Social media marketing for fitness businesses: How to promote your fitness business on Instagram
Have you ever wondered how you could get more clients for your fitness business? Does your yoga studio or gym deserve more recognition? Has it been a while since you last revised your fitness digital marketing strategy? Then, you’re in the right place. We — VistaCreate, the wizards of the marketing world — have put together a comprehensive article that will bring your fitness social media marketing game to the next level.
Today, we’re going to dive into the world of social media for fitness businesses. In this article, we’re discussing whether or not social media marketing is effective for gyms and fitness centers. We also cover the current fitness social media marketing trends and explore how you can liven up your fitness studio’s Instagram page.
Make sure you read through this article attentively — it’s filled with actionable tips, unconventional fitness social marketing strategies and ideas, and lots of prompts, templates, and examples.
Why should you consider social media marketing for a fitness business?
Today, digital marketing is an important part of any business marketing strategy. However, it’s particularly important for fitness businesses of all kinds — gyms, yoga studios, personal trainers, stretching studios, etc. Here are some of the key benefits of having a robust social media marketing strategy for a fitness business:
- It helps to reach your target audience. The majority of small businesses in the fitness industry aren’t chain enterprises, but rather separate single-location studios. Therefore, one of the most prominent features of a successful marketing strategy for a fitness business is local marketing. Social media platforms are perfect for local digital marketing, as they allow marketers to target specific audiences based on a series of different parameters.
- It appeals to your target audience’s needs and wants. It’s no secret that a lot of people turn to fitness not only to become healthier, but also to alter their physical appearance and become more satisfied with their reflection in the mirror. Before they commit to a gym, they need to get at least some sort of guarantee that their hard work will pay off — people want to see photos of gym clients that have shown improvement. For a fitness business, a page on social media acts as a collection of social proof and can tip a potential customer towards becoming a paid customer.
- It helps to increase your brand exposure. Social media marketing for fitness businesses allows gyms, yoga studios, and personal trainers to increase their brand awareness and let more people know about the services they offer. By creating and publishing valuable content that’s likely to get liked, shared, and commented on, fitness businesses expand their brand reach and attract more customers.
- It helps to build a community and increase the lifetime value of your customers. Once working out becomes a habit, gym-goers start spending more and more time at their gyms. Some particularly dedicated sportsmen visit sports venues as often as 7 days a week. Naturally, the gym becomes a huge part of their lives, and they want a space where they can connect with like-minded individuals. A page on social media can act as such space. It brings the fitness business and its customers closer together, creating a sense of community. As a result, customers become more likely to turn into loyal customers.
- It helps to establish your gym or fitness center as an expert in the fitness industry. Instagram hopping is the modern alternative to window shopping — the more followers your fitness business social media page has, the higher quality content you post; and the more you engage with your audience, the more likely you are to be seen as a knowledgeable, trustworthy business.
7 social media marketing ideas, tips and tricks for your fitness business
To leverage all the benefits of social media marketing for fitness businesses, you need to ensure that your social media page is of the highest quality; the content you share is unique, on-brand, and valuable to your audience; and the community you build around your brand online is motivated!
We’ve put together a list of 7 actionable social media ideas, tips and tricks for your fitness business to use. Check out our Instagram growth hacks and get down to experimenting now!
Make your gym’s page on social media as informative and useful as possible
A social media page is only as useful for fitness social media marketing as it’s informative. If you don’t update your profile regularly, if your information is dated or incomplete, or if your social media page isn’t on-brand, you may as well not have one at all.
Here are all the must-have components of a perfect Instagram fitness business profile:
- A profile picture that includes your logo.
- A detailed yet concise bio (you can use this space to list the services your sports studio offers)
- Your location.
- Your opening hours.
- A link to your website.
On top of that, you should also include your current pricing, available time slots, a calendar for booking, and more.
For instance, 1Rebel uses their Instagram Story highlights to introduce all the classes they offer and share a small overview of what to expect at each session:
Share evergreen, useful content about fitness, health, and wellness
If you want your content to get a lot of likes, saves, comments, and shares, you need to make sure you produce interesting, informative, and overall valuable content for your audience.
If raising brand awareness and brand reach is among your fitness social media marketing goals, you should balance your gym promotional content with evergreen, educational content.
