By Alora Kelley
These days, exercise and physical fitness have expanded beyond PE class and your local gym. The amount of options available and the introduction of many fads has led to confusion in the marketplace for many brands. Social media has had an effect on the way we exercise and allowed brands to overcome obstacles there were previously no solutions for. Here are five ways social media has changed the way we exercise.
1. Breaking Down Barriers for In-Person Conversion
When it comes to working out, there is nothing worse than showing up to a new exercise class or gym and finding that you bit off way more than you could chew. About 15 minutes into the class you swear to yourself that you’re never coming back, and you don’t. With all the different options out there for fitness, it’s not easy to keep someone coming back to your program week after week. Social media has taken the guesswork out of fitness.
November Project is a grassroots fitness program offering workouts using the city landscape Boston has to offer. When it first started, it offered just the days, times and locations of the workouts on the website. For the shy or less physically fit, this model left too many questions open. What if I show up and there are 20 marathon runners who will blow past me on the hill workout? When November Project expanded their social media presence, their Facebook began to include photos of the workouts and people who regularly showed up. For many people, this eased the fear of what might happen. Social media allowed November Project to turn a small grassroots movement in Boston into a regular exercise program that stretches across 27 cities in the US and Canada. Without breaking the barrier of the in-person conversion, many similar brands would not be able to gain the followers they need to be successful.
2. There’s Finally A Reward For Exercising Besides Eating All the Carbs You Want
A frequent issue with gym retention rates is the amount of people who don’t return when they don’t get the result they were looking for. The validation for exercising outside of an attractive figure didn’t exist before social media. Now, our Instagram and Facebook feeds are a constant show of gym selfies and smoothie bowls because people are working out to "do it for the 'gram."
Pure Barre is a brand that has capitalized on the female need for social media validation and has managed to encourage repeat customers. Repeat Pure Barre exercisers get to sign a barre for taking 100 and 250 classes and get their picture posted on social media channels. For members of the Pure Barre movement, striving for this validation encourages them to become repeat customers for at least six months and spend sometimes up to $2,000 or more just to make it to the 100 club. Without the social media aspect of this, Pure Barre might not have found the same level of success in building a following given their current price point.
3. Free Taste Before You Pay For It
These days, fitness classes and gyms are getting more expensive and the innovation around exercise can make individuals hesitant to throw money at the next greatest program. As a result, some brands are resorting to resources like Facebook Live to give potential customers a taste of the program before they agree to pay all the money for it.
Kayla Itsines, a 24 year old from Australia, took her personal training business large-scale and has stayed on top of social media innovation to continue gaining followers world-wide. Most recently with the addition of Facebook Live, Kayla has given the potential consumer a sneak peek of fitness routines they could find in her app or e-book guides. For individuals new to fitness, her HIIT and LISS workout structure can be a foreign concept. Seeing the workout live allows them to determine if Kayla’s workout is right for them, and can be the ultimate push needed to convert to paying for the full program.
4. Lifestyle Touchpoints With Your Consumer
Plenty of people look at personal trainers or the professional fitness models used to promote different workout programs and feel intimidated. They don’t feel a connection to these people because the trainers can seem like workout robots who can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be a normal person struggling with fitness issues. This can be a barrier to purchase, with many individuals preferring to go with a different service that feels approachable to them.
Cassey Ho, creator of the Blogilates program, has learned this and adapted to her consumer by starting a Snapchat account. She posts stories of her working out with friends, what she’s eating that day, and other aspects of her life that make her seem less like an overly-perky Pilates lady. When a consumer comes across her program and other similar ones online, Cassey’s Snapchat account can provide them the last bit of information that will influence them to choose to pay for her program over others.
5. Partnerships Are King
Social media marketing has created a personal relationship between the consumer and the fitness movement they choose to be a part of. It can feel more comfortable to workout in your home on a one-on-one basis with a YouTube video or person on an app that you’ve connected with on your social media. This can be a barrier for larger companies that use fitness models to demonstrate their workouts.
Nike has attempted to break down this barrier with their Training Club App. When it was first introduced, fitness models demonstrated the workouts and the app lacked the personal connection necessary to really promote the programs. They adapted this by developing partnerships with celebrities who are both avid social media users and Nike believers. One example is Ellie Goulding, a singer who has always been very open about working out and shares frequently on social. Nike invited Ellie to record special workouts on their app, and in turn, Ellie promoted these on her social media accounts. She has since become a Nike ambassador on her social channels. Partnerships like this can help larger companies bridge the gap with the smaller, more personal brands emerging through social media.
How has social media changed the way you exercise? Share your thoughts with the Likeable Media team in the comments below!