Best practices for Twitter and Blogging

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All of the popular healthy living bloggers I follow appear to understand the importance of utilizing multiple social media platforms, which may very well be the key to their success.

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A little blue birdie told me… A few Twitter tips

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when creating your social media presence is to make certain that you use Twitter to complement your blog. As Mark W. Schaefer wrote in his book The Tao of Twitter, “Blogs and Twitter fit like a hand in a glove. Twitter is like the trailer to the blog’s movie.”

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1. Build targeted connections. Search for people who interest you, follow them, and if you are lucky, they will follow you back.
2. Create meaningful content. Tweet a link to your blog posts, retweet relevant content, or write your own original thoughts and share them.
3. Be helpful. To build real relationships on Twitter you must build trust. The best way to build trust is to be genuinely helpful to your followers and those you follow.

All of the bloggers I follow incorporate Twitter into their social media strategy to drive readers to their blog, which is the name of the game.

A few blogging tips for success

Let’s face it, Twitter is quick and fun, but your blog is where you really connect with your readers. That is place the place where you can fully explain and illustrate your ideas, hold a giveaway, post an exercise video or recipe, register visitors, or host a guest blogger.

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Polish up your best content to drive content marketing value

What the best business bloggers do (and you should too)

Popular blogging tips

  • Write daily. I tend to continue to follow those bloggers who have fresh content every time I check my reader or my bookmarked list of healthy living blog sites. I will probably forget about you if weeks go by without a new post.
  • Be real. Write in the first person, and don’t be afraid to talk about your defeats as well as your victories.  Share yourself, and what you’ve learned along the way. Be honest – no one likes a phony.
  • Be original. I definitely lean towards a certain genre when reading blogs, but I don’t want to read the same old topics and ideas on everyone’s blog. Don’t be afraid to tackle new subjects no one has discussed before, or give us a contrary opinion on an oft cited topic. Take your blog in a new direction for an occasional post and see if it’s a success or not, and please, be entertaining whenever possible.
  • Host guest experts. I always enjoy reading a new perspective and learning about a new blogger I may not have known previously. If the arrangement is reciprocal, you may find that you have just gotten yourself a whole bunch of new, regular readers from your guest post.

7 popular blogging tips that don’t always apply

Your blog and your Twitter account are places to make your passions known. Be humble and grateful to your readers. Interact with them as much as possible; follow them back on Twitter, respond to comments left on your blog, listen to their ideas. Most of all, be positive and genuine – two qualities which are sure to attract a following.

What qualities important to you when you follow a blogger?

Do you try to interact with your favorite bloggers or are you a lurker?

 

 

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Can we talk? What are the challenges and risks of going social?

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I have been reading healthy living blogs for at least 10 years. This blog, my first real foray into the world of social media as part of the Social Media course I’m taking, has really opened my eyes to the world of professional blogging. It’s much more difficult than I ever expected to write down my thoughts and views about health and fitness (and give it a social media spin), two disciplines I am very passionate about. My favorite bloggers certainly make it look easy, and I’m certain it took a lot of practice to get there.

A quick check of my Links list at the top of the page will name several of my favorite bloggers who make a living blogging about healthy living.

Healthline’s Best Fitness Blogs of 2015

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Challenges of blogging

  • Content. This is perhaps a blogger’s biggest hurdle. How to keep people coming back to your blog and keep away from predictable, boring topics.
  • Meeting reader expectations. As an example, many of the women whose blogs I follow have become wives and mothers since they started writing. Do they continue to write only about healthy living or should they now talk about their upcoming wedding or baby on the way? Will they alienate readers who started reading for the health and fitness info?
  • Making a stable income. Can you make money? Yes. Is it easy? Absolutely not! There are many, many methods to make a few bucks from your blog – affiliate programs, direct ads, and banner advertising are a few of the most popular. Most of the methods bring in a just a few cents per click-through, so you will need a LOT of traffic to your blog to make a living at it.

Can you Make Real Money Blogging?

Risks of blogging

  • Privacy concerns. Most of the blogs I follow contain a daily look into the life of the writer on top of the food or fitness info. How much info is too much to reveal while trying to remain authentic to your audience? Do you post pics of your children, husband, friends? Where do you draw the line?
  • dreamstime_s_4738598Security. It’s pretty easy to figure out what city a blogger lives in, which restaurants they frequent, where they work out. You must be very careful when revealing your real time whereabouts or you may find yourself a victim of a stalker or a burglar.
  • Trolls, haters, and other internet meanies. You’ve got to have thick skin if you put yourself out on the interwebs as a blogger. There are plenty of people online who would love to ruin your reputation for no good reason, or will just try to antagonize you with nasty comments on your blog. There is even a website dedicated to making fun of bloggers called Get Off My Internets (GOMI). I have to admit that I check it out from time to time and the forums have some pretty funny comments, although most are just hateful.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Food and Fitness Blogging

Dangers of Online Blogs

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before deciding to start a blog. It’s not as simple as deciding what WordPress theme you want to use and coming up with a clever title. In any case, I won’t be quitting my day job any time soon.

Do you follow any bloggers? If so, which ones?

Would you ever consider starting your own daily or weekly blog? Why or why not?

Are Mobile Fitness Apps Worth the Download?

Athlete checking data on mobile device

While many of us would like to think we are living a healthy and fit lifestyle, sometimes we need a little proof. A whopping 70 percent of people use mobile fitness apps on a daily basis to track calories and monitor activity, according to a 2014 study by Mobiquity.

