A Look into Social Fitness

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Posted: November 7, 2014, 2:25 p.m.
by Michelle Sue Agee.

The fitness industry online spans every niche and attracts followers from every fitness level. The Internet is full of trainers, magazines, gyms, fitness models, yogis and even the everyday fitness junkie, each consistently pumping out fitness-related content to the ever-growing following tagged with the occasional sponsored product, equipment or outfit.

Some followers just want to be part of something health related as they gather fitness tips along the way. Others are intentionally engaged with social media fitness accounts; support is necessary for any fitness journey. Fitness accounts are intent on growth and making a sale: meal plan, various workout packages, online training, even outfits.

Four fitness brands were interviewed to gain insight on the dynamic and sometimes cluttered online fitness realm: InstaFemmeFitness, Gypset Goddess, Eat Train Win and MacJoFit.

Online fitness
“You have to engage or your page looks like a billboard,” said K.P. Kelly, director of operations and marketing for MacJoFit.

Fitness social media pages often experience a quick following. Social platforms allow trainers to expand their brands and connect with more potential clients. Fitness enthusiasts, models and trainers maintain professional accounts on Facebook and Twitter. However, many trainers manage their own Instagram accounts, according to Kelly. It’s a fun social platform for them.

Engagement
Caitlin Turner of Gypsette Goddess, a brand revolving around yoga, travel and fashion, has inspired followers since 2012 with vivid Instagram posts of yoga at incredible locations. Turner’s ideal follower responds to her sometimes vulnerable photo captions with a paragraph.

“I found people connect more deeply,” said Turner. “I want to be super inspiring while also marketing the brand in an authentic way.”

 

To continue growth and engage her 211K+ following, Turner has begun collaborating with other bloggers in different cities, allowing new posts that result in new and happy followers.

InstaFit
Instagram is a hub of professionals, enthusiasts, guides, gyms and various products for every niche of the fitness industry. Fitness pages can be very personal. For example, Anna of @instafemmefitness began her page late 2012 as means of motivation. With more than 947K followers, @Instafemmefitness has morphed into a business as a means to support followers seeking a starting point for a fitness journey.

“There is always someone new to fitness. . . it’s like a revolving door of followers,” says Anna.

The comment section is frequently monitored; questions are answered; inquiries are redirected to email.

 

At the request of her followers, Anna created a personal Instagram page @avaxofit.

“It serves as another outlet and a layer of trust for followers so that they believe me,” said Anna.

Both accounts continue to provide positivity and motivation to followers.

Promotional partners
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook allow active pages to help people, monitor comments and address questions in the next post. To grow following and earn money, many accounts have promotional partners and participate in “share for share,” where the partner accounts refer their followers to each other for a predetermined price per hour.

“Not everyone cares about how the page is perceived and aiding followers,” said Anna, who grows her following by partnering with other Instagram accounts.

 

Like any industry, unfortunately, some choose a strategy where money will drive the service, leaving their followers with endless feed of advertisements for sponsors and partnering pages. Anna recognizes “share for share” can annoy followers. “It’s a necessary evil,” she said. You lose followers either way, so it’s more beneficial to share to grow and make up a follower deficit.

Referrals
Followers will refer their friends to a fitness brand by tagging them in the brand’s post, retweeting or sharing the post on another social platform.

“In this industry, people hire you if they connect with you,” said Christie Miller of EatTrainWin based in Los Angeles, California.

Miller has intercepted many new clients from social media. Social media allows businesses to preview their services and personalities. For fitness brands to succeed, followers must trust their source; they are looking for a call to action. Eat Train Win is a young brand, but followers saw genuineness and some are now part of a trial launch program.

Reality
A support system needs to be in place for those on a fitness journey, especially those trying to lose weight.

“I love [empowering clients]. It’s so cool to see a bird fly,” said Miller.

Miller incorporates a type of spirituality within her training; so, clients take more ownership over their fitness journey. She recently published The Playlist for Life: If You Wake Up to the Right Song, How Can You Not Succeed?  to further inspire and empower clients as well as expand her new brand, EatTrainWin.

 

Take a look at the colossal fitness brand Tone It Up with over 434K followers and a Bravo behind-the-scenes TV show. The two trainers, Karena and Katrina, are highly engaged with their members and followers. TIU members have online community resources and the brand awards followers every week for various pictures.

Video content for everyone
Each brand interviewed has plans for video for the future. Video content is tough to create; it takes time to shoot and edit. GypsetteGoddess, for example, has begun curating and editing content for her YouTube page. She will continue to collaborate with other bloggers and brands and explore her yoga, travel and fashion brand on the site; her unique brand will be able to compete with established fitness content on YouTube. Video has a lot of power and search engine optimization; however, video tends to have less engagement. With so much fitness content on YouTube, producers must be conscious of YouTube fitness culture  and  SEO to attract and connect with viewers.

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