7 tips to become a successful fitness influencer [plus examples]

fitness-influencer

A fitness influencer promotes an active and healthy lifestyle on any given social media platform.

Sounds simple enough, right?

But there is so much more to becoming a successful fitness influencer who not only offers advice and support but also works with brands to promote products and services for compensation. This influencer is trusted by fitness consumers, which means his or her opinion carries a lot of weight.

Whether you’re a fitness professional who wants to level up your social media presence or an individual who would like to break into the fitness industry via social media, the following are seven tips to help you become a successful fitness influencer. 

(We also have included links to 11 fitness influencers you can browse and follow for inspiration.)

Choose your niche as a fitness influencer

In the fitness industry, the successful own a niche. Fitness is a crowded arena, so you need to stand out. But identifying your niche also will help you hone your expertise.

Remember, to know a little bit about everything makes you an expert of nothing. It takes expertise and some level of specialism to grow a significant following on social media.

If you’re an expert at bodybuilding, then ideally, you’ve not only coached others but participated in a few shows yourself. Maybe you have your own weight-loss journey to share. Whatever it is, own that specific angle to the health and fitness world.

Being an expert means that you can offer content that will bring value to your followers’ lives. It’s about building trust.

A few ways you can build your expertise include (but are not limited to):

  • Stay on top of the latest research. Fitness, health and nutrition studies are constantly being conducted and are frequently shifting our perception of the “best” ways to get fit. You can share snippets that are relevant and understandable for your audience.
  • Share the latest industry news. You can sign up for press releases from leading brands or even create Google alerts that are related to your niche.
  • Answer audience questions. While you might have to conduct your own research to appropriately answer a follower’s question, this is a straightforward way to establish yourself as an expert.

Of course, once you’ve established your expertise in one area, you can then expand to another niche if you choose to do so. (But this should not be done too soon.)

Find your voice

Once you’ve determined your niche, it’s time to explore your voice. What does that mean?

Your voice determines whether your message comes across as motivational, sympathetic, powerful, etc. 

Ideally, you’ll want to go with whatever fits your personality and your target audience best. Remember, your goal as a fitness influencer is to help people push through their fitness challenges. Your voice in that effort will either help or hurt that.

Voice also includes whether you use emojis and even what emojis you use. The typical length of your captions also can be reflective of your posts. Are you short and to the point? Or, will you treat each post almost like a mini-blog?

Once you’ve decided on your voice, be consistent. Consistency will help you brand yourself and build trusting relationships with your following. 

Tell your story authentically, consistently

Take a look at your existing social media profiles. What would someone’s first impression of you be by looking only at your profile? Are they getting your whole story just from your posts?

Think of your profile as a storyboard of your fitness life. This means that every post is a piece of your story as a fitness influencer.

In addition to constantly thinking through how to add a piece of your story every time you post, always be as authentically you as possible.

Authenticity is a form of currency on social media. Anything less than being truly authentic will turn off your audience. It’s about giving people an honest peek into your life, that you’re a real human being that they can relate to.

As you begin posting, keep in mind that you’ll want your face in your images as much as possible. Photos with faces on Instagram, for example, get 38 percent more likes.

Even when promoting a product, for example, you’ll want to come at it as a human who has tried it and give your honest opinion about it. As soon as you get salesy and detached from your own experience, that’s when you’ll lose interest.

Posting regularly is a must for any fitness influencer. Consistency in your presence and engagement builds trust as well. This might take some planning in advance, but that planning will be worth it. Think through your overall content, which should be a mix of inspirational, educational, networking and sponsored posts. When in doubt, lean toward a heavier mix of organic, unpaid posts. 

Planning will keep your messaging and content on point in a way that your followers will appreciate.

Again, people want to trust you. Never give them a reason not to.

Obsess over engagement, not followers

As you’re looking to establish your status as a fitness influencer, it’s hard not to focus on your number of followers.

But we’d like to challenge you to focus on your engagement rate instead. (Roughly the number of engagements on a post divided by number of followers.)

