Hashtags such as #Strongnotskinny, #Fitforlife, and #Noexcuses are used daily by millions of fitness enthusiasts on Instagram, and fitness brands such as Nike and Adidas have been advocating the messages behind hashtags since their first days on the platform. However, growing fitness brands are increasingly creating competition for bigger brands by offering a different kind of value to their followers.

In collaboration with F45, we found five fitness brands tailoring Instagram toward their users’ needs, and what you can learn from them.

F45 training franchise isn’t the world’s fastest growing fitness network by accident. The brand uses Instagram to drive success and customers. Its gallery is a testament to movement. What the brand does well is, consciously highlight fitness-based results – something that its followers find empowering as well as motivational.

Being “in the zone” is a core theme to the gallery posts.

BEYOND YOGA, a female-founded athleisure brand promotes inclusivity by empowering people to live their best lives. There are two types of brands on Instagram: the kind that incorporate every hashtag under the sun, and the kind that opt to use context. BEYOND YOGA is the latter. With over 170k followers, the brand uses an identifiable theme (which we recognise as contemporary psychedelic / 90s memes). Pop culture references, nostalgia and memes prove to perform exceptionally well on the platform. What BEYOND YOGA does well is, tap into these subcultures to express women’s rights and equality in a way that that their customers can relate to on a personal level.

We like the clever way in which BEYOND YOGA highlights normality and spins it to accentuate their product line.

EYSOM is another brand with a niche offering: designed activewear for men only, and the Instagram gallery echoes this. However, it also promotes “exercise of the mind” to bring attention to the topic of men’s mental health.

Having an offline feature in popular men’s magazine, Men’s Health, helps promote recognition of the brand.

The brand also engages followers by using the Instagram gallery as a collective expressive.

With 6.3m followers, athlete-focused brand Under Armour receives just as many likes on some of their posts as Nike (who currently boasts over 82m followers). However, the brand only uses a handful of hashtags (#WEWILL #WillMakesUsFamily) on posts, encouraging growth via their “fitness fam” and using the specific hashtags instead of generic, more popular hashtags on the platform.

Under Armour makes good use of IGTV (Instagram TV) to promote ICON Creator Collaborations. In Featured Stories, influencer collaborations are highlighted, displaying on-the-go product performance and reviews.

German company, foodspring, shares its love of fitness food by using styling photography native to Instagram; this ensures it captures the attention of foodies and fitness foodies alike, creating new fan bases. Reach is key to the overall strategy, and it is achieved by catering to and highlighting all lifestyles, including this year’s most famous–veganism.

Foodspring shares photos from other accounts with a similar style, but does give credit.

In the next few years, Instagram is poised to be a front-runner in social media, thanks to its engagement statistics. As of June 2018, the platform sees near to one billion active monthly users. Images on the platform get 10x higher engagement rates than on Facebook. Companies young and old, are already seeking to optimise their Instagram content for maximum reach. Are you?

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.