10 Fitness Brands Winning Social Media Right Now

10 Fitness Brands Winning Social Media Right Now Lucy Hitz Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

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We’re emerging from hibernation into the height of tone-up season as days get longer and swimsuit weather inches closer. It seems like everywhere one turns on social media there’s a workout recommendation or cleanse plan begging for a click-through.

So which fitness brands are winning the race of social media engagement right now? What can your brand learn from the winners? We tracked a wide variety of fitness brands (from CrossFit to Health mag) during the past week, picking the most successful on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and learning some lessons that brands from any industry can benefit from. In no particular order:

CrossFit

crossfit

By now you may have noticed that the fitness WOS – Word On the Street, not to be confused with WOD, Workout Of the Day – is “CrossFit.” Focusing on high-intensity workouts, extreme strength training, competition, and teamwork, this brand has built a cultish fan base and taken the fitness world by storm.

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

Since a major feature of CrossFit’s brand is perseverance and self-improvement, it makes sense that their followers would respond well to Tweets that encourage and simultaneously reinforce these themes.

Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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This post’s engagement was largely driven by CrossFit-ers expressing dismay and incredulity at this workout’s level of difficulty. Ranging from hilarious meme commentary to expressions of fear about hitting the “box” for this exercise set, it’s a great example of how heavily engaged Cross Fit fans are on Facebook.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post

This Instagram post received a substantial amount of likes and positive comments from followers, showing the effectiveness of CrossFit’s against-all-odds message.

Brand Learnings

  • CrossFit gains audience engagement by inspiring and building community on social media
  • What’s most successful on Twitter: motivating quotes
  • What’s most successful on Facebook: commenting on hard, terrifying, and awe-inspiring WOD’s along with fellow CrossFit community members 
  • What’s most successful on Instagram: motivating (and sometimes tear-jerking) video and photo content

Nike Training Club

nike-training-club

Nike Training Club, a popular smartphone app built for women featuring workouts from professional athletes and recommended exercises, provides substantial free content while simultaneously showing off Nike’s latest workout gear on aspiration-worthy athletic bods. Its social media presence is largely devoted to driving app downloads with the incentive of exclusive content.

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

In this Tweet, Nike uses aspirational celebrity athlete content (via a seriously fierce image) to direct folks towards its app (and the exclusive content to be found there).

Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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Nike Training Club uses Facebook to reinforce its connection with fans. This post lets fans know what’s to come in the app, which is clearly an effective strategy.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post
This post perfectly exploits Instagram’s role as the place for rich, appealing visual content. It doesn’t provide new information, but it does get the credit card in an athletic frame of mind.

Brand Learning

  • Nike Training Club strategically posts different content on different social media platforms for different purposes.
  • Twitter is for driving followers towards the app 
  • Facebook is for publicizing what’s next on the app and deepening fan connection with the app
  • Instagram is for attractive visual content that tugs at the wallet 

Equinox

equinox (1)

Equinox is an upscale gym with locations in major American, Canadian and UK cities. While it doesn’t have the impressive follower counts of more mass market gym brands (see below),  it gets a lot of love from the followers it does have. From March 26-April 2, 2,132 of Equinox’s 8,597 Twitter followers engaged with the brand–an impressive 1/4 of its followers.

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

The success of this Tweet is all about timing, timing, timing.Who doesn’t want a longer weekend? What better way to motivate people to come to your gym than by linking their desire for more meaningful moments with your brand? It’s no coincidence that this Tweet went out on a Sunday morning.

Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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This post is successful for two reasons: it includes a pun (everybody loves a pun), and it reminds people of an exercise we should all be doing.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post

A key component to the popularity of this post: pride. Equinox is doing a good job here of picking up on people’s pride in the hard work they put in, while also incorporating an aspirational component.

Brand Learnings

  • Equinox has found social media success by using a broad range of content, always deployed with good timing: humorous content, aspirational content, and emotion-centered content.
  • Equinox maintains consistency across all social media channels thanks to a well-defined sassy, direct brand voice.

SoulCycle

soul-cycle

SoulCycle, a rapidly expanding spinning studio chain with a cultish following that includes the likes of Oprah and Kelly Ripa, is growing quickly on social media, too. SoulCycle loves to respond to customers both happy and disappointed on Twitter, and frequently updates its social media channels with inspirational, timely content designed to get peeps off their butts and onto bikes.

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

Once again, inspirational quotes on Twitter FTW.

Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 5.10.19 PM SoulCycle carries its powerful inspirational content over to Facebook, too, posting videos and repping its “Soul Cycle family”–happy employees and customers galore. Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post This post was put up on baseball’s opening day, proving that brands can win by including content not directly related to their product or service.   Brand Learnings  

        • Inspiration wins once again in the form of short quotes on Twitter, but brands can deepen their relationships with fans on Facebook

 

 

      • Brand content doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to brand product to win on social media

 

 

24 Hour Fitness

24hour 24 Hour Fitness is the world’s largest (by memberships) privately owned and operated fitness center chain. It has more than 420 clubs in 18 states in the US. With such a large reach and customer base, it’s the fast food of fitness–convenient, efficient, and always available.Most Engaging Brand Tweet

24 Hour Fitness is direct in asking its followers to interact with its posts. This post is successful because it asks followers to do a specific thing, and asks them to agree or disagree with a positive message–which, of course, pushes people to align themselves with the positive message. Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 5.12.35 PM Notice anything similar about this post? 24 Hour Fitness promotes the same material on Twitter and Facebook, just with a different introduction. This ensures they widen the net for their content, catching people who might  be on Facebook but aren’t on Twitter, or vice versa. Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post When I ran an Instagram Account Report for 24 Hour Fitness over the past week, it looked like this: Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.57.27 AM At first I thought there was a glitch in the report. Then I went to 24 Hour Fitness’s page and saw that their last post was in April 2013. This was surprising, since they have 4,124 followers–a strong number to grow from, considering their brand’s broad international presence. What do you think made 24 Hour Fitness abandon this social media channel and stick to Facebook and Twitter? Brand Learnings  

        • Posting the same content on different social media channels can work if the content is compelling enough to your audience and if you are trying to hit different segments of your customer base that might heavily favor one social media channel over another

 

 

      • Not a learning, but a question: can brands afford to ignore Instagram in the current social media landscape? 

