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"I don't see myself as an influencer."

Sami Imbriano

Personal Trainer and Online Fitness & Nutrition Coach

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About this episode [listen below]

Sami is a Personal Trainer and Online Coach that's built a following on Instagram and yet doesn't call herself an "Influencer." We explore how fitness, health and wellness professionals like Sami, use Instagram to grow their businesses and why the title of "Influencer" is not included her bio.

Transcript below. 

"I do try and make sure that everything I do makes sense to me as a brand and is interrelated and is supporting each stream. But primarily, everything I do is to support my online coaching business."

- Sami Imbriano

"More discussions are being had about whether influencers have a sense of responsibility to present a more complete picture of their lives and share both the ups and downs in the true sense of being authentic."

- Kareena Mitsios

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GUESTS ON THIS EPISODE

Sami Imbriano

Sami is a Personal Trainer and Online Coach, specialising in female transformation programs. Currently focusing on getting her clients their desired results through education & support. Her goal is to continue to help more and more girls around the world achieve amazing results and learn to become their happiest, healthiest and most confident selves!

I try and make sure that I’m presenting a full picture of a real person and that people can connect to that. So, I think a lot of my followers follow me as a person, not just as a coach or as an influencer, which is really nice.

- Sami Imbriano

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Sami: [00:00:00] I don't really see myself as an influencer.

 

Kareena: [00:00:05] That's Sami. Sami has an Instagram account @samirosefitness, with over 47,000 followers. She's an online coach but yet doesn't consider herself an influencer. Stay with us to find out why.

 

Kareena: [00:00:24] Hey there Loopers. Welcome back to another episode of "In The Loop." I'm your host Kareena and today we're chatting with Sami about her many businesses in the fitness space. We're learning about how she's helping people the world over and also why the title of "influencer" just isn't her thing. So, let's get straight to the interview.

 

Kareena: [00:00:44] So Sami, first time on the Loop App couch.

 

Sami: [00:00:45] I know! I'm so excited! Thank you for having me.

 

Kareena: [00:00:48] We are so excited to have you. We will just jump straight in.

 

Sami: [00:00:52] Sure.

 

Kareena: [00:00:52] You're an Instagram influencer.

 

Sami: [00:00:53] I guess...yes.

 

Kareena: [00:00:54] A fitness influencer at that. Where did you get your start in fitness?

 

Sami: [00:00:58] I started more on my own personal journey. So, probably around 2011- 2012. I was...I would say fairly overweight. I was about 75kg. I'm like 5"1 and a bit. So, for me, that was about a size 14. I just tried to improve my lifestyle through health and fitness and making really small steps to improve and to lose a little bit of weight, get a little bit more fit and it just kind of became a bit of an addiction. You know, I fell in love with it and I started to learn more about, like training in the gym and like different ways to diet and became fascinated. So eventually I turned it into a career.

 

Kareena: [00:01:34] There are two schools of thought on making your passion your career. "Couples Therapy" podcast hosts Casey Neistat and Candice Poole recently said that...

 

Couples Therapy Excerpt – Casey Neistat: [00:01:42] Yeah, what’s that fun thing you say. You say you, how do you take something you love and make it something you hate?

 

Couples Therapy Excerpt – Candice Pool: [00:01:46] Make it your career?

 

Couples Therapy Excerpt – Casey Neistat: [00:01:47] Yeah.

 

Couples Therapy Excerpt – Candice Pool: [00:01:48] Yeah.

 

Kareena: [00:01:42] Contrary to that, there is a belief that "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." So, which is true for you? Sami shares her thoughts on this.

 

Sami: [00:02:02] Be passionate about what you do. I think it really comes through with what you're doing. If you love what you're doing and you have your whole heart in it, it doesn't feel as much like work. So, probably the big thing, just do what you love and find a way to make money from it that makes you happy.

 

Kareena: [00:02:17] Like many influences and budding entrepreneurs, Sami turned to the World Wide Web to launch her new business. An online coaching and transformation business. Sami shares why she decided to go online and create a program that helps change people's lives for the better.

