Instagram can be a powerful way to grow your fitness business. But gone are the days when you simply post a picture, throw a filter on it, add some popular hashtags and sit back and watch your follower count go up.
Instagram no longer does the heavy lifting of bringing you new followers and it seems like the algorithm is always changing its preferences. It can be hard as a fitness business owner to stand out from the crowd and build your online community, but consistently following the right evergreen strategies over time can help you grow your Instagram account sustainably.
In this post, we’re going to share the 10 effective Instagram strategies that will help you get more followers and grow your fitness business. Here’s an overview:
- Use a business profile
- Make your account search friendly
- Convert visitors into followers with the right content
- Use Reels
- Use hashtags
- Post frequently
- Go live
- Use story highlights
- Ask people to share your content
- Promote on your other channels
Let’s break down each of these important steps further so that you can start honing your social media strategy and get more followers to your fitness account.
First things first, let’s make sure that your account is set up as a business profile. This is an easy step that can help you make the most of the features Instagram has for business accounts. If you’re currently operating from a personal Instagram account, it’s easy to make the switch.
Using a business profile helps your fitness business appear more legitimate. With a business profile, you can highlight your industry right under your profile name as well as your business address and a contact button, giving you a more professional look. Using a business account also lets you see an overview of your page’s analytics so that you can monitor how your content is performing, and it allows you to take advantage of content scheduling tools like Later.
If you want more Instagram followers on your fitness business account, it’s important to make sure that you are easy to find and that a first glance at your profile converts those finders into followers!
You may be inclined to put a unique and creative name in the “name field” of your Instagram bio, but instead, you should think about what people are actually searching for on social media. Your name field should include the keywords that will help people find you.
Here are a few great examples:
- Kate · Personal Trainer NYC
- Online Personal Trainer · Jamie
- Online Health Coach · Tom
The keyword optimization doesn’t stop with your name. Include relevant keywords in your bio as well. Be as clear as possible about who you serve and how in these 150 characters, and use keywords that will pull you up in search results.
If your business has a physical location, like a gym or fitness studio, you’ll also want to set up a location tag on your account. This will help you show up in location search results and make it easier for guests to tag you and “check in” to your location on their own accounts. This is something you can easily do in account settings (as long as you have a Facebook and Instagram Business page).
Getting people to your page is the first battle! You’ve also got to make sure your content keeps them there and turns them into followers. This means educational, informative, and conversation sparking content that helps you stand out.
Generic content that every other account is posting is not the way to go! You need to devise a content strategy that differentiates your fitness business and attracts your ideal client. (If you’re not already, you should be very familiar with your ideal client. This is the target audience that you’re tailoring all of your online content to.)
Imagine that your ideal client lands on your profile. What does he see? If he scrolls and scrolls through posts and finds one out of ten that is relevant to him, do you think he’ll hit the follow button?
Now imagine instead if every post feels as if it is written just for him! He relates to your content and can’t wait to see more of it on his feed. You’ll definitely be getting a follow from him. Additionally, as your ideal client, he’s more likely to make the switch from follower to paying customer later down the line.
For more tips on the kind of content to create for your fitness Instagram account, check out this blog we wrote with lots of ideas. We recommend bookmarking it now!
Like it or not, video content is incredibly popular right now and Instagram has been promoting their “Reels” feature over other traditional photo posts to the Instagram feed.
So what should every business owner do?
Post more Reels.
These quick videos help you showcase your brand and personality and can have a much bigger reach than other types of content.
Get creative! You might consider sharing quick fitness tips, a tour inside your gym, or healthy recipes. The options are endless. If you’re looking for more easy Reel ideas that do not require you to dance, we’ve got a great blog to help inspire you. Check it out here!
Making the most of hashtags — it’s been a debated topic since Instagram launched. The recommendation for how many hashtags to use is constantly changing, and getting a hashtag strategy right takes a bit of guesswork and experimentation.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that each post has a 30 hashtag limit. The right hashtags can help you appear in user search results, so you’ll want to think about what your ideal clients are searching for.
Consider creating your own branded hashtag and including that in every post including stories. For the other 29 hashtags? Use a mix of high, medium, and low volume hashtags.
High volume hashtags are hashtags with a lot of impressions, like #fitness which brings up 1.2 million results. Lower volume hashtags are typically more specific or community oriented, something like #coloradoweightlifting which only has around 1,700 impressions.
It’s important to mix these (using more of the middle and low volume hashtags) to ensure that your content is getting recognized in search results, but not totally lost amidst all the other similar content.
Look, we get it! You’re busy, and managing your social media account is far from the only thing you have to do for your business on any given day. However, if you truly want to grow your following, it’s important to make showing up online a priority.
If possible, aim for 5-7 posts per week. This can be Reels, stories, or a regular feed post. You can use a scheduling tool to make sure that your posts go out even when you’re not working, but if possible you’ll still want to do some hands-on engagement. A good rule of thumb is to interact with others for at least five minutes before and after your post goes out. This means watching/sharing stories, liking and commenting on other people’s posts, responding to DMs and comments, etc.
Instagram Live is a great way to drive engagement, gain new followers, and even make sales!
Consider going live 1 to 2 times per month to connect with your audience and expand your reach. Some ideas? You can do a live Q&A, host a short fitness class, or present a new product or service.
You might also go live with other similar accounts. To do this, connect with others in the industry (that you don’t consider competition) and pitch an idea for a IG live. This is beneficial for both of your businesses as everyone on their follower list and yours will get a notification when you go live, helping you both reach new accounts.
You can even schedule your lives ahead of time and share them in a post where people can click on a link and register to attend. You can also add an event badge to your profile that shows all visitors when you’ll be going live.
Remember, Instagram Live is, well, live! So you’ll want to prepare what you are going to say beforehand and make sure that you have a good, quiet place to stream.
You may have noticed that you can highlight stories to show up at the top of your profile. These featured stories are a great place to make the important aspects of your business more prominent on your page.
@ryanreadthrive using highlights effectively
Consider creating a story highlight for testimonials or one where you share client results. You may also include relevant business information like FAQs, how to work with you, or gym hours to make this info easily accessible. Story highlights can be an extra factor that helps someone better understand your business at first glance and decide to follow your account.
Make your content so insightful or helpful that people can’t wait to share it with their friends! And if people aren’t sharing your post organically, it never hurts to ask.
Especially when you’re just getting started, you may ask your employees or current clients to share your content with their friends. They will more than likely be happy to help you grow your account in this way.
If you’re new to Instagram or looking to do a big push for followers, you might also launch some type of giveaway to encourage users to share your content. You’ve probably seen this kind of post before. Consider giving away a personal training session or some workout gear to one lucky follower that likes and shares your posts with their friends. This can be a great way to bring a lot of new eyes to your account quickly.
Bringing more followers to your Instagram account can and should be done through your other platforms as well. Step outside of the app, and cross promote yourself. All of your content online should work together to build your business and visibility online.
If you are creating YouTube videos, consider adding links to your socials there. Your website should also have easily clickable icons that bring people to your Instagram account as should your emails if you’re sending out to an email list frequently.
In person, consider adding your Instagram account to your business cards or flyers. You may even ask clients to make sure they are following you on Instagram for helpful content and to keep up with your business.
When it comes to Instagram strategy, what works for some may not be as effective for others. It’s important to experiment with what brings you the best results for your business. Pay attention to your analytics and make adjustments accordingly.
Creating and following an Instagram marketing strategy can take a lot of time and effort, but you don’t have to be a social media marketing professional to make Instagram work for your fitness business! We hope that these tips give you a great starting point so that you can continue to grow your online community.