How to Grow a Fitness Page Fast
Ever wanted to know how to grow a fitness page on Instagram incredibly fast? Or how to attract high-quality clients for your personal training business through Instagram? Perhaps you just want to share your fitness journey and are looking to gain more followers. By the end of this article you will know how to do all these things and plenty more.
Every serious fitness professional should be marketing on Instagram. As of 2018 the platform has amassed over one billion monthly active users. Many of them using the platform to gain inspiration for their own weight loss or muscle-building journeys.
Benefits of Starting a Fitness Instagram
The fitness niche is perhaps one of the most rewarding on the platform. Nurturing your brand through high-quality content can open doors which would have otherwise remained closed. Supplement, apparel and training equipment sponsors actively search the platform for influencers and micro-influencers with a healthy following.
Having thousands of engaged followers allows you to get better brand deals and puts you in a position of greater influence. Developing a personal brand is advantageous even if you are looking to branch out into other areas not related to fitness.
Sounds amazing, right? Well the sad news is 99.9% of fitness pages will fail on Instagram. Most people use the wrong strategies and struggle to get ahead on the platform. After consulting with many fitness professionals, we have come up with the following blueprint for dominating in the fitness industry on Instagram.
Choosing Your Fitness Niche
One of the biggest mistakes fitness professionals make on Instagram is not choosing the right niche. A niche is a group of people with a shared interest. There are many niches in the fitness industry and it’s incredibly important for you to choose a defined niche with low competition.
Instead of being in the bodybuilding niche, which is very broad and competitive, you could focus on natural bodybuilding or old school bodybuilding. Instead of focusing on CrossFit, you could narrow down and cater your content towards mothers who are trying to get into CrossFit.
The key is to find a sub-section of the industry you could dominate. The more specific the niche, the easier it will be for you to gain traction. If you try to please everybody you will end up pleasing no one. Your marketing message will be shallow and thus get lost among Instagram’s one billion plus users.
Many of our clients upon hearing this advice say,
“Isn’t staying in a narrow niche too restricting?”
We get it. You have many talents and are not a one-trick pony.
Choosing a niche doesn’t mean you must be boring and stick to one topic. You can talk about a range of different things. However, your focus should be on the niche. You should find ways to relate your content back to your audience.
As your page grows and you amass a healthy following (we suggest at least 10,000 followers), you can experiment with broadening your niche by creating content for other segments within the fitness industry. For example, instead of targeting mothers who are trying to get into CrossFit, you can target women interested in CrossFit.
Setting up Your Fitness Page
Now you have chosen your niche, it’s time to set up your Instagram profile. Setting up your profile is incredibly important because people will decide if they want to browse your posts and follow within the first 3 seconds. If something is off, they will simply move on to the next distraction. The competition on Instagram is steep, and if your profile doesn’t command attention you will miss out on thousands of followers. First thing’s first, we need to choose an appropriate name for your fitness page.
Creating a Fitness Instagram Name
Choosing your fitness page name can be a daunting task, but if you follow these simple steps, you’ll find it easy.
- Keep it as short as possible.
A common mistake is having a long username. The longer the username, the less likely people are going to remember it. This is a problem! You want a short username that rolls off the tongue. Remember you are a brand. Most brand names are short and sweet, i.e., Nike, Adidas, Subway, etc.
- Use simple words.
Don’t make it hard for people to find your profile by having words that are hard to spell. We get it, you’re good at spelling. Unfortunately, most people are not. If you have a name most people struggle to spell, try to use a nickname instead (Gary Vaynerchuk is @GaryVee).
- Have a meaning behind it.
If you are not using your name or some abbreviation, try and use a brand name with a meaning behind it. Think of @gymshark; they associated their name with a shark (the apex predator of the sea). Their name attracts people who ‘go hard’ in the gym. Think about what you stand for and try to associate it with your name if possible.
If you want to check your username is available on Instagram and a range of other platforms, check out this tool.
Optimize Your Name for Instagram SEO
There is a difference between your username (the name following your @ which people use to tag your profile) and your ‘Name’ – the name displayed above your bio caption. You can strategically use keywords associated with your brand in your Name, so when people search them your account can show up.
The key is to use the less competitive phrases people search, e.g., natural bodybuilding coach.
Business Vs Personal Vs Creator Profile
We suggest using a business or creator profile for your fitness account. These two profile types allow you to view the analytics from your account. This insight information is incredibly valuable as it will allow you to discern what content is working and what is not. Growing your account is an iterative process requiring constant monitoring of your account’s performance. Business and creator accounts also allow you to run Instagram ads, which are incredibly powerful for gaining more exposure.
Creator and business profiles also make it easier for your followers to contact you via email or text. If you consider yourself a serious business (which you should), you need to use one of these two profile types.
Instagram Profile Picture
Your profile should be one of two things:
- A high-quality picture of you.
- A high-quality brand logo.