The study also revealed that people claim to be healthier because they are using a smartphone app, but in reality, most were eating many more calories than they thought they were. Whoops!

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed plan to add a wearable device to their routines. I’ve already discussed the most popular fitness app that pairs with a wearable, namely FitBit, here, but there is also an entire category of apps by the big name fitness clubs dedicated to creating workouts or goals, finding classes, and tracking their visits.

Fitness clubs use mobile apps to interact with members and prospects

LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym are just a few of the big names that have developed apps for members and non-members alike. Naturally, the best content is saved for paying members, so the clubs are finding that the apps are a great tool to recruit new members.

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A personal trainer can cost more than $50 an hour. Why not get some new ideas or workouts on your smartphone?

Gold’s Gym muscles up on IT to engage with customers

Screenshot from myPath app by Gold's Gym

Screenshot from myPath app by Gold’s Gym

Launched in early August, Gold’s Gym’s latest entry into the fitness apps category is called myPATH, with a variety of useful features:

  • Allows members and non-members to create personal workout goals
  • Tracks workouts
  • Connects third-party fitness apps and devices like MapMyRun and FitBit,
  • Displays group exercise class schedules, discounts and more.

The company’s CIO, Bill Floyd is hoping that the app will “gamify” the member experience, with members able to unlock badges or compete with other members.

Some of us prefer to do our own thing. Don’t worry, there’s an app for that! Nike+ Training Club is one of the most popular. Geared toward women, the app has over 100 workouts from Nike Master Trainers for all levels.

Screenshot from Nike+ Training Club app

Screenshot from Nike+ Training Club app

I couldn’t write about this app without testing it out myself, and I’m here to tell you that it is a lot of fun. I think it would be easier to use on an iPad or tablet (which you can) rather than my phone, but it was fairly intuitive to use, and just took me a few minutes to get the hang of it.

You can scroll through tons of workouts, for all levels of fitness. Each workout displays the duration, approximate calorie burn and equipment necessary to complete it. Each move is demonstrated and then a timer starts automatically, during which time you should be completing the activity. Then, you can moves seamlessly onto the next move. It’s really pretty slick, and free!

The app syncs to the NikeFuel band, which I don’t have, so I can’t comment on that functionality, and it also calculates your movements with a measurement called NikeFuel, which I’m afraid I find slightly suspect, but if you aren’t interested in the typical stats, like steps, calories, etc., it may be fun and another way to “gamify” physical activity.

All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend trying a mobile fitness app. You’ve got nothing to lose, and may gain some news ideas and new friends along the way. Nike+ Training Club is only one of the freebies to download. Check out JEFIT, GAIN, or try Couch-to-5k if you want to start running.

If you work out, would you prefer a personal trainer or an app?

Would turning exercise into a game motivate you to exercise more?

Do you even instagram, bro?

© Dreamstime.com Social media for fitnessAs it turns out, social media (SM) is rather ideal for spreading awareness about a fit and healthy lifestyle. Facebook is the perfect place to brag about your latest run (including a map of your route). You can show off a yoga pose you’ve finally mastered or post a pic of your new workout outfit on Instagram, maybe post a Vine video showing a tricky free weight lift or show off your abs on Pinterest.

How Social Networking Can Boost Your Workout

Fitspo (fitness inspiration) image from Pinterest

Fitspo (fitness inspiration) image from Pinterest

But we weekend (and weekday) warriors aren’t the only ones who have bought into the hype of social media. Health and fitness professionals from around the world have commandeered platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to share their wisdom as well as make a few bucks. Using social media to drive customers to a website with all of the bells and whistles has allowed the pros to monetize their expertise without even leaving their home gym.

Exercising Social Media Influence in the Fitness Industry

No Heavy Lifting Required, Just Open Your Browser

For a reasonable monthly membership fee, usually around $20 or less (many are free), you can join a group of like-minded folks who share the same interests and goals. For example, check out these popular apps/websites:

Strava mobile app

Strava mobile app

  • Fitocracy Allows users to ‘follow’ other users, view and comment on their workouts and join groups for specific interests.
  • Daily Mile Find training partners, share photos, local events, and routes.
  • Strava Lets you track your running and bike riding with GPS, join Challenges, share photos from your activities, and follow friends.

The beauty of social media is that we can all have access to experts all over the world as now anyone can have a social media presence. The detriment to social media is, once again, anyone can have a social media presence (like me, for example). Just because someone has a social media presence, it does not mean that they are an expert in the field. Most reputable online health and fitness bloggers will disclaim if they are not professionals. However, many do have various personal training certifications through associations such as NASM, ACE, or ACSM, while others are Registered Dieticians (RD), or have degrees in exercise science or physical therapy. If someone has been on social media for a few years and has thousands of followers, they are probably legit, as the SM world can sniff out fakes quickly and mercilessly.

Accountability, motivation, advice. It’s all about sharing.

I think we have only seen the beginning of social’s media’s influence on fitness, health and nutrition. The obesity epidemic and societal pressure will drive more and more of us to seek advice and support on our personal journeys to wellness, and if there is money to be made, you can be sure that there will be no shortage of apps and websites for peer-to-peer interaction. The public health system has certainly taken notice, as the online forum has supplanted the in-person support group in many instances, and researchers are diligently trying to measure the effects of social media on health behaviors.

Do you belong to a workout or nutrition forum or used online training? Has it helped you reach your goals?