Instagram is a fun and easy-to-use social media platform that’s ideally suited to fitness businesses. More than other social media channels, Instagram is designed to communicate through high-impact photos and video clips. Its primary focus is creating opportunities for community-building through inspirational messages and powerful glimpses into the lives of real people overcoming challenges and sharing with others how they’ve improved their lives.
And there are more people on Instagram every day! The platform has grown to 1 billion users worldwide in 2020. Roughly half of them log in daily, and 200 million users visit one business account every day. The average time Instagram users spend scrolling through their feed or watching Stories is 28 minutes.
If you’re a fitness business, you have a tremendous opportunity to grab those Instagram users’ attention and inspire them to check out your group classes and personal training sessions – whether you’re hosting them in-person, online, or both.
The key is to know how to build an audience that’s right for you and to get them to take action, not just give you a bunch of likes. Consider these 5 points to get a head start on the competition.
The first step to building a successful Instagram presence for your fitness business is getting over stage fright and the myth that you have to be polished and perfect. The good news is that posting friendly, authentic content that lets the real you shine through is a proven way to boost engagement.
User behavior on Instagram and other social media platforms continues to confirm what we all instinctively know – it’s not big famous personalities with professionally produced and staged Instagram posts that draw the most authentic clicks and comments. Increasingly, smart marketers are seeking out everyday people like you and me who are doing inspirational things to help build followings full of loyal fans -- the people who actually want to pay to take your classes.
Take advantage of IGTV for longer videos and the new Reels for short, sweet and fun posts set to music. IGTV is fairly new and offers early adopters the opportunity to get out in front of audiences. For fitness business owners, this means being able to take more time to talk with potential new customers, demonstrate the benefits of your method and give people healthy lifestyle how-tos that they can use immediately to improve their day.
Use Instagram Stories and Live video to showcase you and your team’s personality – give potential new customers and existing students a behind-the-scenes look. Use quizzes, survey questions and stickers to engage users.
Share success stories from your best customers and feature inspirational, empowering messages from you and your team. Instagram is also a perfect place to host a challenge or build community around a challenge that you’re hosting by giving your customers a common hashtag to use when posting photos of themselves participating and celebrating.
For more specific ideas on what type of content your fitness business should be posting on social media, check out our recent post with the 3 Best Tips To Keep Your Business's Social Media Feed Awesome.
If you’re consistent – posting at least once a day and uploading a story two to three times a week – you’re going to be ahead of the curve. Most people fail to achieve results on social media because they post infrequently and irregularly.
To build up a loyal and active community of followers, you want people to see you post every day. Once they’re hooked on your content, they’ll actively come to expect it, and you become trusted for continuing to give them new, fresh content to engage with. It’s like becoming that person who everyone knows is going to always be at the party, ready to welcome with a friendly smile and ready to chat about interesting topics. You want to be that person who always leaves people feeling better after having engaged with you – the only difference is that you’re doing on Instagram.
For more ideas on how to efficiently build and schedule Instagram posts check out our recent post with 6 Smart Steps To Grow Your Fitness Business With Social Media.
One sure-fire way to get more authentic followers on Instagram is to visit the feeds of people and brands that are aligned with your fitness business – this could be your most regular customers or like-minded community businesses – and regularly like and comment on their posts. Reserve “follows” for the most valuable contacts. When people see you engaging with their posts, they are likely to check out your account and follow you.
Instagram increasingly optimizes posts that have more comments and saves, as opposed to likes. From a business perspective, likes don’t get you paying customers. Clicks to the link in your bio do.
In fact, Instagram is moving to hide likes of posts to encourage community and take the pressure off like counts. Again, to rank highly in the platform’s algorithm you’ll need to engage, which means inspiring users to comment, view your videos and save your posts.
One of the biggest differences between Facebook and Instagram is that for organic posts, Instagram does not allow you to put a link into your post. You either need to direct users to the primary link in your bio (you’re allowed only one), or, as most businesses now do, you can use a link hosting service like Linktree or Feedlink. You can set up a free account that will allow you to add as many links to your list as you’d like. You can pin a primary link, like your fitness studio’s class schedule or pricing page (A fitness business software platform like Punchpass makes it super easy to sell passes and register paying students for class) to the top of your link list. To ensure that your social media accounts actually drive paying customers to your business it is critical that you have a call to action to click a specific link in your bio for every post that you share. Here are a few additional ideas for links that you can share and power with your Punchpass account:
As we mentioned, Instagram was originally designed to be a visual platform. This is why you hear so much about beautifying your Instagram grid. What is it? It’s the most recent nine posts you’ve made, when displayed on the home view of your Instagram account.
The #1 tip for creating an optimal Instagram grid is to alternate types of posts so that you have a consistent “quilt” when they are displayed three across and three down. For example, every other post is either a photo or a quote, and the color scheme is congruent. If your gym’s brand colors are black and red, you want to feature that in the images you post. You don’t want to choose photos where the primary color palette is pastel.
Remember, Instagrammers who keep it light, fun, inspiring and share content that serves others and brightens their day do best. If you’re part of the Punchpass tribe, you’re already a natural fit -- you’ll do great!