Low-quality pictures reflect badly on your brand. If you have a good physique, show it off in your profile picture. Good physiques capture attention. If your fitness page is catered around your clothing brand or nutrition (and you are not the primary focus), then use a high-quality logo.
Ensure your profile picture is easily recognizable when minimized. Use contrasting colors to grab attention. If you don’t have a logo, you can quickly get one created on Fiverr for a reasonable price.
If you don’t have a high-quality picture of yourself, we suggest hiring a photographer and spending some time finding the right shot. Don’t be afraid to spend money on this step as this is an investment for your business. The top influencers in the fitness industry use professional pictures.
Writing a Bio for Your Fitness Account
Your bio is a very important piece of real estate on your profile. Many people waste this space with useless information which does nothing for their brand. The bio has two main purposes:
- To explain who you are and what you do.
- To motivate people to take an action.
Think of the first two to three lines of your bio as being your elevator pitch.
Here you will sell yourself, so people are intrigued and continue looking at your profile. Don’t be boring or cliché in these first few lines, instead highlight your personality. Remember, you are writing in a way to attract your niche following, so use their language!
The last line should be a call to action (CTA). Your CTA should be clear and concise. You should have only one call to action not to confuse people.
You can use this space to ask people to:
- Follow your account.
- Click the link in the bio.
- Turn on post notifications.
- Email you.
- Whatever you want…
Make sure you explain what they will get after fulfilling the CTA. People are not going to click on your link just because you told them to do it.
Fitness Content Ideas for Instagram
Content is the most important element in your profile. You can set up your profile perfectly, but if your content isn’t good people won’t follow.
Your content needs to do a few things for it to be effective.
- Speak directly to your niche.
- Bring value to your followers’ lives.
- Have a unique element.
Think of your content as a product. It needs appropriate product-market fit, meaning you need to create content which resonates with your niche. Many people fail on Instagram because they upload content they like, rather than content their niche will enjoy. Look on the platform at other creators and see what is working. Draw inspiration from it to create your own original content.
Instagram Highlight Covers for Fitness
Highlight covers add to the visual aesthetic and professionalism of your profile. Only choose covers which are consistent with the theme of your feed. If your feed has darker colours ensure your highlight covers are also dark, if it’s bright and colorful do the same for your covers. Ever wondered how people create amazing highlight covers? Check out the video below to see how.
Finding Viral Fitness Posts
Make a list of 10 successful creators in your niche who are currently doing well on Instagram.
Use this tool to find their most viral posts. Analyze each creator’s top ten posts and find patterns in the content. You might notice viral posts tend to be motivational in nature or perhaps have longer captions. Use this data to help develop your own content strategy.
You are drawing inspiration from these creators; you should not be blatantly copying their posts. People will notice and it will reflect badly on your brand.
Instagram Fitness Content Types
There are several content types you can use to help grow your fitness page. Below are a few which are incredibly effective.
- Informative content on diet and exercise
- Question and answers
- Transformation journeys and progress
- Candid day-to-day life
The ratio you use for different categories of content is up to you. Play around with it and see how your audience reacts.
What Should You Post in Your Stories?
Many fitness professionals neglect their stories and put an emphasis on feed posts. You are likely to build stronger connections through stories as they are more personal. The story allows you to show off your personality in ways feed posts cannot.
Feel free to post more candid content on your story highlighting the person behind the account. People gravitate and make purchases largely based on how much they like a person or brand, so it’s important to show your character.
Don’t play it safe with your stories. Share your opinions, go on rants, and be more vulnerable than you normally would on the feed. This process of sharing will likely bring you loyal fans who will never unfollow you.
Don’t forget Instagram Live
The only thing better than Instagram stories for relationship building is going live on your Instagram. Going live allows you to answer your followers’ questions in real time and makes you seem more human. You can also have conversations with followers via sharing a live chat. A lot of fun things can be done with this feature.
Using Instagram Live is a positive indicator for the Instagram algorithm, which seems to favor people using all the platform’s features. Instagram wants more people using lives, so will notify your followers to go and check out your content. This is incredibly effective for re-building engagement.
Should You Use IGTV for a Fitness Instagram?
IGTV is incredible and underutilized much like Instagram Live. Using the platform consistently could drastically improve your profile’s engagement and reach. The platform was created for longer video content (1-60 minutes duration). IGTV works well for the following types of content:
- Workout videos
- Cooking & meal prep videos
- Exercise tutorials
If it’s content you would normally upload to YouTube, you should also upload it to IGTV. When uploading to IGTV, it’s advised you use subtitles in your video. Many users do not have their audio on when browsing Instagram, thus missing out on your content if you don’t have subtitles.
It’s also a good idea to have an eye-catching video thumbnail optimized for IGTV and your feed. Watch the video below to learn how to set this up.
How often should I post on a fitness page?
There is no easy answer to this question, however, you can read our article here to see the best way to determine the most optimal posting frequency for your account. We suggest uploading at least once a day to keep your followers engaged.
