marketing your fitness facility

Ultimate Guide to Marketing a Fitness & Performance Facility: PT IV

To finish off this series, let's talk social media marketing.

My hope is that in the next few minutes you'll start to realize that word of mouth and "old school" marketing tactics are not only holding your business back, but also holding people in your community back from being reached by your expertise.

As we look through this, pick one platform that you want to spend the next 30 days mastering, and put your all into that platform. No need to jump into every one all at once.

Take your time, grow your presence and slowly but surely grow your business.


Social Media

Facebook Marketing

Why Facebook?

  1. Over 1.5 Billion people engage on this site.
  2. This social network enables a viral marketing effect that can grow your customer base much faster than traditional marketing.
  3. Gather valuable marketing information. Facebook Insights allows you to dig deeper into your client base’s behaviors and interests.

Facebook Value Proposition

Before you get started, ask yourself: "What are we really offering to your clients and prospects?"

Social media should be a conversation. You should aim to engage and not broadcast. If your posts and content don’t start conversations or at least add to conversations, then you're doing it wrong.

Facebook Marketing Goal

Facebook pages do not have friends. Fans “like” your page to see updates in their newsfeed. “Likes” therefore, are a great way to increase our exposure on Facebook.

  • Getting 1000 genuine and relevant “Likes” should be your initial goal on any page you create
  • Once you cross 1000, create strategies to achieve your other goals (e.g. increase website traffic, leads, sales etc.)
  • Once you cross the 50-75% threshold of your total population, you focus only on your goals and post influence (aka boosting posts)

 How to Drive Facebook Engagement

  1. Give people a reason to like your page. Show the value and type of posts they can expect to receive in future.
  2. Supercharge your facility's social word-of-mouth. Every comment, “like,” and share you receive is another opportunity to reach a new audience.

Proven Facebook Posts Formulas That Will Drive Engagement

  1. Caption This Photo. This is fun and simple post that is 90% visual. The only text needed it “Caption this!". Find awesome photos to share using Facebook search or Imgur.
  2. Quotes. People love to share & like quotes — especially motivational quotes. Post a quote as text or as a photo update. Find quotes and photos quotes to share on Pinterest, or we often create our own branded posts using Canva.
  3. VIDEO! Facebook loves video. Especially when it’s uploaded directly to Facebook (rather than a link to YouTube or Vimeo) or using Facebook Live. Use video to discuss hot topics, show your facility, Trainer Tutorials etc. People love real, and when they feel they are a part of your family through your videos, they’re more likely to stay.
  4. Facebook Contest. Give people an incentive to like and share. Simply ask clients to complete an action on a post. e.g. “like and share to win”, “caption to win”. These are huge ways of getting organic traffic from our members that love your facility already.
  5. Questions. Questions are a great way to spark dialogue with fans. It is probably the easiest way and one of the best methods to get people to respond to your posts.
  6. Fill-in-the-Blanks. e.g. “If I could have one thing added to the gym, It would be ________”
  7. Repost Your Popular Content. Share your blog posts, Youtube Videos, Quora Answers, Instagram pics etc. that have already been successful on other platforms.

Bonus Tips

  • Like Similar Pages. Fill your newsfeed with competitors posts so you can see what types of posts are getting engagement.
  • Pin Posts. Give important posts more exposure. It’s great for competitions or posts you want many people to see.
  • Best Time to Post. After you have made several posts, review Facebook insights to see the the best time to post to maximize engagement.

Facebook Insights

Facebook insights takes all the guesswork out of your marketing - what, when and how your members are engaging. Utilizing insights allows you to see what you should post, when you should post, and how many people engage on certain topics.

5 Facebook Insights Report to Measure our Success

  1. Likes - pretty self explanatory
  2. Reach is an important metric because it tells you how many people have seen your posts.
  3. Visits gives you a breakdown of which pages were visited most often
  4. Posts analyzes your content based on post type, targeting, total reach, time of day, and engagement.
  5. People shows you the demographics of your fan base.

Instagram Marketing

Why Instagram?

