Delivering an online option is really a non-negotiable part of running a successful fitness business in 2020.
But how do you actually grow this part of your business?
For many fitness founders, their online services are geared towards giving their current members the option to workout anytime and anywhere – especially if they have to close their doors again if a second lockdown happens in their area. An online offering is essential in this regard, but it can be so much more.
A smart studio owner sees that an online offering isn’t restricted by the confines of their local area. With the rapid rise of digital fitness platforms due to COVID-19, at-home fitness is embedded in our culture now more than ever. Now there is a whole new market to reach.
And while there are various strategies to get to these potential new members, there is one that many are overlooking – Instagram TV (IGTV).
Instagram TV is an Essential Fitness Marketing Tool
2020 didn’t start well for IGTV with CNN Business reporting that Instagram had quietly removed the IGTV button from the top of the feed due to a lack of engagement with the platform.
However, due to the near-global lockdown, the platform was revitalized, especially in the fitness industry. Famous fitness influences and major fitness franchises alike turned to IGTV to reach people confined to their homes. The recent announcement by Instagram that they are monetizing the platform and sharing revenue with creators will only further boost its usage.
For you, as a fitness business owner, it’s never been more important to be on this platform. Maybe you have used it before with some success, or maybe you’ve tried it without realizing its potential. The truth is that every fitness business can benefit from using IGTV. Here’s why you need it, how the best are using it, and how your fitness business can make the most out of it.
- 3 Reasons You Need IGTV
- The Fitness Franchises Killing it With IGTV
- 4 Ways to Make the Most Out of IGTV
3 Reasons You Need IGTV
If you’re a seasoned IGTV pro, the next 3 takeaways will remind you why you started using the platform for your fitness business in the first place. If you’re new to IGTV, they’ll be the reason you start giving it your attention.
1. Free Advertising With Huge Potential Reach
Promoting your brand on IGTV is free. That’s powerful in itself. We’re not saying that you should completely forgo paid advertising on social, but it just doesn’t make sense to ignore a free tool like this on Instagram when the platform’s monthly users surpass 1 billion.
In terms of potential reach, when a user opens up IGTV, they’ll see all of the channels and videos from the accounts that they already follow on Instagram, as well as suggested channels based on their interests.
Let’s say someone is watching, liking, and generally engaging with #workout channels on the platform. You’d probably say this person could be a potential new member at your (digital) studio, right?
Well, if you’re consistently uploading similar content (#workout videos) to your channel, there’s every chance that this person will discover you. Plus, you can stretch your chances of reach even further by working with Influencers on IGTV.
But more on that later.
2. Deliver Value and Engage Your Audience
Just like your live stream and on-demand workouts, it’s about quality over quantity with IGTV, and that’s what keeps people coming back.
There’s only so much value an audience can get from a static Instagram post. Perhaps you’ve shared a screenshot from one of your live workouts, but does it really capture the class? Will someone need to read a lengthy caption to get the gist? The same goes for uploading video posts to your feed; they’re not long enough to walk someone through, say, a workout, seamlessly.
There’s definitely a place for this type of content; it’s the foundation of Instagram. But mixing up with IGTV is an extension that allows you to deliver even more value to your audience.
3. Seamless Brand Experience
Your existing social media strategy (including paid advertising) will likely already include Instagram. If IGTV isn’t a part of it, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to create a seamless experience for your audience: this is part of the reason IGTV exists.
Take features like Stories, Shopping, and the Explore page along with IGTV, and it’s clear that Instagram wants to make its user experience all-consuming. Why leave the app after an evening scroll when you can stick around and watch some TV, buy that new pair of Lululemons, and discover some easy stretches for your rest day all in one go?
At its core, Instagram is a photo-sharing platform but it’s grown to be so much more. People are spending up to 53 minutes a day using it and engaging with its various features. Your fitness studio should be waiting for them at every tap with every type of content that it can.
Let’s take a look at a couple of brands who’re doing this exceptionally well.
The Fitness Franchises Killing it With IGTV
After announcing that it would be closing all of its studios following the impacts of Covid-19, Orangetheory Fitness shared a video on Instagram committing to sharing an IGTV workout every day until studios could open their doors again.
Barry’s Bootcamp is another great example; the brand uses IGTV as a platform to share its “Barry’s At-Home” workout series.
Naturally, all of these workouts are free and accessible to everyone, making it a great way for prospective members to get a real taste of what to expect from joining the Orangetheory/Barry’s squad.
It’s a clever combination of IGTV workouts, standard feed posts, and story updates that give audiences a full picture of the member experience from Instagram – whether that’s at home, or in the studio.
Now, let’s put this example into perspective: imagine that your studio, like Orangetheory or Barry’s, uses a multi-pronged approach to Instagram to make the most out of all of its features. Your main competitor, on the other hand, is only posting photos of the studio, some of its members and the occasional quick workout video to their feed.
