Squats for breakfast, burpees for lunch, and lunges for dinner.

Welcome to Instagram.

If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a bit of a fitness craze on Instagram in the past couple of years.

Just look around you, everyone is in active wear, drinking kale smoothies and uploading their progress pictures and workouts to Instagram.

When you scroll through Instagram there are thousands of personal accounts dedicated to health and fitness with over 4 million followers for some of the huge names who are dedicating themselves to sharing their tips and progress to a huge social media fan base.

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(Source) I don’t know! *cries*

But more than this drinking dirt thing, there’s an even bigger craze.

I’m talking about the fitness communities that are taking place on Instagram.

Basically Instagram has served as the perfect platform for these communities. It allows users to interact, motivate and encourage each other

There’s a reason why these communities work when it comes to fostering a relationship between the brand and its followers. It makes the followers feel a part of the brand, and a part of something big…… so a cult? (I’m joking!……not).

But the communities clearly work,  for example Kayla Itsiness has 4.7 million followers on Instagram, and FitGirlsGuide has 5.5 million followers.

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Fitgirlsguide Instagram page

So what happens in this  “community” ?

Well, every couple weeks there will be progress photos, and you can cheer on that person and use their progress as motivation. There is usually recipes ideas and shopping lists. And, then there will be cute and funny tidbits  from everyone’s day.

This creates a feeling of unity and a sense that everyone is going through the fitness challenge together.

And the successful fitness bloggers and fitness companies having utilised this knowledge.

Not everyone has access to a local, in-person support group. There are those who live in small communities where such groups don’t exist. Others have difficulty finding a local tribe of like-minded individuals. And, often group meetings don’t mesh with work and family schedules.

That’s where online fitness communities come in.

They allow people to connect with other like-minded people both near and far.

It’s having the right circle of friends at your finger tips.

You can check in when it’s convenient or you need some extra encouragement and support.

And you don’t even need to leave the house. BONUS!

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(Source) Well in that case…..

So for anyone thinking to become the next Kayla Itsiness, don’t just give your subscribers a bunch of PDF meal plans and exercises. Its important that you interact with your followers and make them feel a part of the brand.

The implications for the digital marketers would be the same, and to create a hub that makes the followers feel welcome and encouraged to upload their own content. Because at the end of the day those progress pictures, are proof that your fitness plan works (the ultimate testimonial).

What do you think? Do you follow any fitness influencers? Can you see yourself joining an online fitness community?

Shelley Barr-Waanders

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