  1. 35% of all US Adults use instagram
  2. 1 Billion Members on the platform
  3. More than half of the users utilize the platform daily

Instagram is great for growing brand awareness and introducing products. 70% of Instagram users have spent time looking up a brand on the platform. Instagram allows you to promote your gym without being overbearing and salesy. It is an amazing marketing platform.

Instagram Value Proposition

Before you get started, ask yourself: "What are we really offering for our members and prospects?"

Social media should be a conversation. Aim to engage and not broadcast. If your posts and content don’t start conversations or at least add to conversations, then you're doing it wrong.

Different Types of Instagram Posts

Photos. This is the most common form of posts on instagram. This is what you mainly see scrolling through your feed when following another person’s page. It’s important to capture the culture of our facility and speak directly to those buyer personas you are targeting. Things like behind the scenes posts, and success stories are huge. 

You should always avoid posting too many photos of your specials or products that people have to buy. Users aren’t looking to be sold, they’re looking for genuine posts that pique their interests. Educational posts, behind the scenes, motivational posts, and even reposting client posts are all huge ways to increase engagement on the platform. This is especially true for your clientele that have many followers and a large circle of influence.

Videos. Another great way to engage your clients and prospects is through videos you post on your instagram. These are 60 second segments that you upload to the platform. The same rules applies for videos as does for posting images. You don’t advertise, you socialize. Videos of you group training sessions, clients having fun, and quick testimonials are all great ways to drive engagement.

Instagram Story. These allow you to post at a higher frequency without over-posting and clogging up your main feed. Stories are great for behind-the-scenes content, and usually feature less polished images and videos that show true insight into the actual experience in the facility.

It’s important to note that your Instagram Story disappears after 24 hours. You can use this to give a behind the scenes look at a meeting, or a quick shot of your trainers putting members through a workout. These are also great to showcase live events that you host throughout the year.

Instagram Live. Utilize this feature as well for longer videos and more important information you want people to see in real time. Just like Facebook Live, this allows you to interact in real time with your followers.

IGTV. Allows for long video formats. This is the vehicle you can use to create pre recorded Vlogs and longer videos as examples. These videos are also great for client interviews, informational videos, and even daily videos of your staff and facility.

How to get Recognized

Hashtags! On Instagram, hashtags connect posts from users who aren’t otherwise connected into a single feed. This means your public account allows anyone searching for those hashtags to see your posts. Use brand hashtags when posting content so you can better utilize industry hashtags like #fitness #gym #sportsperformance #coach #trainer etc. and connect people back to your facility.

Gaining Clients from Instagram

  1. Promotions. Deals, discounts, and other promotional offerings are a great way to drive people through the door with your Instagram audience. Also mention exactly what is needed to receive the promotional offer from your views, and include when the offer expires to create a sense of urgency.
  2. Contests. What better way to make someone a customer than letting them try your gym first? Promote contests by asking your clients to follow your account and post content with a specific hashtag to enter. This is often used to get people to try a new small group platform, or sign up for a free day pass as examples.
  3. Teasers. When you are about to bring in a new class, or piece of equipment, or facility expansion, show your clients just a bit of what is to come. Implement contests and promotions in these teasers as well.

Twitter Marketing

How Twitter Works

Twitter is not as intuitive to use as Facebook, but with over 300 million users, it is a must in marketing your facility

  1. Twitter 280 character limit: Great for both audience and brand focused communication.
  2. Real time News Feed: Your Twitter newsfeed can be sorted by chronological order to enable real time conversation about a topic. A tweet you send will show up in your followers account thread, and will remain there until it’s replaced by fresh content.
  3. @mentions. A mention is a Tweet that contains another user’s @username anywhere in the body of the Tweet. By including multiple @usernames in your Tweets, you allow those people and their networks to see your Tweets in their Notifications tab. This is great for conversations with your clients or even influential people in your industry.
  4. @replies: Send a reply to another Twitter user by hitting the Reply button on any tweet. Type your message into the box that pops up and click Tweet. Your reply will show up in this person’s Interactions stream, which means it is more likely to be seen than a regular tweet.
  5. Direct messages: If you don’t want anybody but the intended recipient to see your tweet, use a direct message.