 

Sami: [00:02:31] Well I had done my PT certification in, oh gosh, what was the year? Maybe 2014. And I wasn't sure how to use it. I was doing my first contest prep and I was kind of sussing out what to do, in terms of like, how do I use my certification. What did I want to do? I was working full-time so, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do, like full-time PT. So, I was doing some boot camps on the side and just posting a lot more about my journey and I just kept getting so many inquiries from people being like, "Hey like, will you write me a training program? Will you help me with my diet? I love what you're doing. I want to do the same." And at the time I was so new to the industry I didn't really know what to do so I kind of sat on it for a little while. I didn't want to take on any clients straight away because I was like "Oh!" Like, you know I feel like I need to learn a little bit more. Online coaching was still quite new back then. I started online coaching in 2015. I mean it had been around for a while but there was a smaller number of people doing it. It wasn't so widespread yet. So yeah, I just kept getting so many inquiries and I wanted to be able to help these people so I just continued to learn a little bit more and get really familiar. I got myself a different coach that was doing online coaching himself, so I could kind of pick his brain a little bit and then from there, yes, I started to just slowly take on clients on the side, outside of my full-time job.

 

Kareena: [00:03:44] Side-hustle?!

 

Sami: [00:03:45] Yeah. And it was something that I was really passionate about. And you know, I could only take on a few people at a time because I was so busy and I wanted to make sure I did a really good job with those clients. And from there it just grew. So, it's taken off since then and the last, what are we now 2018? Since the end of 2016, I've been fully working for myself just online coaching no face-to-face PT. Yeah, all online.

 

Kareena: [00:04:08] That's incredible! Why the decision to go online? Was it because you had a global audience that wanted to become clients or was it just more convenience factor?

 

Sami: [00:04:16] Umm...a little bit of both to be honest. I have a really large following in the U.S. actually. Which is crazy! That's like my second biggest country in my little insights thing on Instagram. But yeah, I was getting a lot of interstate inquiries as well and I just wanted to be able to help more people. And I think it's really hard PT'ing in person, you know, you can only be in one spot at a time and you're committed for that 45 minutes to an hour with one client and it's quite physically demanding as well so you can only do so much and help so many people. And you know, most Pt's would do maybe 30 to 40 sessions a week, whereas I can take quite a lot more clients than that because I can leverage my time a lot better being online. Not only does it mean that I can have a little bit more reach in terms of when my clients come from but it just means that I have the availability to help more people because I'm not limited to 45 minute blocks with one person, you know, and I can kind of balance between people or spread people out through the day a lot better. So, it just helps me to manage my time.

 

Kareena: [00:05:14] What have you found the challenges with having an online coaching business specifically?

 

Sami: [00:05:18] Switching off is a tough one for me.

 

Kareena: [00:05:21] Any business own goes through that. [laughs]

 

Sami: [00:05:22] Yeah, I think most entrepreneurs struggle with the same thing. But yeah for me, definitely switching off is the hardest thing because social media is a very large part of my business. It's basically where like 100 percent of my clients come from. Yeah. All of my marketing is just through Instagram I don't really do any paid ads or flyers or anything like that. Yes, so all through Instagram which is amazing and referrals. Which is a big one for me but managing that, is quite time consuming and you know, me replying to people is, any follower is a potential client to me. So, I want to make sure that if they ask me a question, I answer it, so that that takes time. Plus, you know, check-ins with clients and then, pretty much being available almost 24/7. Obviously not when I'm asleep but I do encourage my clients to reach out to me if they need anything at all. So, sometimes I'll be getting messages like 9 or 10 o'clock at night and I want to apply them because that's from their force so it's really, really hard for me to put my phone down. Because I feel like between everything and you know, checking emails for new inquiries and things. It can sometimes get a little bit much. Look I really want to focus more on the online coaching and probably less on Instagram to be honest. Now that I've been following you know I don't want to have to hustle so hard in terms of like always posting, like, constant content. I'd like to spend a little bit less time on that and little bit more time just focusing on my business because I have a decent amount of clients at any given time. I don't really have too many quiet periods so I just want to keep working on being a better coach for my clients. So, yeah, it's just more education and just becoming a better coach.

