When the day came that fitness studios had to shut down due to COVID-19, they were left with only a couple of choices: Keep going and figure out how to go digital, or shut down, lay off employees, and hope they’re able to recover if and when they reopen. At this point, maybe your fitness business is finding itself somewhere in between. And that’s totally OK.
With the surge in fitness businesses taking their classes and workout routines online and onto social media, you might be asking yourself if there’s still room for you. The short answer is yes — absolutely. What’s more, it’s not too late to jump aboard this quick-moving trend if you haven’t already.
Working out at home has become one of the few things we have control of today. Even with a stressful situation happening in the world around us, we can still break a sweat and do our part to stay home, stay healthy and stay on top of our workout routines.
As a fitness professional, you have an opportunity to pivot your business and serve people in a time when they’re craving your digital presence more than ever. Those who maybe didn’t pay much attention to your social media before may now be actively seeking it out — to find workouts, tips and connection with the fitness community they know and love.
You can’t be there in person, motivating them to sink lower in their squats or pick up those heavier weights. But you can certainly grab their interest and keep them coming back to your social media pages. When all is said and done, you can even have a whole new line of business when you’re able to welcome students back into your physical location.
- You can stay connected with your fitness community not only through online classes, but also short workouts featuring your instructors.
- Be as creative with your business right now as you are with your workout routines. Don’t limit yourself just to the same old things you’re used to doing.
- Social media gives you so many tools to create connection, and your audience is looking for it. Take advantage of this time when you have their attention and they’re craving any interaction they can get with their favorite fitness studio.
But First, Some Housekeeping
Even though your physical location is closed right now, you should still keep up with your social media marketing. Doing so will keep you connected with your audience and ensure you’re able to minimize the damage from being closed. First, though, you’ll need to do the following:
- Let your customers know that while you are closed, you are still open online. Communicate regularly about what virtual classes you’re offering and at what times. Pair your social media communications with emails so there are multiple touchpoints with customers.
- Update your physical location’s hours anywhere your business is listed online. Rallio’s Business Listings feature will let you quickly update your hours across the web — a real time-saver, especially considering Google My Business has limited functionality currently due to COVID-19-related staff shortages at Google.
Now Let’s Get Moving
- Going online is the most obvious way to keep your classes going. Get yourself on YouTube, Zoom, Instagram and Facebook Live with classes people can take in real time or access later. Include workouts families can do together, too! Some studios are offering free content in exchange for members keeping their subscriptions active. Others have created all-new subscription services. You can decide what makes the most sense for your business.
- Think of how you can be of service to essential workers. Post a series of free, short videos that healthcare workers, grocery employees, law enforcement and other essential employees can do if they’re able to take a quick break.
- Take advantage of trending hashtags like #MondayMotivation and #swolemate to get your community involved. Ask members to tag their favorite workout buddy with the #swolemate hashtag and your business tagged in the post.
- Get hyper-local. Your students are missing their favorite instructors. Show a more personal side of them with posts featuring their home workout spots and setups. They can also post short videos and tips, such as alternatives to weights if people don’t have them — from filled-up water bottles to soup cans and wine bottles! By the way, make sure you design workouts that can be done at home by people who might have limited equipment — not a bunch of exercises involving heavy gym equipment. (This might seem obvious, but we’ve seen some fitness pros posting “home workouts” that show them doing routines on machines at the gym. Hmm.)
- Have fun with it! Peloton posted an image asking followers, “Choose Your Instructor House.” The post got great engagement from its loyal community as they decided which house full of instructors they’d hang at. How can you creatively present your instructors and staff to generate engagement with your community?
- Rent out equipment. It’s just sitting there at the gym, right? Help your members by renting it out (some places are sold out of workout equipment), and you’ll help keep some cash flow at the same time.
- Or, sell equipment and pair it with an online subscription. Boxing club Boxhaus is offering workout bags delivered to doorsteps and paired with a new subscription app to access classes members can do at home — looks like a brand-new line of business to us.
