How I built someone’s business from scratch

What I learned about social media from experimenting on someone else’s business.

Let me get one thing straight here; I am not professionally trained as a business developer or social media manager. I am an artist by trade and by heart; I make music, dance, take photos and videos, and design as a profession. Even until now, I’m experimenting every day to figure out how to build myself as a business. What I want to share is how I discovered the ways to build an audience for my clients using social media.

The Client

I am forever grateful to my first freelance client out of college because through experimentation, I discovered that I enjoy growing and improving a business.

My high school friends started up a fitness company based near where I live. They knew I needed work and so they were nice enough to allow me to build up their brand identity. Logos, posters, fliers, business cards, you name it. You can’t believe how happy I was that I had work to do.

But then I realised that building a brand identity was not their main concern; it was about improving their customer base. They had a comparatively small market size compared to other commercial gyms as they only targeted their customers from one location. This was an interesting problem to me and so I looked deeper into their marketing.

The Problems

Giving me access to their Facebook page, I snooped around their social media network to discover what they were doing right and what they could be doing better. They were lacking on a few things:

  1. They didn’t know the potential channels to market their services.
  2. They weren’t posting regularly.
  3. They didn’t know the type of relevant content that would attract the most clients.

By observing their competitors, I figured out they too were lacking on their social media. I knew to get the band wagon moving as fast and optimally as possible so that they would be ahead of others.

With this in mind, I pitched to them to let me experiment on their social media, in hopes to get more customers for them. They agreed.

The Channels

It didn’t make sense for me to reach out to other social media channels like Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn because at that time their customers didn’t come from there. So I focused mainly on Facebook.

Right off the bat, I found something that was the biggest lead for them: a Facebook group containing everyone that is living within their targeted location AND who is active on Facebook. There were over 11,000 members in that group; it was obvious that this was the main place to post our best content.

However, there was a specific day to post marketing content, and I would have to follow special rules for posting, such as posting the prices of the services (which I thought was silly; I know that most commercial fitness companies don’t mention the prices until after they’ve shown everything to the potential customers). It mattered not, as now I knew how I would post as optimally as possible.

My strategy was to drive traffic from that group onto my client’s Facebook page using excellent content. But for that to happen, I needed to make content

The Posts

My clients were handling the content themselves by reposting photos and videos from other fitness pages. It worked to some extent as it got some response from their customers, but I knew I could do way better.

I got my camera and went to their bootcamp sessions to document everything that was going on. I would then go back home and edit the photos and videos and post content every day on their Facebook page.

You can watch one of the trailers I made on this link:

I managed to attract a bigger audience for them, and I also learned a few things:

  1. People on Facebook would rather see content generated by us than reposts. More response was observed on the photos and videos I took. We decided to scrap the reposting idea altogether.
  2. People on Facebook love video. We would get more response from a video that I made rather than an album of photos. It helped that Facebook had a slideshow feature that was available for photos, so that it would make my photos look like a video.
  3. People on Facebook don’t have much time to watch a video. I realised this as I looked at the metrics. On average, they would watch up to 10 seconds of the video and stop. That’s when I knew I had to attract people at the first few seconds of the video and at the same time make the video short enough to attract them to watch.

The Conclusion

It’s been working great this far; the company has managed to increase their daily customer base by 500%, and also attract more personal training clients for extra revenue. We are already way ahead of the fitness game in our area. However, as we grow the company’s personal brand, a lot of other companies have started to notice the positive effects of social media and so have started doing what we do. Our posts have become less relevant, so it is always important to stay on top of the content game in order to gain more customers.