Transformation journeys, recipe ideas, workout tips, and desirable bodies; health and fitness are dominating trends on Instagram. Perhaps you roll your eyes at millennials who no longer drink their coffee, choosing, instead, to take photos of its swirly surface. You might think that the filter-filled, photo-sharing platform is not for you, but, with over 500 million daily users, Instagram is the second biggest social platform, following Facebook at number one. As Facebook’s demographic continues to age, Instagram’s key benefit is access to a young market. 59% of users are under the age of 30, whilst 63% of teenagers are active on the app every day. Instagram, as a marketing tool, can be highly effective for brands large and small. You can create much of the traction organically, without paying a penny for advertising. Using a few simple tricks, you can use Instagram to boost your fitness brand.
1) Put yourself out there
Follow those in the business and then follow their followers. Don’t be afraid to follow random accounts. Don’t worry if you follow way more accounts than you have followers. You can always spring clean in every couple of weeks. What is important is that you are continually engaging with potential customers. Let your customers know that you are on Instagram and encourage them to take and share photos of themselves enjoying your studio or centre.
2) Provide generous content
While Instagram may seem like a veneered photo album, it can also be functional and informative. At your sports centre or fitness studio, you are in prime position to provide instructional videos and class clips. Perhaps you can showcase a new signature move, teach the perfect backhand, share a great cool-down stretch, or post-workout smoothie recipe. Remember that all of your content should strike a balance between being visually pleasing and enlightening.
3) Tell me a story
Instagram’s “story” feature has progressed immensely in the last year. Not only can you post live videos and pre-recorded clips but Boomerang bursts, annotated pictures, questionnaires and polls. Instagram stories can be found and viewed by people who don’t currently follow you. Your stories last for 24 hours and are most successful when viewers stop to interact with them. If you have over 10,000 followers, first of all, congratulations; you are allowed to add a clickable link to your story, helping you to drive traffic to your website. If you are beneath the threshold, keep your cool; Instagram is still in the testing phase of this feature and has already lowered the requirements from one million followers.
Hashtags can look a bit trashy, but they are an essential marketing tool. They are free to use; insert them into the comments section of a post or attach them to your story (new feature). Hashtags make your posts discoverable, giving your brand a global reach. For hashtags to be effective for your brand, you will need to research what your target audience is searching. General fitness tags that are popular are: #fit, #health, #exercise, #motivation, #workout. However, to find meaningful followers you might want to choose more genre specific hashtags, for example, #powerlifting, #tennis, #yogaposeoftheday. Keep in mind that hashtags trend with the seasons and events, so capitalise on what is happening at the time. While Twitter hashtags should be limited to two or three, Instagram lets you go wild. With a maximum allowance of 30 hashtags, it is tempting to chuck everything under the sun on there. Keep them relevant to your brand and steer clear of #desperatepleas for #followers, like #followforfollow, or the millennials will #jumpship.
5) Offer free classes to influencers
One of the most significant marketing trends is to get “influencers” to use and share your product with their large following. The top influencers are paid well to advertise, but those that are still building their audience may be happy with a free class. Connect with influencers on the platform and mention them in comments, even if they do not respond, their followers will be able to discover your content. If you feel that an influencer fits your brand, then invite them to your studio for a class.
6) Collaborate with an apparel brand
You may already sell a particular brand’s clothing and accessories at your venue. Collaborating with a brand through social media, cross-promoting each other’s products and services, is hugely beneficial to both parties.
7) Keep it up!
Like fitness, Instagram is not a quick fix. To achieve optimum results, you must be consistent with your efforts. With a long list of daily tasks, any fitness studio or sports centre might struggle to maintain an online presence. Practice what you preach: Focus on your goals, stay motivated, reap the rewards.