How to Grow Your Fitness Business with Influencer Marketing

By Shane Barker
8 Min Read

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There is a huge market out there for yoga and fitness brands to conquer. But traditional advertising can give you limited reach and conversions since consumers don’t fall for celebrities and ads as easily as they did before. 

Yoga and fitness influencers, many of whom have their own physical-transformation journeys, are more relatable and authentic than paid celebrities. Plus, they work for a fraction of the cost that celebrities charge, especially nano- and micro-influencers. Moreover, they have deeply engaged follower communities who take their word for law, which means they can boost your sales as well. 

Not convinced?

Then, check out these stats about influencers, compiled from a real consumer survey by Edelman:

Image via Edelman

For all of these reasons, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to grow your fitness brand on social media. Let’s learn about the process to be followed, in detail.

The Step-by-Step Influencer Marketing Process for Fitness Businesses

To shine in the saturated health and fitness industry, you need to borrow the magic, charisma, expertise, and goodwill of influencers. But, if you don’t have a solid influencer marketing strategy in place, even the best influencers won’t be able to give you a competitive edge.

So, how do you get started?

Just follow these three steps:

1. Select the Right Influencer

There are thousands of influencers on almost every social platform, but not all are a good fit for you. Health and fitness brands need to be cautious while selecting influencers for collaboration. That’s because your influencers will shape the public’s perception of your brand to a large extent.

Fitness influencers come in varied shapes and sizes, such as:

  • Athletes/coaches from local sports teams
  • Fitness models
  • Nutritionists, doctors, and personal trainers
  • Fitness photographers
  • Actors and local celebrities
  • Anybody with a strong voice, broad reach, and deep engagement

Your ideal influencer has desirable audience demographics, engagement, reach, and content. While shortlisting influencers, focus on the following things:

Purpose of Your Campaign: Do you plan to launch a new health and fitness streaming service or promote a new program through influencers? Ensure that you have clarity about your campaign goals so that you can select the right influencer for the job.

Type of Influencer: Are you looking for high-profile influencers or regular people to promote your brand? What are the minimum follower count and engagement rates you’re looking for? What is your influencer marketing budget, preferred payment model, and campaign KPIs? Decide on all of these parameters to narrow down your choices.

Influencer Content: Dig deep into your prospective influencers’ content to identify their voice and values. Then, analyze whether or not they match with those of your brand. For instance, if your health and fitness streaming service helps vegans stay energized and fit, a collaboration with a vegan influencer will look authentic and natural. 

Active Platforms: Should the influencers have blogs, social media profiles on certain platforms, and/or Instagram accounts & YouTube channels? Are they active on platforms where your target audience lives? You need this information to formulate your content strategy.

As you can see, there are several factors to weigh during influencer selection. It’s not practical to inspect each influencer’s profile manually. Not only that, but you also run the risk of hiring influencers with fake, inflated followerships and engagement numbers. 

The solution?

There are many agencies with verified influencer databases to help you with influencer research and discovery. They can also help you with proposal negotiation and relationship management. This way, you can risk-proof your marketing. 

Likewise, influencer marketing tools and hashtag tools can also yield reliable results.

2. Plan Your Influencer Campaigns

Once you have hired a suitable influencer(s), you need to plan your campaign goals, strategies, and timelines. 

Here are the broad steps to be followed:

  • Identify your campaign goals, metrics, and KPIs.
  • Decide on your campaign’s target audience and activation platforms.
  • Research what your competitors are doing.
  • Prepare a campaign brief for your influencers.
  • Frame a content strategy. You can create a good mix of content types such as:
    • Training videos
    • Fitness challenges
    • Fitness tips 
    • Live sessions with experts
    • Carousel posts showcasing paid video content 
    • Healthy recipes
    • Contests and giveaways

Want a pro tip?

Regardless of the content formats you pick, ensure that they are heavy on visuals. Well-crafted visuals can capture the attention of social media users mid-scroll. They also get more engagement and shares than textual posts. It’s no wonder that visuals made up 74% of branded social content in 2019, according to a Venngage survey. 

