When it comes to powerful options for marketing to - and connecting with - clients, Instagram should be part of your arsenal. By understanding the various options available, you can use Instagram effectively to increase membership, revenue and engagement.
Instagram started as a platform to let people share photos and videos in a social feed. Since its inception, it has evolved with other products in the market to offer more options like Stories and Reels. With a solid strategy, there are a ton of great ways that gyms can crush it on the ‘Gram.
Why Should Your Gym Use Instagram?
While marketing seems like the primary reason for building a strong presence on Instagram, there are many others. Here are some opportunities:
- Share new content. Because Instagram is an entirely visual platform, you can create some really fun content. Highlight your members, create how-to videos, showcase gym events and more.
- Engage with your members and leads. Engagement is the key to improving your Instagram visibility. You can organically increase this by creating content your members will “love,” and asking questions that they can respond to.
- Build brand awareness. The visual aspect of Instagram goes hand-in-hand with building your brand. First, have some fun with content that shows your personality, vision and values. Second, tie in the visual elements of your branding (colors, fonts, etc.) for symmetry across all platforms.
- Connect your community and build relationships. You already know that building a strong community improves member experience. Think of Instagram as a way to reach your members in the 23 hours they’re not at your gym. Use Instagram effectively here by showing people that they belong, that they’re part of something. Ask questions and post engaging content that connects them. For example, have them tag other community members in posts about workouts, events and more.
Tips to Use Instagram Effectively
There’s a strategy to being effective on Instagram but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Too many gym owners get wrapped up in questions like “How often should I post?” Or “How much money should I be spending on Instagram ads?” While these should be considered, anything is better than nothing if it gets you started.
Aim to post once per day. The goal is to post often enough to keep people returning to your feed regularly. In addition, the consistency helps you build credibility. Take advantage of tools to help you save time by scheduling posts. With a solid organic posting strategy, and depending on your goals, you may not even need to spend money on paid Instagram ads.
Here are some more tips to use Instagram effectively:
Find your audience.
Picture that one member at the gym that you wish you could clone. Maybe it’s the one that attends class consistently and encourages others. If you're a super-competitive gym, maybe it’s a fire breather. Whoever it is, tailor your Instagram feed to target more members like that one.
Want people to feel welcome? Show images of your community that make them think, ‘That person looks like me.’ Want to build a gym of competitors? Post images of strong athletes doing jaw-dropping things. If you tailor your audience to your ideal gym members, people will understand your vibe through your images.
Engage your followers.
The key to engaging your audience is to create visually-appealing content that motivates people to respond. The more followers your page has, the more effective engagement posts can be. Instagram follows an algorithm that prioritizes what it perceives to be the most relevant content. Over time, this will be your best strategy to continue growing your following.
Ask questions, create polls, use comical gym “inside jokes,” etc. to use Instagram effectively. Host Instagram contents encouraging members to share posts or tag friends. The goal of your engagement posts is to get as many likes and comments as possible.
Use Stories and Reels to drive engagement.
While the Instagram feed is a great place to showcase your content, you should mix it up with Stories and Reels.
Instagram describes Stories as a “feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.” Reels are a “way to create and discover short, entertaining videos.” Learn the differences by playing around with these options and have some fun! Get creative with allowing your audience to peek “behind the scenes” at your gym. To expand your reach, direct people from one area to another so they can view all your content.
Need ideas? Check out 5 Types Of Social Content You Should Be Creating For Your Gym
Build a hashtag strategy.
Instagram hashtags are a strategic way to get your content in front of new people. Instagram users might find you by searching popular, generic hashtags (ex: #Squats). Or you can hashtag your gym’s name for specificity. Both can increase visibility for different reasons.
You can also design a fun hashtag strategy using your city or location. For example, gyms in Chicago could use #ChicagoFitness to help potential leads find them through a hashtag search.
Looking for another fun way to connect your community? Find a commonly-used phrase in your gym and make it a hashtag. If your gym has a tagline, use that. Challenge your community to post images and use your unique hashtags.
Work with an influencer.
An Instagram influencer is someone who’s built a reputation around a certain niche on Instagram. They will have a sizable following and credibility within their online community. Be sure to work with people whose followers correlate to your gym’s content.
Building a relationship with influencers can first increase your following. Secondly, it can extend the time people spend on your content. This could potentially increase the conversion rate of leads into paying members.
Collaborate with brands.
Aligning yourself with a variety of brands can be a fun, unique way to use Instagram effectively. With the right brand collaboration, you can also build credibility.
Start by outlining the goals you have for collaboration, then seek brands that align with that goal. For instance, if you’re simply trying to grow your following, try to collaborate with larger brands. Note that the bigger the brand, the more difficult it may be to request collaboration. However if you’re looking to build brand awareness locally, seek partnerships with other small businesses. While some brands are an obvious match (i.e. nutrition or supplements), you can use this opportunity to get creative.
In Summary: The ‘Gram Can Be A Game-Changer
Instagram can be a powerful tool in your gym’s marketing strategy. However the benefits aren’t limited to marketing alone. If you use Instagram effectively, you can share new content, engage with members and leads, and build brand awareness. Plus, it’s a great way to connect your community and build relationships.
Once you’ve defined your audience, find creative ways to engage your followers. Build your audience by collaborating with influencers and brands. Don’t forget to mix it up by using Stories and Reels to tell your story. Then boom, you’re rockin’ the ‘Gram!