A common way to gauge the success of an Instagram page is to look at the number of followers it has, but attempting to measure success through such a limited lens can be misleading. While many businesses adopt the “more is better” approach—in the social media realm, oftentimes quality trumps quantity. An Instagram page with thousands of followers who aren’t engaged doesn’t offer much actual value, so it’s important to focus on building a community of loyal followers who are genuinely interested in your brand, what you’re offering, and what you have to say.
Building a large following of real, engaged Instagram users isn’t easy, and it will take some time, but it’s a worthy investment—especially considering that Instagram now has over 1 billion users worldwide, and 80% of Instagram users say they use the platform for help when deciding to buy a product or service. Instagram’s strong impact on consumers’ buying journey has created tremendous new growth opportunities for fitness businesses—but it has created new challenges, too.
Because of the platform’s continuous growth and changing algorithms, it’s become more difficult for fitness brands to break through the noise to reach and connect with users—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! With a little bit of patience and the right social media marketing strategies in place, you’ll be able to boost your Instagram following, build brand awareness, and create meaningful connections with your audience.
In this blog, we’ll discuss five ways you can build a strong Instagram following for your fitness business.
1. Go after your audience
To utilize social media platforms effectively, you need to engage in meaningful dialogue with your followers—but first, you need to find them. One way to find Instagram users who are interested in fitness is to search popular fitness-related hashtags. From there, you can reach out via direct message, or like and comment on their posts. You can also follow hashtags to keep an eye on trending topics, and use that insight to create relevant posts and spark conversations. Center your Instagram marketing efforts around building genuine connections with like-minded users, and try to avoid coming across as too salesy.
2. Focus on the “why”
Your Instagram page may be someone’s first interaction with your fitness business—and first impressions matter! The COVID-19 pandemic created a significant shift in the way consumers interact with brands. Now more than ever, social media users want to build bonds with fitness brands, and they’re more likely to base their buying decisions on a company’s purpose and mission. Instagram is a great way to promote a higher level of transparency, and features like Live Videos and Instagram Stories provide fitness brands with unique ways to offer behind-the-scenes looks and interesting insights.
In fact, a recent Deloitte study finds that purpose-driven companies are better positioned to survive this time of extraordinary change, and that “marketers can and should take an ‘outside-in’ consumer perspective to the C-suite and executive teams. Especially if your business is in an industry addressing one of the many essential needs that have gained importance in the pandemic. That can be your shot at demonstrating the value of purpose to all of your stakeholders.”
3. Tell a story
Because of its real-time factor, Instagram Stories is a great way for fitness brands to show their human side, and it can really help bring your business profile to life. In fact, 33% of the most viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses. Using the Instagram Stories feature, fitness brands can share short clips of personal training videos, fun snippets from the day, or even cheat meals. And if another Instagram user tags your fitness business in their Instagram story, use that as an opportunity to create a conversation by sending them a direct message, or reposting it to your fitness Instagram account.
4. Use the power of influence
As health has become a top priority over the past year, fitness influencers have seen a huge surge in popularity on social media platforms. This has created a golden opportunity for fitness brands to partner with fitness influencers to boost brand awareness and to increase their Instagram following. While many larger fitness brands look to partner with widely popular and well-known fitness influencers, smaller fitness businesses may want to consider working with local micro-influencers. After all, if you’re looking to build a genuinely engaged social media community, working with someone local gives you that much more of an advantage.
5. Encourage community content
Making your members a part of your Instagram marketing strategy is a great way to create a sense of community, and to make your business profile look and feel more authentic. Your members are oftentimes your greatest advocates, and they help boost brand awareness and drive membership for your fitness business without expecting much in return. Consider gifting select members with some free branded swag in exchange for taking photos and tagging your fitness Instagram account on their social media platforms. Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated—and who doesn’t also love free stuff?
With the global tendency continuing to shift toward more screen time, it’s a great time to revisit your Instagram marketing strategy to make sure you’re getting the most from your social media marketing efforts. With the right approach, you can effectively utilize your Instagram page to increase your number of followers, build meaningful connections with users, and to gain unfiltered consumer feedback that you can use to grow your fitness business.
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