Instagram is one of the most important social media channels for fitness businesses to market their brand. It’s estimated that the number of Instagram users in the US will grow to 125.5 million active users by 2023. The network already surpassed the one billion mark for active monthly users around the world in June 2018. With 90% of accounts following at least one business on Instagram, brands are looking to extend their reach on the popular social media platform.
Growing your Instagram following won’t happen overnight; a loyal following and good level of engagement takes time and nurturing. Instagram is no longer just a social media platform but an economic engine. We see Instagram turn into an e-commerce platform, and it has become a go-to channel for long-form videos. To run a successful Instagram page for your business, you need to keep up with the platform’s latest updates and features and modify your strategy to reflect these changes. As one of the biggest social media platforms around, it’s essential to create an Instagram strategy for success. In this article, we discuss how Instagram is changing in 2020 and 10 tips for a successful Instagram page for your fitness business. Skip ahead to:
How Will Instagram Change in 2020
Over the past few years, Instagram has seen an explosion of growth with billions of monthly active users worldwide. So, what does the future look like for Instagram? How will the latest updates affect how you market your business in 2020? Let’s take a look at five changes to Instagram and how it continues to cater to users’ needs for privacy and personalized experience.
1. Hidden Likes
Users in Canada first started to notice likes disappearing in May 2019. This was followed by other countries like Brazil, Australia, Italy, and Japan. More recently, hidden likes have finally hit US users. Instagram began testing for hidden likes in the US in November 2019 in a bid to make the internet a safer place.
Users can still find out how many likes they have; however, it is not obvious to your followers. The idea behind it is that it’s meant to remove some of the pressure that comes with Instagram. Instead, they want to focus on building the community on Instagram and encouraging conversations, especially among young people.
Overall, this may affect how brands interact and find influencers to work with based on likes and engagement. However, brands are already moving away from relying solely on likes. This may help encourage long-term relationships with influencers and push out more authentic content.
2. Instagram Reels
Earlier this month, Instagram released a new feature called “Instagram Reels.” Facebook’s response to TikTok’s competition is now live for US users. The new format allows users to create and share short-form content on their feeds and a new dedicated Explore page specifically for Reels.
As TikTok’s future remains uncertain in the US, Instagram is ready to take on the rival social media platform. Users can edit short-form videos, adding audio soundtrack and music to the videos. On the surface, Reels feels like a very similar experience to TikTok. Instagram is yet to release how Reels has performed with the US population. It’s now rolled out in more than 50 countries.
Instagram Reels presents a whole new opportunity to utilize short-form content to showcase services and raise brand awareness. There are several benefits to being an early adopter of technology and new features. The Instagram Marketing Secrets Podcast has a recent episode on getting started with Reels. It covers the basics, tips for viral videos, and ideas on converting your content into Reels.
3. Social Commerce
Social commerce has become a new outlet for many brands and businesses. It looks like it’s not only here to stay but to grow. 60% of users discover new products on Instagram. With 130 million users tapping on posts to find out more about the products, it has enormous potential for your business.
Instagram has expanded its Instagram Shopping to include more types of businesses and creators. As of July 2020, Instagram Shopping now supports new requirements to increase transparency for both buyers and sellers. The platform has changed a lot over the years, but one of the most significant changes is how it’s evolved into what is essentially an e-commerce platform. You can now directly sell products and make money through Instagram.
4. More Content in the Explore Tab
Instagram has gradually rolled out updates to its Explore Tab. Now, users can discover much more relevant content that’s more specific to their interests. It also works to deliver more personalized IGTV and Stories recommendations and create an immersive Instagram Shopping experience.
The social media platform continues to work on its algorithm in the Explore Tab to tailor content to the user. It takes into account things like posts with high engagement, the types of posts that people who follow you have liked, and Instagram accounts similar to the ones you follow. Even users’ IGTV feed is completely personalized based on niche interests and likes.
5. Data Privacy and Security
Privacy and security are an ongoing concern for users. With international firms suffering from data hacks and a building worry with how your data is being used, Instagram will continue to cater to consumers growing data concerns. One of the most recent changes was that users could remove third party services. When they do this, those services no longer have access to any of their data.
Data privacy remains a high priority issue for internet and social media users around the world. Instagram will have to continue implementing procedures and methods to protect users. How this will impact brands, and social media marketing is relatively unknown. But you will need to stay on top of changing processes as they happen.
10 Tips for a Successful Instagram Page for Your Fitness Business
Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels for fitness businesses. Yoga studios, instructors, gyms, and trainers use Instagram to connect with their target audience, drive value, and maximize brand awareness. Here are 10 tips to optimize your fitness Instagram page for success.