 

Kareena: [00:06:57] Well what have you found that you've learned along journey in starting your own business?

 

Sami: [00:07:01] I mean, I guess it's being really amazing like being able to work for myself. That's probably the biggest thing that I've learned, is like, working on time management, holding myself accountable for things. I never really thought I would be my own boss.

 

Kareena: [00:07:14] That was never something that you dreamt of?

 

Sami: [00:07:15] No it wasn't really a desire. I had never planned to run a business or anything like that. Like it just was never on my radar until it kind of almost fell in my lap, I suppose. I'm very fortunate. Yeah, I guess, being able to take something that I love, that was personal to me and being able to share that with other people and help other people through something I'm so passionate about, has been absolutely amazing. So, I'm really blessed that I have the ability to do what I do because not everyone has the online platform to build that. Not everyone has the knowledge to take on clients and I've kind of got the best of both worlds so I'm really lucky. But running a business is challenging.

 

Kareena: [00:07:52] Running one is, running as many as you do is crazy!

 

Sami: [00:07:58] But you know, it's great. I love it.

 

Kareena: [00:08:00] Having an online business in the fitness, health and wellness space doesn't mean you're limited to an online coaching business. There are a number of ways influencers can earn a living from leveraging their social media profiles and one of them is creating their own digital products. Hear how Sami not only created one successful business but how she's creating an ecosystem that feeds into itself to create an online empire.

 

Kareena: [00:08:23] I'd love to hear more about the eBook side of things as well. So, you've got your online coaching and you've also got digital products. So, tell us a bit more about your eBooks. What are they? What do they do?

 

Sami: [00:08:32] Well essentially, I started with training programs and they were kind of tied into my coaching business because I found I was having to limit my clients a lot more because I was doing personalized training programs for everyone. Whereas, a lot of people that come to me are beginners or intermediate level, that have kind of a similar requirement. So, I found that instead of trying to personalize every single person's program, I gave them the option of like a set program that was just like a basic beginner. Here you go, if this is what you need and then I added to coaching on top of that. And I found that that worked really well for a lot of clients that didn't have anything specific to work on.

 

Sami: [00:09:10] So that kind of is where my eBooks originally came from just to be able to help more people because I was my time was really limited writing so many training programs. They're quite time consuming to write. Especially when people have a lot of requests, or like injuries to work around but you know if someone's not injured and they just basically want a five-day week program, just something to get them active and moving and burning calories, that's where that came from.

 

Sami: [00:09:32] So then I started selling separately as well and went really well. I developed more and now I've got a whole range of different training programs which is amazing. So, I've got home programs, gym programs, like a booty specific program. And yes, so a range of different, basically there's one for everybody. Which is great. I do still focus primarily, from my coaching side of things, I do more personalized training programs than not. But for my challenges and things like that, that's kind of where the eBooks came into it. So, they do get sold separately and then I developed a recipe book in April. So that was huge for me. That's actually like my most popular sold item on my online store. Oh, yeah which is amazing. I don't even know what I'm up to now but I hit, I think, a hundred copies within the first week she, yeah which was amazing. I mean it's obviously slowed off since then.

 

Kareena: [00:10:24] But yeah, that's incredible, for a launch.

 

Sami: [00:10:24] You know I put a lot of work into it and I wanted to make it amazing. The difficult thing is, I'm very stubborn and I do everything myself.

 

Kareena: [00:10:33] The next step. Once you've decided that you want to create a product. The question becomes whether you should do it yourself or outsource to professional? And the truth is, you need to do a cost benefit analysis. A few things to consider when evaluating these options are: 1. How long will it take you versus someone else? Is it worth your time? And can you get someone to do it faster and for less than it would cost you? Your time is still money. 2. Can they offer you insight and expertise that you don't have and then leverage it to create a better product? 3. Can they create a better product than you could on your own? And in doing so, will it lead to more sales? 4. Is this something that you want to learn? If you're going to undertake a task to create your own product, are the additional benefits in learning these new skills worth that investment in time? Take all these factors into account before making your decision.

