Despite incredibly active and diverse gym communities around the world, Anytime Fitness had a pretty stale Instagram feed in the beginning of 2016. It was run by corporate employees in an office setting, so dependent mostly on photo shoots in a mock gym plus content developed for the blog or elsewhere to maintain. Follower count remained pretty static and disengaged with this execution. We knew we needed to improve this account dramatically or drop it entirely, because it didn't match the vibrancy, drive, and sense of community found on our other social channels and in the gyms. The core objective was to create an authentic feed that showcases the everyday Anytime Fitness life and family without requiring significant marketing dollars or resources. Ultimately, this would lead to brand advocates wanting to share their story—and influencing their friends and family to recognize Anytime Fitness as a welcoming fitness community.
Round one of our implementation involved "handing the keys" of our Instagram feed to specific Anytime Fitness members, so followers could experience their entire week and the many health and fitness decisions included along the way—including visiting the gym. We soon learned this tactic was pretty time-intensive and limiting in perspective and quality-control, but it spurred our next step to feature many people.
We decided to make our entire Instagram feed member-generated in late 2016. This opened us up to perspectives from some 3,000+ gyms across 26 countries who were already sharing their experiences online. We asked them to share more, with a company hashtag, so that they could be featured on our corporate account. Not only did this produce new brand advocates and a nearly limitless number of photos, but the options were diverse and creative, just like our communities around the world.
Our social media specialist can curate the best of the best from these submissions and share diverse member experiences from her desk in corporate headquarters. Quality control is high, allowing for a colorful, consistent channel and voice, and corporate time and cost associated is incredibly small.
Greatest of all, we are creating and fueling Anytime Fitness advocates by encouraging them to share their healthy moments and get creative while showcasing every corner of our gyms and their inspiring lives! Around 26,000 member photos are being shared with us specifically each month.
This shift occurred in late 2016, yet our Instagram audience is climbing quickly, already having increased by 75%. Total engagement with the photos has greatly increased by 218%, translating to +309% in total likes and +126% in total comments.
The amount of corporate resources needed to maintain this real-life Instagram feed have been greatly reduced, and the problem of not working from the gym every day is completely solved. With the ability to curate photos, our feed also has more consistency of style and voice, allowing for a complete and accurate view of our Anytime Fitness brand and community.