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From Stick to Fit: How a Fitness Geek Sold His First Product with the Help of Instagram

by Gigi Rodgers

· ecommerce,Stories,build your website,Entrepreneurship
matt_toman_strikingly_instagram_strategy

We could all use a little extra cash right?


Supplements are not cheap and new workout gear can be damn ‘spensive!
And you deserve it because you put in the time to look and feel good.
But if you add in a family and other responsibilities…

...you can definitely feel the pinch.

Matt Toman is a father of 2, a practitioner in the art of building bulk, and was looking for a way to monetize his massive following of 25K Instagram followers.

He saw other fitness buffs in his profession doing it.
Why couldn’t he?

matt_toman_instagram_fitness

So by clocking in the hours on Instagram and listening to what his audience asked him time and time again, he’s managed to add another $550 a month to his bottom line.

That’s an extra weeks wage.
This month and every month….all without his product offering being a time suck, without being a protein powder pusher, or pulling time away from his kids.

How?

With an Instagram account and a free website he put together.

The best part though?

You could do exactly the same.

Toman’s process is step-by-step repeatable.

It is ENTIRELY possible to build and monetize your Instagram audience by providing them a ton of value. And we’re going to flesh out Toman’s process below.

THE ORIGIN STORY OF THE SCRAWNY KID TURNED FIT

His classmates told him he was no good.

Toman’s fitness journey starts as the classic tale of a shy kid, that doesn’t really talk to anyone, and keeps to himself.

And then low confidence and self esteem issues finally hit a boiling point when he got beat up pretty bad. On camera. At school.

But there was no empathy from the masses.

His classmates didn’t ask if he was okay.
Not even parents or his teachers got involved.

In fact, it got worse...
...and he turned into a walking target.

He had to make a choice.
 

If you’re fit now, then chances are high you weren’t always fit.
In fact, it’s usually something painful like this that helps all of us that were once obese or stick thin, take the action we needed to.

We all hit that wall.
The choice where you remain a punching bag or you transform that pain into something better and push back.

This time, the little guy pushed back.

He started to train in boxing 4 days a week. 
Working out 2 hrs a night.

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A local reporter interviewed Toman after his first boxing match and a teacher at his school posted the article in the school's main hallway.

Once that article went up, the bullying stopped dead in its tracks and everyone treated Toman differently.

This change in everyone’s attitude, and the mental shift he went through in training, ignited Toman’s passion for fitness and building muscle for over a decade.

MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN

Toman’s been in the fitness industry for 15 years.
He describes himself as “the average guy”.

“I’m 6’1. I weigh 210 lbs. I’m a father of 2 girls. I’m a gamer and nerd who loves anime. I’m that kind of laid back guy who, till this day, has never been to a nightclub.”

Toman has been active on social media, with Instagram being his main driver, for what will be 2 years in December 2017.
Toman was inspired to grow his social media presence after watching a Youtuber named Matt Kido (aka @Gokuflex).

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matt_kido_goku_flex_deadpool_saiyan_instagram

Matt Kido aka @GokuFlex

“After watching [Kido's] channel”, states Toman, “I got inspired to try and grow my own audience. I mean, who doesn't want to be their own boss”?

He made the choice that if he was going to spend his time in building his Instagram presence, that he was going to take it seriously.
 

So let’s outline Matt’s approach to building his Instagram following and how he figured out what product to offer to his audience without feeling sales-y.

STEP 1: WHERE’S MY WOLF PACK?

Stepping into Instagram, Toman knew the market was already flooded with fitness professionals. If you type in #fitness in Instagram this is what you see:

That's a lot of damn competition...

So his goal was to find his type of people.

People who were into: Fitness, Anime, and Video Games.

As we all know, hashtags are the currency in the Instagram platform.
You can use up to 30 hashtags per post.
 

The typical hashtags Toman focused on were always:

He filled in the other spots with hashtags that related to the post, like:

Some other fitness hashtags, we found, that you can use to get noticed:

NOTE: Save these hashtag clusters in the 'Notes' section of your phone. This way you can copy and paste the hashtags into your first comment and never have to worry about memorizing them.

If you want to go EXTRA and get serious about your hashtag strategy, or your overall Instagram game, a tool we would suggest would be Iconosquare. Iconosquare gives you a good indicator of how popular a hashtag is, which ones receive the most engagement, the best time to post, and so much more.

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Iconosquare - Best Time to Post & Hashtag Performance under 'Engagement'

And if you want to go 9000 (yeah, we went there), we can't recommend the Instagram scheduling tool, Grum, enough.
It let's you schedule your post and goes live WITHOUT ANY PUSH NOTIFICATIONS.

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So just like Hootesuite or CoSchedule, you can:

  • Schedule your Instagram images for the month
  • Add context, with emoji's if you wish
  • Pick whatever times you would like your posts to go live
  • AND enter in the first comment WHICH will hold your 30 hashtags

Go get 'em, Princess...

STEP 2: IT GOES DOWN IN THE DM

To build his Instagram account he reached out to feature profiles or fitness accounts bigger than his own to get reposted on their page.

Where Toman says he hit his stride was when he reached out to a company called Envy Fitness. Not only did they have an affiliate program, but they featured him on their Instagram profile.

envy_fitness_instagram

That first repost, gained him over 1100 likes and skyrocketed his account following.

