Every day, exercisers flock to Instagram and Facebook as if these online spaces are their personal fitness journals. They take selfies in the weight-room mirror and post “fit-spirational” quotes on the most popular social media platforms. For the fitness consumer, social media has become an important support system for achieving their goals. But is the same true for the fitness studio business?
One thing is certain: all fitness studios are competing for the consumer’s time and money. This is no truer than in California, the most populous state and one with a large fitness-minded customer base. In fact, to serve its 38.1 million consumers, California offers over 9,000 fitness facilities (census.gov). The options range from independent studios to nationally recognized gyms.
The national gyms include LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Curves, Jazzercise, Orangetheory, Barre3, CorePower Yoga and CrossFit, among others. Regardless of the market’s concentration of gyms, independently owned studios have to compete with these name brands. One way they can compete is by using social media.
Social media’s impact on independent fitness studios
In markets where name-brand gyms are widely represented, social media presence is prominent. For instance, in Santa Barbara, there is a healthy mix of fitness options among the national gyms in that area. Niche fitness is covered by CoreFlow Yoga, Barre3, CrossFit, Curves and Jazzercise. However, if the Santa Barbara customer prefers a traditional gym format, they can choose from 24 Hour Fitness or Gold’s Gym. All of these brands utilize four or more social media channels. All of them have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as their own website from which customers can navigate to their social channels.