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Instagram marketing: do's and don'ts for success

Corey Loehr
December 14, 2019
iStock 1014940116 2

Since Instagram's launch in 2010, the app has continued to rise in popularity. Today, it is a fundamental part of society with over 1 billion active users. Instagram attracts individuals from all demographics and allows people to connect in direct ways that were never before possible. If you want to attract a broader audience as a gym owner, Instagram should be an integral part of your gym marketing strategy. Learn the best practices to succeed with your Instagram marketing.


DO - Build an audience

The first step is to grow your audience so that you have a following. Hopefully, this initial following will result in shares, tags, and likes to encourage organic growth. If you are starting with a business account, reach out to your network to begin building your audience. You can announce to members via email blast to follow the account for useful workout and nutrition tips.

DO - Have a strategy

Put together a strategy, and plan your posts out for a few weeks in advance. Having a solid plan will give you an advantage by preventing you from struggling to come up with content. It can also allow you to outsource the posting to an employee or third party freelancer. You can add in additional content based on relevant news. When planning your strategy, think about what your brand story is, and the best approach to communicating it with relevant and helpful content.

DO - Include relevant hashtags

Do your research on the most popular and relevant hashtags to include with your post. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, and they’re often placed immediately in the comments as not to distract from the caption. These hashtags will help you gain exposure since they place your posts on explore pages of people with similar interests. If a post gains enough popularity, it could also start trending and appear as a top post on more people’s explore pages. Tag your location so people in your area can find your business, too.

DO - Include high-quality images and videos

Instagram was created with image sharing in mind. Even today, people love to see original, striking, high-quality images and videos. People connect at higher rates with visuals, and the visual components can also serve as a way to establish authenticity and trust.

DO - Get your followers involved in content creation and repost

A health club should arguably be one of the best types of businesses to get followers involved in posting since your regular members visit your facility often. Whenever they post something and tag your location, you can repost it. This not only makes the member feel special seeing their original image shared, but it gives you real content at no cost.Progress pics and gym selfies are posted often on Insta, but you can also encourage more posts with a hashtag challenge. The sky's the limit when it comes to these hashtag challenge ideas. Some examples could be a push-ups challenge, where users are challenged to record themselves to a certain number of perfect form push-ups. Another option to promote a healthy lifestyle would be challenges around eating enough fruits and veggies, or drinking enough water. You could get behind other good causes that aren’t directly health-related too, such as recycling or donating old tennis shoes to charities. Encouraging participation requires a lot of focus and attention. Pick a few members or employees that have a big following, and ask them to start the challenge on the same day. You can give them some fun incentive like a free shake at the juice bar or a free t-shirt. Repost their challenges to gain exposure, and put up signage in the gym to encourage member participation. Many of these challenges can be done anywhere in the world, not just with gym members, which gives you the possibility of going viral if all the stars align.

DO - Have a clear CTA

Since your goal is to gain exposure and get more members, you want to utilize the ‘Gram as another marketing tool. Any great marketing tool includes a clear call to action, providing direction to your visitors on how to take the next step. Have a link in your bio to your website or a specific landing page, and remind people in posts about the link in your bio. For example, if you want to offer a free trial, you can add to posts “Link in bio to claim your free pass!”

DO - Have some form of ongoing outreach

Having a credible account with many followers is a great thing, but it is even better to have some genuine interaction. Assign this task to a team member or third party, ensuring your account has at least a couple hours of outreach every week. Like and comment on your followers’ posts, as well as anyone posting at your facility. You can also like and comment on those who have tagged businesses close to your location, or directly with the other businesses’ accounts. How can OneFitStop help your boutique fitness studio? Request a Demo to learn more.

DO - Consider paid advertising

As part of your Instagram marketing strategy, consider paid advertising to gain exposure. Much like Facebook ads, you can designate a specific target for your ads to reach. You can also use Instagram stories to get your ads in front of more people. Like an advertising expenditure, track your success rate and total cost of leads and conversions in order to determine what is working best.


DON'T - Post content unrelated to your brand

Every post is a chance to communicate your brand story. Stay focused and avoid distracting content that does not serve that purpose.

DON'T - Be aggressively salesly

If every post is about a special, people will unfollow or stop paying attention to what you’re putting out there. The goal should be to increase traffic organically, not be overly pushy or salesly. Tell your story through quality content, and direct people to your CTA. Turn this exposure up through well-placed and well-timed ads.

DON'T - Be fake

Spammy comments are noticeable by users and can quickly damage your reputation and credibility. Authenticity is the key to real growth. Paid ads and working with influencers who will reference your facility can help you organically reach a larger audience.

DON'T - Use unrelated hashtags

Even if you are a #catlover, there is no need to include this type of unrelated hashtag in your posts. Using unrelated hashtags is a type of spamming, which can lower your credibility when users notice. It also does not work towards your goal of gaining followers with similar interests and increasing your membership base.

DON'T - Post generic or stock photos

Again, Insta users love originality. Stock photos do not get a great response, if any, from Instagram users. Stick to quality original content that focuses on your brand story in a fun way.

Support your great Instagram account

We hope these do’s and don't’s of Instagram marketing will help you establish an account that tells your brand story and earns you new leads and members! For example, if you own a gym business then focus on your gym digital marketing strategy from day one. If you need a fully supportive billing software for your expanding membership base, look no further. With your plan, comes a branded app to help increase awareness of your brand. How can OneFitStop help your boutique fitness studio? Request a Demo to learn more.

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