 

Kareena: [00:11:35] OK I was going to ask you about that. What is the process to get an eBook developed?

 

Sami: [00:11:38] I feel like I probably should have given it to a company to make into a beautiful PDF and I try and make them look amazing but I'm sure there are people that could do a much better job and probably a lot quicker. But, I don't know, it was my baby. I didn't want to give anything away.

 

Kareena: [00:11:55] So you've made all your eBooks so far?

 

Sami: [00:11:58] Yep, I'm a one-man band. No one has ever touched anything that I do. I don't get any admin help. I do have an accountant, that's like the one that I will delegate because you know, I don't know how to do my tax. But everything else is all developed myself. All the training programs are written, formatted, popped into the eBook format. I set up my entire website myself. so

 

Kareena: [00:12:19] Are these skills that you had to learn to create these businesses or is it something that you already knew?

 

Sami: [00:12:23] No, I just taught myself along the way. You know, I obviously asked people for advice and if someone else already had a website. Like I'm pretty sure I chatted to a few people but it was something that I just started with the knowledge that I had and just built upon it and just kept learning. Like, I was doing a lot of YouTube tutorials on like "How do you format an eBook" and "What's the best website to use" and things like that. And then I just kind of played around with things until it looked good.

 

Kareena: [00:12:48] And they beautiful. They are really well done.

 

Kareena: [00:12:52] One way to increase the speed of any learning process is to learn from others. Anyone and everyone can offer an opinion or unique insight that can help. Especially those that have done it all before. Leverage your network and ask questions of people that have already done what you're setting out to do. They'll be able to share their experience and you can learn from their pitfalls and their victories as a way to create an even better product.

 

Kareena: [00:13:17] So did you have mentors that helped you through that process? The people that you spoke to? Or were they more just friends and family?

 

Sami: [00:13:23] They were more friends and family. I haven't really had an official mentor along the way. You know, when I was PT'ing full-time, I did kind of have a mentor from that side of things. And he was amazing in terms of teaching me how to train clients and things like that. But from an online perspective, I'm very self-taught, which I feel like I should pat myself on the back for that a little bit.

 

Kareena: [00:13:41] Now I hear you. You might be thinking that you're not yet ready to make that move to create your own eBook or online digital product. But there will always be a million reasons why not to do something. So why don't you just take a listen to Sami's point on when she thinks it's the right time to make that next move.

 

Sami: [00:13:58] I guess when you're really passionate about something and you have something useful for other people. I know a lot of people in the fitness industry are doing, obviously, like training program eBooks. And I think that's great! It's a really, I wouldn't say easy but it's a much more convenient way to make money with a minimal amount of time because basically, you know, all of the work is done upfront. Putting of it together, you know, getting content and shooting your training programs or whatever it is that you're doing with your e-book. And then once it's done, it's done. And then it's there forever. So, you know for me I've really pushed my recipe eBook when it first launched. So, I think it was the first of April that I launched it. So, I was kind of doing a bit of a lead up in the weeks coming up to that and then obviously when it launched I was posting pretty regularly for the first week or two to really hammer it. And from then, like maybe, mention it once a fortnight. Not even. Maybe even once a month.

 

Kareena: [00:14:50] And it still just trickles along?

 

Sami: [00:14:51] Just trickles along because I obviously have a link to my shop section of my website in my Instagram bio. People will just click on that and see what's available and I'll randomly just sell training programs or my recipe book just through it being there. So, it's great.

 

Kareena: [00:15:06] So it's a relatively passive income then?

 

Sami: [00:15:07] Absolutely. That's the word I was looking for. Yeah. It's good and it means that you know you can leverage your time a lot better and just drip feed little bits of income behind the scenes of the work that you've already done. So, you know, I've made my money back now already on what I invested in to that recipe eBook. Obviously, I had to buy a lot of plates and lighting things. But you know I made my money back within the first couple of weeks and so now it's just like a little bonus. And it's good, affordable content for people as well. And I think it's a good way for people to especially, if you are running a coaching business or something that kind of pairs along with your eBook. Yeah, it's a good, like, more affordable way for people to buy into your service. And you know, and love something that's more affordable that they've initially bought and then come in for coaching. So, for me, I get a lot of clients who are like "Oh I bought your recipe book. I absolutely loved it. I'm want to come to you for nutrition coaching" or you know, "I've done your work guides. I love your style of training. Can you write me some personalized training?" It's a good little foot in the door for them and I think it helps them get a better feel for what they would get if they were coaching client or whatever else people's business is are. Obviously coaching is much more costly than just a once-off program so from an affordability perspective people are much more inclined to just buy once-off program and test it out and then like "OK, I love this. I'll sign up!"