The Top 10 Barriers Slowing Your Fitness Business Growth
As a potential member exploring your options, which one would you choose:
- The studio that’s championing their community on their feed, sharing nutrition tips on their stories, and posting regular engaging videos to their IGTV channel.
- The studio that’s, well… not sharing much by comparison. If you want to see more, you’ll have to go and search for it for yourself.
Which one instantly grabs your attention and gives you a clear idea of what to expect from joining? More important, which one makes you want to join?
It may seem obvious, but breaking it down like this and applying it to your business helps to understand the competitive edge you gain by using IGTV to promote your studio, reach new members, and engage your audience.
Now that you know the core benefits of using IGTV and have seen examples of it in action, we’ll lay out some simple ways you can make the most of it.
4 Ways to Make the Most Out of IGTV
IGTV is the perfect platform to showcase the value your brand offers. Here’s 4 ideas to try and a few examples to help you get started.
1. Lead Generation
One of the great things about IGTV is that regardless of your audience size, your videos can include a clickable link in their description, making it the perfect place for a call to action.
Get creative with an idea like a free-to-join fitness challenge. Upload a video detailing the challenge including what people need to do to take part, and what they could win. You can then link out to an opt-in signup page and you’ll have a ready-made list of warm leads.
You can also go for a direct approach with lead generation on IGTV. Think along the lines of a showreel using footage from both your online and on site classes, events, and screen grabs of your best testimonials. For this kind of video, you want to showcase what being a member of your gym is all about: the community, the workouts and everything else that makes you unique. Sign off in the description with a ‘Join us’ message linking out to a signup page for the memberships you have available.
Remember that people use IGTV to watch video, and won’t necessarily read the whole caption on their own. For best results, be sure to state during the video that viewers can sign up or find more information by clicking on the link in the video description.
2. Create a Series
Think about approaching IGTV the same way you would if you were airing a TV series: you’ll build up an audience who regularly tune in to your channel for the latest episode. You don’t have to share a video every single day but consistency is key.
Set a defined day of the week to a specific topic and stick to it, and make sure you use relevant, popular hashtags where applicable. Write down some content ideas around popular hashtags for days of the week for inspiration.
3. Discuss the Latest Industry News
Curate some additional content around the latest health and wellness news. It can be insightful for your community and will help build your reputation as a voice of authority on all things fitness.
While Instagram Stories works well for making a quick, bite-size observation, Instagram TV works for a more extended, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Try combining this angle with your ‘days of the week’ content idea generation, perhaps a #MythyBustingMonday where you debunk the latest fitness fads, or another topic that you think would work well with your audience.
4. Work With Influencers
It’s easy enough to come across social media influencers, but don’t be tempted to reach out to every single one you see. Stuart Brauer, owner of WTF Gym Talk has some great advice on building a network of local fitness influencers. Speaking on The Fitness Founders Podcast, he recommends starting by keeping your influencer strategy close to home:
“Instead of one person with 100,000 followers, how about 50 of your clients that each have 1,000 followers. Why don’t you make your clients your influencer?”
Maybe there are already a few members at your gym who would happily become your brand ambassadors on social! When it comes to outsourcing your influencers, you’ll want to think about the following three areas:
- Brand alignment. Make sure you’re thinking about your business, your brand, and how your values align with your chosen influencers.
- Target audience. Who will appeal to and resonate most with your target viewers?
- Authenticity. Remember that your chosen influencer knows what works for their audience, so you’ll want to give them some creative reign so that their content is authentic to viewers.
Keep your initial reach out friendly and enthusiastic, remember you want this person to work with you! If you’ve found a local influencer through Instagram, reach out with a DM. We’ll break this process down below.
Top Tips for Your Influencer Reach Out
- If you have an idea of how you’d like to work with them, suggest it in your initial message and be sure to highlight that the collaboration would benefit both of you.
- Create a win-win situation, like a giveaway for them to promote or a discount code for their followers: your business will be promoted to a wider audience, they get to give their audience something valuable.
- As part of this, you can suggest doing a joint Instagram Live workout to engage your audiences, and upload it to IGTV for further promotion – it’s a valuable piece of content that both of your audiences can keep coming back to.
Check out our example reach out message below:
I recently discovered your account – love your recent [choose content example, link to your own similar content if applicable.]
We’re a [brief description of your fitness business and members/audience.] I’d love to see how we can work together to offer our like-minded audiences something valuable.
Perhaps [your suggestion?] It would be great to chat about collaborating, hear some of your ideas, and what you think would work well and benefit our audiences.
Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in, and we can arrange a time that suits to have a chat!
It’s easy to see why using IGTV to promote and grow your fitness business is essential: It’s a feature that allows you to provide your audience with more value, and it costs nothing to use.
You know the benefits, you’ve seen how some of the global fitness franchises are using it, and you know 4 simple ways to make the most out of it for your own fitness business.
So, what are you waiting for?