About six months ago, I created a fitness-focused Instagram account. I’m a fitness instructor on the side, so figured this would be a great way to increase attendance in my virtual classes and connect with regular clients.
What I didn’t know is that, despite my marketing experience, I had a lot to learn from fitness accounts in terms of how to build an Instagram presence from the ground up.
I didn’t learn much from the fitness accounts with over 100,000 followers or from the ones with 10. It was the micro influencers who were the real teachers - the ones with 2,000 - 10,000 followers and over 500 likes on each post.
These women have built incredible followings in little-to-no time. One account in particular has grown from 3,000 to 6,000+ followers since I first started following her in September, and always has fantastic engagement on her posts. Kicksta shares that a “good engagement rate” would be anything above 3.5%, and from the metrics I can see, she always hits at least 7-8%.
The tricks that I’ve picked up from these accounts have not only helped me grow my own fitness brand, but they’ve also been useful for me to keep in mind during my full-time job at Alipes.
Here are the best practices that your brand should keep in mind as you’re working to grow on social, particularly if you’re relatively small.
If you’re planning on starting a new social media account, you need to interact with other accounts from the start in order to get noticed.
The micro influencers who grow the fastest are the ones I see replying to comments on their posts. They also consistently take the time to comment on other fitness accounts’ posts. Not only does this signal to Instagram that they’re an active user, which helps their position in the algorithm, but it also fortifies a relationship, which makes your followers want to keep connecting with you. If they know that you’re going to give the time to their comments and content, they’ll be much more loyal and likely to engage with you in the future.
If you’re looking for ways to find new accounts to engage with, you can search within hashtags and locations. Once you find relevant accounts, you can like and comment on their posts, which will get you on their radar.
Over the past six months, I’ve kept tabs on accounts that were just getting off the ground to see what their strategies were for growing. Time and time again, they launched their accounts, posted every day for a couple of weeks, and then dropped off the face of the Earth.
Social media users want to follow people who they know will consistently bring them value. If you’re just getting started, it’s great to kick it off strong with a lot of content, but you need to have a plan in place to ensure that you’ll be able to keep up that momentum and give your followers a cadence that they can count on. Otherwise, any growth you have won’t be sustainable or maintainable.
I’ve seen many accounts gain (and keep) a ton of followers through giveaways. They typically work where a user will say that you need to “like” the post, follow their account, and tag a friend for a chance to win a $50-$200 gift card to a brand their followers like, such as lululemon or Gymshark.
Though it’s not the cheapest way to gain followers, it’s an excellent method for getting brand exposure and letting your followers know that you care about them. Try it out once you hit 1,000 or 2,000 followers and watch your engagement skyrocket.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a point that is often forgotten in the rush of day-to-day posting and self promotion. Your followers want to learn from you and keep up with your updates, so if you don’t share helpful, new information with them, you’re going to lose them.
An example of how micro influencers do this is by sharing at-home workouts on their channels. This gives their followers a reason to keep coming back, and continuously offers them free resources.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: What would you want if you were them? Are there any education gaps that your brand is able to fill? You have to be selfless about what you post if you want your engagement to grow.
Many of the successful accounts that I’ve been tracking are always sharing, not just in their Feeds, but in their Stories. They’re not afraid to share how they’re feeling, what they’ve been listening to, whether one of their latest workouts was particularly taxing, etc. They’ll also typically do so in video form, where they speak directly to the camera as if they’re talking to their friend.
The lesson here is to be transparent. People like accounts that are authentic. By sharing information in real-time and sticking to your core values, your followers will be able to tell that you’re not just trying to sell them something; you’re trying to form a connection. Creating that relationship should be the most important goal for your social media accounts.
Even if you’re not into fitness yourself, there’s a lot to be learned from the wannabe influencers out there. And if you want some help ramping up your social presence, we’re always happy to chat.