 

Kareena: [00:16:25] It's a great strategy.

 

Kareena: [00:16:27] Before asking your followers to commit large amounts of money towards the purchase of any of your products. You want them to sample at first, like a try before you buy experience. Offering something for free gets in customers, offering a more premium yet lower cost item, helps narrow down the list to warmer leads and then that allows you to offer a higher priced item to them, later down the line. It's a great way to demonstrate what they should expect from your more expensive product. Minimizing the risk that they'll have a negative experience that may hurt your brand. Encourage them to spread that positive word of mouth.

 

Kareena: [00:17:05] As a business owner, it's smart to have the different revenue streams that you've got. And, also, as you said you understand a consumer's purchasing behavior.

 

Sami: [00:17:14] Yeah, and I think I'm a consumer from that same kind of perspective. Like I definitely would want to get a feel for what people are doing before I invest hundreds of dollars, potentially. So, depending on what it is, like I know with my coach, I made sure I did a lot of research before I picked her and we've been friends for a while anyway, so I was obviously a little biased but because I am a coach myself. I was like okay it's important to me if I'm going to be coached by someone else and then learn from them. I want to make sure that they're aligned with the style of training that I enjoy and the style of basically, everything that I enjoy. So, I really made sure that I was familiar with what she was doing before I bought into that. So, same kind of thing. You know I think it's really important to have people know what to expect from you. So eBooks are a great way to yeah, just have something affordable a little foot in the door.

 

Kareena: [00:17:57] Understanding your customer is key. Understanding that you also have more than one type of customer, will help you become successful. Sami explains what she looks for in her online coach and demonstrates that it's important to understand your service offering and make sure those messages are targeted to particular customers.

 

Sami: [00:18:15] Definitely like, if they have social media, even better! Because you can kind of get a feel for them. I think it's really important to make sure that personality wise, you mesh well. Depending on what kind of coach you need. So, for me, I know what I'm doing with training, I know how to track my macros so I don't, as much, need like the educational side of things. I more need like the Support and Accountability and probably someone to tell me to slow down, more so than work harder. I'm very hard on myself and so I kind of need someone to be like "It's okay, you can have an extra rest day because you're flat out this week you doing a great job." That's probably what I need. Maybe it's more of a friend, a paid friend for me. I know that that's what I need. And I know that's what a lot of my clients need that's kind of the person that I am for them. But, if you need a more technical coach, obviously, you want to try and find someone like that. So, I guess just checking out their social media platform if they have one to do your research. And also, just see if you can get a hold of their clients in some capacity. So, if their clients have an Instagram that you can kind of have a look and see how they're enjoying things or if they're posting stories about the training program and you're connecting with that, I think that’s another really great way to make sure that you would be a good fit.

 

Kareena: [00:19:29] Beyond online businesses, Sami has expanded her brand to include live events with her company "Get it Girls." Events are a great way to have the online world interact with a physical one and create a well-rounded suite of products and services that she can offer to her followers. Recognizing and leveraging current trends is one of the strategies employed by Sami to make her event a success.

 

Kareena: [00:19:52] You have created a whole series of events for "Get it Girls."

 

Sami: [00:19:55] I have! Well it's just one so far but we're working on the serious part of it. So yeah, we had our first event on July 29, just down the road from here actually, which was amazing. We had, I think about, 90 girls, which was amazing! Yeah, I was it was really good.

 

Sami: [00:20:11] For a first event, especially, we were really proud that we got such great turn out. And it was awesome, it was a lot of fun. It was a four-hour event. We had four different guest speakers, so myself and three others. Speaking on a range of topics, all health and fitness related., obviously. We just wanted to make something informative and helpful and relatively social. I think we'll probably, like, work on the social aspect a little bit more in future, maybe more mingling time.

