Marketing your gym on social media can be overwhelming for gym owners, and it's understandable as to why. With algorithms, hashtags and content to consider, starting your gym's social media strategy may seem like a monumental task.
This simple guide teaches you the basics of marketing your gym on social media.
What is Social Media?
A social media channel is a website or application designed to allow people to share content quickly and extensively. Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas and content on a massive scale, with content shared worldwide in seconds. Most people access social media via smartphone apps or their web browsers. Social media helps people to interact with friends, family and others online.
Social media's uniqueness lies in its broad accessibility as well as its relative uncensored nature. In contrast with newspapers, radio stations, and television channels, social media companies often impose fewer restrictions on what someone can share than they do with other means of mass communication.
Anyone with access to the internet can create a social media profile. There are numerous social media applications with sophisticated artificial intelligence capabilities: Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These intelligence capabilities are also known as 'algorithms' and work to create curated feeds for each user based on their history of activity on the social network.
Social media is a fantastic tool for business owners, as it means you can optimise your content to share with your target demographic on a large-scale, for free.
Why Your Gym Needs Social Media
We know that social media is popular - Instagram alone has over 500 million active daily users. Social media is a free tool that your gym can implement to maximise your reach, engage with members and grow your gym. Maintaining a relatable, high-quality social media presence is key to staying relevant in today's digital world.
The rise in #fitspo, #fitnesstok and other fitness trends has seen an explosion in the popularity of fitness content. As of October 2021, #fitness has over 472 million posts, with thousands of content added every minute within the app. It's safe to say the demand for fitness-related content within the social sphere is exceptionally high.
It is also highly lucrative. Fitness influencers alone are one of the highest-paid influencers on Instagram, with some of the most followed people earning up to $67,000USD per post.
One gym that has used social media incredibly well is Crunch Gym. They are renowned for their informative exercise videos on Instagram and can effectively market themselves as an expert within the field. They utilise strong branding, with bold text and the hashtag #CrunchGetsPersonal to boost their videos. They also make membership sign-up straight from their account an absolute breeze, with multiple sales points for various commitment levels across their social channels.
By utilising social media and an effective social media marketing strategy, you can skyrocket your reach, membership levels and open up your gym to other sources of income, including partnerships.
You can utilise content to make your gym stand out from the crowd. By building a strong brand on social media, users are more likely to choose your gym over competitors. 81% of Instagram users utilise the app to research goods and services, like gyms. Brands that are active, responsive and offer social media customer service see greater conversion rates than brands that do not.
Your members will also interact with your social media and share content that you can utilise for free marketing. Termed 'user-generated content' is massive for gym owners because people trust word of mouth over highly branded content. You can use client testimonies, workout videos and progress photos to make your gym more appealing to the masses; the only work you have to do is click 'share.'
All in all, if you don't use social media for marketing your gym - you are already five steps behind your competition. Its low entry barrier and high effectiveness makes social media one of the greatest inbound and outbound marketing sources. It's way cheaper than traditional forms of marketing, and it brings better results.
The Do's and Don'ts of Using Social Media for Advertising
Do: Engage with your followers.
Interaction with your social media posts clearly shows that your customers care about what you're saying. When you are responsive with followers on your gym's social media, it increases your engagement. Social media users like brands that are active and responsive. So does the algorithm. Content and gyms with higher engagement statistics tend to get a better reach on their content. A stronger relationship between your brand and your customers results from better social media engagement and increases the possibility of growing word-of-mouth referrals.
Responding to comments, interacting with user-generated content and liking your members' posts will all help to boost your engagement, allowing your gym to grow organically.
Do: Create content of value:
Creating content that is relatable and shareable is what will grow your following organically. Users follow brands and accounts that they believe add value to their feeds. You will grow by creating content that your followers will find valuable and want to share with others.
Do: Research and use hashtag strategy:
Hashtags allow you to get your content in front of the right audience. Always research hashtags for your geographic location and gym niche. If you are a bodybuilding focused gym, make sure to tailor hashtags for this. If you are more HIIT-focused, your strategy will be different. Keep up to date with all of your social media channels' news and updates, as hashtag strategy does change regularly, especially for Instagram.
