7 Tips to Build a Successful Social Media Strategy for Gyms

Ready to engage with your members and grow your fitness business? We've got seven easy tips to help you plan a successful social media strategy.

Having a presence on social media can seem overwhelming, but not having one is like constantly skipping leg day. You can have a fantastic business strategy, but without social media you’re missing out on connecting and engaging with your members, as well as opportunities to showcase your gym. So, you've chosen your username and filled out your about section, but now what?

We’ve put together seven tips to help you build your successful social media strategy.

7 Tips For Successful Social Media

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1. Know Your Audience

It’s important to know your target audience—whether it’s health club members, your local community, or fitness consumers—so you can tailor content to their needs and interests.

2. Be Helpful

Engage your audience—both inside and outside the club—with your story while providing the quality education and information they are looking for.

For example, instead of just posting a picture of your new weights room, you could post a picture or video of one of your trainers using the weights while explaining proper form. Then include what some benefits of improving those muscles are.

3. Know Your Platforms

Each social media outlet—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.—is different and is ideal for a different type of communication.

For example, Facebook is a central place to communicate happenings, thoughts, jokes, pictures, and videos with your members. Your updates on Facebook can be multiple paragraphs long. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep your posts around 40 characters.

Twitter—on the other hand—is more of a “microblog” that allows for a maximum of 280 characters for each post. This platform is great for sharing blog posts, quick updates, and interacting with your membership.

Then there is Instagram. This platform is for visual content. You'll share primarily photos and videos with your audience.

4. Use Visuals

Images and videos are more engaging than plain text, so include a visual with each post to boost engagement and clicks.

5. Interact with your followers

Share content that speaks to your audience and actively pursue engagement by mentioning, re-sharing, and responding to your audience. If all you post is updates or your own content without interacting with your audience or other organizations, it’s a little like standing in the middle of a crowded room and just talking out loud without necessarily talking to anyone. Think of your social accounts as a place to engage and converse with your audience.

6. Post Consistently

Posting regularly is the only way to create a strong presence on social media. Set goals for how much you will post, be realistic about time constraints, choose your social media platform(s) well, and create a clear plan.

7. Use Hashtags to Boost Reach

Hashtags are a great way to grow your social reach and engage with members or potential members. By putting the hash (#)—also known as the pound sign—in front of a word or phrase you add your tweet or Instagram or Facebook post to a stream related to that phrase that can be seen by anyone interested in that specific topic. There are three types of hashtags you can use.

Content hashtags are great if you're starting out and more general. For instance, if you were tweeting about the new Zumba class your gym is offering, you may use #Zumba in your post. Just know anyone who looks at the Zumba hashtag all over the world, may see your post, not only people in your area.

Trending hashtags allow you to add content to topics that are popular at a given moment. If #MondayMotivation is trending, then you could post about an inspirational member and use the hashtag. Make sure your post is adding value to the conversation. A lot of people post to trending hashtags, and you want to make sure your content stands out and doesn't get lost in the noise.

Finally, there are brand-specific hashtags. These are hashtags you create yourself. Here at IHRSA, we use #PassPHIT to grow the conversation surrounding the PHIT Act. A good rule of thumb when you create a brand hashtag is to give your audience a reason to use it. For example, "Use #PassPHIT to tell Congress why physical activity is important for a healthier America!" You can also use brand hashtags to offer prizes in a giveaway.

Have a tip you want to share? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

Author avatar

Kaitlynn Anderson Fernandez @IHRSA_Advocate

Kaitlynn Anderson Fernandez is IHRSA's Digital Advocacy Content Coordinator. She uses her experience as a multimedia journalist to tell the story of IHRSA's advocacy and public policy efforts. Kaitlynn spends her free time watching sci-fi movies, boxing, or working towards her goal of being able to do five pull-ups (a skill that would come in handy in the event of a sci-fi-like apocalypse).