How to use Gym Social Media Marketing to Engage Your Members, Improve Retention, and Build Brand Loyalty
Delivering a valuable member experience is crucial to the profitability of your fitness brand. But you can’t stop at just your individual members. Part of a standout club experience is expanding those member experiences into a strong and connected fitness community which extends beyond the four walls of your club.
Fostering a sense of community among your club members doesn’t have to stop when they walk out of the door—and it shouldn’t. Social media is the perfect opportunity for a two-way conversation between you and your members that allows you to engage your audience, voice your brand message, and market your brand online while continuously strengthening your sense of community.
What are the benefits of using gym social media marketing to promote your fitness business?
Our new report—6 Habits from Successful Gym Owners that Will Increase Your Profits – surveyed over 140 gym owners, operators, and managers in the fitness industry to find that being active on social media was a clear leading indicator of whether a gym was likely to be profitable, with a massive 76% of the profitable gyms we surveyed having a strong social media presence. By building an active online community, successful fitness business owners create a place where members can connect and encourage one another, even when they’re not physically in the gym.
In fact, 86% of our gyms named social media as their primary way of communicating with members. With more and more people going online for fitness inspiration and resources, social media marketing has become an inexpensive and effective channel for gyms to engage their customers and generate leads.
Social Media is One of the Most Cost-Effective Ways to Promote Your Gym.
Our survey found more than half of the profitable gyms reported spending less than 4% of their budget on marketing. And while that might sound like they aren’t investing in marketing, the truth is that many successful gyms—particularly the smaller, independent gyms—put more emphasis on organic or unpaid marketing channels as opposed to paid digital marketing in order to generate leads and attract potential members.
Using free social media channels—like Facebook and Instagram— as part of a successful gym marketing strategy gives you a chance to establish a consistent brand identity that reflects your gym’s unique personality, values, and mission. By creating and sharing valuable, informative, and entertaining social media content that aligns with your brand, you’ll be able to keep current members engaged while setting yourself apart from the competition and building a loyal and supportive community for your fitness center.
What type of culture do you want to cultivate around your gym community? What is your community’s purpose and values?
Before establishing your social media strategy, it’s crucial to establish the purpose and values of your gym community. Are you focusing on strength training, yoga, or a combination of different fitness disciplines? What kind of atmosphere do you want to cultivate—supportive, competitive, or inclusive for all levels? Defining these parameters will not only help you attract the right audience but also provide a clear direction for your content and social media posts. When it comes to your social media pages, make sure that your bio and social posts reflect your brand values and tone so that you give your potential customers a strong holistic impression of who you are and what you’re about. This also extends to the use of social media fitness influencers; make sure that the brand ambassadors you select to represent your fitness business share similar values and create content that will increase brand awareness without conflicting with your company culture.
What are the best social media platforms to build your community around and why?
There are many social media platforms out there to choose from when it comes to sharing your content and building your online community, each catering to different demographics and content formats. For example, Instagram is great for visual content, YouTube for longer, instructional how-to videos, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter for sharing articles, tips, and hosting discussions. Tailor your content to each platform’s strengths, and consider where your target audience spends most
of their time.When considering which social media platforms are the best fit for your gym or fitness center, make sure that they are popular within the fitness industry and amongst the target audience you’re trying to attract. For example, if your club’s target demographics are ages 50+, posting on TikTok might not make sense for your gym’s lead generation strategy, as only 14% of 50- to 64-year-olds and 4% of people ages 65 and older actively use this social platform. Contrast this with the 48% of 18- to 29-years-olds and 20% of 30- to 49-year-olds on the platform, and TikTok presents a great opportunity for gyms targeting a younger audience.
If you’re looking for tips on choosing the best social media platforms for your club, we give a detailed breakdown of each platform in our free Everything You Need to Know about Marketing Your Fitness Club guide, which will help to strengthen your social media efforts.
Ensure That Your Social Media Strategy Involves Consistent and High-Quality Content.