4 Ways to Get More Retweets

  1. Share original content. React to other’s content and retweet the content.
  2. Include a Picture.
  3. Ask. People often need a call to action. Simply asking for a retweet can generate 3-4 times the amount of engagement. Just add ““please retweet” at the start or end of a tweet.
  4. Thank others for retweeting you. Let them know that you are aware and very appreciative of their retweets and @replies.

Remember: Don’t just share things about yourself. Share things people care about!

 Promote Your Twitter

Link It Up! Leverage existing online profiles to springboard into Twitter.

  1. Email Signatures & Business Cards. Add a link to Twitter along with other social media accounts.
  2. Social Sharing Buttons. Add a link to our home page and individual posts.
  3. Add a follow button to our website Include in posts and on our “about” and “contact us” pages.

Use Hashtags

  • Overall a great strategy. Add hashtags (keywords) in the copy of your tweets to increase the discoverability.
  • Hashtags are a useful way to get your tweet out to people who are actually interested in its main subject, but too many hashtags in a single post can be overwhelming and dilute your target audience.

Follow Top Twitter Users in Your Industry

  • Follow your other niche influencers and watch what they tweet. Pay attention to the type of content they sent out and how they address their audiences.

Join a Conversation

  • This is a very effective way to deepen the connection with existing followers and generate additional high-quality followers.
  • Reply to get involved in trending conversations.

Ask Questions

Twitter is great for getting opinions. Asking a question engages your Twitter followers and solicits their experience.

Snapchat Marketing

Why Snapchat

1. 300+ Million users on the platform

  1. 3 Billion + Snaps sent per day
  2. Usage has grown 224% in the over 35 age group in the last year

Snapchat used to be only for Millennials and Gen Z’ers who were into sending disappearing messages to friends. Snapchat has turned into a marketing powerhouse for facilities all over the world with its millions of users, and EXTREMELY cheap ad prices compared to other social platforms. Snapchat is no longer just for our younger prospects, you can now build a full marketing campaign around snapchat to engage members and drive prospects through the door.

Snapchat Value Proposition

Before you get started, ask yourself: "What are we really offering for our members and prospects?"

Social media should be a conversation. Aim to engage and not broadcast. If your posts and content don’t start conversations or at least add to conversations, then you're doing it wrong.

Snapchat Story

Be as raw as you can be, and be as upbeat and engaging as possible. Remember, a good majority of people using snapchat are there scrolling for content and have a relatively short attention span. Your story has to be engaging and must start a dialogue. Get people excited about your facility and all you've got going on. Build a snapchat strategy just like with any of the other social platforms you use.

Grow your following

Your marketing strategy should hit your ideal clients in each category you have created. Be the thought leaders in the industry, so post content that even someone across the country will find engaging and exciting. When you are utilizing your social platforms, you want people to recognize your logo, colors and brand.

On snapchat, there are no hashtags, a suggested user list, or other features that make it easy to get in front of people looking for new accounts to follow. To grow your audience, use the power of your other social media networks and digital marketing channels. Utilize your big channels, such as facebook, instagram and your website to promote your snap content.

Engaging Snapchat Posts

Behind the Scenes. Just like with instagram, these are great ways to bring people into your facility without ever stepping foot inside. You want prospects to see your culture, your people, and your brand. Get the audience to know, like, and trust you quickly just by being very transparent.

Takeovers. This is for very effective for cross promotion. Have one of your coaches takeover the page for the day. By providing healthy living tips and showing the trainer’s day you provide interest and not only showcase your facility, but their specific training style. Win win!

How To. How to posts, how to eat healthy, how to exercise on your newest piece of equipment etc. are also great content. The options are limitless.

Interviews. Interview staff, clients, senior leadership, and influencers to drive traffic. If you're interviewing someone, ask questions like “Why did you choose our location?”. These can be extremely powerful and again support your brand growth and awareness.

Commentary. Use this sparingly, but talk about your opinions on certain trends in the industry. Remember, we want your brand to be the thought leader.


So there you have it. The 4 part series to marketing your facility. The days of word of mouth marketing, billboards, TV and Radio ads are over. Start getting in front of your potential clients where they spend their time, online, on their phone and on technology!

To Your Success


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