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Group Fitness Marketing and Social Media

Group fitness pros share tips for mastering marketing and social media to build your classes and brand.

Group Fitness Marketing


What advice would you give group fitness instructors who want to leverage marketing and social media to attract clients, promote their classes, and build their brand?

From the Experts

Social Media and Beyond

Sara Kooperman, JD, CEO of SCW Fitness Education, Chicago

If you would like to leverage social media to attract clients and promote your classes, posting regularly is key. The number one action that will enhance visibility on social media is consistency. This means picking a couple of days a week to post regularly. If you can post every day, I would recommend this! People will then look for you and expect your posts.

Another important step is reviewing the effectiveness of your posts. Keep watch of the number of likes on any post. In most group exercise experiences, posting photos of live people in action, and then tagging them, gets the most likes and shares. Real people and live action have the greatest impact—people love to see themselves!

If you find posts that are working, repeat them. Keep high-performing posts and images saved in a secure place and repost them on a quarterly or annual basis. For example, if you have a cute Halloween post, save it and use it every year—your followers won’t notice the repetition.

It does not cost much to boost a post that performs well. Be selective about who you want to reach. Notice the demographics and the geographic locations that apply to your target clientele. If your live class is in a particular city, make sure you limit your reach to that city. You can also look at the demographics of your group. Are you reaching a female group? Are they of a certain age or economic status? By focusing on your demographics, you can limit your cost of boosting.

Consider embracing your influencers. If some of your group participants are visible and active on social media, ask them to share and repost. Request testimonials and film short videos of them right before or after class. Keep these testimonials to 15 to 30 seconds, and keep it real. Your attendees are your fans, so they are open and willing to help!

Remember that group fitness marketing includes everything from a personal text message or phone call to a handwritten thank you note. Don’t forget the personal touch. Social media is a great avenue for connections, but face-to-face contact pays off most. Even small gestures, like bringing chocolate kisses on Valentine’s Day or dressing up for a holiday, go a long way. People want to feel like they belong, and to have fun!

Lastly, consider offering a breakfast or coffee after class to build camaraderie and connection. These are not just social gatherings but also very effective group fitness marketing tools. Building a group that bonds with each other will help grow your program and strengthen the loyalty of your clients.

Consistency, Authenticity and Engagement in Group Fitness Marketing

Chris Stevenson, CSCS, founder of The Empower Group, Westlake Village, CA

To fitness instructors looking to market by using social media effectively, my advice revolves around three things: consistency, authenticity and engagement. Firstly, establish a consistent presence across platforms relevant to your target audience. This means maintaining active profiles on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and perhaps TikTok or YouTube, depending on where your audience is most active. Consistency in posting keeps you on your audience’s radar, and signals reliability and commitment to your craft. To maintain consistency, plan ahead and consider using tools like Later or Hootsuite, which allow you to schedule posts in advance, ensuring a steady stream of content even during busy times.

See also: IDEA FitPost

Secondly, authenticity is critical. People are drawn to genuine personalities and stories, so don’t be afraid to share your journey, challenges, and successes. Showcasing your personality and passion for fitness will help you connect with potential clients on a deeper level. Share client success stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your classes, and educational content related to health and wellness, to establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field. Additionally, use insights from social media platforms to analyze which of your posts garner the most reach and interaction, and then tailor your content strategy accordingly by creating more of what resonates with your audience. Remember: authenticity is not just a group fitness marketing strategy, but a way of being that fosters genuine connections and trust with your audience.

Lastly, prioritize engagement with your audience. Respond to comments, messages, and inquiries promptly and thoughtfully. Engage in conversations, ask questions and encourage participation from your followers. Remember, it’s called “social media” for a reason; it’s not a one-way platform. Building a sense of community around your brand fosters loyalty and encourages word-of-mouth referrals, which can be invaluable for growing your client base. By consistently sharing authentic content and engaging with your audience, you can effectively leverage marketing and social media to attract clients, promote your classes, and build a solid and recognizable brand in the fitness industry.

