Social Media and the Fitness Industry — One Competitor Tells All

Julie Germaine is one of the hottest competitors in the fitness industry in more ways than one. Not only does this Winnipeg native keep herself in amazing shape, she has a social media following of over 50,000 followers on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/julie.germaine/) and almost a million on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/juliegermainecom/?fref=ts). Clearly she knows her stuff. Julie was kind enough to share her social media philosophy and what the digital revolution means for the growth of the fitness industry.

Julie Germaine in the gym

I love using social media! I have built a business on Facebook, and enjoy connecting with my friends & fans around the world easily everyday. It is a fantastic tool for self-promotion.

My fan page is a place to find positivity and inspiration to live an active life! I share progress pics to show my fans the changes in my body throughout the year, and try to share my goals and some of what I am doing to achieve them. I share photoshoot pictures to help motivate my followers — both men and women — that fit bodies are beautiful and that it is worthwhile to value health.

Social media Julie and at-home Julie are very similar, except that people need to realize that I work sooooooooo hard. NOTHING comes easily for me, but I accept that and am willing to work for what I want. At times, this is frustrating, so obviously life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies — I get stressed and put a lot of pressure on myself. I do post what I wear daily though… my look and style are just me! I’m chilling in my house right now with a comfy sweater and thigh high socks on as I write this interview. ;)

Social media to me is the storefront of my business. I keep it professional, interesting and positive.

I have a huge following on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juliegermainecom so I really enjoy fan interaction there. I love the ease of sharing with Facebook, and features of the pages that allow me to easily maintain an active presence. Instagram is another favorite, so please follow me there to help me build my page @julie.germaine and @juliegermaine.fit. YouTube is a great site, and my new association with Red Moon Media and MyTStrap has enabled me to be more active with videos, so I hope to continue to build my subscriptions on www.youtube.com/jewelswbffblog

Thank you for your nice comments and for your time in researching me! I appreciate the support I have received this year, including this interview with unique questions. Thank you for taking the time to help people get to know me better — I hope that they take away some tips for their own success. I do plan to offer marketing via juliegermaine.com to please keep tabs to watch for content to be released in the coming months.

I pretty much post whatever I come across at the time! LOL — Selfies are easy, and the content is new, so my fans have a consistent place to come for new material. If you’ve been following me awhile you realize that it’s not often I repeat an outfit, never mind a photo! Often photographers want to shoot with me so their images are the ones I am posting, which directs my followers to their pages and potential work/free advertising. It’s a great way to get the boys to edit my shots — they know that I’m excited to share material with my fans!

If I can offer warning to those interested in getting into a career that involves online fame, you have to have a thick skin! The internet is a cruel world and you have to keep a positive state of mind and believe in yourself to avoid negativity to change who you are or how you feel about yourself. I am not conceited, as people think, but I do believe in myself and know that I am a good person at heart. I ensure the choices I make in my life are ones I can live with, and being confident in who you are makes it easier to take criticism. Now all this rambling brings me to the answer to your question — I stand out in an oversaturated medium because I am edgy and not afraid to make waves. I seem to be love or hate — and either way, people are interested and take notice.

Fitness is booming and that is a great thing! Obesity is a huge problem and social media has allowed people with like-minded interests to learn from one another… without having to socialize in the typical way. Food is a huge part of gatherings, and fitting the gym into one’s schedule is challenging, especially to meet up with a workout partner. Social media allows you to connect with fitness friends and develop closer relationships without breaking your routine. The progress pics help us learn from one another, motivate and encourage, which is amazing.

Social media has enabled a small town Canadian girl to be recognized all around the world — who could have dreamed that my image would be on billboards in Mexico and that fellow Winnipeggers training across seas would snapshot my photo on a poster — my brand has no borders now, and the freedom of working for yourself is incredible! Personally, my family and friends are somewhat uncomfortable with online fame, so I have to be cautious what I post to ensure I maintain their privacy.

I do find that social media is very time consuming, and if I post an image that includes another person, I feel pressure to ensure that any negative comments are immediately erased. This has gone unnoticed in the past due to high volumes of notifications so now I avoid posting others on my large pages. I hate to bring up negativity during interviews, but I want people to realize that this is something you will encounter so to know that going in. I also want to have time for real life friends, and because of large volumes of notifications, I miss most of what my friends are sharing, so I feel badly about this.

My fans are so great! I get so many requests for autographed photos, and felt that running a contest for my Biggest Fan might be a fun way to help my online supporters count down to Worlds for me :) They are having fun with it and I am enjoying getting to know some of the standouts who frequent my page.

Canadians have been more supportive of one another lately, which is a great thing! As the fitness industry grows, there are more and more opportunities here but of course, the smaller population means less home town support, so athletes in larger American cities (or closer to large expos, etc) have an advantage with growing online fan pages to start (and having more opportunities like landing sponsorships based on their online following).

During my contest prep, I post selfies often, both to motivate my fans and to look back on myself as a guideline for how I am peaking. During offseason I do try to stay accountable by posting photos when I am inspired, but might throw out more photoshoot images to remind people the shape I am capable of, especially if I’ve just returned from a Las Vegas vacation or a week in Cancun… hey, a girl deserves a vacation once in awhile, so throwbacks are coming out for the week following that ;)

I am always flattered when someone recognizes me — and surprised!!! It’s always nice to hear that I am inspiring someone and I never understand why people are embarrassed to admit they follow me on IG or Facebook. I love that! I hope they do — so thank you! If you see me, come say hi! Unless I’m in the middle of a workout with headphones blaring… I might come across like an unfriendly snob, but this girl is into me-time and this body doesn’t come from easy workouts. But catch me drinking my pre or post-workout shake and I’ve always got a smile for ya :)

Advice for social media — realize that you need to be consistent with your content — both in what you post and how frequently. If you are only active and positive when you are 6 weeks out from a contest, you won’t hold onto a following. Try to post at least once per day, and keep it fun and interesting! I unfollow if I see photos of chicken and rice, we AAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL eat the same foods, so try to give your fans something new to look at. Realize why people are gravitating toward you and stick with what makes you special. I also want to emphasize that giving any attention to negativity only reflects badly on you. To me, you’re either glass half full or half empty, so decide which one you are and don’t let your outlook on life change!

We are all special and capable of great things. Accomplish your dreams and share how you did it with the world! I am always on the lookout for positive friends, so I hope you catch my eye one day! xoxox

~Julie Germaine