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Instagram Marketing for Gyms and Fitness Professionals

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Get the Basics…

  • Instagram is a visually-focused social media platform that makes it easy to engage with current members and clients.
  • Creating and sharing content on Instagram is an opportunity to interact with potential new members and clients.
  • Consistent and high-quality posts are two best practices to make the most of your Instagram profile.

Social media remains an important tool for marketing your fitness business. The great news is that many social media platforms are free and only take a little bit of time and a little bit of experience to use. Social media marketing is one digital marketing opportunity that any fitness business should jump on.

Instagram marketing for fitness professionals and gyms is a great way to connect with your current members and even generate leads for new members. If you are portraying your business as a fun, encouraging, and engaging gym then that will draw potential members your way.

Read on for some tips on how to market your gym on Instagram. Having a social media strategy for a fitness business is one helpful tool in your marketing toolbox, but having a fitness business app is another tool that can be useful for marketing and communicating with members. If you are ready to grow and manage your business with Exercise.com, schedule a demo today! 

Reasons to Start a Fitness Instagram Account

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for people of all ages and boasts a global follower base of over 1 billion people. It is a visually-focused social media platform with more emphasis on photos and videos and less focus on text posts.

An added bonus is that it only takes a few minutes to develop a good photo or video post for Instagram. According to Instagram, over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily and one-third of the most visited stories are from businesses.

This social media platform can help you get the word out about your business, establish a following, and reach more people. Instagram is one excellent way to market your gym or fitness business. With no cost investment and just a few hours of time a week, you can reach a wide audience anytime and anywhere. You can have a designated staff member who can focus on Instagram posts or it can be a team effort of posting on Instagram.

An Instagram profile is easy and free to set up. Users can download the Instagram app for convenient access from mobile devices or use the Instagram website. The app makes it easy to post photos or videos directly from a phone or tablet.

The first step is to create a fitness Instagram name. Choose something that has your business name or represents your business name in some way. You may also choose to include your city or geographical area if it makes sense. All Instagram user names start with the @ symbol and must be less than 30 characters.

You will also want to post a relevant Instagram profile photo. You can keep this simple with a business logo or graphic that your members and clients can recognize. The profile photo is small and will be cropped into a circle on your profile.

Instagram Marketing for Personal Trainers: Setting up Your Account

Let’s dive into how to set up your account before getting into how a fitness professional can make money on Instagram and what ideal Instagram marketing looks like for personal trainers and gyms. The first question that you want to ask yourself is: How do I want to manage my Instagram account?

Make One Staff Member the Point Person

Designating one staff member as the Instagram point person ensures that you have consistency and regular posts. Other staff can take photos or videos for posting, but having one point person ensures that posts are error-free and professional.

If you decide to have more than one staff member serving as the main contact, then make sure you have a clear schedule or add it to a daily tasks list. Regular, consistent, and high-quality Instagram posts are important for maximal customer engagement.

Use an Instagram Business Profile

With an Instagram business profile, you can post additional contact information, have access to data insights, and have the ability to promote posts. You can post business contact information, like your address, phone number, hours, email, and website.

You can also get insights on how followers are interacting with your posts. Shopping on Instagram allows you to create and tag a post from your business with products and retail items.

While posting on Instagram is free, you can also pay to advertise on Instagram and use your Instagram fitness ads to attract new clients. This may be worth the investment to take your marketing game to the next level.

Fill Out Your Instagram Profile or Bio Completely

This part could make or break you. With an Instagram business profile, you can include your business name, address, contact information, website link, hours, or other relevant information. Make sure you also include a relevant Instagram profile photo like a business logo or graphic.

Connect Instagram to Facebook and Twitter

If you also have a Facebook and/or Twitter page, it is easy to connect the two pages so posts from Instagram also post to other social media websites. This is a quick way to push content out to multiple social media platforms at once.

Create Instagram Content

Instagram recommends the following tips to get started creating content on its platform:

  • Define your business personality
  • Stand out with good creative
  • Create quality photos and videos

Instagram recommends creating at least nine initial image or video posts to establish an initial grid of images. You can also tag your location in these posts. Keep captions brief and informative. Hashtags can also be used, but Instagram recommends no more than three hashtags per post.

Pro Tip: Create a fitness content calendar where you plan your posts for the month. Brainstorm various fitness content ideas so you can quickly share them daily versus taking the time each day to come up with content.

Once you have your Instagram profile filled out and start posting photos and videos, your followers should increase. The more content you post and the more you interact with your current followers, the more your followers will continue to increase. Don’t get discouraged! Building a follower base takes time.

How Do I Promote My Gym on Instagram?

Once you have a business profile, it’s time to start interacting with your followers. Creative and regular posts are a great opportunity to engage with current members and clients but also open the doors to get new potential members or clients as followers. Instagram is also great for creating brand awareness. So, how do you promote a fitness brand?

