‘My success wasn’t intentional’ Joe Wicks speaks on the importance of social media in business

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Joe Wicks

Never underestimate the influence of social media in business.

According to information published by Ambassador, 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a positive experience with it on social media.

One person who is a ringing endorsement for this is Joe Wicks. Not your conventional entrepreneur, the 31-year-old, was hosting boot camps in London until Instagram allowed videos to be posted on its platform. Since this introduction in 2014, Wicks hasn’t turned back, seeing phenomenal rise attributed to his highly popular “Lean In 15″ recipes, which have become an established phenomenon.

Wicks has sold two million books in just two years, has 1.8 million Instagram followers and his YouTube channel amasses 1.4 million monthly page views. BLM met up with Wicks to talk about his success.

You recently hosted a two-part TV series on Channel 4, how are you finding being a TV star?

It’s a bit different because I’m used to being on my own filming. But when I’m doing TV, I have to think a bit more, it’s nerve-wracking, because you’re doing TV and thinking did I say the right thing? When I’m doing it, I’m really critical of myself, but when I watch it back I think I’m more relaxed than I was.

Are you your own worst critic?

I think so, yeah. When it comes to things like TV I have to be in the right mind-set to want to film, so when I’m doing my social media, I’m very motivating and inspiring when I’m motivated and inspired myself. It helps me to be a bit more accountable and put out better content when I’m training and eating well.

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What do you think are the main differences to putting content out on social media to recording the TV show?

I’m not a natural TV presenter. I wasn’t setting out to be a TV presenter or personality. My confidence has improved a little over the years on social media. When I’m doing fitness things like a live high-intensity interval training workout I’m quite relaxed in that environment, but when I’m doing live cooking or have a big camera crew around me there’s more pressure.

Tell us about your success story, Joe.

It all started for me as a personal trainer, running boot camps, having fun, and at the time it hit a peak. I was working every day and weekends , which wasn’t sustainable. I knew being a personal trainer was a young man’s game and that I wasn’t getting any younger. So, I thought about ways I could share my motivation, passion and expertise with other people. I started posting stuff on Twitter and got a bit of an audience, but things really took off when Instagram allowed video posts in 2014. That was the start of the “lean in 15 videos”. These were 15 second videos showing how to cook a 15-minute meal. I had no audience and no one was really watching, but I was obsessed. I did breakfast, lunch and dinner, posting new content, and I built up a following.

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Using social media to drive potential customers to your products takes a lot of passion, correct?

There’s a lot of work that goes into social media, it doesn’t just come easy, you’ve got to be committed and passionate. You also have to be relentless to stand out.

First of all, the success was never intentional, when I started doing it, there was no such thing as micro-influencers. You didn’t see fitness guys getting brand deals, selling online plans and getting book deals. My motivation for doing it was purely desire. I wanted to share content, have fun and inspire. I didn’t have a thought in the back of my mind that I would get paid for it. Whereas now, people setup Instagram accounts with that intention. Mine was organic, natural and combined the fact that I related to a lot of people who watched my videos. I didn’t make them feel guilty, I do still have a burger and a drink, I’m human. That journey and experience means you are real, you are genuine and it’s something you can’t manufacture. You can’t manufacture relatability, you’re either genuine or you’re not.

Joe Wicks has seen incredible success utilising social media tools such as Instagram and Facebook

How important has the role of marketing and PR been to your success?

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Crucial. Through my free content on social media I am marketing, which I didn’t really know when I first started. I’ve become smarter in terms of targeting certain audiences and different regions, but without social media, I’d have had a quarter of the success I’ve had. You can’t rely on traditional media – magazines, newspapers – to write about you. It’s old fashioned. Nowadays, you have to lead with social media and the rest will follow. The world is digital.

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in business so far?

My biggest hurdle I believe is hiring staff and building a team around me, trusting people around me to do other things. When you’ve been doing it on your own, it’s hard to let a little bit of the business go and invest in people, getting individuals around you to help you become a better businessman, CEO or Director.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?

An entrepreneur is someone with a good idea, but the people that stand out from the crowd are those that put in the hard work and keep at it. Taking knockbacks and thinking of ways to keep moving forward.


The full interview with Joe Wicks will be published in our next national edition. To subscribe to Business Leader Magazine, click here.

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