Social Media


There’s very little doubt that social media is changing the face of the fitness industry. Insta, Facebook, Twitter – they enhance the personal connection between us and our tribe.
A research study in America has demonstrated the important influence of the online social group.
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Two groups of exercisers attended a free exercise class and were given either:
Promotional messages, highly engaging motivational videos and infographics emphasising finess tips
No advertising messages, but instead an online social network of six anonymous peers with regular updates on each other’s fitness achievements.
The study found that the promotional messages had almost no long-term effect on exercise participation, but the peer group were not only much more effective at motivating people to exercise, but the effect became stronger over time. The researcher’s believed that they had used positive online signals to form a reinforcing loop that pushed everyone to exercise more.
For psychologists and gym owners, these findings suggest that we should be investing more time into the social group than into mass promotional materials and campaigns. Here’s an example a little closer to home:
Did you see the progress pictures of our amazing TRIB3ER Nicky? How did they make you feel? Did you think “that’s impossible” or did you think “well if Nicky can do it, so can I”.
Posting success stories such as Nicky’s are a great way to publicly recognise achievement and it usually gives the whole community a boost too.
The online community can have a real impact on whether exercisers keep going back.
The positive effect can get stronger over time.
And it can attract new members to the group.
So it’s not just free marketing for the gym (Ok, it’s great free marketing!!) but it’s about making users feel like they’re part of something special, part of the tribe, in it together, awesome.
#FindYourTribe #WeSweatTogether
This blog was written by Dr Helen Quirk, a psychologist specialising in the promotion of physical activity and exercise
If you have any questions , email Helen:
The research study: Jingwen Zhang, Devon Brackbill, Sijia Yang, Damon Centola. Efficacy and causal mechanism of an online social media intervention to increase physical activity: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2015; 2: 651 DOI: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.08.005

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