Share Your Profile With Gym Members and Personal Training Clients

Post your profile name in your gym, share via email or text, and link from your website. This will help increase the number of followers that you have. Followers are those profiles that will be able to see your posts in their Instagram feed.

If you have fitness business software like Exercise.com, it is easy to push the profile name out to all of your members using notifications like a text or an email. This is a quick way to easily share your social media accounts with all of your members.

One great tip is to search by hashtag or location tags to find members posting and then like and comment on those posts. This is a useful way to engage with clients and members on their Instagram posts.

Post on Your Account Regularly

This goes without saying, but regular Instagram posts will keep your members engaged. Make it a point to post a high-quality photo or video at least daily. You can either use a schedule or have a list of post ideas, photos, and videos ready for your disposal.

Another tip is to make your content worthy of a post. It’s not a good idea to post just to post, so be creative. If you have something to share but it isn’t worthy of a permanent post, try using Instagram stories.

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Use Hashtags in a Fun Way

Hashtags can be used in a post as a way to search for other similar posts. A hashtag is a word or phrase without spaces that serves as a tag for your post. All hashtags have the # symbol before them. Instagram recommends a max of three hashtags per post. Too many hashtags may distract from the post or may be too overwhelming for your posts.

Hashtags are a great way to encourage members to get involved. You can think of a clever hashtag to represent your business, your city, or members, like #6amWarriors or #SouthCountyStrong. You can also think of daily or weekly hashtags to use like #NeverMissaMonday or #FlexFriday.

You can also use hashtags for events, holidays, or workout challenges. For example, #12DaysofFitness or #SummerChallenge. There are a variety of popular fitness-related hashtags that can give you some great ideas.

Have Personal Trainers or Staff Be Active on Instagram

Trainers and fitness professionals can post photos or videos of classes, workout sneak peeks, workout tips, or any other fun content. You can also use Instagram to introduce new trainers, staff, or members. For example, you could post a short question/answer session with a new personal trainer and encourage members to say hi or welcome them on Instagram.

Trainers or fitness professionals could also post various workout tips like the importance of stretching after a workout, how to do a proper warm-up or a demonstration of their favorite exercise. It can also be motivating for members and clients to see their trainers or fitness professionals meeting their fitness goals or working out on their own.

You could even have one staff member “take over” your business Instagram account for the weekend. They could give Instagram followers a view of them leading a class, what they are eating that day or a photo of what they do for self-care. This could help members see fitness professionals as real people and can give members an opportunity to get to know them outside of the gym.

Peloton is a perfect example of fitness Instagram marketing done well. Peloton’s trainers have each established loyal followings on their personal accounts and Peloton uses this to its advantage by having its trainers post about upcoming workouts on their own pages:

Encourage Members To Tag your Business in Their Posts

Many members may love to connect with their gym on Instagram and can give your business a huge shoutout that may reach new potential members. If a current member makes an Instagram post or Instagram story and tags your gym or fitness business, every one of their followers will see that post. Those individuals may decide to check out your page and become a follower of your gym this way. 

What Should I Post On My Fitness Instagram?

Be sure to include a mix of posts that still aligns with your brand’s identity, and be sure to use all of Instagram’s features, including Instagram Stories, Reels, and Highlights. Don’t be afraid to post something other than workout videos. You want your profile to showcase your brand as a whole – not just the workouts that you do.

Use Instagram Stories

Instagram stories are a post or series of posts that are only visible for 24 hours but do not show up in the permanent feed. This may be a good way to feature members on a regular basis but keep your regular posts focused on the posts you want to remain on your Instagram feed and grid.

Instagram stories also allow for polls, quizzes, surveys, and countdowns as extra ways to engage with members. For example, if members tag your business in a screenshot of their workout results, you could post this to your Instagram story. This is a great way to get members involved in your Instagram activity.

While Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, Instagram Stories Highlights are more permanent. You can use those for informative stories, workout tips, or other details about your gym. Instagram highlights, for personal trainers, offer a way to offer more insight into programming without taking away from your feed’s aesthetic.

Post Teasers

Instagram teasers are a great way to engage with members and keep them interesting in something coming up. It could be a contest, a workout challenge event, a sale or promotion, or an upcoming event at your gym.

For example, if you want to boost your retail sales, you can post a teaser about an upcoming sale and end with “come in this week to find out more.” Or if you have a special event coming up at your gym, you could post a teaser for members to tune in next week for a special announcement.

Feature Current Members

Another idea is to feature current members. You could make this a regular occurrence by featuring one member each week. You could feature members who have been active in the community, have met a recent health or fitness goal, or a new member who has been crushing it in the gym.