Don’t know how to reach out to someone to ask for a S4S?
Try what we used in the past when we were executing on Instagram Strategy.

See how the wording is VERY casual:

instagram_example_s4s_dm_message_shareforshare

S4S ask via Direct Message (or DM)

What is a S4S?

As explained by Lifewire, “An S4S basically involves two users who have agreed to give each other a shoutout on their own profiles. This is done by posting a photo (or video) from the other account to feature them and then encouraging followers to go follow them in the post description.

If both users' followers are highly engaged, it can be a very effective technique to get exposure and gain new followers very quickly”.

On top of DMing people, Toman was on the platform for 2-3 hours per day -- answering comments, making sure he was up on trends, finding the best hashtags, etc.

"Wow. That's a lot of time to spend on Instagram", we hear you say.

Yes, we agree.

But you are doing this to build a relationship, create trust, and have a dialogue with your followers.
 

Hell, we know Instagram accounts with over 500K followers, and the owners make it a point to go into their comments - whenever they can - to say 'thank you', joke, and just talk with their audience.

It is called SOCIAL media, after all.

Obviously spending 2-3 hours a day on Instagram is a daunting task. But being consistent with it, and posting just 1x per day, gained Toman 25K followers with a healthy amount of engagement from his audience.

STEP 3: SALES DON'T HAVE TO BE SLEAZY

One of the companies and profiles that Toman reached out to, after coming across his YouTube channel, was Mark Norman from JustSaiyan -- an anime inspired athletic clothing line.

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Those two got the talking about monetizing his 25K following on Instagram and Norman gave him the advice of building a website and creating an offering.

“It seemed daunting because I’m not a tech savvy kind of guy. [Norman] gave me a few options - and once I landed on Strikingly, I built my platform, and posted it across my social. It started off S-L-O-W. But then one day, after I had been blogging for a bit about my personal journey, people started coming to my site”.

We show you, step-by-step, how to build a landing page for your services in this free, and easy to follow, video series.

And how did Toman figure out what to offer his audience?

He looked at his comments and Instagram inbox and saw the questions people were asking him over, and over, again. So he packaged the solution to those questions and put up this offering on his website:

matt_toman_website_strikingly_fitness_push_pull_legs

“My Push-Pull Legs routine”, says Toman, “is a [lead generating] sales tool. I always get asked ‘How do you do this’? Or ‘How do you do that’? Or ‘How are you able to lose and gain weight so quickly’? This $10 workout plan is an asset [I use] to get a lead on a new client”.

So now whenever someone messages him, asking about his fitness routine - he sends them to the website:

matt_toman_instagram_dm_example

“Overall”, states Toman, “it’s a good opportunity for me to position myself for the business side of fitness, and come across as more professional versus solely being a social media guy.”

Surprisingly, Toman received OTHER requests about his services via the contact section of his website. Whether it was from his inbox on Instagram, or through his client list that he was slowly growing with the Push-Pull Leg program, certain audience members wanted MORE.

The majority of the requests were about Macro Tracking & Coaching.

NOTE: Macro Tracking is also known as 'flexible eating', states fitness coach, Amanda Walker. It’s a system to record your macronutrient intake to maximize your nutrition goals.

After they send their request, he sends them a questionnaire, sets them up as a new client, and creates a Google Doc & Spreadsheet to record and take notes of this person's progress.

In fact:

  • It’s very laid back
  • There is no subscription model
  • It’s a $0 investment

Overall, Toman is giving his clients an accountability partner.
He helps them set a target goal for each day. And at the end of the day they send him a screenshot, where he goes over with them, their daily targets.

Overall, it’s a short time investment and not a time suck.​

Toman charges $50/month and has just hit his 11th client totaling $550 of extra income per month.
All of this by using a simple website he threw together and his Instagram inbox as his main points of contact.

“I’m a dad, working a full-time job, with kids”, states Toman, “so it’s hard to invest money in yourself. So to have something you can literally put zero dollars into and get any kind of a return is something worth looking at”.

$550 of extra income may not sound like a lot until it's paying for your grocery bill and covering those unexpected bills that came up that month.

"PHEW! It's a good thing I had this extra cash lying around!..."

A lot of people view sales, or asking anyone for money, as this 'sleazy, awkward feeling, scam'.
Sure! Those are the correct emotions you should be having if you're ACTUALLY scamming people!

But you're offering a service that has your audience members' best interest in mind.
They are asking YOU to assist them in accomplishing a specific result.

Yes, you are allowed to charge them for - your time, your expertise, and the results you will help them gain.

IT'S YOUR TURN

Toman is making $550 of extra income per month - all from his Instagram account and the FREE website he made using Strikingly.

To review the strategy:

  • Build up your Instagram following using some of the strategies outlined above. This will take time so, patience and consistency young grasshopper...
  • Pay attention to your comments and Direct Messages. What questions are your audience members asking you over, and over, and over, again? THAT'S your sales offering!
  • Build a free website/landing page using Strikingly, stick a price tag on your offering, and promote it to your audience.

If you’re ready to start monetizing your audience with knowledge you already have about fitness, training, recipes and diets - start building your FREE website using Strikingly HERE.