If you need inspiration, just take a look at these successful influencer campaigns by fitness brands:

Adidas: Keeping People Fit at Home

Their HomeTeam campaign focuses on rejuvenating low spirits during the COVID-19 lockdown. They have partnered with many influencers to create home training videos for fitness enthusiasts.

Image via Instagram

When Adidas wanted to reach the masses, they came up with the concept of personalized shoes and popularized them through micro-influencers. Customers could get their names emblazoned on their Adidas sneakers and get featured on the brand’s social media pages. 

What else?

With customers restricted indoors, Adidas provided them with an in-store experience through their augmented reality (AR) app. Shoe lovers select a pair of shoes from the AlphaEdge 4D shoe range and a virtual version of the shoe appears on their foot. 

Image via Adidas

By combining cutting-edge technology with influencer marketing, Adidas was able to keep up their sales and beat the competition.

Reebok: Growing Sales Through Influencers

The mega-brand leverages influencers to promote discounts and deals on their products. Their influencers also use IGTV to create product videos and training tutorials, in which they market the brand’s products.

Image vis Instagram

The brand also encourages their influencers to put forth their real face to establish a human connection with the audience. In the Carousel post below, their #WorkOUTfromHome instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala, talks about her personal life and favorite exercise poses.

Image via Instagram

3. Track and Measure Your Campaign Performance

Campaign tracking and measurement should be a priority for any brand that leverages influencer marketing. 

Why so?

It helps decode successful strategies and bankable influencers. By keeping tabs on your influencer-led campaigns, you can build a culture of accountability in your influencer relationships.

Moreover, it gives direction to your future efforts. You can set benchmarks for your next campaigns and identify areas for improvement. That way, you can eliminate the guesswork of influencer marketing and draw assured ROI from it. 

There’s one more reason why you should measure campaign performance…

When you have concrete results to show for your investment, you’ll find it easier to obtain management buy-in for future campaigns. Though influencer marketing has proved its mettle, it’s still a relatively new marketing strategy. Plus, it doesn’t come with a handbook of rules and success stories. 

It’s no wonder that many entrepreneurs perceive influencer marketing as a “light-weight” marketing tactic that has no direct bearing on their businesses’ bottom lines. If you can draw consistent ROI from influencers, you can invoke confidence from your management and solicit their support.

However, it’s not going to be easy to measure your influencer marketing performance. In fact, 76% of marketers say it’s their #1 challenge. 

But since performance evaluation is a must, follow these steps to do the task:

  • Look back at your influencer marketing goals to derive the right metrics to track.

According to the Linqia study cited above, engagement, clicks, impressions, and conversions are the top performance indicators for most marketers.

Image via Linqia
  • To track the top 3 metrics, here’s what you need to do:
  • For Engagement: You can count the number of likes, shares, comments, and brand mentions on your posts or use social media management tools like MeetEdgar to keep track. You can find the engagement rate by dividing the total number of engagements by total post views.
  • For Clicks and Impressions: Use social media monitoring tools to keep track of the clicks and impressions your influencer content garners. If the number is low, it’s likely the content is not platform-optimized or engaging. 
  • For Conversions: You can use trackable codes, promotion links, and conversion pixels to keep track of referral traffic through influencers. If your influencers also double up as affiliates, use affiliate marketing software to keep tabs on the sales they generate. 

Ready to Unleash the Power of Influencer Marketing?

When you’re in the health and fitness industry, you’re not just selling a yoga routine or fitness workout. You’re selling a positive body image and the will to keep going. That’s why you need to work with influencers who share your vision and passion for health and fitness. 

Once you find them, you should know how to effectively use their voices and reach. To outshine your competitors, your influencer marketing should be intentional, laser-focused, and resultful. And it’s pointless to put in any effort if you’re not going to measure the returns. 

The strategy I’ve explained above will optimize your influencer marketing campaigns end-to-end. Even if you’ve hired an influencer marketing expert or agency, it always pays to be informed and vigilant.

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