Below we have created a fitness content calendar you can follow.
Fitness Hashtag Strategy for Instagram
Hashtags are one of the most effective ways of increasing the reach and impressions of your account. Most people use hashtags ineffectively and hence do not get much benefit from them. We don’t want that for you, so we have developed an effective hashtag strategy for fitness accounts.
Go for long-tail hashtags.
Many people use hashtags such as #fitness and #fitspo on their posts. The issue with this is these hashtags are also used by millions of other accounts. The hashtag #fitness has over 386 MILLION POSTS using it, so the chances of your account ranking for it are incredibly slim. The more posts with that hashtag, the harder it is to rank due to increased competition.
The bigger your account gets, the easier it becomes for you to rank for these more competitive hashtags. Someone with an account that has 100,000 real followers could potentially rank for #fitness, whilst someone else with 100 followers will never show up under this hashtag.
A smaller account means it is even more important for you to find smaller hashtags. These should still be popular but are underutilized by many Instagrammers. Instead of using #fitness with its 366 million posts, it’s far better to use #fitnessexpert which has only 79 thousand posts.
If you have an account with less than 10,000 followers, it’s a good idea to use hashtags with less than 100,000 posts. Look at the table below for some general guidelines on relevant hashtag sizes to use.
If you are looking for a tool to analyze and track your hashtags, just check out Flick.
The tool allows you to systematically find the perfect hashtags for your account based on how often people use it and your results.
Promoting Your Personal Training Business with Instagram
We have talked in length about growing your fitness page on Instagram, but how can you get more online personal training clients through the platform? If you have built rapport with your content, monetizing your page should be easy. Here are a few steps we suggest taking to convert followers into clients.
- Provide free value regularly.
There are many trainers on Instagram, so if you want people to get trained by you, provide value regularly. Don’t hold back from giving away free workouts and nutrition advice. Your followers will love you for it! Many trainers are afraid to give away too much information out of fear of running out of content for their paid products. Remember, your paid products are simply meant to provide information in a more organized manner. Your coaching packages are there for people who want a little more help from you. That’s it. There is no new information; everything is available on the web. The more information you give, the more you position yourself as an authority.
- Don’t over promote your coaching packages.
One of the easiest ways to turn people off is by constantly selling your services. Not everyone is following you to buy from you! Make sure you give out at least 3 pieces of free valuable content before a promotion. Gary Vaynerchuk called this the ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’. Doing this will make your sales promotions more profitable.
- Show off your client results.
If you have successful coaching clients don’t be afraid to show them off. This is one of the easiest ways to convince others to purchase your coaching packages. Make sure you get your clients’ permission before sharing their pictures on Instagram. Try to get video transformation content from your clients and give a backstory of who they are and their struggles before getting coached by you. The more results, the easier it will be to convince others.
- Have a funnel.
Many personal trainers miss out on converting clients because they have no funnel in place. A funnel is simply a series of webpages meant to convert followers into paying clients. One of the most simple and effective funnels for a personal trainer is a simple lead-gen funnel. The lead generation funnel captures email addresses through a landing page which then sends people to a thank you page. You can learn about the importance of email marketing here, and why it’s crucial for every fitness business. One of our favorite email marketing providers is GetResponse which offers very affordable solutions for all fitness businesses.
Instagram Ad Strategy for Personal Trainers
Instagram ads for personal trainers can seem overwhelming, especially due to Facebook and Instagram’s ad restrictions. We will write a full article dedicated to this broad topic, but here are some things you should know.
Don’t use before and after pictures.
Using before and after pictures is against Facebook’s ad guidelines. You can’t use ad creatives that put a big emphasis on someone’s body! Naturally, this causes some difficulties for an industry that relies so heavily on aesthetics. You need to think outside the box when it comes to your ad creatives. Check out these 9 Instagram story ad creative ideas from some of the biggest brands for inspiration.
Target people who have interacted with your page.
You will have a higher chance of converting someone into a paying client if they have already seen your content and are familiar with you. With Instagram ads you can target people who have interacted with your page over the past 365 days. You can also target based on website visitors if you have a Facebook Pixel installed on your website. This is incredibly beneficial as it allows you to show ads to people who have already shown an interest in your content.
Use broad targeting if trying to grow.
The larger your audience size, the cheaper your ads tend to be. If you are using Instagram ads to grow as many fitness followers as possible, we suggest following this strategy. You can bring down your cost per click to as low as 1 cent for a profile visit and potential follow. If your content is high-quality this is an easy way to grow thousands of fitness followers easily.
Need Help Growing Your Fitness Brand on Instagram?
Growing your fitness brand on Instagram can seem daunting. There are many variables you must consider, and the path is not always clear. In this article we outlined the basics of what is necessary to grow your fitness Instagram account. We have grown many fitness accounts from personal trainers to fitness influencers and can gladly assist you in taking your brand to the next level. Apply HERE and we will raise your business to new heights.