Using Instagram to Build Your Community

shutterstock_129085370Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform and plays an important role in marketing small businesses. This is particularly true for CrossFit gyms, as it is a useful tool to help engage with your community and build your brand. Here are four tips that you can implement today to help strengthen and build your community through Instagram:

  1.    Showcase Your Members

Your members are the lifeblood of your Box. They come in day after day and put in the hard work, so make sure to show them how great they look doing it. During classes, it is easy for Coaches to simply snap a few photos of the Metcon. Post photos daily and tag your members. They rarely get to see what they look like when they land a good lift or improve on their rowing form. It’s amazing how one photo can create encouragement and a feeling of accomplishment.

  1.    Promote Events and Products

Don’t limit Instagram only to photos of your members and the Box. Use it as another platform to promote upcoming events and products you have on sale at your store. Have new merchandise coming in? Post photos to build excitement and encourage pre-orders. Have a competition in a few weeks? Start early by posting teasers around the event to create buzz and then continue to post more information as the event gets closer. There are numerous apps, such as PicLab HD, Over or Rhonna Designs, to help you easily create eye-catching images. No Photoshop skills required!

  1.    Use Unique Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way for users to find your content and to better engage with your audience. However, you will want to do a little research before using the first hashtags that come to mind. What you think might be a great representation of your brand, maybe your Box’s acronym for example, could already be used by another brand that has nothing to do with CrossFit. Not only will your messaging go out to the wrong audience, but it will get lost among the other posts. Use a site like TagBoard to do a little research on your hashtags before you commit to using them, and find something that no one else is using. This will allow you to better track your engagement and build a following that works for your business.

  1.    Engage With Your Community

For any social media platform to be effective, you have to engage with others to make your campaign successful. Simply posting an image is not enough. Start by following your members, brands you work with (or want to work with) and other gyms in your area. Like and make comments on their posts. Chances are they will reciprocate the favor and your audience will grow! A little extra effort will end up going a long way.

Sarah McGovern is the Founder & CEO of RAD Media, LLC, a strategic marketing & communications firm specializing in brand development, social media marketing and event management. She started CrossFit in 2012 and now works with Boxes across the country to improve their marketing and business strategies.