An Expert Guide to Group Fitness Marketing and Social Media

Ellen de Werd, CEO of WARRIOR Instructor Academy and fitness director of Downtown Athletic Club, Eugene, Oregon

I built my business on Instagram! Here are my top 10 tips for fitness pros looking to do the same:

1. The Basics

Niche down to attract the perfect follower and isolate one primary purpose for your account. This should be an area of passion and specific expertise—something you feel like you could talk about for hours at a time. Your niche should be something that your ideal client would be drawn to because of their struggles, which you have a solution for!

Your bio should clearly indicate the type of content they can expect to see on your page, and it should be directly related to your niche. This likely means that pictures of your family, food, friends and pets, belong on a personal or private account.

Your brand account should be set to public and “professional.” You will need to link it to a Facebook page to create a business account. This will allow you to run ads, look at analytics and so much more. The name of the account should be your first and last name so that people who take your class, or look you up by name, can find you.

When it comes to posting, post your more polished and highly curated content to showcase your professionalism on your main feed. Save the raw, behind-the-scenes moments of your life for your stories. Your followers will get to know, love and trust you here. Remember that stories disappear after 24 hours, so it’s important to continually populate them throughout the day and ensure your profile shows up when your followers open the app.

Always post a variety of content: carousels, reels, posts and stories. Lastly, keep your account safe from hackers with two-factor authentication.

2. Be Consistent

Whether you post once a day or once a week, the key is to be consistent. Posting content inconsistently can send the message that you are not reliable.

Along with your consistency, be patient. Cultivating a following and creating a community on Instagram takes time. It’s a lot like growing a garden: you need the right amount of water, sunshine, good soil and time, but once it grows, it will thrive!

3. Be Authentic

It’s tempting to want to censor or filter yourself to get people to like you, but this is utterly exhausting and unfulfilling. You are incredibly unique and someone’s cup of tea. Using your true voice is the only way to grow in a meaningful, effective way. And the good news: it’s easier and less stressful to be yourself, as opposed to trying to create a persona!

Being authentic leads to more engagement, which is more important than the number of followers. Rather than paying for a blue check mark or buying followers, look for evidence of your impact in your comments, likes and shares. Follower count is meaningless if only a few people interact with your content. 

4. Batch Content

You won’t always feel inspired, have something to share, or easily know what to post when you have so many choices! This is why it’s important to “batch” your content. When the creativity is flowing, save multiple posts in your drafts. This way you consistently have content queued up to share.

5. Be Nimble

Instagram is always changing, so we have to be agile and quick to try new iterations of the platform. Collaborating with other creators, carousels, remixes, new fonts, polls and stickers are all examples of recent trends—be open and experimental with these!

6. Be Original

This is different than being authentic. Authentic is being true to yourself; original means that you look, act, think and talk differently than anyone else. Being original in your content will set you apart and make you stand out.

7. Add Value

You are an expert! Your content should communicate your expertise but also be novel in some way. Maybe it’s educational or humorous or emotional, but it should be geared toward giving value.

8. Give the Engagement You Want to Receive

Like any relationship, the one we have with our Instagram community should not be one-sided.  We can’t expect lots of comments, likes and shares on our posts if we aren’t giving the same! I experienced more growth when I shifted my approach to social media from a mindset of “what can it offer me”, to one focused on “how can I uplift others.”

9. Go Deep Before Going Wide

Rather than being a “jack of all trades,” focus on being the expert of one platform. Become proficient at Instagram before trying X, Facebook, TikTok, Threads, YouTube or other social media platforms. Once you establish roots on Instagram, then consider repurposing content for another platform or two. Change a few things, such as the copy, to make it platform-specific and less redundant.

10. Create FOMO

Your classes are not just a workout but an experience! Capturing the magic of smiling, happy attendees, and the special community you created, is one of the best ways to attract a new audience. It creates cultivates FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Most people struggle to want to exercise, so when they see how much fun your students are having, they will want to be part of it too.

See also: Low-Budget Marketing Strategies

Sarah Kolvas

Sarah Kolvas is the content manager for IDEA.

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