Over the past few months, the fitness landscape has been redefined by social media challenges such as #Run5Donate5, Zoom and Live workouts and the monumental consumer shift to On-Demand and At-Home Fitness. For fitness fans and avid gym-goers, social media has played a pivotal role in keeping them active, engaged, and most importantly, sane as they isolated in their homes. With gyms and fitness studios also facing months of closure, lockdown forced these brands to devise innovative ways of using social media to fuel our thirst for fitness.
The Coronavirus pandemic also shone a light on all of our potentially unhealthy habits, unearthing a fresh audience of newly-converted home workout enthusiasts. For smart players in the industry, this provided a key opportunity to convert this audience into potential customers ahead of life post-lockdown.
With the Government giving gyms and indoor fitness facilities the green light to reopen from the 25th July, for many fitness brands Instagram, in particular, was a vital communication tool in preparing customers ahead of reopening. For one of our clients, boutique HIIT/Boxing studio Victus Soul, we integrated a social media strategy that consisted of three key intentions:
1. To inform
After weeks of prevarication from the Government over the date that gyms and fitness facilities could actually reopen, Instagram was a place where brands could be alert and responsive, asking eager customers for patience and updating them on any progress of the situation.
Once a concrete date was set, the instantaneous nature of social media meant we could immediately announce to Victus Soul customers (or the Soul’diers as they are known) the studio’s full reopening plan, new class timetable, plus any ‘Welcome Back’ deals and offers. The direct messaging feature on Instagram also allowed us to answer any queries their customer base had. This informative approach was key to customer loyalty and retention.
2. To reassure
In order to comply with Government guidelines and ensure members’ safety, studios needed to make a series of operational changes to their facilities ahead of reopening. Granted the subject of high-tech cleaning equipment and hand sanitisation stations is a potentially dry one, but relaying this information was vital for securing members confidence in how proactive a gym brand was being. With Instagram being an image-led communication vehicle, it allowed fitness companies to detail each measure they had put in place in a visually-appealing and digestible format vs. chucking it all in a long, factual email.
We facilitated Victus Soul’s use of separate social media posts to outline key changes. For example, a sleek image of a branded bicycle was used to highlight the installation of a bike shed outside the studio – so that visitors could avoid public transport if they felt this necessary. This also included a video tour around the facility, overlaid with an upbeat soundtrack and pop-up text to highlight all the key measures put in place.
For another of our clients Everyone Active, we were able to utilise Instagram to broadcast the Consumer Confidence Videos we created for them about the safety measures put in place all around Everyone Active centres. As the Instagram Story feature allows you to easily re-share others’ content, this gave us the ability to reach widespread audiences with little promotion.
3. To generate excitement
Once key information had been relayed to members and their confidence secured, the final step was to get them hyped up and excited for gyms reopening. Many of Instagram’s own features, particularly on the Instagram Story, can be used to build hype and generate this excitement ahead of a launch.
For instance, in the week leading up to Victus Soul’s reopening, we utilised the Instagram story to post teaser videos of the trainers back in action, accompanied by the ‘Countdown Sticker’ which could be manually saved by followers who were then notified on launch day. We also used the Story tool to facilitate audience interaction and feedback by asking members what aspects of their return they were most excited about, using the ‘Question Sticker’.
Lockdown has shown just how important social media platforms like Instagram are for communication between brands and consumers. When integrated successfully into a business model, they can be highly engaging, show brand personality and secure customer loyalty as we enter life as the ‘new normal’.
If you would like support in harnessing the power of social media for further engagement with your customer base, we can help. Get in touch via email@example.com