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togetherSo, myself and the majority of the online business/marketing community have been singing the praises of social media for the past many months. I think for the most part it is rightfully so. But, I’ve been sensing this overwhelming feeling of overload lately.

That overload was made apparent today when I received two diffent invites to two different “fitness professional” social media websites. Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I am aware of at least 5 other “internet’s biggest fitness professional’s community” sites already.  And, of course in the name of research I have an account at each. UHG!

I like the idea of taking advantage of technology to essentially “network” with like minded people. There is much power in it and that is one of the main reasons you will see this ability at the Fitness Pro Travel site in the very near future.  There are now multiple turn-key ready to go platforms available to begin a membership or social networkings website, which in turn has led to a 2008 onslaught of thousands of these member sites.

With so many coming into the market there will certainly be winners and losers. The measuring stick will not be the number of accounts in each community, but the number of active accounts.

Remember the Junior High dance when the walls were lined with kids, but the dance floor was empty. There were many more bodies there than at the local small club with an occupancy of no more the 100. But at that

School dances had some benefits

School dances had some benefits

 bar you generally find an active group socializing and taking advantage of the music and the dance floor. Maybe it was the addition of booze, but the point remains. 🙂

The winners in the niche specific online social networking game will be those who possess and include the features that provide their audiance multiple reasons for joining in and participating. The is most like the smaller group in the happening bar rather than a Junior High Dance.

Finally, those winners will be the ones who can best adapt to the desires of the community. They must accept that in this new online social world they are actually just facilitators for those who become the leaders in that community.  Website leadership will be best displayed by those who are willing to pass leadership to the community (Tribe, as Seth Godin would say) and realize they are more in the role of facilitator.

My suggestions for you:

  1. Continue to try out multiple social networking sites, both industry specific and general. Learn of the various features of each and then migrate to those who are in line with your wants and needs AND seem to listen to the community for direction.  Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed as you can always pull back and pay attention to only your most pertinent ones.
  2. If you are looking to diversify you business and want to offer membership or community online programs, realize that the best leadership in this new world may be the ability to get out of the way and facilitate. There is much to it as we have discussed in the insiders club, so do your homework if this is your goal.
  3. Lastly, feel free to bring your comments, opinions, frustrations, and desires back to the table as we open up the social media at FPT in the near future. I can EASILY admit I don’t know it all and would love to hear from the community and play the role of facilitator.

Social media tools will not be going away, although I do believe we’ll be coming up on a sorting of those sites before long. It’s time to start getting excited about the features we are adding at FPT that include social media. If you want to rally your current student/client/athletic group into a social media or membersite checkout the resources HERE or contact me to get info on the next time we run a program on getting these systems started.

Your Health & Business Success
Tom

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