You can create content in various different formats:
- How-to posts (‘How to use a rowing machine”, “How to measure your heart rate after exercise”)
- Listicles (“7 lunge variations you need to try”, “Top 5 exercises to make your bum burn”, “Best music to work out to”)
- Step-by-step guides (4 steps to better donkey kicks)
- Workouts (“20 minute full body blast”, “Beginner core workout”)
- Tips and tricks (“5 tips to find a gym buddy”)
- Do’s and don’ts
- Benefits of… (sleep/walking/working out/sauna/swimming, etc)
- Motivational quotes
To make sure your publications have the desired effect, you need to ensure that all of them are branded, well-designed, and consistent with your fitness brand. All of these tasks can be solved with VistaCreate. Our tool offers a variety of different features to make your marketing process quicker and easier, and your designs more professional-looking. For instance, VistaCreate offers the Brand Kit feature that helps you brand all your designs in a matter of seconds. Moreover, there’s also the Resize tool that can help you alter your designs to fit different formats and platforms in a matter of clicks. Finally, you can publish your designs directly to Instagram or Facebook without leaving the editor.
Remember, the fitness world isn’t limited to working out exclusively. Here are some other topics you can cover in your Instagram posts:
- Mental Health
- Positive mindset
- Gym fashion
Drive more inspiration from our ready-made solutions for fitness businesses! On the pages of our Solutions project, you’ll find numerous designs for your fitness center, tai chi, yoga studio, dancing classes — all ready to use and easily customizable.
Focus on building a community, not a following
One brand advocate that stays with you through thick and thin is worth hundreds of random followers that come and go.
Building a community — not just followers — should be among your top fitness business priorities. Your number one task is to stop being yet another gym page, and become a source of fitness content strongly associated with your brand.
The two ways in which you can do that include…
- Running monthly challenges. You need to create a reason for your audience to follow you and keep coming to your page. One reason could be an ongoing project. For example, you could launch a monthly 14-day-workout challenge, where you’d share new exercises, diet plans, and other tips every day!
- Running members-only competitions. You can encourage your followers to become your clients by launching competitions that are only accessible to the members of your sports studio.
Besides, you should also aim to create a comfortable environment for online discussions. Every once in a while, you should ask your audience questions rather than answer them — and see where it leads. By putting a topic up for discussion, you get to social listen, find out who your target audience is, learn something new, and get more engagement for your posts (Instagram loves when users leave comments!).
Speaking of engagement…
Max out your interaction with the followers
Back in 2019, a lot of people would go to the gym only to get fit. Then, the most important factor that could impact your target audience’s purchasing decision was the equipment your gym boasted, the number and intensity of the training programs it offered, and the accreditations of the personal trainers at your training facility.
And then, the world turned upside down, shifting everyone’s values completely.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit the world and robbed us of the invaluable experience of communicating with each other in real life. While being bound to our homes, we were all outer-world-sick. We looked for every and any opportunity to get a taste of the past, connect with new people, and have meaningful conversations.
During lockdown season, a lot of brands that were previously reserved in their social media communications had to change their strategy. They became more laid back and open because this is what their audience was interested in. Gyms and fitness studios that stepped away from being faceless businesses turned out to be more successful at keeping their customer base and growing it, despite all the restrictions.
Even though we’re already out of the pandemic (hopefully, for good now!), this tendency still exists. Over the two years of feeling lonely and looking for any kind of interaction online, people got used to brands engaging with them on social media and expect this to continue, even in the covid-free future.
There are a couple of ways in which you can max out interactions with your target audience and establish an ongoing relationship with them.
- Host a ‘personal training’ session in your Instagram Stories
While it’s important to motivate your audience and educate them on different fitness-related topics, the main reason your followers follow you on social media is because they’re interested in training with you.
Give them a taste of what training with you is like via a virtual personal training session. Not only will that showcase your expertise, help you stand out from your competitions, and share your unique approach to fitness, but it will also bring immense value to your potential clients. A free online training session — especially with interactive elements — is a perfect way to give your audience a gift and get to know them a little better.
Leverage all the tools Instagram has to offer and make your Stories truly interactive:
- Host an Instagram live, where you can hold a short online training session for everyone interested, interact with your audience in real-time, have them join the stream, leave comments, and ask questions. Don’t forget to set a timer in the Stories so that more people join your live session.
- Diet constructor. Create a perfect lunch/breakfast/after training meal together with your followers by letting them choose what they’d add to their meal (e.g. veal, turkey, or chicken for lunch; nuts or no nuts in the salad; mayo, mustard, or olive oil dressing). Use the Instagram Quizzes sticker to let your audience vote on their favorite foods, and then explain which choices are good and which aren’t particularly healthy.
