3 tips for building a health and fitness community online

5 min read
Elle Campbell

When it comes to running a successful, profitable and sustainable fitness or health-related business in today’s digital age, simply having your gym in a key location is not enough. To really make it, you need to turn your business into a health and fitness community.

Today, people can get fitness classes and customized training directly from their phones, iPads, televisions and laptops. For anyone who is short on time or feels intimidated by most fitness centres, this kind of set-up can prove to be ideal.

So how does a fitness or health business bring them in?

One word — community.

Regardless of how digitally advanced we’ve become, people are still tribal creatures. More than anything, we crave what our smart devices can’t give us: a sense of connectedness and community.

The wise health and fitness centre owner will acknowledge this and aim to provide clients with a health and fitness community that connects both online AND off.

Make your fitness centre the place to be

Competition is fierce in the health and fitness arena. Here’s how to keep clients coming in to your gym or centre.

  1. Build an easy-to-use website and blog.
  2. Embrace social media.
  3. Create a Facebook group.

Keep reading to start building that community now.

It starts by paying attention

Building a sense of community in a fitness/health club centre can be as simple as smiling and remembering your client’s names and stories. Or it could be as advanced as:

  • Holding specific fitness or goal-oriented challenges
  • Hosting special events with trainers, nutritionists and coaches on-location
  • Sharing announcements or rankings on whiteboards in common areas of the facility

While these initiatives can surely make clients feel welcome, there’s no better way to attract new clients AND encourage client retention than by building a welcoming online community.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Build an easy-to-use website and blog

Consider your website more than just an online “brochure” for your prospective and current clients to get to know you. It’s also as a place for you to tell your personal health or fitness story, unite your health and fitness community — even make money online.

Blogging about health or fitness topics brings new clients in the door.

We suggest using a flexible website tool like Wordpress that makes it easy to add features as you progress.

One easy, cost-efficient AND effective way to do this is with GoDaddy’s WordPress Websites. It comes with all you need to launch a great-looking website and blog — regardless of your level of skill or the size and experience of your team.

With GoDaddy, you will benefit from a full suite of services trusted worldwide:

  • Domain lookup
  • Web security
  • Online marketing

For your peace of mind, they offer 24/7 security monitoring and help, too.

Related: How to make a website — a complete guide

2. Embrace social media

When it comes to building your online health and fitness community, social media platforms are your best friend. Seriously.

Health and Fitness Community Yoga Mat with iPad
Share news, product reviews, recipes and workout routines via social media.

Ask anyone for the best place to receive “fitspo” — hands-down they will say Instagram. It’s the best platform to share:

  • Fitness goals
  • Aspirations
  • Results
  • Healthy recipes
  • Diet plans

On Instagram alone, the #fitness hashtag has over 300 million posts!

Users embarking on their own personal wellness journeys will often follow health and fitness influencers as a means to stay inspired. They may even subscribe to their online services and programs (when available) to stay accountable.

Today’s SoulCycle instructors are bona fide rockstars.

Many have thousands of social media followers, drawn to their own unique identities and teaching styles.

You can use your business Instagram and Facebook accounts as a place to:

  • Interact with clients
  • Keep followers engaged
  • Host competitions
  • Repost progress and success photos

You could even use social media as a way to introduce members to one another to keep them feeling one very important thing … a sense of community.

3. Create a Facebook group

It’s likely that at least 95% of your clients have a smartphone, so this is a really smart way to keep them connected — even when you’re not working!

Facebook or WhatsApp groups are a wonderful means to connect everyone in your fitness “tribe” and introduce them to one another. Here you can share common goals, promotions and even spotlight the accomplishments of individuals within your group.

One of the best parts of a Facebook group is that the conversations will often become self-generating.

Health and Fitness Community Two Men at Finish Line

Once your group is up and running, you’re free to kick back and watch the community grow. Just be sure to respond whenever a member messages you or your business directly.

Today, most consumers make their buying decisions by searching online first. By having an active, engaged community of gym or health club-goers on social, their connection and sense of loyalty to your fitness facility increases. This keeps them coming back for more!

Closing thoughts

Before you begin creating your online community, we suggest you first listen to your clients and determine what they want.

  • Do they want a place to share recipes and fitness goals?
  • Or would they rather you focus your efforts on creating customized, informative videos with helpful tips?
  • Or maybe a pro-curated feed they can visit to become inspired when they are feeling their ambition start to sag?

Likely, they will tell you a bit of all three! In that case, you must begin to develop your own unique online personality or voice.

Share inspiring quotes, handy tips, photos and infographics that feel good to you. The clientele that has been attracted to you is sure to agree.