 

Sami: [00:20:35] But I really just wanted to capitalize on, I guess, like the whole like brunch, like Lady date, kind of thing is really big at the moment. A lot of like business networking, things like that, and I didn't feel like there was anything specifically like that for fitness. We wanted to do more, like, seminar-based, really helpful, getting girls together getting them motivated and educated and giving them some tools that they couldn't leave with to work on their goals. So, that was the really big driver for me to create these events. So, I have a business partner that helps me. So, Petra is amazing, she's a lifesaver. She does a lot of the emailing for chairs and tables and all the things that I'm like "I don't know these things!"

 

Sami: [00:21:12] So I kind of more handled, like choosing the influencers and making sure they knew what to say in terms of like, what direction their presentations would go. And a lot of, like, the social media advertising, that was all me. So, we kind of have our own little roles in this business but one down so far. We're working on the second one. So, we're hoping to get Gold Coast happening around November. Hopefully, if Gold Coast goes well, then next year we're planning, obviously, to going to state and kind of take it as a bit of a tour.

 

Kareena: [00:21:41] Sami has gone all in. She's an incredibly savvy businesswoman with many skills and talents in the fitness space. With her suite of products, we asked her why she diversified her business instead of sticking to just the one product? And what it really came down to, was creating that network and that business ecosystem. She has products and services that support each other and in turn support or her followers, clients and customers in a way that they need. It's a system designed to give back and Sammy wants to help any way she can.

 

Kareena: [00:22:12] You've got all these different avenues and businesses that you've created. Why all the different businesses? Why not just focus on the one?

 

Sami: [00:22:19] I don't know! I mean, I'm not really an overachiever. So, I can't answer that question. I don't know. I mean, I guess they are all interrelated. Like in terms of my eBooks, that really supplements my coaching business. In terms of like influencing on Instagram, that supplements my coaching business and "Get it Girl" again, like not necessarily to drip feed anyone back to coaching but more just as another way to help people. So, I kind of saw that as like a different area of my coaching and it was just more face-to-face. You know, helping the larger amount of people at one time. So, I do try and make sure that everything I do makes sense to me as a brand and is interrelated and is supporting each stream. But primarily, like, everything I do is to support my online coaching business because that is my main financial area. And what I spend the most time on.

 

Kareena: [00:23:07] You've mentioned your marketing is primarily driven by Instagram for that business. Do you think it's important for any kind of fitness professionals, these days, whether it's fitness health or wellness, to have a social media profile?

 

Sami: [00:23:17] I don't think it's, like, a 100% necessary but I do think it is helpful. If you are interesting and people want to follow you, then, they're going to buy into your service a lot easier than just having a website or something like that. I think it's a lot easier for people to find you if you have an Instagram. Social media is just driving everything these days. So, if you can build a profile, amazing! Doesn't mean you have to have a following. It's obviously helpful. You can reach more people to advertise to. But I don't necessarily think you need a large following. It is helpful to have an online profile that kind of demonstrates your business and you have somewhere to direct people to if they want to get a better idea of you. And you can link your website to there and give people more information from them. But I do think it is really valuable in this day and age to have social media account of some sort.

 

Kareena: [00:24:05] So take us back right from the getting with your Instagram journey. You were posting about your personal experiences. Did you start to notice that people were interested in that and then that began building your own following?

 

Sami: [00:24:15] Yeah definitely. I think there's like a few before and after photos that I've posted and those tended to get a lot of interest, a lot of likes and comments. A few, like, larger accounts reposted my photos. Which is really cool! And that's I think, where my Instagram started to grow was from other pages, picking up my photos and reposting them or through Tumblr as well I had at the time. Which I don't really use anymore. I feel like, that's like, kind of a bit different. But like, I would share my photos from my Instagram to my Tumblr and then they would kind of be reposted a ton there as well and then come back and follow me on Instagram. So that's kind of how things started. And then as more people followed me, I probably, I'm assuming I came up on that little "Explore" page a little bit more. So, it just grew from there.

