Social media personal trainers

A colleague of mine recently said her New Year’s resolution is to blog, blog, blog.

She’s a busy executive, with little time to spare, and always a hundred other things competing for her attention. But she also knows that active participation in the social media sphere — blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — is increasingly vital to one’s influence. It’s valuable to one’s employer, who needs genuine personalities as emissaries in the social web landscape, and it’s also valuable for one’s personal brand.

So getting more involved in social media — and maintaining a consistent presence there — sounds like a great New Year’s resolution.

But how to best live up to it? To make sure you don’t get derailed by the first competing priority?

With more mundane New Year’s resolutions, such as exercising more and getting in better shape, a pragmatic solution is to hire a personal trainer. By paying money for a professional’s time and making a commitment to work with them on a regularly scheduled basis, you significantly increase the odds that you’ll stick with the program and reach your goal.

Is there an analogous role for a social media personal trainer?

Quite possibly. (Actually, there’s probably a number of new media PR firms that are charging for this very service now, even if they don’t call it that.) Think about how a social media personal trainer might help:

  • Help get you set up on the right platforms and venues, show you how to use them.
  • Teach you the rules of engagement, etiquette, and lingo of different venues.
  • Put together a scheduled regimen of blogging, Tweeting, etc. — and ping you on it.
  • Serve as a proactive sounding board for brainstorming new ideas.
  • Push you to write better and think more creatively on subjects.
  • Alert you to interesting posts and discussions that you may want to join or riff on.
  • Introduce you — or help you introduce yourself — to like-minded people.
  • Keep you up-to-date with the latest tools, widgets, browser plug-ins, etc.

Could really help tone your social media muscles.

Would it make sense for someone to be a social media personal trainer?

Modeling this out, hypothetically, a trainer might spend 1-3 hours per week with 10-25 clients, at rates ranging from, say $40/hour to $100/hour or more for elite trainers. (There would be higher outliers, of course: how much would you pay Chris Brogan for 3 months of social media personal trianing?) That’s anywhere from $1,600/month to $10,000/month or more for doing a job you love, bringing tremendous value to the New Marketing world. Not bad.

As marketing evolves, and old media careers fade away, new and interesting new media career arise. This sure seems like one of them to me.

Best wishes to you for your resolutions in 2009!

P.S. In searching for “social media personal trainer”, I found this great post by David Brim on Five Ways Social Media is Like Working Out.

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3 thoughts on “Social media personal trainers”

  1. If I were a personal brand trainer, and I had not though of it that way until reading this post, I would send people to a web service I started to help people collect their links in one place.
    It seems to me we all make fairly mediocre introductions online and it would be of great service to those we meet to collect all our stuff so they don’t have to. offers an easy place to do just that.

  2. Hello Scott,
    Interesting idea of hiring a social media personal trainer. I guess to a large degree it depends on how a person learns about new things and how much help they may think they need. Some folks like to get involved deeply in the learning process by experimentation and trial and error, while others tend to collect and process as much information as they can and then decide what to do and how to do it. Nothing inherently wrong with getting advice from experts, but I do believe that outsourcing the social media function of marketing is not a wise move. It is too important a piece of an integrated marketing function to be left in the hands of an “outsider.”
    Thanks for the post and have a great 2009!
    Alden Cushman

  3. Hi, Alden.
    I agree with you completely that outsourcing the actual social media contribution, participation, etc., is a bad idea. Either a company, or more specifically, people within the company, are genuinely into social media, or they’re not.
    The idea of a social media personal trainer is simply one way to help busy executives get into — and stay into — an authentic social media groove. It’s essentially the role of a coach, which can be useful in many contexts, and I think this might be one of them.
    For folks who prefer to dive in on their own — and can maintain the momentum on their own — fantastic. My father-in-law, who runs 10 marathons a year, would scoff at a personal trainer. But there are many people out there, through some combination of personality, circumstances, or preference, who do better with a regular coach.
    At the end of the day though, coach or no, you still have to actually run the marathon yourself. 😉

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