4 years ago, this week, something quite significant happened in social media. The giant firm, Facebook, purchased the newbie on the block, Instagram, for $1 billion. Ever since that day, Instagram has become a major player in the world of social media.
This means one thing, Instagram is critically important to your digital marketing. The photo-sharing app is important for many types of businesses, but one seems to stand out more than others – the fitness industry.
Yes, with the likes of Shredz, Fitspo and personalities such as Michelle Lewin being a success due to Instagram, it clearly shows that the social network is a goldmine for fitness businesses generating new leads and sales.
But before you start batch-uploading belfies (butt-selfies) and workout clips, we need to put in place the right tactics to help your business build awareness, boost engagement and drive new quality traffic.
In this article you’ll discover exactly how to do just that.
1.Research for strategy
No successful campaign skipped the research chapter, so neither should yours. To do this, we recommend that you use Instagram yourself, before you use it for your brand. If you’re already a fully-fledged instagrammer you can skip the next paragraph.
Simply visit your App Store or Google Play and download the app. You will then need to create an account with your email address or login through your Facebook account – whichever you’d prefer. Once you have done this, get to know the app; what buttons do what, how to tag people, Like images, share posts etc. This is important to ensuring your business is a success on Instagram.
Check out the best businesses on Instagram, and other brands in your industry – including your competitors – both for inspiration and competitive intelligence.
Once you’re familiar with the app, you can then begin to build your Instagram strategy. This strategy should fit in with your overall social media-marketing plan.
2.Establish your goals
You then need to establish your Instagram marketing goals. These should mirror your overall business goals, which may include:
- Increasing sales
- Increasing website traffic
- Generating brand awareness over the social network
Just like any marketing campaign, create Instagram targets and goals that you can measure. This allows your marketing to grow and allows you to see what results you are getting from certain campaigns. Progress is key!
3.Building your Instagram brand
Instagram is a visually based social network, so you need to set out to build a cohesive, recognisable brand identity.
Nail down the style of your Instagram brand.
As you will be aware, Instagram allows you to choose from a wide variety of filters to apply to your images. Stick to just one or two of these filters for your posts. By using the same filters on all your posts, you will quickly establish a style that will become recognisable to your followers. Remember, the plan on Instagram is to have users stop scrolling once they see your post and then engage with you.
If you cannot find a filter on Instagram that you feel fits your brand then don’t worry, there are a number of image editing apps that you can download. VSCOcam and AirBrush are two popular apps that we would recommend, but there are plenty available.
4.Posting and engaging
Once you’ve completed all the above you can then start sharing and engaging.
Remember, Instagram is a mobile-first platform, so you want to take this into consideration when choosing your images. Stick with high-resolution photos and consider the size of the images on mobile screens.
Strong images boost engagement and will help to drive in new leads. But you need to stick within your business industry and products. If you’re a personal trainer it’s pointless posting a photo of a new car you like the look of, or a dog breed that you admire. These images will not drive the right quality engagement that your business desires. Stick with the script and stick to your target market. Keep personal images to your personal account and vice versa.
Also, most successful businesses on Instagram post 2-3 times daily. You will need to determine how many times you wish to post and stick with that plan.
5.Cross-promote your posts
Before you publish a post, you will be given the opportunity to cross-promote your post on your other social networks (as shown above). This is something we strongly recommend for a number of reasons. Not only is this perfect for saving time, it will also help your following grow by showing existing followers on other social networks that your business is on Instagram. Each time you post, share it on your other networks for maximum engagement.
6.Draw in the local talent
A good tip if you have a local gym or box is to tag your location in your images. This will allow your followers to see where you’re based and if they’re local, hopefully they will pop by. You can do this by clicking the location tab and entering your location name – e.g. StrongFit Gym, Orange County.
7.Don’t let comments fall on deaf ears
When it comes to engagement you want to do your best in replying to comments on your posts. Not only is this a great way of establishing new relationships with followers, it also helps to create even more engagement as users tend to comment more on posts that are being commented on. To reply to user’s comments, simply ‘@’ their username, to tag them in the comment, then write your reply.
Also, feel free to follow users who follow you and are engaging with your brand. These people are more likely to engage more in the future, including tagging of friends etc.
8.Tell a story with your caption.
Instagram is a visual social network; so many people end up neglecting the caption, when this is actually quite a valuable asset. Captions allow you to expand on the image, give it context and even add a call-to-action. It can also tie an image back to your business. Use your captions wisely. It may determine your engagement outcome.
9.Run an Instagram Competition
Contests are great for generating new interest in your business as well as turning leads into long-term clients.
Let’s say, for instance, you run a competition for your Instagram community where 10 lucky people will get a free PT session. You can ask users to comment on your photo, share it, mention a certain number of friends, or even share their own photo with a specific hashtag.
This will generate new engagement and also give you the opportunity to turn the 10 winners into possible long-term clients. Win-win!
Remember, the majority of users will see competitions as a benefit of following a brand on Instagram, so don’t worry about bothering people.
Try running a simple competition, track the analytics and see how it benefits your business.
10.Collaborate with other Instagrammers
This is a technique that is being used quite a lot recently, especially by the bigger brands. Many give popular Instagrammers or celebrities control of their brand account for the day or have an interview on the social network.
This could pay off big time as they expose your brand to their large Instagram community. Now before you start trying to contact one of the Kardashians to promote your gym, be aware that many influencers will charge for this service. However, if you can find the right person that fits the bill and can generate you more leads, then it will be worth it.
11.Post some videos
Video complement the photos in your Instagram account by telling stories through moving animation. According to a Vidyard report, 71% of marketers say video conversion rates outperform other types of marketing content.
Recently, Instagram announced that they have boosted their video time from 15 seconds to a whopping 60 seconds, which is more than enough time to grab the attention of your prospects and customers. Plus, adding a few videos to your Instagram stream will provide some variety in your imagery.
You can record your own short Instagram video to complement the images you post. Simply tap the middle icon in the row of icons at the bottom of the Instagram app. This opens up your photo and video capabilities. Once open, tap on the Video tab and click the red button to begin recording your clip.
This is a great way of showing people around your gym, promoting workout routines you use or creating short and snappy testimonials from your clients.
Videos will help generate engagement by the bucket-load. Make sure you use them.
12.Once ready, delve into Instagram Ads
You may have noticed more sponsored ads appearing in your Instagram feed lately and many businesses are using this method to generate new leads.
They allow you to put your products or services in front of the specific audience you want to reach. In other words, you can target a customer demographic beyond just your current Instagram followers.
When you use Instagram ads to show your products in action, you help viewers understand how they can use your products. This is the same concept used by ecommerce stores when they show high-quality images of people using their products to give customers a sense of what they’re buying.
Instagram ads that show your product in action are a great way to connect with customers and prospects because they show people how to use the product.
The good news is that businesses of all sizes can now create and run Instagram ads. All you need to start is a Facebook page and our step-by-step guide to help you create your ads. You can download this for free here.