It was October 2012. I was sitting on the Kona pier watching my husband compete in the IRONMAN World Championship. The gun went off and a lightbulb went off, too. I needed to start my own coaching business. I decided to jump in feet first, and in December 2012 I received my LLC and DBA for JenRulon.com. I’ve never looked back.
While I made a ton of mistakes starting my business, felt a bit lost, and was very overwhelmed, there was one great decision that I made that genuinely changed how I marketed myself and my brand. I started an Instagram account in January of 2012.
Instagram is all about photos of everyday moments and activities. For your coaching company, that means showing off your services and team while educating followers about what your sets your company apart. And, it might also be an opportunity to promote other products products, such as books, racing gear, etc.
Let me be absolutely clear. I had no idea what to post at first for my triathlon coaching brand. I started posting photos and seeing what people liked and what they didn’t. At that time, Instagram wasn’t a massive platform like it is today so the traction was pretty low, but I started realizing a few things that I was doing wrong on Instagram.
- Too many selfies!
- Too many cat photos.
- Poor quality photos.
- Photos not relevant to JenRulon.com.
- Photos with word overlays.
Over the years, I started getting really intentional with my social media, especially Instagram. Why? I was getting clients from Instagram. They ranged from Mexico to New York and Canada to California. After measuring a few data points I realized that the return of investment on Instagram was much higher than other social media platforms I was engaging on.
I learned a lot in the process and came up with the “Rulon Rules for Instagram” which you can use for your coaching business.
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“Rulon Rules” for Instagram
1. Tell your followers a story
We know Instagram is about photos, photos, photos. It’s also important to tell the story behind the photo.
For example, if you are posting a motivational quote, why is it important and what does it mean to you? If you are posting a photo of beautiful scenery, what happened there that meant something to you? As a coach, you need to remember that you are always building a brand and your followers (your potential athletes) want to see what you bring to the table. Talk to them about what you are sharing and why.
2. Provide value to your followers
This tip may shock you: give free advice and education to your followers.
It’s important to offer your knowledge to potential clients and anyone that may be inspired to try your sport. Remember, that 10×100 swim with a :10 RI is not a new workout that you came up with. Your followers want to learn from you. If you can educate a potential athlete about a specific workout or strategy you use, they will have a better sense of your coaching style and will have more reason to trust you.
3. Respond to every comment and direct m
You are not Oprah or Beyoncé. Be authentic by chatting with your potential clients.
People want to know who is behind the camera and
Why do I plug Instagram?
In 2018, I received a couple of emails from friends who found an article about Instagram’s role in endurance sports marketing. On the accompanying infographic, MultiSport Research explained that “Instagram has the highest engagement and post interaction compared to Facebook and Twitter.” I was also fortunate to be named one of the leading coaches on Instagram along with TriSutto.
Instagram is not about instant conversions or links. This is about the long-term benefit, so rate your success in terms of likes, follows and comments – not profit. Over time, you will start developing stable relationships throughout the country, see people at races that recognize you for being you and your coaching business and cheer on your team. Who wouldn’t want that?