When was the last time you tried to lose weight?
Well… I started this great new program yesterday, fully enthusiastic that this was going to be ‘the’ life-altering thing I was looking for – you know, the kinds where you lose 10 kgs in 10 days and everybody is going gaga about it with the before-after photos? That program lasted until yesterday afternoon when I succumbed to the temptation of a sizzling chocolate brownie (with an extra scoop of ice cream). Fret not, there is another Facebook group, another fitness app or a new diet program waiting for me. Behind each of these programs are the people who form their community – the true force that manages to catch my attention with their stories and influence my decision on the next trial.
A community is the ‘in thing’ in digital. People who can influence and wield power over a virtual group of individuals now have the power to rule the (sizeable part of their) world. Keeping this in mind, a lot of fitness brands are turning to build their community to help their own brand grow.
There are many advantages to having a community following if you are a fitness brand. One the most important factors is that it gives people the validation to join your community. If there are many people there and a sizeable number of them seem to be vouching for your solution, the likelihood of someone considering your product, services of methods are quite high.
Next, you have a ready audience for running experiments. New launches, new services will all be lapped up by an internal community before you look outside for validation. Last but not the least, you have a group of people vested in your product. Some people may start out in the free category but may move to paid services if you are persuasive.
New prospects, leads, sales, engagement – all the things you need online exists in communities. If it sounds harder than it looks, well, it is.
Want to know how the experts are doing it?
We bring to you some of the latest brands from the fitness industry that are doing he heavy lifting on community building and reaping the rewards.
Heard about the Zomato for fitness?
Well, here it is. With over 65,000 active users, Fitternity provides curated information about all the fitness options near you. They have well over 8000 listings from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru of trusted fitness options close to you.
Fitternity exists to solve multiple problems for its community. First, it curates and provides information on the fitness solutions close to you. Second, it creates an offline connect option for you. For example, you can search specifically for Marathon training and the site will show you a list that you wouldn’t discover otherwise if you are a newbie.
Lastly, it provides some interesting reads to help your body, mind and soul stay fit. From diet recipes to fat shaming to inspirational stories, this is one power packed website that is well worth your attention.
So why should you look it up? Fitternity extends some great benefits like memberships with the lowest price guarantee, bookings for single activities, unlimited trials and an app that’ll help you stay fit on the go. Best of it all is that information offered is credible, unlike the magical weight loss pill you’ll find online.
Fitternity also makes interesting use of its social channels to build its community. It uses channels to give informed answers to generic questions like ‘Can yoga help me get toned?’ or ‘How to become a morning person’. It doesn’t take long for their Insta followers to join their core community as there is a steady dose of motivation and discounts at the end of the rainbow. One of the interesting things they do to grab new users is to ask existing users to nominate their friends to take the #PledgeForFitness on Insta. They also tied the whole thing up with a social cause and themselves pledged 25% of the proceeds to a charity.
If you want to truly see the power of a community movement, GetActive is a great example from the emerging India of today where people have begun to accept fitness as a way of life. Extending a gamified platform to employees within a company, GetActive has more than 50 companies extending its services including the likes of Cisco, IBM and Microsoft.
GetActive gamifies the whole fitness calendar for an employee, collecting their fitness data, getting timely intervention from nutritionists and doctors and engaging the whole organisation where the employees compete with each other to get higher on the fitness chart.
Numbers seem to speak for themselves. 67% employees formed a permanent changed towards a healthier lifestyle which reduced stress levels by 80% and sick leaves by 4 days. Other things like high energy, good sleep, weight loss will make happier employees. You know where that leads, right?
So, you see, GetActive didn’t take the traditional route with tried and tested social platforms. Instead, it created its own social platform where the interaction and engagement rates are increasing at an enviable rate.
If you are into the process of getting fit or losing weight, you should have definitely heard about Zumba. With a little J Lo party beats here and some rap music on the side, Zumba believes in partying your way into fitness. How cool does that sound!
Zumba’s overall strategy is to build its community both online and offline and social media is used as a key tool to spread the word. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that you’ll find a Zumba class near you. After all 12 million people take Zumba classes every week at more than 110,000 locations in 125 countries.
The interesting fact is that 62% of Zumba’s page views are driven by women. So 70% of its audience on Facebook are female. The community interaction looks encouraging. Of the 8M fans on Facebook, almost 14000 people have left an average 4.8 rating! If someone were new to Zumba, it would be pretty encouraging to see these numbers. It is a great example of how a fitness brand is not only growing its community but also brand value and revenue with social media.
There is a clear trend on social to show off your fit body and do that on the double if you have lost a ton of weight. The dark side of this industry also involves image problems and body shaming. As a fitness brand, it will be your responsibility to hold the beacon to help people feel better about themselves. Engage with them genuinely. Interact with them and solve their problems. You’ll have a community rooting for you before you know it.