When you got into this business, you likely had your mind on fitness, not Instagram. But like all entrepreneurs, you’re realizing that promotion is a key facet to running a successful company. The good news is that, when used correctly, social media can be the most powerful—and cheapest—tool in your marketing arsenal.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INFLUENCERS
Whether it’s Justin Bieber for Calvin Klein or George Clooney for Nespresso, big brands understand that celebrities sell product. The same theory can be applied to fitness. Does your studio have a celebrity devotee? If so, inquire if they’d be up for you posting a photo of them on your accounts. Flywheel did just that in November, when they posted an image of actress/model/DJ Ruby Rose to their Instagram account, garnering 834 likes and, even better, 69 comments. The @flywheel account has 34,600 followers, and the photo—a post-workout shot of the Orange is the New Black star and her instructor—marked one of the company’s most liked and commented on in 2015.
Physique57 is also game to promote its celebrity clientele, like when they posted a video of supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio telling E! News that she got her body ready for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show thanks to Physique57. The Instagram post did well for the company, landing the @physique57 handle 262 like and 26 comments.
On Twitter, Barry’s Bootcamp retweets any influencers that tag them—like on January 24, when they retweeted country singer Josey Greenwell’s post “Trying to look hard after my banging @BarryBootcamp classes this weekend…” The retweet garnered Barry’s, which has 22,500 Twitter followers, 13 retweets and 58 likes.
While these numbers may not seem hugely successful at first, they are when you consider the number of followers each brand has, and the fact that more often than not, followers don’t like, comment or retweet corporate account posts.
Don’t have a roster of famous members at your fingertips? Get creative! Retweet any celebrities touting the method you’re teaching, post videos of them swearing by yoga (or boxing, or barre, or whatever it is you specialize in).
IT’S TIME TO GET GIVING
Here’s the reality: You’re competing against millions of bigger companies and brands out there when it comes to engagement on social media. The best way to gain followers and exposure for your studio is to entice people with giveaways.
In December, Thunderbolt Power Yoga in Atlanta launched a “12 Days of Christmas” giveaway campaign on Instagram, where a prize was given away every day, with the value and quality increasing along the way. To enter, participants had to like @thunderboltpoweryoga (they’re up to 1,388 followers now) and answer the day’s yoga-related question or tag a friend in the comments field. According to Thunderbolt’s manager of client experience and social media Tina Reale, the campaign garnered more than 1,000 entries via new followers, likes and comments. “I think the length of the program certainly helped us gain traction since it wasn’t a one-off giveaway,” she told us. “The key is for it to be something clients know to look for rather than a single surprise giveaway.”
Another tactic gaining popularity is the “loop giveaway,” where like-minded brands partner in a contest to give away one grand prize. On the contest day each brand posts a graphic touting the giveaway, and identical language describing it in the caption field, at an agreed upon time. To enter the contest, participants must like the post and follow each of the participating brands (hence the “loop” reference). The brands may also require participants to comment using designated tags and hashtags.
To promote its new studio opening in Columbus, Ohio, YogaSix tried out a loop giveaway on Instagram back in October, to great success. YogaSix hosted the giveaway and invited a local Columbus blogger, juice vendor and cycling studio to partake with them. “We had a minimum of 1,000 impressions and a slew of comments,” Laurenn Cutshaw, vice president of marketing and branding, told us. “But what blew our minds was that we saw our Instagram follower base jump about 400 in a 48-hour period. It was great for everyone.”