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💥BOXHAUS ON DEMAND💥 Swipe right for more details… But here is the low down… -2 weeks FREE TRIAL -$29/monthly subscription -24/7 access to all videos- BOTH BAG WORK AND HIIT! -Updated professional videos on the REG! -Access to our recorded live stream videos Now if you are thinking you can’t join because you don’t have a bag than think again! We have all of our HIIT Classes uploaded in our library as well! If you want to purchase a bag then just email us, we will HOOK you up 👊🏼 Got questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org Shoutout to our team @millennial_media_group for making this all possible!🙏🏻 #bringingthehaustoyourhaus
- Create additional revenue streams like online workshops and trainings. We’re seeing yoga studios shift their teacher trainings online. Offer nutrition coaching with the help of certified nutrition experts. Like we discussed in our article about online education, you have something to teach — so now is the time to take it online and get paid for it.
- Cook something healthy in front of your audience. Yes, they want to see that.
- Offer freebies to newcomers like a free first class, free first week or free trial of your subscriptions. Create downloads like workout plans and healthy recipes you can offer free with signup.
- Don’t forget about reviews — both asking for them and posting them on your social media! As we wrote in this article about online reviews, it’s critical that you have current reviews posted, not reviews from several months ago. You can also use our Revv app to send out surveys and gather positive feedback right after members complete a workout.
- Partner with other businesses. If you’re offering yoga content, collaborate with a HIIT studio, for example. Tag each other in content to help support local businesses and extend your reach.
- Create live Instagram and Facebook events for a “Sip and Shop” or happy hour. If you sell any kind of products, you can showcase them here and offer curbside pickup or free local delivery. Have a couple of instructors model clothing for sale, describe the benefits of any supplements you sell, or demonstrate how a product is used. Never before have you had this kind of captive audience hearing about your products — normally they’re running out the door after class, right? Right now, they’re eager to interact with you.
- Post a virtual challenge and boost it! For example, fitness chain The 12 is hosting a 21-Day Virtual Challenge with a $25 buy-in, with 100% of proceeds benefiting local efforts to purchase supplies related to COVID-19. Participants are encouraged to post their own workout videos and tag The 12 on Instagram and Facebook — great for generating local engagement.
- Go live at specific hours of the day. Post short five-minute workouts to help your audience break up their time at home. Include kid-friendly workouts to get little ones moving along with their parents!
- Post a “treasure hunt” kids can do at home. It might just keep kids busy long enough for parents to squeeze in a workout! You could also post downloadable puzzles, coloring pages and art projects (glitter-free, of course!). Ask your followers to upload pictures in the comments!
When the ☔ is over and the 🌞come out…here is a great activity for your kids (heck, you can do it too!)
Friends, you’ve been training for this moment since the day you could lace up your sneakers. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re all in this together, eager to cross the finish line and get to the other side of COVID-19 even stronger than before.
Remember, the fitness community is one of the strongest, most inspiring groups of people around, and you’re a huge part of it. Hey, if this guy can build a home gym out of wood, you can do anything you set your mind to.
After COVID-19 closed his gym, this man built his own ‘lumber jacked’ version out of wood, complete with a bench press, weights, and more
Do you have a fitness business? What are some other strategies that are working for you right now? Leave a comment below for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page.
Tap Into the Power of Social Media
As you’re taking care of social distancing, Rallio is here to take care of your social media engagement — with no initial fees. We have many different solutions for all types of businesses to help them navigate the COVID-19 crisis with greater ease.
- Rallio Dashboard — Our social media management tool was built specifically for franchises and multi-unit businesses. It lets you control your brand’s social and review pages from one simple spot, as well as syndicate content to different types of franchisees and set permissions.
- Rallio Local — Technology is great, but humans are better. Rallio Local combines the power of the Rallio technology with the creativity of real people. Receive weekly custom, local content, custom responses to your online reviews, social ad campaigns and community management. We pair you with a Social Strategist to deliver hyper-local content that gets seen by your audience through fully managed ad campaigns.
- Rallio Activate — Leverage the power of your employees to reach customers like never before. Incentivize them with rewards programs that you create, and collect assets into your brands image library. Have them submit their own photos and videos to earn points, and publish your brand-approved content on their personal profiles.
This is the final article in a four-part series exploring ways to respond to changing times, digitize your business and blow up your social media presence. Check out the other three articles about food, pet and online education businesses for additional inspiration.