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7 tips for boosting gym member engagement with UGC

gym member engagement with user generated content
Here we show you how to reduce costs and increase the efficacy of your gym membership base with user-generated content.

What is user-generated content for the fitness industry?

User-generated content (UGC), or in the case of gyms, member-driven content, is the modern-day word of mouth. According to Hootsuite, UGC is “original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other channels.” 

It can be an image, video, review, testimonial or podcast – made by your members, brand loyalists, or employees.

Benefits of user-generated content for a hybrid gym

UGC is cost-effective and boosts member engagement. In fact, the secret to increasing member engagement in the fitness industry lies in many factors, but the most often overlooked strategy is content generated by your gym’s users. Here we explain the key benefits.

1. Builds trust and grows an online fitness community

People trust people. 

User generated content -think of fitness engagement posts- acts like a personal recommendation from a friend, family member or someone from your professional network. Nowadays, especially post-pandemic, competition is fierce, and gyms have to fight to be seen online. Why?

  • Fitness seekers are becoming increasingly selective about the gyms and brands they interact with and purchase from.
  • The majority choose products and solutions from brands they think are more trustworthy.

And no other content type is more authentic and trustworthy than reviews and positive recommendations generated by your members. Reportedly, millennials trust UGC content 50% more and find them 35% more memorable than other sources.

Community building is also a top priority for gym operators who seek innovative ways to engage members.  People thrive off being part of a community. Encouraging your members to make and share their photos, videos or success stories with their network, they become active gym goers and inspire others to join the movement.

2. Grow your gym. More influence, fewer marketing costs

UGC is a cost-effective way to scale your gym business as it drives traffic to your gym’s website and social media platforms. What is the cost of asking your customers to share their positive experiences with your gym? Virtually nothing.

About 80% of people believe UGC helps influence consumer purchasing decisions compared to content created by brands (13%) and social media influencers (8%). Seeing other people’s progress and success can be a powerful motivator, especially for those just starting their fitness journey. 

There’s no need to spend on hiring a creative agency to produce brand assets and content for your campaigns when your members and employees can promote your gym for you with powerful, word-of-mouth marketing.

But before you start with member-generated content, it’s crucial to have a plan.

Bring more members to your fitness classes with UGC

It’s important to understand your target audience, what their most pressing problems are, and what motivates them.

With this information, you can identify what member-generated content will best show how your gym’s products and services fulfil their needs. 

2. Keep it simple

If you want your employees and members to create authentic content for you, make it simple and easy for them to do so.

Don’t be afraid to get specific; tell them what and how you want them to share their experiences. This also helps ensure that your member-generated content is on brand and links directly to your business goals. 

You can do this via a social media post, email, or simply via your club managers conversing with your members at the front desk.

3. Member spotlights

A reward will help encourage your members to share their positive experiences online. It’s also a way of you saying: “Thanks for taking the time to help”.

You can incentivise your members by organising a social media contest with prizes or simply giving them a free protein shake or some branded merchandise at the end of their workout. 

But don’t forget to ask your members for their permission before you share their content – and credit them, too.

4. Involve your trainers

If you’re struggling to get member-generated content, ask your gym floor staff to help. Members are more easily influenced by your trainers and will more likely create their own content if they see your staff doing it, too. 

Get your fitness instructors to take a group photo with your members after class or your club managers to record short video testimonials with your regular gym-goers.

More exciting ideas to inspire your fitness community

There are multiple ways you can apply USG to attract new gym members and build a strong community:

5. Don’t underestimate the influence of online reviews

Google remains the top review site. Driving more member reviews on Google can play a significant role in the algorithm that ranks businesses in the search engine’s local results. 

“Consumers are 50% more likely to be motivated by an online review than a discount offer so it’s worth putting effort into gathering online member testimonials”(Bizrate Insights)

In simple terms, more Google reviews drive better rankings. And more visibility on Google gives you more leads coming into your gym.

Better still, you can repurpose these reviews to include them on your social media or your website. Showcasing your Google reviews as customer testimonials on your owned channels can help provide further social proof. 

You can generate more online reviews by creating polls on your social media channels, reaching out to your members with email follow-ups, or conducting a quick member satisfaction survey at the front desk of your gym.

6. Video is king. Use short social videos

Short social videos are a great way to persuade your audience to join your community. You can invite your members to share their favourite workout routines or exercises on social media or on your gym’s website. 

If you find most of your target audience is looking for help with losing weight, record short video stories of your members sharing how they lost weight with your gym.

If your members are interested in the equipment quality, get your club managers and trainers to share a virtual tour of your state-of-the-art facilities.

7. Educate your audience. They will appreciate it

Educational videos focus on do-it-yourself activities or mini-tutorials that help empower and encourage your audience.

Many members and new exercisers are intimidated by the gym. You might want to ask your group fitness instructors to film a quick video explaining what to expect at their first group workout class or your personal trainers to show how to use the treadmill.

Key takeaways

To get the maximum results from your user-generated content, you can repurpose and share it directly with your members via your member app and in-gym displays to increase visibility and engagement.

It’s best practice to share more educational videos via your app to help onboard your new members via a display screen on the gym floor, at home or on-the-go.

Funxtion is a digital fitness platform offering beginner-friendly tutorials, virtual classes and white-label digital fitness content. The type of plug-and-play content platform that gym operators need to elevate the member experience. Ready to inspire your community with white label content?

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Funxtion x Benefit system partnership

Funxtion partners with Zdrofit – a brand of Benefit Systems S.A.

Funxtion teams up with Benefit Systems to revolutionize its digital fitness experience. This collaboration signals an industry step-change in how gym operators embrace fitness technology, positioning Zdrofit fitness clubs at the forefront of digital innovation.