Social Media Marketing for Gyms: 8 Tips to Grow Memberships

A focused social media strategy is the difference between wasting precious time on social media and truly utilizing these platforms to build your business and bring in new memberships.

When there’s a gym on every corner, it’s not easy for business owners to stand out. Social media marketing for gyms is a great way to motivate and inspire your members, attract new members, and build a loyal following who promotes and supports your local business.

Chances are you’re familiar with social media platforms for personal use. But how do you use them to market and grow your fitness business? We’ll walk you through our eight tips and marketing ideas for driving gym memberships through your social media marketing strategy.

1. Identify Your Audience

One of the most common mistakes people make in social media marketing for gyms is trying to market their products or services to everyone. It makes sense at first glance – the broader your message, the more people that will connect to it. But it’s just the opposite. No one will connect to your message if they don’t feel like it’s speaking directly to them.

The key here is to discover the exact target audience who would enjoy going to your gym. Create a buyer persona, which is a fictional representation of your ideal gym member. Give this person a name, and fill out a complete profile of them.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What experience does this person look for in a gym?
  • What fitness classes do they enjoy?
  • What’s their demographic? (age, sex, financial status, fitness experience)
  • What time of day do they workout?

Your buyer persona will help you align your content on social media with the right audience so they will connect with your fitness brand message.

2. Plan Your Content

Now that you have a clear picture of your target audience, you can begin to brainstorm social media content that they would enjoy. Your content should be reader and benefits-focused. Aim to provide content that is helpful, entertaining, inspiring, and engaging on your social media channels.

Think about your business persona, and put yourself in their shoes when coming up with posts. What questions would they have about your fitness center or about working out in general? What do they struggle with? How can you help them? What motivates them or inspires them?

The majority of your social media posts should be educational or engaging instead of merely promoting your gym. You should target answers to questions they may have, motivate them, or engage them with questions of your own before promoting yourself and posting a call-to-action.

Social media newsfeeds can be flooded with wordy posts. Images break up a newsfeed, and people often pause when they come across an interesting picture. Use high-quality photos that make people stop scrolling and read your post. Use a beginner-friendly graphic design tool like Canva to make your images pop.

3. Use Hashtags

Using hashtags can expand your audience and encourage social shares. There are a few different types of hashtags and many ways to use them.

You can use hashtags for general topics in the fitness industry that will put your posts in front of worldwide viewers. If you’re a local gym, general hashtags may not be helpful. General hashtags are ones like #StrengthTraining or #Yoga.

Trending hashtags are those like #TransformationTuesday or #MotivationMonday. These hashtags can be helpful because they encourage engagement. These hashtags start trending because they inspire users to participate.

The last type is the brand hashtag. As a business, you can create your own hashtag that you use for contests, sharing member stories, and encouraging shares. An example of a brand hashtag could be #[GymName]Strong.

4. Attract with Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are products or content you create that have real value, and you offer it in exchange for a person’s email address. Lead magnets allow you to build your email list of potential members, establish your knowledge and authority, and foster a relationship.

Lead magnets often come in the form of ebooks, video and email courses, and how-to guides. In addition, gym owners can offer workout videos and guides, meal plans and recipes, and detailed weekly or monthly challenges. Your lead magnets are exclusive content available only to members who’ve subscribed to your emails.

Lead magnets make great content for paid Facebook ads and ads on other social media accounts because you’re offering something of value in addition to promoting yourself.

People will want to share truly valuable lead magnets, and as you build your email list, you can send your marketing campaigns directly to potential members. Your members will also feel supported, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Most Gyms Struggle with Generating New Memberships...We Fix That!

Since 2009, we have helped many Gyms and Fitness businesses grow strategically. Let us do it for you!

5. Run Exciting Contests

Contests can be a great way to create excitement and expand your reach. It’s best to pick a prize that is related to your gym and that your target audience would love to win. Your prize should be something like free membership for a month, a free class, or free equipment.

Have fun coming up with the rules of your contest. It can be a contest for the most posts using your hashtag, a giveaway, the most referrals, sweepstakes, or anything else that gets your business out there. However, social media platforms have rules about contests, so it’s a good idea to find out what’s allowed before running a contest.

Decide how long the contest should run and set a deadline. You can use a platform like Rafflecopter to organize your contest and track entries.

With each contest, you’ll gain brand awareness, social media presence, and loyalty, and you’ll gain more insight into what excites your followers.

6. Incentivize Referrals

When people tell their family and friends about their favorite businesses, they likely to listen and try it out for themselves. Referrals are one of the simplest marketing tools. By paying special attention to your current customers and making sure you exceed their expectations, they’re likely to do some advertising for you.

If you know you have satisfied customers, but you’d like to see more referrals, sometimes all you have to do is ask. Even better, offer your loyal members an incentive for recommending you to people in their circle.

Once again, consider your target buyer persona and what they would appreciate in a gift. A referral incentive for your gym can be as simple as offering a free t-shirt when a friend signs up, or as elaborate as a free session with one of your personal trainers.

You can also create an offer that includes the referral and the referee, such as one month of free membership for your customer and their friend. Consider creating a referral program where members can gain points for each referral and then spend those points on retail items or fees.

7. Celebrate Your Members

Support your members by celebrating their achievements and sharing their stories. Not only do these shoutouts create loyalty, but you can almost guarantee featured members will share your post, and so will their friends and family.

Your posts will inspire your other current members and show your community that people are thriving at your gym. And you’ll do all that without sounding self-promotional or spammy.

This approach helps you gain new memberships but also encourages the retention of your current members. Praising your members’ hard work fosters a sense of community and family and shows that you’re focused on the success of your customers.

So get permission and then start giving shoutouts to those members are the most active, are showing the most progress, and are overcoming challenges.

8. Ask Questions

Don’t forget to also just be social. From time to time, get on the same level as your followers and ask them open-ended questions. Find out their favorite way to be active outdoors. Ask for their favorite post-workout recipes. Ask them to tell you their favorite part of working out at your gym.

Go through the comments and give well-thought-out responses. Have fun with it, and let your personality show. Social media users love when companies give real human responses that are thoughtful, witty, and supportive. You can also use a tool like Typeform to collect answers to your most important questions.

This open dialogue can also provide you with new ideas for posts and even for your business in general. Running a successful business means continuously growing and providing the best experience you can for your customers. Talking to your customers and learning as much as you can about them will help you grow and continue to provide the best gym experience for your members.


Developing and maintaining a social media strategy can seem like a huge undertaking, but by understanding your audience and creating a solid plan, the process becomes much more straightforward.

The main takeaway is that social media fitness marketing is about growing and retaining memberships, but it’s also about building relationships with your members. Celebrate their achievements, give them actionable tips, show them support, and ask for their feedback.

Following these steps will build and establish your brand. It will help you grow a loyal following of members who tell their friends about you, shares your content, and advertises for you.

Most Gyms Struggle with Generating New Memberships...We Fix That!

Since 2009, we have helped many Gyms and Fitness businesses grow strategically. Let us do it for you!

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