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By Amanda Vogel

You’ve likely heard of social media influencers: people who post frequently and have audiences in the hundreds of thousands or millions. These folks often garner a lot of attention and can command large paychecks to promote brands and products.

Social media is ripe for fitness content, and certified fitness leaders have always had a strong impact on health-related beliefs and behaviors. So even if you don’t have millions of followers—most fitness pros don’t!—you’re in a perfect position to move forward as a micro-influencer, especially with your training credentials.

Here’s why the growing social trend of micro-influence is a great way to interest more people in a fit lifestyle as you advance your fitness business at the same time.

What Is a Micro-Influencer?

Micro-influencers typically have a highly engaged audience and niche interests that they post about on social media (e.g., trail running, yoga or adventure travel). Followers might fall within the 2,000 to 100,000 range—but don’t get too caught up in the numbers! The importance of micro-influence has to do with the connection these influencers have with their audience and how followers respond to the influencer’s posts and content.

In general, brands seek out micro-influencers because of their ability to reach and engage with their audience in unique and meaningful ways. In fact, many brands actually prefer to work with micro-influencers over Instagram megastars because micro-influencers connect especially well with niche audiences (and, of course, their fees are more budget-friendly).

What Do Micro-Influencers Do?

As a fitness pro, you have many choices about how to apply your influence on social media. Your approach might be as causal as posting short exercise videos for your own enjoyment, to market your business or to “edu-tain” your audience with entertaining content that also imparts your knowledge to others. A lot of fitness pros already do this even if they don’t think of themselves as influencers.

A more formal approach to micro-influence might include creating and posting sponsored (paid) content on behalf of an association, equipment manufacturer or gym brand you already work with. There’s also the opportunity to collaborate with brands and companies from outside the industry. These brands usually want to reach fitness-minded folks who trust a micro-influencer’s recommendations. They might also be interested in re-posting the content you create via their own social accounts. Sometimes these gigs are paid; sometimes brands request that micro-influencers trade shout-outs and content creation for a free product or service.

How to Become a Fitness Micro-Influencer

If you’re at all established in your fitness career, you’re already an influencer to your training clients, class participants and/or peers in the industry. That’s step one! Step two is to strategize how you’ll amplify that influence through social media. Of course, you’ll want to publicize that you’re qualified, so don’t forget to mention your NASM and/or AFAA certs in your social bios.

Additionally, you must unpack why your audience wants to connect with you on social media. For example, what’s the niche interest you are, or could be, posting about? Who are your typical followers? What topics and fitness content resonates with them? What social channels work best for you? (Hint: almost all health/fitness influencers use Instagram.) Finally, what can you offer up on social media that others aren’t yet doing, or how can you put your own twist on what’s commonly out there?

There’s no need to compete with celebrities and Insta stars. Carve out a sustainable niche and join the health/fitness conversation on social media with your own engaging, informed and influential posts!