 

Kareena: [00:24:59] So had you started your Instagram account back when you started your fitness journey or only when it turned into a business?

 

Sami: [00:25:07] Well no, I had an Instagram before and it was just quite personal. I was just posting the usual things. You know, birthdays and quotes and things. And then yeah, it just kind of slowly evolved as I've told person. So yeah, naturally as I became more fitness minded, I was posting more things. So even before I was working as a fitness professional I was starting to cast more about like my weight loss journey and like, the gym things that I was doing. And that was more on the personal side of things. And now, I've kind of, as I've built a fitness business. It's definitely coming from a more business-minded place I suppose.

 

Kareena: [00:25:42] So from a practical perspective because Loopers are aspiring influencers themselves. Do you have any tips and tricks around growing your following on Instagram?

 

Sami: [00:25:50] I think the biggest one is just to be authentic because people can see through. If you'll really just trying to be an influencer and I think if you have good intentions to be a positive influence on people fantastic! Put your knowledge out there, put your journey out there and get people invested in you. But if you're just trying to be an influencer for free things, people are just going to scroll past and they're not going to be interested in what you're doing.

 

Kareena: [00:26:16] So working with brands is something that we chat about quite a lot here on the podcast and with all the influences that we've interviewed so far, the message has been consistent. There are two distinct strategies that you can employ. One is passive, which is where you keep doing what you're doing and wait to see if someone notices you. And then hopefully they like you enough to offer you a product or payment in return for some social posts. The second requires you to go out there and get them yourself. And if you want to improve your chances of being seen by the decision makers at these companies, on a platform that has over 1 billion users and is growing every day, then you need to do your bit to reach out.

 

Kareena: [00:26:54] How did you get involved with other brands?

 

Sami: [00:26:56] I guess, like mostly, people just will reach out to me like via DM and just tell me that they like my page and they'd love to send me something. And to be honest, I've actually really shied away from that lately, just because I'm trying to focus on my own business and I don't really see myself as an influencer.

 

Sami: [00:27:15] I mean, I know I have influence and I do have a little bit of a following but that's not what I would consider myself. I'm primarily a health and fitness coach, that's what my business is. I really want to make sure that I'm putting fitness related content out there and informative, helpful content that is going to help other people's fitness journey. So, in terms of products like I've really eased off that. But if it's relevant to me and it's a company that I'm interested in then I'm always, like, open to collaborating. But yeah, nine times out of 10 they'll reach out to me. I have tried to contact a few different brands that I've been interested in, to chat to them. So sometimes that's been quite beneficial. So I work with EHP Labs, they're my supplement sponsor. And I did contact them. Actually, well technically, way, way back, they contacted me. When I had maybe like 10,000 followers back in the day before they were very big in Australia. And they were the first product that I ever received, like, as a free thing on Instagram which is kind of cool. And then, you know it's come full-circle and they were really growing and expanding their ambassador program, so I reached out to them, just said "Hey, look, you know, I've been using these products for so long, I absolutely love them. What can I do to be considered?" And I think that's a really important question. Not just "Hey, can I have some free things." I'm happy to apply or be considered, like do you have any advice, like, I'd love to join your team because I genuinely love these products."

 

Kareena: [00:28:42] That's a really good piece of advice. It's about adding value and seeing what you can do together, achieve together.

 

Sami: [00:28:46] Yes! It's not just taking free things. And be like "I'll post a photo if you give me free things." I think it should be a collaboration, it should be mutually beneficial. But essentially, you know, if you're being a positive influence on people and if you want to be a fitness influencer and you're posting your workouts and your meals and you're getting people inspired to do the same. Well I think that's amazing!

 

Kareena: [00:29:07] There are so many different ways that fitness, health and wellness influencers, can work to differentiate themselves from others on the platform. From the experiences they share to the information and advice they offer. We consider whether gaining formal qualifications is a useful strategy in helping you stand out from the crowd.

 

Kareena: [00:29:25] Do you feel as though your background and your qualifications are a great means of differentiating yourself on the platform? Amongst all the fitness influencers that are on there?

