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The cost-effective ways gyms can attract new members and build a loyal community

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How to reduce costs and increase the efficacy of your gym membership base by collecting and distributing user-generated content.

User-generated content in Fitness

In this article, we will guide you on how to reduce costs and increase the efficacy of your gym membership base by using user-generated content. Interested in maximising the impact of positive reviews and social media engagement for your gym? Continue reading.  

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.

Why is user-generated content vital for your gyms?

The secret to increasing member engagement in the fitness industry lies in many factors. One often overlooked strategy is content generated by your gym’s users. Here we explain why it is crucial to leverage this type of content.

Builds trust and grows gym loyalty

People trust people. 

Member-generated content 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.

More influence, fewer fitness 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.


Tips for leveraging member-generated content

Know your audience

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. 

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.

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.

Involve your employees

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.

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:

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.

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.

Educational content

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.

How to maximise the impact of member-generated content

Not all members follow their gym on social media, open your emails or read your newsletters.

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.

Share educational videos via your app to help onboard your new members and display your virtual gym tours and member testimonials via a display screen on the gym floor.

Ready to start leveraging member-generated content to grow your community? Funxtion’s open-source omnichannel content Platform makes it easy for gyms to upload and distribute their own digital fitness and user-generated content directly to their members for maximum retention.

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