TL;DR: Fitness fanatics are on social media seeking meaningful connection with like-minded people. The brands meeting those demands are the ones that we will see pull ahead of the competition.
A strong social media presence for a fitness brand is about more than pairing motivational messaging with big-name athlete sponsorships. As organic reach approaches zero and social platforms put an emphasis on meaningful conversation, health and fitness brands can be quickly buried under the weight of wasted efforts. Followers aren’t looking to passively consume content. They want to interact.
Many of the biggest brands workaround social media with branded apps. Some of these apps have evolved as far as to resemble their own social network, capitalizing on connection through competition. We already know that running is contagious and exercise is more effective with friends, but do we really know if apps help reach fitness goals? Nike does.
As smart phone technology evolved, Nike saw an opportunity to create value across various branded apps. Nike+ Run Club takes the cake (or it's more fitting to say "takes the green smoothie): Not only does this app track your run, but lets you compete on leaderboards and receive in-run cheers from friends, making you feel like you’re truly part of an elite club. The app’s built-in push notifications will even let you know when your friends are going for a run for extra motivation. Social media reach may go down, but Nike+ Run Club won’t have any problem reaching consumers as long as this app is in existence.
It might seem like Nike is running the game, but “10,000 steps” had little significance before Fitbit gamified that number as the amount of steps you should walk or run each day. When the original Fitbit fitness tracker was released in 2009, the device synced to your computer and transmitted data to an online dashboard. Now Fitbit users can see their data instantly by simply opening up the mobile app. Like Nike, Fitbit quickly saw the opportunity to keep users in the app by creating a sense of community. Now you can compete against other Fitbit wearers, share your own stats and even send direct messages. Who would have thought “slidin’ into your DMs” would ever apply to a fitness tracker?
While some brands are investing in apps and wearable tech, others are simply putting an emphasis on owning the current social media conversation.
Take a look at lululemon’s Instagram account and you’re almost always guaranteed a strong Story. From live guided meditations to perfectly pulled together graphics, they beautifully communicate their brand values while inspiring followers to get active. There’s no doubt about it, they are owning the conversation.
However, brands don’t have to own the conversation to be a part of it. Branded Facebook Groups can let your loyal audiences do the talking while also offering a snapshot into authentic brand sentiment. Rather than just pushing out content, this is a fresh avenue for two-way communication with your audience.
We believe there is an opportunity for health and fitness brands to interact and foster deeper connections with Facebook Groups, sharing relevant brand content. Members can learn about events happening at local stores or simply share thoughts with like-minded brand enthusiasts. The more connected they feel to the Group, the more connected they will feel to the brand.
The common theme across the board? Consumer-brand connection through community. Social media is changing how health and fitness brands reach audiences, and interactive content may just be the place to pivot to.
Need help developing a social-specific interactive content strategy? We can help.