If you want to stay on top of the latest trends in social media for your fitness marketing, the Instagram Story platform is the place to be. Instagram first launched Stories in 2016; by January 2019, there were 500 million daily active users tapping and swiping through Stories (Statista 2019). That’s close to the number of people using Instagram’s main feed, which has been around for a lot longer.
Why Stories? This format is so popular on social media because Stories are quick to create, even quicker to consume, and pretty fun to engage with. Plus, they can be enormously helpful for boosting business—especially in the fitness industry where visual content and personal connections are so important. Read this guide as a starting point to post your very first Story or amp up your existing Story game.
How to Post Your First Instagram Story
You’ll find Stories from the “home” screen (look for the house icon) within the Instagram app. Tap on any of the circles at the top of the screen to view your followers’ Stories. Any Story you see there will have been posted within the last 24 hours, which is how long Stories remain visible in that section of Instagram.
Within Stories, it’s possible to post filtered and unfiltered photos and short videos, plain text or a live broadcast. You can tag other users and/or include emojis, GIFs, stickers, and hashtags. Verified accounts (the ones with the blue checkmark) and those with more than 10,000 followers are able to drop a link in Stories, as well.
Among the circles at the top of the home screen, you’ll see your own profile pic. Tap on it to add a new Story. Note that you can have more than one Story in rotation at a time. You could post multiple Stories all at once or throughout the day, whenever the mood strikes you. For the latter, you’ll need to tap the little camera icon in the top left of your screen to add each new Story.
After 24 hours, your Story will be archived within the app. You can still access it (through that clock-like icon in the top left corner of your profile screen). However, other users won’t see anything archived unless you add the content to Story Highlights, which you can create from your Instagram profile page.
Why Post Stories?
Social media is all about mobile, and Stories provide a great mobile experience. For one thing, you swipe and tap them as opposed to the scrolling needed with traditional social experiences (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram’s main feed). A lot of people prefer the ease of tapping and swiping sideways on mobile compared to scrolling up and down, especially because it allows you to see more content in less time (perfect for short attention spans).
Stories also feel less “fussy” than other types of social posts. For example, have you heard the term Insta-worthy? It exists because there’s a general expectation for images in the Instagram feed to look exceptionally good, almost as if a professional photographer took the shot. Keeping up with that type of content is time-consuming and for some folks, just unrealistic.
Content in Stories doesn’t need to look particularly polished—in fact, it’s better if it doesn’t. The idea is to create photos and videos that appear candid and not at all rehearsed. In Stories, people want to see behind the scenes or a snapshot into what you're up to that day. It’s an easy way to add news about what’s going in your world without clogging up your main Insta-feed. Add to that all the silly emojis, ridiculous GIFs, and stickers for creating playful polls, and you can see why Stories isn’t a place to take yourself too seriously.
Using Instagram Stories for Fitness Marketing
Having said that, Stories is still an excellent platform for promoting your brand or fitness business. For one, it provides an opportunity to show a creative, light-hearted side to your business. It’s also a good place to post “insider” promotions and exclusive offers, etc. This gives your followers a what’s-in-it-for-me reason to check out your Stories versus swiping past them.
Stories also allow another touch-point within the crowded world of social media for both engagement and discoverability. Using polls and other interactive stickers in Stories encourages people to engage.
And with so many people consuming Stories these days, you’ll be able to attract more eyeballs (in fact, you can view metrics such as how many people—and exactly who—land on your Stories). Using hashtags and location, you can also reach people with specific interests (based on the hashtags you use) and in designated areas (such as the city where you live).
With Instagram Stories, you can expertly and efficiently leverage mobile social media to enhance your fitness marketing and effectively reach more prospects and followers
BIO: Amanda Vogel lives in Vancouver, B.C. and holds a Master’s degree in human kinetics. Driven by her expertise as a recognized fitness professional and contributor to fitness/women’s magazines read by millions—including Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest Canada and Prevention—Amanda reviews the newest health trends, athleisure products and fitness tools on her blog FitnessTestDrive.com. As a Hootsuite-certified social media consultant, Amanda manages social media for brands and public figures in the fitness industry. Follow Amanda on Instagram at @amandavogelfitness and Facebook at @fitnesswriter.