Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Linkedin.. social media is indispensable. Not only for individuals, but also businesses can gain a lot from social media. Only.. how? In this blog we explain how you as a gym/studio/CrossFit box owner can use your social media to recruit more members.

Who is my audience?

The first question to answer is, “Who is my audience?” You've probably heard the saying, "Try to talk to everyone and you won't talk to anyone." It may seem attractive to want to appeal to everyone, but the problem is that you will create too little specific content.

For a gym/studio/box, the audience is generally pretty straightforward. You have a geographic segment (within x kms of the location) and a segment based on interest (sports, getting fit, losing weight, diet, etc. The goal now is to convince this target group that they need you to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams.

The more knowledge you have about your audience, the easier it is to create content that is meaningful to them - and for that reason, they are more likely to pay attention to it.

Good quality

Nowadays you really can't get away with sharing blurry/bad photos on social media. The cameras in today's phones are so good that blurry photos are easy to avoid. Especially on Instagram, the photo is the most important part of the post. So choose quality over quantity.

When you are going to create new content (photos/videos), think about where your gym really excels against the competition. For example the number/type of materials, the amount of classes, the level of the trainers, special events/competitions etc.

When you focus on that, you already give a good idea of ​​what you have to offer and why people should choose for you to achieve their goals. Your Instagram Highlights are also a great way to quickly provide an overview of your offer.

Caption

The caption gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and/or offer support for the photo/video. These really don't have to be complete stories. A short text, a strong sentence, a quote - as long as it fits your fitness business.

Hashtags

Adding hashtags to your posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin makes the content more discoverable. Using hashtags is especially important for Instagram. By using hashtags, content gets more reach and more engagement on Instagram. If photos, illustrations and videos are given the right hashtags, they will not only be seen by your own network, but also by people who do not follow your account. That's because hashtags can be clicked on Instagram. They are widely used to search for content and you can even follow hashtags as a user. You can use hashtags on Facebook since 2013, but they never really broke through on the platform. Research even shows that posts without hashtags do better than with hashtags.

Hashtags Instagram

You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post and up to 10 in a Story. Just because you can use these numbers doesn't mean it's the best. There is no "best number" to use. The advice is to test what works best for your gym. Just make sure to use relevant hashtags that match the topic you're posting about. That is nice for your target group, but the Instagram algorithm also appreciates that. In any case, make sure to add at least one hashtag. That already leads to more engagement than none at all.

If you have a smaller account (less than 10,000 followers) choose hashtags with a maximum of 500,000 hits and a minimum of 5,000 hits. The more often the hashtag is used, the smaller the chance that you will end up on the 'discovery page'. By using hashtags with up to 500,000 hits, there is a greater chance that your content will be visible among the hashtags used. Examples are: #gym #gyminrotterdam #functionaltrainer #personaltrainers #personaltrainerrotterdam #personaltrainerlife #sporty #fitnessnl

Giveaways

Giveaways can be a quick way to increase your following. People like free stuff, so it's easy to get people to join. For example, give away a free PT session, or a one-month subscription.

Step 1: Choose your price.

Choose a price that is relevant to your audience. Don't pick random prizes (like an iPad). While the iPad may bring you a lot of newbies, unless your brand is technology-related, you won't gain followers interested in your brand and products.

Step 2: Make the rules.

This is where you write the guidelines and criteria for entering your giveaway. For example, if you want people to like the post, leave a comment or tag a friend? Or all three? For inspiration, check out #Giveaway on Instagram to see how other brands and influencers communicate their rules.

Step 3: Create your give away post.

This is the post you want people to like and comment on. You can make it an image or a video - it's up to you. Some tips here are:

If it is an image, you can add text to the image, such as "WIN" to indicate that it is a give away.
If it's a video, make sure the first three seconds grab the attention. Try to present the prize in a unique way. Make sure your caption is clear and makes it clear that you are actually organizing a giveaway.

Step 4: Promote your giveaway everywhere!

You want to do everything you can to publicize your giveaway. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add a link to the giveaway post in your bio.
  • Ask your friends and family to tag their friends in your post and share your Instagram link on their social media.
  • If you have influencer friends, ask them to promote your giveaway.

Step 5: Pick a winner.

When it comes to picking a winner, the details depend on the rules of your giveaway. But once you've picked your winner, just contact them via DM (direct message). Then announce the winner on your Instagram for everyone to see.

Once the giveaway ends, you'll want to measure how successful it was. How many new followers have you gained? That's the benchmark to keep in mind. The easy way to do this is to take a screenshot of your follower count before you go live with your giveaway, and then look at that number the day after your giveaway is over.

Running a giveaway can take a bit of planning, but it can really be a great way to get attention on your Instagram account. However, keep in mind that you will also lose followers after the giveaway.

Influencer collaborations

Another effective way to grow your social media following is to form influencer partnerships. By partnering with influencers, your content will reach new audiences that you might not have found otherwise. When it comes to creating influencer partnerships, the best approach is to target influencers with Instagram followers roughly double yours (but not too big!).

Choose the influencers to collaborate with

List 10 influencers in your niche with an Instagram that follows roughly double yours. For example, if you have 3,000 followers, look for influencers with around 6,000. If you have 20,000, look for influencers with around 40,000 followers.

If you only have a physical location (and therefore do not offer online training/coaching), it is advisable to look for influencers who live near your location. Often they also have followers (friends/family/connections) from the same region.

The most ideal is to offer a barter deal. They come to train in your gym, take and share photos and videos in exchange for, for example, a free membership or personal training sessions. This way you create online visibility and people immediately get a look at your gym / box via the influencer.

If you want to take it one step further, you can also make your location available for events/meet & greats organized by the influencer himself. However, this depends on the possibilities regarding your location, etc.

Facebook ads

Instagram and Facebook have an algorithm that determines who sees your content, when people see your content, and how many people see your content. For example, on Facebook, only 10% of your followers actually see your content. The easiest way to outsmart the algorithm is through advertising.

One of the main reasons Instagram/Facebook ads are so effective is the targeting options available. The platform gives you the option to choose who you want to show the content to.

Things like:

• How old they are

• Where they live

• What their interests are

If you're just starting out, the quickest approach is to just "boost" one of your messages, and you can do it easily from your phone. The first thing to do is create a business account. To do that, go to account settings in the Instagram app, select

"Switch to Business Profile" and then follow the steps the app gives you.

Once you have an Instagram business profile, you are eligible to run ads and a "promote" button will appear next to your posts. From there, simply follow the prompts and add the relevant targeting details such as gender, age, location, and interests.

When you're ready to get more advanced with your Instagram ads, it's recommended to use Facebook's Ads Manager, a more powerful way to reach your audience than simply promoting your posts through the  app on your phone. Ads Manager provides more options to create, target, and track ad performance.

Facebook has even created an online learning platform with training on how to create and optimize your ads using the Ads Manager platform. You can find Facebook's free learning center here: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/courses.

Either way, whether you decide to just boost your messaging or take it to the next level with Ads Manager, you can start advertising to better reach your target audience.


When you get started with the tips given above, you should certainly succeed in increasing your online visibility and recruiting new members via social media.

Good luck!