The fitness industry is one of the many industries that have been deeply affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Public health officials advised local gyms, fitness studios, and health clubs to temporarily close for health and safety reasons.
Because of this, many fitness instructors lost their jobs, and gym owners were forced to close their businesses for good.
It wasn’t long after these people got creative and resorted to using technology and social media to keep in touch with their clients and provide private sessions. Some even offered free yoga classes through Facebook Live and Instagram stories to provide support for those struggling to cope in the middle of the lockdowns.
During this pandemic, we’ve seen how important social media has become, not just in bringing people together, but also in helping small businesses and local establishments stay connected with their customers, attract new ones, and make sales.
This proves that social media is indeed an essential tool for business growth in this digital era.
While more and more fitness centers are now starting to reopen, we believe that social media still plays a crucial role post-COVID.
In this article, we will share with you the top five reasons why social media remains to be important despite gyms reopening, the best platforms to use, and social media marketing strategies that can help your gym attract new clients and make more revenue.
The pandemic changed the way people use social media today.
Before it took over the entire world and businesses, big and small, consumers were spending less time on social media platforms and sharing less personal information.
As soon as it hit our nation, it was reported that the average daily social media usage in the US drastically increased to two hours and three minutes from the one hour and fifty-seven minutes daily average in 2018.
Data also shows that social media engagement increased by 61%. This means that more people are now sharing, liking, commenting, and interacting with content on their social media networks.
We believe that this behavior will continue after the pandemic, which presents a great opportunity for small businesses and local establishments to reach more prospects, run effective campaigns, and grow their business through their social media marketing efforts.
Here’s why we think so:
When was the last time you watched the news on your television after a stressful day at work? Yesterday? Last week? Or perhaps, has it been more than a year?
It wouldn’t shock us if you’d answer weeks, months, or even a year!
These days, people are spending most of their time on their phones scrolling through social media. Whether they’re at work, taking a break, eating their meals, on getting ready for bed, not a day goes by that they don’t check their social media.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels have become the modern consumers’ TV. It’s where people go to watch the latest news, entertain themselves, and stay in touch with their friends.
You can definitely say that social media is where your ideal customers are. Whatever platforms your target audience use, make sure to be there as well. More importantly, be as active as possible.
By focusing your social media posts on fitness-related content, you can attract the right people in your area who might be interested to sign up for a gym membership. They can be gym rats who are new in town, folks who are striving to lose weight, or those looking for another gym.
Other than that, your content can also expand your social network and increase your following. You can post low-carb recipes, workout routines, gym hacks, and feature satisfied clients.
You just need to figure out which social channels your target audience is spending most of their time on. Once you know, you can create a business account or page, and make sure to update them regularly.
Consumers today are extra careful when it comes to buying products or availing of services, especially online.
When deciding which company to buy from, consumers look for proof that it’s legit and that it can provide excellent services or products.
They will go through your website, check out your online reputation, read what your customers have to say about you through social proof, and see if you have a good number of following on your social accounts.
People tend to judge businesses by their online presence. For many, a business that doesn’t have enough followers must mean that it doesn’t have enough customers either. If they notice that only a number of customers are talking about you, they’ll assume that your products or services aren’t worth trying.
To prevent your target audience from making wrong assumptions about you, come up with a social strategy that will help build your following and increase your online reputation.
Referrals are very important for businesses.
When customers recommend you to others, you can generate more quality leads than when you do running a commercial on TV. Once your referrals become customers, expect to be referred again.
Today, referrals no longer happen face-to-face, they happen in the social media world. People share their personal experiences opinions about a brand or business, which can be impactful, depending on what they have to say about you. Users find them to be valuable insights, considering that they come from actual customers.
Some create long-detailed reviews about a product or service on social media. Others simply post a photo with the caption “highly recommended,” which can already be enough to drive customers to your website or physical store.
Your social media marketing strategy should also feature user-generated content on your accounts to encourage customers to post or make a recommendation about your gym.
Another major benefit of having your business on social media is that you can better establish brand awareness.
You see, not all of your target audience are ready to fully commit to a gym membership just yet. Some might still be testing the waters, whereas others may have conflicting schedules that make it hard for them to squeeze in gym.
As soon as they change their minds, you want to be the first brand they can think of.
Being active on social media is a great way to keep your business on top of your target audience’s mind.
The best social media sites to promote your business are the platforms where your customers and potential customers usually are, and these are the following:
Facebook has about 2.8 billion active users each month, making it the largest and most widely used social media platform to date.
According to Sprout Social, 77% of B2C businesses have acquired customers through the tech giant. Without a doubt, Facebook can be an invaluable asset in helping your gym get more clients and members.
Instagram has over one billion monthly active users worldwide.
If you check how many fitness-related posts there are on the platform, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are hundreds and millions of them. That’s why it’s one of the best channels to reach your ideal customers.
Instagram Business revealed that 81% of consumers use Instagram to research products and services. It goes with saying that having an active Instagram account can help you capture leads and increase your social following.
Another way to grow your following on social media is to create a YouTube fitness channel. With more than 1.9 billion users worldwide, YouTube is definitely the place to attract prospects with your workout videos, behind-the-scenes of your gym, or maybe even a fitness journey of willing clients.
Although it’s a fairly new social platform, TikTok already has 689 million monthly users around the world.
How’s that even possible, you ask? Well, the platform can turn anyone into an overnight sensation - and by anyone, we mean users who post insane and over-the-top videos.
TikTok’s a great place to showcase the human side of your business by taking on virtual challenges and joining trends. Many small businesses use it to show the behind-the-scenes of their daily operations, host Q&A sessions, share tips, and so many more.
Used by over 330 million users in all parts of the globe, Twitter is another go-to platform for businesses who want to reach out to their target audience in the digital world.
