social media

“It’s Just Storytelling”: Generate More Leads with Your Gym Social Media

Your gym social media doesn't have to be complicated. Gym owner Dave Aisenstat says it's about telling members' stories! Here are five tips to get started.

Emily Beers
May 9, 2024
“It’s Just Storytelling”: Generate More Leads with Your Gym Social Media
Your gym social media doesn't have to be complicated. Gym owner Dave Aisenstat says it's about telling members' stories! Here are five tips to get started.

If you’re like a lot of gym owners, your to-do list is filled with coaching, admin and everything in between. So it’s not uncommon for your gym social media to get pushed to the back burner. It can feel daunting to come up with a plan. Which platforms should you be on? And who can keep up with the constantly-changing algorithms?

As gym owners ourselves, the PushPress team gets it. Every day, we’re managing our own social media channels and trying to keep up with the trends.

Tell member stories on gym social media
Tell members’ stories on your social media channels to connect with prospects. (Photo credit: CrossFit 845)

But great news: It’s not as complicated as you think. We recently sat down with Dave Aisenstat, owner of CrossFit 845 in Wappingers Falls, NY. Not only does the gym have more than 350 members, Aisenstat has seen some crazy success from his gym social media. And he attributes it to sticking to the basics.

The tried-and-true tactics he uses on the gym’s social platforms consistently generate organic leads, with people coming in saying, “That video on social media sold me.”

The Secret to Gym Social Media Growth.

When it comes to trying to capture new leads, storytelling is king. If you can show real-life examples of how your gym is helping people, you can start to remove barriers. Especially if you focus on your target audience and gym buyer personas.

Aisenstat explained that your gym social media isn’t the place to try sounding like the smartest coach in the city. Nor is it wise to consistently feature your strongest clients maxing out their deadlift.

“The days of the one-rep-max snatch are gone,” he said.

At least, it shouldn’t be the focus on your social media channels. To clarify, it’s not that socials aren’t the place for eduction. But when it comes to attracting prospective members, storytelling is truly the key.

Aisenstat recommended taking the time to sit down with your current members. Ask them about their journey and have them tell their story.

Sharing Real Stories is Crucial.

Aisenstat shared an example from a client he talked with last week. She had arrived at his gym weighing more than 300 pounds. He asked her to share as many details as she was comfortable with. As the conversation went on, he learned that she had been pregnant with twins and ended up losing one of them. This led to excessive eating as a way to cope with the pain.

Her story was emotional and at times, tough to share. But today, as she’s gotten healthier and fitter, she’s also realized the value of sharing it for others who might be able to relate. That type of connection is powerful for overcoming intimidation and increasing conversion.

Aisenstat meets with clients regularly to get stories like this. Then each month, he chooses one that’s particularly powerful and turns into a “Member of the Month” feature on his gym social media.

Member Feature at CrossFit 845
CrossFit 845 member Ron shares his powerful story about overcoming addiction through CrossFit.

Five Keys to Tell Compelling Stories.

1. Dig Beneath the Surface.

Featuring a “member of the month” isn’t new to gyms. But using the feature as a catalyst to connect with leads involves digging deeper to get the full story.

Start by throwing out the surface-level questions like, “What’s your favorite workout?” Instead, try asking about what brought them to your gym or why they joined. Ask them what’s changed in their life since they joined or what advice they’d give to a new person.

Aisenstat offered this tip: If you feel like your client is still holding back, try asking the same question in a different way. Sometimes it just takes time, reassurance or coaxing for people to open up.

2. Remember to Hit Record.

Writing down clients’ answers as you go through the conversation is great. It will allow you repurpose new gym content into blogs, social posts and more. But nothing beats the emotion that comes from a video interview. Hearing the story from the person makes it so much more authentic and engaging.

Further, Aisenstat has seen great success from turning these interviews into YouTube video features. He turns them into paid ads, which do particularly well on the platform.

One additional tip he shared: Don’t forget about the music in your gym social media content. Music tends to elicit emotion. And as Aisenstat explained, we want our leads to feel something.

“Music is king,” he said.

3. Exercise Patience with Your Gym Social Media Strategy.

See what we did there? Just like any good fitness or nutrition program, patient is imperative. Over time, consistency in campaigns like this will win out.

Start out with a simple and achievable social strategy. If you’re currently posting once every six months, maybe avoid aiming for three posts a day. Create a plan that’s feasible for you to accomplish. From there, be patient and consistent. Then iterate as needed as you go.

Pro Tip: Did you know that the Social Planner in PushPress Grow allows you to automate your social posts? Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

4. Show Regular People Doing Achievable Things.

In our Instagram-transformation, instant-gratification world, it’s tempting to focus on the fittest athletes in your gym. The thought process is often, ‘If I show the world how fit you’ll become here, people will want to join.’

But oftentimes, the opposite is true. Your gym social media can actually deter people if they think your gym is only filled with fit people. They want to see people who look like them. And they also want proof that you understand their struggles.

Fitness solutions for every level
Show prospective members that movements are achievable for every fitness level. (Photo credit: CrossFit 845)

So don’t shy away from showing your beginners or people in your senior fitness program. If some of your members don’t look like the “typical” gym-goer, even better. That means they’re likely more relatable to the prospect sitting on the couch.

5. Leave Pricing Out.

Aisenstat recommends avoiding the pricing conversation completely on your gym social media. He said it’s all about focusing on solutions instead of how much it’s going to cost.

“Pain points over price points” is the way he sees it.

One of his successful tactics has been to promote two of the high-ticket gym services that CrossFit 845 offers. Both packages include personal training, customized nutrition and InBody scans. One is six weeks in length and the other is 12. Aisenstat shares all the details in his social promotions but leaves out the price.

“The reason we don’t include the price is because people don’t know what they will receive to change their life,” he said.

The primary goal is just to get them in the door. From there, you can talk about their goals, challenges, schedule, etc. Once they see that you care and that you can provide solutions, the financial aspect is easier to understand. They’re not just buying a gym membership. They’re compensating you for your guidance in solving their pain points.

In Summary: For Gym Social Media Success, Tell Stories.

Despite all the nuances and fluidity in your gym social media, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Take the advice of gym owner Dave Aisenstat of CrossFit 845 and tell your members’ stories. He’s seen some great success through social media. And he knows that to attract new leads, you have to find a way to connect. That connection usually comes through real, emotional stories that prospects can relate to.

Sit down with your members and start by digging beneath the surface to get all the details. Remember to hit record so you can repurpose your content in various forms, and patient with your strategy. On your gym social media, show real people doing achievable things. And finally, leave pricing out.

The result should be emotionally-compelling social posts that get prospective members to walk through your doors. That’s when you get the opportunity to show them the solutions you offer. And hopefully you’ve gained some new, long-term members.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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