Yes, the size of your following can lead to higher pay for sponsored posts. However, brands are also becoming more and more savvy about the engagement they’d like to see (versus just the number of your followers).

It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to reach “Kardashian level” with millions of followers to be a successful fitness influencer. In fact, the larger the following, the lower the engagement rate can get. 

Having 1,000 engaged followers is better than having 10,000 followers who never interact with your posts. In fact, reaching 1,000 followers roughly qualifies you as a nano-influencer.

Instead, prioritize engaging with your audience above all else, building that back-and-forth conversation with them. Great content leads to high engagement, and high engagement leads to organic following growth.

Simply, treat your followers as individual friends. Have two-way conversations, where you ask questions, respond to comments, run polls and take an interest in them and their thoughts.

(Hint: This engagement should happen outside of your own posts and on your followers’ posts as well.)

Be patient, and keep focusing on the influencer you naturally are and the people you want to serve.

Connect with other influencers

While you are actively seeking to grow your influence, consider connecting with other fitness influencers.

It’s helpful to contact those who share your nice and starting a conversation with them that includes:

  • Showing them support
  • Sharing their content
  • Mentioning them in your own posts
  • Networking with them to gain visibility

Just make sure you’re connecting with influencers who complement your message. Equally important is to make sure you have something to offer them as well. It’s not all take, take, take.

Reach out to brands for sponsorship, advertising opportunities

We’d love to tell you that once you reach a certain level of fitness influencer that sponsorship and advertising opportunities will just fall out of the sky.

Unfortunately, while you might be approached here and there, the fact is that you’ll have to do a lot of the leg work.

First, create a media kit that summarizes:

  • Your brand. This is your introduction that should include your niche, expertise, a touch of your personality and the type of company/products you’re looking to partner with.
  • Your audience. Share how many followers you have, your engagement rate and even a breakdown of their demographics (depending on what you’re using, this should be easily available, whether its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another platform).
  • What you can offer to companies should they choose to work with you. Remember that you have to show this company why they can’t pass up a chance to work with you. Sell what you have to offer to them.

Then, you’ll want to compile a wish list of the top 10 to 20 companies you would like to work with. Before you even send on your media kit, be sure to start the relationship by following their social media accounts and interacting with their posts. 

Once you’ve been interacting with a company’s accounts for a while, then you can direct message them a link to your media kit or send a more traditional email.

Do not be afraid of following up if you don’t hear back. The worst thing they can say is no.

Remember that your media kit can constantly evolve as your online presence evolves. Take any feedback you get from possible rejections to adjust your pitch for the next company.

Track your performance

Becoming a fitness influencer takes a lot of passion, but data can be equally powerful.

Take the time to track the overall performance of your social media account(s). These metrics and growth trends can be added to your media kit to help secure additional sponsorships and advertising.

Of course, once you do land a sponsored post, you’ll want to give that post everything you’ve got. The best imagery, boosting the post if necessary, running a related ad campaign and so on. You can then report those results back to your partnering brand. 

You’ll want to include in your report:

  • Reach numbers
  • Engagement numbers
  • Click-throughs
  • Sampling of positive comments
  • Total time users spent consuming the content (which typically is connected to video posts)

The more you can show brands a return on investment (ROI) for their partnership with you, the more likely that partnership will continue and grow.

Examples of fitness influencers for inspiration

The bad news is that you’re not the first to want to become a fitness influencer. The good news is that you’re not the first to want to become a fitness influencer. 

In other words, there are others in the industry you can follow and learn from. Take note of their posting frequency, the various types of content, the overall content mix, who they’re tagging and networking with and so on. All of these observations can inform your own approach and strategy.

The following are just a few examples of successful accounts on Instagram you might be inspired by:

Not sure which social media platform is right for you as a budding fitness influencer? Check out our guide.

While you’re leveling up your status as a fitness influencer, consider DailyStory. Our digital marketing platform integrates with MindBody and Rhinofit to better serve fitness studios and gyms and offers such features as SMS text message marketing, email marketing, automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get best practices, recommendations, and tips for digital marketers