As a gym owner, you’re on a constant search for new and creative ways to grow your gym. From lead generation to retention strategies, you’re really only limited by your imagination. And when it comes to getting creative, social media influencers are one of those unique options.
For a variety of reasons, working with influencers can be beneficial for your gym. Even those who don’t have massive followings can offer a “path less traveled” when it comes to marketing. Which can help your brand stand out in the crowd, amidst the Facebook ads and other common gym growth tactics.
The significance simply comes from the human connection. Social media influencers are real people, after all. Even if it’s a one-sided relationship and your customers don’t know the influencer personally, there’s still a level of trust. Messaging from a human - especially one who seems genuine - is generally enough to establish a trustworthy foundation. And that matters in a world where we’re bombarded with insincere messaging all day long.
When most people think about social media influencers, they envision a mega-star with hundreds of thousands of followers. But depending on your goals and budget, you might have just as much success with a local, lower-tier influencer.
In fact, someone without a seven-figure following can still make a living off affiliate commissions, post advertisement fees and sponsorships. That’s where you come in.
It’s time to utilize the power of that connection to grow your gym.
Where to Look for Influencers.
So where do you start looking? Successful social media influencers will capitalize on as many options as possible. This means they’re usually on several platforms (e.g. Instagram, TikTok, YouTube). And they’re using videos, photos and copy to monetize their personal brand, and the brands they work for.
Most influencers set up collaboration agreements based on things like a specific number of posts or an engagement target for each post. In regard to your gym, this means you’ll agree on how - and how often - you want them to promote your business.
Here are a few options for where you might find the perfect social media influencers:
1. Inside Your Own Gym.
The perfect influencer is someone who already knows and loves your brand. And if you have a member who also has a large social media following, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Take the time to research your members on various social channels. If you come across one or two that could prove to be beneficial in your gym social media strategy, put together a proposal.
One thing to note: Pay specific attention to your members’ style of posting and the amount of engagement they get. When it comes to spreading the word about your gym, sometimes quality is more beneficial than quantity. In other words, creative posts that match your gym’s vibe - and a medium-sized following - might be better than sub-par content going out to a huge audience.
2. The Local Celebrities Scene.
Local celebrities can often have a powerful marketing impact. Especially for gyms like yours, that are only looking to reach a small geographic region.
Local celebrities also won’t charge as much as social media influencers with a larger geographic reach. And if they’re well-known locally or have influence over the community, this seeds familiarity and trust.
Put together a list of all the local celebrities you can think of. Examples include news anchors, athletes, organization leaders, musicians, authors, etc. Once you’ve created a long list, research their social media channels. Look for content that aligns with your gym mission and vision, and potential opportunities to collaborate.
3. Local Agencies.
Agencies work with social media influencers and earn a commission in the process. Consider agencies like a store: They source a service, and you go there to buy it. This leaves them with the middleman fees and (hopefully) a returning customer.
Going through an agency will be more expensive than a direct, one-on-one transaction. Agencies understand the market value and content specialties of influencers. So the investment can be worth the time it saves you in researching these things yourself.
Note that influencer marketing should have a campaign behind it instead of being a one-off purchase. Further, an influencer campaign should be designed to yield results over time. So be reasonable with both your budget and timeline for best results.
4. Personal Trainers.
Personal trainers are a less-obvious but often more-powerful choice as social media influencers. Similar to members who already love your gym, current personal trainers are a great choice for developing a social media marketing initiative.
For trainers that aren’t currently working with clients at your gym, this could be a new opportunity for a business relationship as well. First, allow them to train clients in your space with the goal of creating social media content. If the collaboration works out well, perhaps your space can be their location for training clients moving forward.
One of the biggest benefits to working with a social media influencer who’s also a personal trainer is their highly-targeted of followers. Chances are, their audience is already interested in fitness and wellness, providing a natural crossover for your gym.
Things to Consider When Working with Social Media Influencers.
The Pros of Working with Influencers.
Here are a few of the pros to consider when working with social media influencers:
- Drive Brand Awareness. Spreading the word about your gym can sometimes be tricky. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and getting your name out there is the first step. Make it more powerful when it’s genuine and comes from a real human being.
- Create Customer Trust. Influencer content is an impactful form of paid media that appears to be earned. Typically, prospective members need to hear about your gym at least seven times before taking action. The quicker you build trust, the faster the transaction happens.
- Increase Sales. A solid combination of new membership sales and gym member retention will increase your gym’s revenue. So if your influencer marketing strategy yields new, quality leads, it’s accomplishing part of that success equation.
- Measure Results. The most beneficial marketing tactics are the ones you can track so you can make adjustments. One of the most valuable outputs of social media marketing in general is the ability to measure results. From impressions to reach to engagement, let the data guide you.
The Cons of Working with Influencers.
Alternatively, a few cons to be aware of when working with social media influencers:
- Be Careful Who You Collaborate With. Often, we don’t actually know who an influencer truly is behind their carefully-curated content. Social media posts can’t indicate how equipped they are to handle a business relationship. Or even show personality traits that may be detrimental to your brand. So it’s imperative to outline your expectations in a formal agreement.
- Be Aware of the Legal Requirements. Influencers are required to mention any instance they’ve been paid by a sponsor. Unfortunately, a startling number of low-tier influencers don’t know this. So as the business owner, you have to be just as familiar with the requirements to avoid any legal issues.
In Summary: Making the Right Impression with Social Media Influencers.
For a variety of reasons, working with social media influencers can be beneficial for your gym. You can drive brand awareness, create customer trust, and increase revenue. Plus, because social media is so easily trackable, you can figure out where to make adjustments.
Four effective influencer options include members inside your gym, local celebrities, agencies and personal trainers. Research options that align with your social media marketing goals, and your gym’s vision and brand voice. Once you’ve found the right people to collaborate with, remember that an influencer campaign is designed to yield results over time. So be reasonable with both your budget and timeline for best results.