1. Business vs. Personal Account
When setting up your Instagram page, you have the choice to use a personal or business account. The main difference is that with a business account, you access specific features, including insights, Instagram Ads, and you can display contact information more efficiently.
If you have a business account, you can free up your bio to display more valuable content that will drive searches and find your ideal members. You don’t have to stuff all your contact information into your bio as it’s displayed more effectively with a business account. You gain access to vital data that helps you to create a strategy with a more significant impact.
2. Engagement is Everything
Your Instagram posts, Stories, IGTV, and Lives should all encourage engagement. You want people to comment and interact with your brand to help build your community and show your core values.
Instagram’s algorithms are gradually moving away from the classic likes and followers. This can already be seen in the platform’s move to hide likes. Engagement now goes beyond traditional number counts. Engaging your audience is so important, it’s not enough to just encourage a double-tap. You can measure engagement using metrics like reach, impressions, direct messages, followers, website clicks, comments, views, and saved posts.
3. Share Success Stories
Instagram is a great place to inspire your audience. Everyone loves a success story; it makes your brand more relatable. If one of your members has hit their weight loss goal or achieved a personal best after working out consistently at your gym, show it off. Maybe you’re a yoga studio with a member who wanted to strengthen their back and reduce pain. If they have achieved that, share their story.
This not only acts as social proof of your fitness studio but inspires others to achieve their own fitness goals. When you’re pushing out relatable and authentic content, it helps to promote engagement and attract new members.
4. Use Instagram TV
Instagram TV or IGTV, allows you to post long-form video content. Videos can be up to 10 minutes in length. Video content continues to be incredibly popular and a great way to drive value and communicate with your audience.
Initially, it did take a while for IGTV to pick up, but now big names and brands are integrating IGTV into their social media marketing strategy. If you want to start using IGTV for your fitness brand, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know to begin and how you can use it for your business.
5. Leverage Instagram Stories
Another popular Instagram feature is Stories. Instagram Stories allow you to share different content to engage your audience and grow your brand. Leverage IG Stories and create interactive content such as:
- Instagram Stories stickers
Whether you’re a local boutique fitness studio or international franchise, IG Stories should be part of your overall Instagram strategy. It allows you to post more organic and authentic content. Consumers want brands that are honest and transparent. Stories can help you achieve this while creating a lasting connection with your audience. At the same time, you can show off your services and give potential members a behind the scenes glimpse of your studio or gym.
6. Highlight Your Personality
The personality of your brand shapes your messaging and helps to build a trusting relationship with customers. Think of your brand personality as human traits that you would apply to your business.
You should highlight your personality in everything you do, including your social media strategy. Tell your audience why they should follow your Instagram page, how you can help them, and why they should stick around for your content. With IG Stories and Live, you have the perfect opportunity to convey your authentic brand self.
7. Authentic Content
Demonstrating authenticity on social media is essential for your business. When social media is dominated by influencers and businesses pushing perfect images of unattainable body shapes or sizes, consumers begin to lose trust and just switch off.
People are increasingly looking for authentic content from sources they trust. It means showing the real side of your business. Capture genuine moments with real people.
8. Niche Influencer Marketing
Instagram influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere, but brands are looking beyond accounts with a massive following. Niche or micro-influencers who have a very engaged community are increasingly working with brands to build awareness and reputation.
What’s interesting is that the demand for authentic content is spilling into influencer marketing. While many influencers still have a gorgeous and perfectly planned Instagram feed, users want a feel for real life. They want untouched photos, and behind the scenes fails, not just perfect content.
9. Make an Instagram Content Plan
It may sound like an obvious one but make a content plan. Create a content calendar where you decide on themes, topics, and draft posts in advance. There’s more to Instagram than posting, with IGTV, Instagram Live, and Stories, you have a lot of features to stay on top of.
Think about captions, format, the type of content you want to post, use hashtags, and any other features you want to use. Depending on your strategy and needs, you may find it useful to use a content planning tool such as Buffer, HootSuite, Later, or Sendible.
10. Be Consistent
Whether it’s how you convey your brand or the frequency that you post, be consistent. Consistency is key to delivering the right message to your audience. When you are consistent, it allows your brand to grow in both reach and engagement.
As social platforms become even more crowded, being consistent and authentic is key to success and standing out from the competition. Social media moves quickly. That’s why posting regularly is vital so that you don’t become obsolete.
Social media is always changing and evolving, and Instagram is no different. As new trends arise, you will need to adapt your Instagram strategy to meet your target audience’s needs and demands. By sharing authentic content and leveraging Instagram’s most popular features, you can expand your Instagram reach and continue to build your brand.