- What’s next? Let your followers decide whether it’s going to be an arms day or a legs day in your Instagram Stories. Break down your workout routine into a series of exercises and use the Instagram Poll sticker to have your audience direct you towards the exercises they want to see most.
- Host regular Q&A sessions
Another way to establish two-way communication with your customers is by holding regular Q&A sessions. There are two Instagram formats that support them: Instagram Stories and Instagram Live.
We’d recommend adding both to your fitness business social media marketing strategy as they deliver different results:
- Stories Q&A sessions can be saved to your highlights, and act as another proof of experience and additional source of value to potential customers that have just stumbled across your profile on Instagram.
- Live Q&A sessions can be more comprehensive and interactive as you converse with your audience in real-time.
When working with Stories-based Q&As, leverage the Questions tool to provide your followers with a space to leave their questions.
According to a survey conducted by Livestream, 82% of the participants said they would prefer watching videos instead of ordinary social posts.
So, don’t hesitate to answer the questions you receive by recording short videos with responses.
Here’s how PureGym does it:
VistaCreate Pro Tip: To make your videos even more accessible, include auto-generated captions.
- Focus on social mentions and respond to them promptly
Finally, you need to monitor all the mentions your fitness business receives and react to them promptly. The best way to keep track of all the mentions of your gym or sports center online is to use dedicated tools.
Some of the best tools for mention tracking online include:
- Mention. Monitor what people say about your brand or product on social media, get analytical insights about your industry, and measure the impact of your PR activities with Mention.
- Awario. This online tool shows online conversations about your business in simple graphic charts, compares your performance to competitors, and provides handy email updates. Track your brand mentions, compare the results to competitors, get reports, and find leads.
However, it’s not just the outer web that you need to keep track of. It’s also important to pay attention to every comment and DM you get, and respond to them quickly.
Regardless of whether it’s a genuine question or just a random comment, you should never miss out on an opportunity to engage with your customers. Here’s how 1Rebel gym does it:
Run competitions and contests
Competitions are always for the win (pun intended!)
Nothing activates your audience like a nice little contest they could easily participate in. Luckily for fitness business owners, gym-goers are quite a motivated audience with a lot of dedication to the cause. Hence, it won’t be too difficult to get them up and running. Especially if you come up with a nice little prize to give to the winner.
Here are a couple of competitions you can run:
- The best lunch recipe for serious gains
- The most impressive transformation
- The most effective workout session
- The most creative picture at the gym/fitness studio/yoga center
- The most perfect yoga position
For the competition, to do yourself a favor and raise brand awareness, make sure that all the entries come through as Instagram Stories or posts with your profile tagged. You can even create a special hashtag for each competition you run!
Increased brand awareness isn’t, however, the only benefit of such competitions and contests. They can also generate your fitness business a fair share of User-Generated Content to publish on your page.
If you don’t fancy designing a complicated competition, you could always turn to minimum-effort, maximum-result giveaways. Despite being somewhat overused, they’re still effective in getting your audience hot and active, and your engagement levels through the roof.
Celebrate your gym or fitness studio’s member achievements
Speaking of leveraging your members’ results for your own promotion… You can both strengthen your community, deepen your bond with your clients, and showcase your expertise by sharing your members’ fitness achievements and results.
Anything can be a positive result! Here are a few examples of what you can cherish on your fitness business social media account:
- A before and after transformation
- A customer that achieved their goals
- A client in great shape after an all-inclusive vacation
- A client that did a workout after a long work shift
- A new client that has recently joined you
- A client that has attended 10, 50, or 100 classes
Make sure to tag the heroes of your gym and publications, so that they can add it to their profiles, too!
Capitalize on the body neutrality trend
Last but not least, if you want your fitness business social media marketing to be successful, you need to keep up with the latest social trends.
According to VistaCreate x Trendhunter’s research, body neutrality in the fitness business is one of the hottest trends in 2022.
The body neutrality movement shifts the focus from fitness businesses trying to help their customers “look good” towards helping their customers “feel good”. It focuses on fitness as a way to celebrate one’s current body (as opposed to fitness as a way to change the body) as a more positive way to approach physical wellness.
You can participate in this trend by making your fitness business’s social media content more body neutral and body positive.
A great place to start would be using VistaCreate’s body neutrality templates!