Use Instagram for Contests

There are many ways to use gym events to boost your gym or fitness business. Contests are one way great to do this. Contests could be simple and could include a giveaway for a retail item, free personal training session, one-month free membership, or even something small like a gift card.

There are many influencers, businesses, or brand representatives that run contests on Instagram. Most of them have the individual like and comment on a post, then tag a friend in the post as well. By tagging a friend, that friend will also see they were tagged and be able to see your contest post. This is a great way to increase your followers and engage with your current followers.

Share High-Quality Photos and Videos

This was stated above, but the importance of high-quality photos and videos cannot be underemphasized. One consideration is to use an editing software for photos to create the best photo posts possible.

Before-and-after photos are a great opportunity to highlight members and showcase their hard work toward meeting their health and fitness goals. These photos can also increase motivation in your members and show the success stories of your trainers, fitness professionals, and members. It is important to get permission before posting photos of a member.

Include Tips to Help Improve All Areas of Health

Your focus is on exercise, but that is only one part of a healthy lifestyle. We know that exercise and fitness are essential aspects of physical health, but overall health involves other areas as well. Social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual health are also important. This could be nutrition tips, healthy recipes, self-care tips, recovery tips, or socializing tips.

Ask Members For Post Ideas

One of your Instagram posts could survey or ask members what types of posts they would like to see. This might help you develop a schedule of posts for consistency and ease. For example, you could give meal prep or healthy recipes on Sundays, or post success stories with before and after pictures on Mondays.

Check out Instagram’s Help Center

Instagram has an Instagram Business help center that includes many tools and ideas to help you connect with followers. There is also a regularly updated Instagram Business blog that includes updates and new features.

Advanced Instagram Tips for Fitness Professionals

After you have been using Instagram and you may be on the lookout for some more advanced tips. There are additional strategies to continue to increase your following. Instagram can not only serve as a resource for marketing your gym, it can also serve as an ecommerce platform.

Promote Your Posts

Promoting Instagram posts does have a cost associated with it, but you can determine how much you want to spend on advertising. This is a great opportunity to get new customers or reach more people than normal. Promoting posts means that these posts will show up in your follower’s feed. You can promote retail items, memberships, special events, or discounts by promoting those posts.

Find Instagram Influencers

Instagram influencers are individuals who are popular on the platform and may have thousands of followers. They may promote products or businesses for a fee. If you have any members who are Instagram influencers, you might choose to have them wear a t-shirt with your business logo in exchange for the shirt for free or a discount on their membership.

They might also give you a shoutout by tagging your business location, mentioning your business in a video post, or sharing a photo of them working out at your gym. This is a great way to create brand awareness and sharing your products and services with a wider audience.

Use the Link-in-Bio

Instagram posts are not link-friendly, which means you are not able to post links to other websites in an Instagram post. The one place you can post a link is in the Instagram bio. Ideally, this link should be to your website, but you can also use the link-in-bio to post to a “link tree” which allows you to post a link with a menu of additional links.

Try Other Instagram Apps

There are other Instagram apps that can enhance your photo and video posts on Instagram. Here are a few of those options:

  • Boomerang is an app that allows users to record videos of only a few seconds that loop continuously.
  • Hyperlapse helps with posting time-lapse videos.
  • Layout allows you to develop collages to post multiple photos.

Use Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is a new feature that has a similar feel to TikTok. With Instagram reels, you can create and edit short videos and add music or text to share with your followers. This provides another opportunity to share fun content with your followers.

Share Live Video With Instagram Live

If your gym or trainers are also using online workouts or online training, Instagram Live is an opportunity to share a live video with your followers. You could have a personal trainer or other fitness professional leading your followers through a workout.

As you can see, Instagram is an opportunity to amp up your social media presence. Creating consistent and high-quality posts are great opportunities to engage with current members and clients and opens the door to get new potential members and clients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If I am not tech-savvy, how can I easily get started with Instagram?

If you are not tech-savvy, you can rely on your staff to get started on Instagram. Many young adults use social media multiple times daily and have the skills needed to help launch your social media marketing to the next level. If that’s not an option, Instagram has many helpful resources on their Instagram Business page.

How many hours per week should I spend using Instagram to market my gym?

There is no set amount of hours, but you should ideally post at least once per day. This also depends on how you plan to use Instagram. If you just want to interact with followers, it will only take a few hours per week. If you want to advertise or sell products on Instagram, this will require a larger time commitment.

What are some ideas for exciting and creative Instagram posts?

Some great ideas for creative and exciting Instagram posts include peeks in a live group fitness class, meet your trainer photos and bios, features on members, recipes, workout tips, or motivational tips.

Where can I learn more about digital marketing for personal trainers and gyms?

We have an article that dives specifically into digital marketing for gyms!

And if you’re ready to learn more about how to grow and manage your fitness business with Exercise.com, schedule a demo today.



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