 

Sami: [00:29:34] Not really because so many people are qualified these days. There's a lot of personal trainers and online coaches and it's very competitive. So, I wouldn't necessarily say that it sets me apart. I think it legitimizes me a little bit more, that I do do this for a job and that I am qualified and experienced and I have a lot more knowledge than some like just influencers. I’m doing a whole bunch of courses at the moment because I’m just trying to soak up as much knowledge from other coaches and industry professionals as I can.

 

Kareena: [00:30:29]  Are you doing that out of a personal interest or more because you are creating creating this fitness empire around your brand?

 

Sami: [00:30:35] A little bit of both to be honest. I mean, primarily it is for business because obviously, I’m a health and fitness coach. So, I work with a number of clients. So, I do want to further my knowledge to better help them but it also is a personal interest I suppose. So, it’s a bit of both. It’s nice that my personal interest is something I can also make money from. So yeah, I’m just trying to do as many courses as I can because I feel like there’s so much to learn and I have been in the industry three-ish years, which is quite new I think, I still have a lot to learn. But again, I don’t really put myself in the box of “influencer”, I more try and go down the route of like, this is my business and I’m here to coach clients all around the world and so this is just a platform for me to share more of that to get more clients.

 

Kareena: [00:31:20] So how do you feel you help yourself stand out on the platform?

 

Sami: [00:31:24] I’m very personal. And I think that works for me, it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. But I think people have become invested in my personal journey, I share a lot sometimes, probably too much. But, you know, I talk about things like bad body image and binge eating, but you know, that was something that I personally went through and a lot of people resonate with.

 

Kareena: [00:31:51]  Sharing your experience in the form of a video or photo is merely offering followers a glimpse into the life of an influencer. It’s simply not practical to show every moment but the moments you do choose to share and those you keep private paint a very specific picture. The “highlight reel” as it’s been coined. More and more discussions are being had about whether influencers have a sense of responsibility to present a more complete picture of their life and share both the ups and downs in the true sense of being authentic.

 

Sami: [00:32:23] So I try and just be really honest with what I’m doing and not just come across with “Hey, here’s beautiful pictures of me happy at the gym” and you know, I try and make sure I’m presenting a full picture of a real person and that people can connect to that. So, I think a lot of my followers follow me as a person, not just as a coach or as an influencer, which is really nice. It’s nice to have people, kind of, care about your life. I have some really amazing followers actually, it’s amazing lot of them will actually end up becoming clients and becoming friends from that, which is awesome! But yeah, I have a lot of regular commenters or people that will reply to my stories and DM me and stuff like that, which is really, really nice, to have, like, a lot of loyal people that I guess, I mean you can’t really call them friends if you haven’t met them but I think it’s really nice to have people that you hear from now and then, that appreciate what you’re doing and saying something nice or if it looks like I’m having a hard day, I always get a lot of people popping in and being like  “Hey I hope you’re ok”, it’s so nice!

 

Kareena: [00:33:25] Do you feel like that engagement with the community is an important part of growing your following? And maintaining it?

 

Sami: [00:33:32] Yeah I think so. Yeah, I think replying back to comments and things like that is so important because it makes people feel like you actually care. You don’t want to see your following go up and not care about the people that are following you because I think you need to provide them with content and make it enjoyable for them. So, I think the more you can interact with the people that follow you, the more invested they’ll become in you.

 

Kareena: [00:34:00] Well thank you so much for joining us on the Loop App couch Sami.  It’s been great to have you in for a chat.

 

Sami: [00:34:03] Thank you! It’s been so fun!

 

Kareena: [00:34:05] And that brings us to the end of our interview. If you’d like to continue following Sami’s journey, you can find her on Instagram @samirosefitness. If you liked this episode of In the Loop, please leave us a comment, we love to know what you thought and don’t forget to subscribe so you can get notified when we release a new episode every week! We will be back next week with another episode of In the Loop where we chat about the business end of being an influencer. Catch ya then!

 

Reference: Couples Therapy Podcast with Candice Pool & Casey Neistat, Episode "It wasn't always like this."