Influencers have become a familiar part of the fitness industry. They tend to be considered some of the most important marketing tools for businesses in a landscape dominated by social media. Not to mention that this can also be a viable career choice for talented content creators with fresh perspectives on physical, mental, or holistic wellness.
This isn’t the same as saying that success as a fitness influencer is necessarily guaranteed. If you choose to follow this path, you will in effect be setting up your own fitness marketing business. There are also a variety of challenges to navigate if you’re to break through in a healthy, successful, and sustainable way.
We’re going to outline a few things you should know if you want to be a fitness influencer.
There’s no question that influencers have had an impact on society in general. But what about the effect on the fitness industry? Having some knowledge of this can help you make more informed choices about your road to becoming a fitness influencer. You can find ways to leverage the good outcomes independent content creators have while strategizing how to navigate the less positive elements.
Primarily, fitness influencers have served as motivational tools. Audiences can see that a regular person utilizes practical strategies to reach fitness goals, rather than a sports star or celebrity. This can make being physically fit seem more attainable, with followers adopting the tools and techniques their favorite influencers use. This can be great for promoting health and encouraging the public to make time for self-care. Not to mention that the trust and independence influencers represent can prompt meaningful engagement with brand partners.
That said, there are certainly negative impacts surrounding fitness influencing. There is often pressure from businesses and audiences to maintain a constant online presence, which can contribute to mental health challenges. It’s also not unusual for creators to experience abuse that can lead to body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It’s also vital to understand that influencers aren’t employees of the brands they represent. This means that they aren’t protected by many legal employment safeguards many other fitness industry workers can rely on.
One of the first steps on the path to becoming a fitness influencer is to build an audience. Many businesses won’t approach or consider influencers for partnerships if there isn’t already a good follower count in place. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need millions of followers. Rather, you should have a relatively consistent audience that is actively engaged with your content. Indeed, a lot of businesses are keen to partner with micro-influencers (1000-10000 followers) because these tend to have more committed audiences.
There are some actions you can take to develop your audience, depending on the platforms you use. TikTok is one of the primary platforms fitness influencers are focusing on at the moment, particularly for Gen Z engagement. Getting TikTok followers involves using research to drive your content strategy. Understand what types of content, personalities, and activities followers in your target demographic appreciate. Regularly review the trending fitness hashtags and use them. Use analytics data to understand which of your posts resonate with audiences and leverage these to create impactful future posts.
It’s also worth testing the waters with some non-sponsored reviews. Firstly, this establishes your independence and trustworthiness, as audiences will recognize that you’re not connected to another business. This may result in more follower growth from those seeking reliable information.
You can also utilize the engagement data from these posts to pitch your services to potential brand partners. Even showing your follower click-throughs to affiliate or ambassador programs you’re signed up for can help demonstrate your value as a partner to businesses.
One of the mistakes some potential fitness influencers make is assuming that they will simply be working with brands. This can mean they overlook that influencers should be brands themselves. Demonstrating that you are a fitness brand partner rather than a creative contractor can be powerful. It shows that you’ve put thought into developing a profile that’s meaningful to your audience, representative of you as an entrepreneur, and clear enough for other businesses to have confidence in.
Effectively raising brand awareness involves adopting strategies that help you stand out from the crowd. Firstly, gain clarity on the core points of your identity. Know what your values are and solidify the brand “voice” you want to use. Narrow down the specific fitness audiences you want to service and what your unique attributes as a creator are. You can then design visual elements, such as logos, video title cards, and even merchandise that reflect these. Keep using these elements in your content to get audiences to recognize your brand.
It’s also worth considering how focusing on a niche can be an important part of your brand-building efforts. There are a lot of fitness influencers out there and you may find it difficult to compete as just a general content creator in the field. Niche subjects — such as yoga for runners, urban outdoor activities, or routines to address certain physical challenges — can help you make a more refined brand profile. You’ll develop a reputation as an authority in this area, which both audiences and potential brand partners can recognize.
Being a fitness influencer can be a rewarding career choice, but it can also be challenging. Get to understand the positive and negative impacts influencing has had on the fitness industry so you can navigate and leverage these accordingly. Take the time to build an audience utilizing methods driven by solid research and analysis. Creating a personal brand is also essential to stand out from the crowd. It’s a competitive industry, but with planning and focus you can have a positive influence on many people’s fitness journeys as well as on your own success.
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