Do: Tailor paid advertising to your target audience:
Use your demographics to tailor any paid advertising; otherwise, it may fall flat. Remember, it is always best to start with smaller amounts of paid advertising and see what works than blowing a large amount of money on adverts that fall flat.
Don't: Rely on giveaways to grow your following:
Whilst giveaways may drive followers in the short-term, often, they are only in it for the win. They won't be active after the giveaway has ended and will often unfollow you. Creating valuable content is always king.
Don't: Spam, follow bots or buy followers:
All of these are big no's with the algorithm. It is a surefire way to skew your demographics away from your target market or get banned.
The Importance of Generating Awareness Organically
Organic social media growth refers to growing your social media channels without utilising paid advertising or buying audiences. In organic social media, you post relevant content and engage with those who interact with your brand so that you can build a loyal community of followers and customers. When it comes to organic social media marketing, you can show your real values and culture and learn about your customers' values at the same time.
Whilst paid advertising has its place within marketing your gym, you want to focus on your organic growth strategy. It's free and builds loyalty, trust and brand awareness. The only actual cost to you is it takes time to grow your audience.
To build trust and brand awareness, you should focus on organic growth. Consumers use extensive research to make a purchase, so brand trust is of paramount importance. When customers trust your brand, they are more likely to make repeat purchases without pre-planning. When a brand has a face, consumers can more easily trust it. You can use brand awareness as an outlet, be honest, receive feedback, and share your story.
By creating content of value, organically engaging with your audience, and being active on social media, you will grow an organic audience of loyal followers who are likely to recommend your gym to others. In today's world, word of mouth is king - even if that comes in social media recommendations!
Never buy followers or use paid methods to 'cheat' your way into a larger following. You will likely end up with bot followers that don't fit your target demographic. The algorithm uses your follower statistics to share your content with users like your followers, which means you will miss out on your content being shared with your target audience. With an organic strategy, you will achieve greater reach to your target market - a big win for your brand.
Content Ideas For Gym Owners:
The first thing to realise when creating content for your gym is that experimentation is critical. Content that you don't think will be popular may be the content that blows your gym up. This is especially true for apps like TikTok, which tend to have volatile algorithms based on initial watch time.
Here are ten easy content ideas you can create to market your gym on social media today!
Meet the team: builds familiarity with your team, builds trust and shows personality. Do this as a series is a good content booster.
Workout videos: how to deadlift, how to use machines in your gym etc. If you have a piece of equipment or style of workout that differs you from your competition - focus on this.
Common 'insert exercise' mistakes: informative and can be shared by users of all gym experience levels.
Relatable workout quotes and memes: A brand that does this well is Gymshark. You want to create content that is relatable and shareable because it means you get greater reach.
Trends: Recreating popular trends and challenges with a fitness focus makes you appear more relatable to users. It shows your brand is okay with having a laugh - which builds your credibility.
Day in the life: Follow one of your staff members for the day. Personal trainers, receptionists, salespeople, and managers all have differing days, which can interest your members. It also builds familiarity with your staff and your members.
Behind the scenes: behind the scenes content of classes, setting up new equipment etc.
Client testimonials: Share your personal trainer's clients before and afters, testimonials and achievements. You can even run challenges and document these on social media as well.
User-generated content: If a member posts a video on their Instagram story of them in your gym, reshare it! It highlights the popularity of your gym and makes members feel valued and appreciated by you.
Easy recipes, snacks, what our PT's eat in a day etc. Finding topics closely related to your niche can give your content ideas that add value to your audience.
Remember - being relatable, educational or comedic is key. If your content does not achieve at least one of these, it probably will not have the effect you want.
Marketing your gym on social media is easy and affordable. Organic growth improves your chances of making greater sales and growing a loyal audience who trusts your brand. Social media is the future of marketing for gyms. By following this article, you will start utilising social media to grow your gym today!
Now you know how to use social media to grow your membership, improve your chances of converting more clients in your local area by reading my article full of local fitness marketing tips for gym owners.
Thanks for reading.