienced the classes, are you familiar with the timetable?
- What do you bring – find a way to showcase your uniqueness
- Identify a need or gap – this goes hand in hand with pt.2
- Be confident but be humble in your own authentic way
- Avoid being defensive when it comes to feedback – especially useful in live auditions, be open to taking direction on your presenting style (as long as it doesn’t go against your values or morals) and avoid using the word “but”; your ability to be flexible and take on feedback which advances your development could be the difference between you and someone who may currently have more experience or be better than you at this point in time.
“Great GFMs will curate their team and resource them appropriately. They will also provide opportunities for growth and development, especially to those who are proactive. There will always be someone better than you so be gracious if you are overtaken but use it as fuel to get better, and don’t be afraid to ask why and what you can do to get back on top.
“Compete real hard but remember it’s a team player environment – so lift up those around you and understand that sometimes your best value is what you provide offstage, not on.”
4. WHAT DOES YOUR CLUB MANAGER WANT IN AN INSTRUCTOR?
And by this we mean, consider your audience. What type of facility are you pitching yourself to? For example, the London boutique club 1Rebel is all about having Instructors that push the boundaries with sass and attitude. If you want to get noticed by this type of club, you may want to look at how your profile shows you’re someone who challenges societal norms and aligns with the club’s ethos.
However, if you live in a conservative part of the country, this profile might not be the right fit for local clubs. Perhaps you’re aiming to get classes at a Y gym which is all about the community. How can you demonstrate that you’re somebody who can build communities within classes and attract a broad range of participants? Which leads us neatly into our next key point…
5. KNOW WHAT YOU STAND FOR
“A lot of people don’t know what they’re trying to achieve with their posts,” says Les Mills’ Head of Social and Content, Chris Asahara. “Whether you’re trying to help people be healthier by sharing recipes, or your outcome is to motivate others to workout, you need to be very clear what your WHY is on social media. This will help guide what content you create and what you decide to post.
”Most brands have “content pillars” which dictate the topics they will engage in. Having your own set of topics will help keep you focused and set expectations of what people will get from following you. And pick just a few topics – if you choose a lot of subjects you’ll likely end up saying a little about everything, which really equates to a lot about nothing.
“My brand on social is my brand in life,” says LES MILLS SPRINT™ Presenter Khiran Huston. “If you meet me in person, I am exactly the same: I have a huge belief in people’s potential and I don’t take myself too seriously.”
Khiran’s brand is geared towards championing the efforts of others: “There are so many talented people out there who are hustling hard to better themselves, whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally behind closed doors. I want to talk to those people, to let them know their efforts are worth it and that their journey is meaningful, even if it isn’t always recognised by others. I want them to celebrate themselves. I do this by being unapologetically myself so that they feel inspired to do the same.”
6. SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY ONLINE
Anyone who follows Les Mills Ambassador Marlon Woods on Instagram will understand why he is a great example of “showing your personality”. Marlon is known for pushing boundaries and he leans into this quality; he’s very clear in how he positions himself on social media. Define your style and stick to it: if you’re constantly wavering between being silly, inspirational, or voyeuristic then it’s hard to understand who you are. As Chris Asahara says: “Consistency in tone and personality builds brand.”
On the flip side, if you’re unsure what your style is, test out different formats and see what works for you before you set anything in stone. “It’s OK to fail fast,” says Chris. “Find your groove, lean into that groove, and then go big.”
“Back your truth, back your why, back you – this is pre-choreographed group fitness that means we’re all teaching the same moves to the same music, so how are you making this your own?” adds Khiran. “You have to know yourself. What ignites you to spend hours learning, practising and training? Does your social media presence reflect this and is your overarching message easy to glean from your words?
“If the club manager were to meet you and want to work with you, would social and real-world marry up?”