For fitness social media marketing—as in any other industry—consistency is key when it comes to building an engaged community. Regularly posting high-quality, engaging content keeps your audience hooked and looking forward to what you’ll share next. You might consider sharing social media posts which include a mix of workout routines, nutrition tips, success stories, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your gym, which will give your audience a well-rounded view of what you offer.
Alternatively, if you’ve defined your target audience or Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), you may want to consider a more targeted approach, sharing content which appeals to a specific niche or target group that are more likely to engage with your content or
purchase a membership.
What type of social media content is best for advertising your gym?
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to showcase your gym and promote it through your customers’ eyes. UGC is any type of content that’s created by unpaid contributors—aka, your loyal members. And it can be a powerful tool for building your brand, engaging your current members and attracting new customers. By featuring UGC on your social media platforms, you’re essentially letting your members do the marketing work for you. They’re sharing their love for your gym with their social networks, who get to see real people enjoying their gym experience and achieving their fitness goals. And that kind of social proof is pure gold for your gym. Plus, it’s a fun way to engage with your current customers.
So, gym owners looking to increase their bottom line, take note: start encouraging your members to share testimonials, before-and-after transformation photos, and other achievements to continue to develop (and show off) your happy, engaged fitness community. And with the average user spending almost two and a half hours on social media each day, it allows gyms to communicate with their current members about upcoming events, classes, and promotions in real-time, where they’re most active.
Hold live video workouts, Q&A sessions, and virtual fitness challenges via social media.
Live sessions on platforms like Instagram Live or Facebook Live provide a dynamic and interactive way to engage with your community in real-time. Hosting live workouts, Q&A sessions with trainers, or even virtual challenges can help to foster a sense of community spirit, as members get a chance to engage with both staff and their fellow gym members.
Offering virtual training options and social events via social media has the added benefit of connecting with your members beyond your brick-and-mortar club, even while they’re at home.
Hosting online fitness challenges or events that actively encourage participation from your community is a great way to engage your members. This could be anything from a month-long fitness challenge, a virtual charity run, or a community step challenge. These activities not only bring your community together but also provide a goal to work towards, keeping motivation levels high.
Consider interactive and educational content for your social channels.
Engage with your community by responding promptly to comments, asking questions in your captions, and creating polls or quizzes related to fitness. This not only builds a stronger personal connection between you and your followers but also encourages them to interact with each other.
Using your social media platform to share informative and educational content related to fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being is also a great way to demonstrate your gym—and your gym memberships!—as a valuable resource, establishing trust with your community and delivering added value beyond simply offering members a physical location to exercise.
Consider using software to help track engagement from your fitness social media campaigns.
When it comes to analyzing the performance of your social media advertising, you might want to consider using Social Media Analytics Tools like Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter (X) Analytics, Instagram Insights, and LinkedIn Analytics to provide in-depth data about your posts, audience, and engagement metrics. Third-party tools like Hootsuite can aggregate data from multiple platforms to give you a holistic view of which channels provide the strongest levels of engagement from your target audience, as well as which types of content perform best on each of your social channels.
For example, you might find that sharing health and fitness tips creates the most engagement on Facebook, whereas sharing testimonials from your staff (e.g. personal trainers, group fitness instructors etc.) resonates well with members when shared via Instagram. Ultimately, social media marketing done correctly will involve an element of testing and iterating until you have a good understanding of what type(s) of content your audience finds most appealing.
Support Your Social Media Outreach with Gym Member Management Tools
Social media is just one way to interact with your members and build engagement. An all-in-one gym management software like ClubWise will let you take things even further by using our powerful customer relationship management (CRM) tool. It enables fitness clubs to tailor communications based on who your members are, their activity in the gym, and how they interact with your brand.
Coupled with the FitSense mobile app—which provides for loyalty programs, access control, body composition analysis, group heart rate training, and more—our powerful software enables fitness owners to keep their members engaged both inside and outside of the gym, improve member retention, and create a loyal brand following.
To learn more about ClubWise, book your demo today via the link below!