Franchise News Release: Apple Valley, MN - (Apr-1-2010)

Fitness “Geek” Uses Social Media to Build Big Brand for His Small Business

Being a tech geek paid the bills, but fitness was his hobby. That’s how Clinton Helget describes his life until the economy tanked and he was let go from his job at a well-known communications company. Then he stumbled onto Fitness Together where he says, “my hobby became my career.” 

Helget became a certified personal trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He first worked for another fitness chain but found he needed more control to produce real results for satisfied clients. That’s when he opened his own one-on-one personal training franchise, Fitness Together of Apple Valley, Minn., in 2006. Today he employs two personal trainers and he gets to be the boss. But his nerdy side hasn’t gone away either.

Thanks to the social media revolution, Helget not only owns a successful business. He has also become one of the leaders for Fitness Together’s 357 studios on how to use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs to market his company’s services.

“I wouldn’t have guessed anything from my previous career would apply to my business today, but it’s awesome to be a bit of a dork at this,” he says. It has paid off big-time to give his brand some incredible marketing muscle on a small budget. He gets to put a face on his business and overcome a “fear of personal trainers,” as he puts it. 

Compared to the money he used to spend on direct mail for his franchise, Helget said his strongest marketing initiative today is free. “All it costs me is time,” he says. And not that much of it.

Helget had a lot of friends on his personal Facebook page. So did his personal trainers. Why not create an official Facebook page for his Fitness Together business? He did, and the friends followed. He started shooting videos of himself, the staff and client testimonials to post to the site. 

He requires his trainers to make regular, meaningful contributions to the page too.  Mostly, they ask questions or start topics on hot subjects like six-pack abs or New Year’s resolutions.  It’s less about what the experts think and more about inviting a discussion, which is the whole point.

Today, Fitness Together of Apple Valley has some 500 fans. In return, they are sharing the company’s news with their friends too. Helget can reach all of them every single day by clicking “Send.” “It just grows exponentially,” he explains. “You post something and soon you have 15 comments.” 

Even better, those comments are constantly notifying every fan or follower of a popular discussion, creating multiple impressions thanks to the audience and not the business owner.

Helget’s new blog is about to hit cyberspace too. He gets excited just talking about it. All the tech channels to showcase his passion for fitness have combined his talents to make work fun. 

Meanwhile, businesses have come and gone in the strip center where Helget’s studio is located. But Fitness Together of Apple Valley, about to celebrate its fourth anniversary, remains a strong constant in the neighborhood. 

Helget credits the brain and brawn of real people discussing real topics in real-time online as a big part of his staying power.

About Fitness Together Holdings, Inc.:
Based in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Fitness Together Holdings, Inc., is one of the world’s largest wellness organizations. The parent company oversees Fitness Together Franchise Corporation, a one-on-one personal training fitness franchisor established in 1983 that began Franchising in 1996, and Elements Therapeutic Massage, Inc., a massage therapy franchisor that began franchising in 2006. Today, the combined franchise network has hundreds of Franchises sold across the United States, Costa Rica, Brazil, Israel, Ireland, and Canada.


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