However, since tweets only have a lifetime of a few seconds, it can be a bit more difficult to advertise your gym. The upside is, it can be an effective channel to provide immediate customer service.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of social media for your gym, as well as the best platforms to promote it, let’s proceed to the next topic: Social media strategies to help you grow your business this 2021.
Have a look at them below!
Having a strong social media presence requires having a solid content strategy in place. For your gym to dominate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and wherever else you're on, you need to post relevant content that resonates with your target audience - and you should do it on a regular basis.
Here are some ideas to inspire you:
UGC can help build trust among your target audience, which is why you must feature them on your social media accounts. In fact, it's one of the most popular social media marketing trends out there.
If a client tags you on their Instagram story, post it as a re-story and save it on your profile’s highlights. That way, your followers and anyone interested to learn more about your gym can see the story whenever they’re visiting your page.
As for Facebook mentions, share them on your profile to let the social media universe know how your gym produces healthy and happy clients.
Posts shared by customers are seen as a genuine reflection of how your gym or fitness studio looks like in real life.
Featuring comments from your clients can have a massive impact on your target audience’s decisions, especially since these comments tend to be more genuine and relatable. Having women with the perfect hourglass body and chiseled chested men to promote your business will only set unrealistic expectations.
User-generated content can be in the form of:
You can also start a hashtag to organize these types of content and encourage your clients to use them. It makes it easier for others to find the kind of post they want to see. You can use your gym’s name and the content type.
Here are some ideas: #FloridaGymReviews for customer recommendations and reviews, #FloridaGymSuccessStories for client success stories, and #FloridaGymWorkoutRoutine for exercises.
Screenshot from @crossfitelcid
These photos are from El Cid Fitness’s Instagram. You can see that they’re featuring their clients in their content, both on Facebook and Instagram.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 90% of brands and businesses that worked with influencers are happy about the outcome and believe that influencer marketing is effective.
Photo from TheShelf.com
Tapping into the right influencers can help you reach more of your target audience and communicate your brand message effectively.
Influencers can also help your brand feel more approachable and relatable. Their followers trust them so much that when they recommend a local gym, these so-called fans will most likely check it out.
If you think you can’t afford to hire an influencer, you can look for nano or micro-influencers in your area. Or, you can reach out to people who have a strong background in fitness, with a considerable number of followers.
They may not have millions of followers, but they do have hundreds or thousands who might be interested to work out in your gym. You don’t have to worry about spending a big chunk of money anymore. They might even be willing to help you out for free.
So, how can you find influencers like these?
Simple. See if there’s anyone in your area who loves fitness and are vlogging or documenting their fitness journey on YouTube or Instagram.
Use relevant hashtags to find them. You might even want to research your clients and check whether some of them post fitness-related content on social media.
You can also designate yourself or one of your instructors as brand ambassador. Post about your gym, share UGC on your accounts, and post on your stories. Nobody knows your gym and your services better than you and your employees.
Adobe discovered that 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that show diversity and inclusivity in their ads.
Break stereotypes by being more inclusive in the type of content you produce. Feature men and women of all sizes, body types, ethnicity, and sexual orientation in your social media campaigns.
Here’s a great ad focusing on inclusivity by Blink Fitness.
Photo from blink fitness
Instead of using super fit models to advertise their gym, they featured regular gym members with whom their target audience can relate to.
What we love about this campaign is that it promotes body positivity, without having the need to pressure people into looking skinny and shredded. It gives us the message that working out isn’t just about staying fit, it’s also about the happiness it brings.
During the lockdown, the number of people using Facebook Live increased. Live streaming is popular now more than ever.
According to Livestream, 82% of users prefer to watch live videos than any other form of content. With a massive demand for social broadcasting, the fitness industry can certainly take advantage of this.
You can use any live platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube to showcase fitness events, sneak peeks, Q&A sessions, and so much more.
Driving engagement from your loyal and prospective clients will no longer be a hard task to take on.
Here’s a live Zumba party hosted on Facebook Live.
Screenshot from Live Love Party Zumba in Facebook
The fact that the event gained over 9,000 engagements obviously tells us that it was a huge success.
Graph from Statista
Instagram stories, Facebook stories, WhatsApp status, and Snapchat have about 500 million daily active users. This presents a great opportunity for businesses to use ephemeral content to increase sales and boost their conversions!
Ephemeral content refers to content that is only accessible for a limited amount of time after. Once it has surpassed the limit, the content will no longer be available. Photos, live stream videos, and narrative stories are the most common forms.
What makes this content so effective is that it’s short, addictive, and it keeps your viewers engaged. Consumers can spend hours and hours tapping through different stories without getting bored.
Ephemeral content also fosters FOMO (fear of missing out). 60% of consumers make an impulse purchase within 24 hours because of this phenomenon.
By posting time-bound offers and discounts on your stories, there’s a good chance that you’ll convince your audience to sign up for gym membership.
You can use Sephora’s ad as inspiration:
Photo from G2 Learning Hub
Video contents catch people’s attention because they’re engaging in nature. No wonder they’re everyone’s (well, almost) favorite type of content.
According to Oberlo, 54% of consumers expect more video content from brands and businesses they support. This means that the demand for video will continue to increase in the incoming years.
Make the most of video marketing by publishing health and fitness-related videos, like workout tips and tutorials, debunking fitness myths, success stories of clients, and more.
Social media plays a critical role in helping local gyms and fitness studios reach more customers post-COVID, increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and achieve business goals!
However, without the right social media marketing strategies, it will be difficult to achieve your objective.
Allows us a leading digital marketing agency like us to assist you. At Digital Resource, our team of social media marketing specialists can help you develop the best social media marketing campaign custom-fit for your gym. Oh, and they specialize in social media management too!
Contact us today to get started!