 

 

Anytime Fitness

anytime (1) Anytime Fitness, another widespread fitness chain, has double the engagement on Facebook that it does on either Instagram or Twitter (and an overwhelmingly larger amount of fans). Is this because, as recent findings suggest, Facebook is drawing older users and driving away younger ones? While Anytime Fitness has plenty of content that appeals to younger people on its feed, it is one of the few national gym chains that markets to older people, as well.  Most Engaging Brand Tweet

This Tweet gives the people what they love: helpful lifestyle content they don’t have to pay for. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why it was a retweet gem. Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 5.06.54 PM   With all the information on fitness out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This post provides clear data that helps clear up any strength training confusion. Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post The text that goes with this post (click through to see) demonstrates Anytime Fitness’s love for its members. Members like to feel appreciated, and the popularity of this post makes that clear. Brand Learnings

        • Strategy tip: provide free content that’s actually useful for more engagement

 

 

      • Build trust and a positive association between your brand and your audience by clearing up any confusion they might have about your general industry

 

 

      • Show your customers/audience/members some love to feel the social media love back

 

 

Gold’s Gym

golds Gold’s Gym is an international gym chain known for its friendliness towards bodybuilders and its innovative classes, such as “Cardio Cinema,” wherein members watch full-length films while on treadmills instead of reclining in seats. Just like their gyms, Gold’s maintains an intense but playful presence on social. Most Engaging Brand Tweet

There’s that intense presence I was talking about. Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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And again, like 24 Hour Fitness, we’ve got a Twitter/Facebook content popularity repeat.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post

It’s a trifecta!

Brand Learnings

  • Know your audience: Clearly, this message (interestingly, the opposite of 24 Hour Fitness’s message) resounded well with Gold’s Gym’s audience, since it was a top performer on all three major social media channels. This is a great example of a brand with a strong, accurate sense of self.

Crunch Fitness

Crunch

Crunch Fitness is an American fitness club chain that strives to make workouts fun and the opposite of boring, a sensibility it imbues in all its social media content.

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

The Elvis Duran Show, a popular morning radio show in New York City, combined its forces with Crunch for a video segment that it also aired on the radio. This kind of cross-platform exposure works well for Crunch.

 Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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Enough said.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post

This playful Instagram video publicizes Crunch’s Rocky-inspired class and provides viewers with a chuckle-inducing workout demonstration, too.

Brand Learnings

  • Partnering with other brands and celebrities is a great way to spread your brand to people who otherwise might not have been exposed (or remind them of your brand’s capabilities/features)
  • Use #tbt in a creative way and watch audience engagement take off
  • Instagram video is a great tool for setting your post apart from all the other’s on a user’s feed

Health Magazine

healthmag

Health magazine has built an ultra-strong fitness brand by providing innovative content with everything from slimming recipes to workout video clips. They perpetually release a wonderfully wide range of fitness-related content, but what’s performing the best right now?

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

The plank makes a return appearance on this list! Apparently, fitness enthusiasts like learning power moves that they don’t have to go to the gym to do.

Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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Recipes are a great driver for getting people to your site and making ’em stay there–plus, on social media, they provide unique added value and quality pics.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post

But it’s not all eating clean. Health prides itself on a message of balance, not deprivation, so pictures of beautifully hued macaroons occasionally make their way onto their Instagram (a great move for tailoring content to the visual social network).

Brand Learnings

  • Health succeeds by posting a wide variety of content on all its social networks
  • Tailor the content to the social network

Jillian Michaels

jillian

Jillian Michaels, a personal trainer who came to fame through the Biggest Loser TV megahit, now has her own fitness megabrand that includes everything from DVD’s to apparel. She walks a fine line of being a celebrity and health authority, and is incredibly popular on social media.

Most Engaging Brand Tweet

Michaels preaches a message of hard work and radical self-acceptance. The philosophical bent of her brand is a big part of what draws her audience.

Most Engaging Brand Facebook Post

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Michaels spreads the same message to Facebook fans.

Most Engaging Brand Instagram Post

Michaels’ last post on Instagram was back in January. It could be that, as a celebrity, she didn’t want to expose her personal life to the public in such an intimate way anymore, or it could be that she chooses to focus on her other channels for better results. What do you think?

Brand Learnings

  • Uplift ’em: people respond well to positivity that’s non-branded (and seems appropriate to your brand). Don’t be afraid to post a non-branded piece of content for higher rates of engagement.

Wrap-Up

So, we’ve learned many things. Mainly that people love posts about planks (just kidding)(say that ten times fast). But there are also some questions left in the air, such as: Does the amount of fans and followers that fitness brands have on social media correspond to their member/subscriber base? How does a brand go about figuring out that connection?

What do you think it takes for a fitness brand to see success on social media? Is there a formula or is it different for different brands with different target audiences? How can you apply this industry’s social media lessons to your own campaigns? Holler in the comments below!!

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Content Marketing Manager here at Simply Measured. I manage our blog, produce longform content, head our co-marketing initiatives, and host the Simply Social podcast, among a few other things. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.