The Power of Building Your Fitness Community: Why Every Trainer Should Cultivate Their Own Tribe

March

27

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In the ever-evolving world of fitness, one factor consistently stands out as a game-changer: community. Building your fitness community is important in this day and age.

In fact, I would say building a strong, engaged community around your fitness brand isn't just a nice-to-have – it's a must-have.

But why is it so crucial?

Firstly, a community provides a support system for your members. 

It's a place where they can share their struggles, celebrate their victories, and find motivation on those tough days. It's about more than just fitness; it's about belonging, connection, and shared experiences.

Secondly, a thriving community can significantly impact your business's bottom line. 

It can boost customer loyalty, increase retention rates, and even open up new revenue streams. 

In short, a strong community can turn your fitness business from a one-time transaction into a lifelong relationship.

But how do you build such a community? What strategies should you use? And what does a successful fitness community look like? 

In this blog post, we'll explore these questions by diving into real-life examples of fitness professionals who have built thriving communities around their brands.

From global movements like Peloton and Girls Gone Strong to personal success stories like Mark Fisher Fitness, these examples will provide you with actionable insights and inspiration for building your own fitness community.

So, let's get started by first understanding why building your own fitness community is not just beneficial, but essential for every fitness professional.

Why You Should Be Building Your Own Fitness Community:

Building your own fitness community offers a myriad of benefits.

Firstly, it creates a loyal and engaged audience who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. 

These individuals aren't just passive consumers; they're active participants in your journey. 

Secondly, having a dedicated community allows you to establish yourself as a trusted authority in your niche. 

By consistently providing value and support, you can position yourself as a go-to resource for fitness and wellness advice. 

Finally, a thriving community acts as a powerful marketing tool, helping you attract new clients and grow your business organically.

What Platforms Should You Be Building Your Fitness Community On?:

Choosing the right platform to build your own fitness community is a crucial decision that can significantly impact its growth and engagement. 

Initially, it's essential to consider where your target audience spends their time.

For instance, Facebook or LinkedIn Groups can serve as excellent starting points, depending on your audience's preferences. 

These platforms offer built-in tools for fostering engagement and are already populated with potential community members.

However, as your community grows, it may make sense to transition to a platform that you own. 

This gives you more control over the community experience and can help foster deeper connections with your members. 

Popular paid options include...

Each of these platforms offers unique features and benefits, so it's worth exploring each to see which one aligns best with your community's needs and goals.

Additionally, don't overlook the power of email marketing and your website. 

These channels can serve as valuable tools for nurturing relationships with your community members, sharing exclusive content, and driving engagement.

Remember, the goal is to choose a platform that facilitates interaction, fosters a sense of belonging, and aligns with your community's needs and goals. 

Let's take a closer look at each of these platforms to help you decide which one might be the best fit for your community.

Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons of each community platform:

Build your own fitness community on Skool

Pros:

  • Focused on Education: Skool is specifically designed for educational purposes, making it an ideal platform for fitness professionals who want to create online courses, host workshops, or provide personalized coaching.
  • Interactive Learning Features: Skool offers a range of interactive features such as live classes, Q&A sessions, and collaborative discussions, making it easy to engage with learners and facilitate meaningful interactions.
  • Community Building Tools: Skool provides tools for creating private groups, forums, and community events, allowing fitness professionals to foster a sense of belonging and connection among their learners.
  • Data Privacy and Security: Skool prioritizes data privacy and provides robust security measures to protect user information, ensuring a safe and trustworthy learning environment.

Cons:

  • Limited Audience Reach: Skool may have a smaller user base compared to mainstream social media platforms, which could limit the potential reach and visibility of your community.
  • Learning Curve: While Skool offers a range of features for building and managing communities, there may be a learning curve involved in mastering the platform's tools and functionalities.

Circle.so

Build your own fitness community on Circle

Pros:

  • Customizable Community Platform: Circle.so allows fitness professionals to create a fully branded community platform that reflects their unique identity and values, providing a cohesive and memorable experience for their members.
  • Engagement Features: Circle.so offers a variety of engagement features such as discussions, polls, and events, enabling trainers to facilitate meaningful interactions and foster a sense of community among their members.
  • Integration with Other Tools: Circle.so integrates seamlessly with a wide range of third-party tools and platforms, making it easy to connect with existing workflows and systems.

Cons:

  • Limited Membership Management Features: Circle.so may lack some advanced membership management features compared to other platforms, which could make it challenging to control access and track member activity effectively.
  • Cost Considerations: While Circle.so offers a free plan with basic features, more advanced features and customization options may require a paid subscription, which could be a consideration for fitness professionals with limited budgets.

Podia

Build your own fitness community on Podia

Pros:

  • All-in-One Platform: Podia offers a comprehensive suite of tools for creating and selling online courses, digital downloads, memberships, and more, making it easy for fitness professionals to monetize their expertise and build a thriving community.
  • User-friendly Interface: Podia features a user-friendly interface and intuitive drag-and-drop editor, making it easy to create and customize content without any technical expertise.
  • Dedicated Support: Podia provides dedicated support to help fitness professionals set up and manage their community platform, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for both trainers and members.

Cons:

  • Limited Community Features: While Podia offers some basic community features such as comments and discussions, it may lack some of the advanced community-building tools found in other platforms, which could limit the engagement and interaction within the community.
  • Monetization Focus: Podia's primary focus is on helping fitness professionals monetize their content, which could result in a less community-centric experience compared to platforms that prioritize community building as their core offering.

Mighty Networks

Build your own fitness community on Mighty Networks

Pros:

  • Robust Community Features: Mighty Networks offers a wide range of community-building features such as groups, events, courses, and memberships, providing fitness professionals with everything they need to create a vibrant and engaging community.
  • Customizable Branding: Mighty Networks allows trainers to customize their community platform with their own branding, colors, and logo, ensuring a cohesive and personalized experience for their members.
  • Advanced Engagement Tools: Mighty Networks offers advanced engagement tools such as polls, quizzes, and challenges, enabling trainers to foster meaningful interactions and drive member engagement.

Cons:

  • Learning Curve: While Mighty Networks offers a comprehensive set of features, there may be a learning curve involved in mastering the platform's tools and functionalities, especially for fitness professionals who are new to online community building.
  • Cost Considerations: Mighty Networks offers multiple pricing tiers, with more advanced features and customization options available on higher-tier plans. This could be a consideration for fitness professionals with limited budgets.

Each of these community platforms offers unique features and benefits for fitness professionals looking to build and engage with their community. 

By carefully considering the pros and cons of each platform, trainers can choose the one that best aligns with their goals, needs, and budget.

Here's a comparison table outlining the features and pricing of each platform:

Building your own fitness community recommended platforms

Now that you have a better understanding of the different platforms available, it's time to choose the one that aligns best with your community's needs and goals. 

Remember, the success of your community depends on your commitment to nurturing it, regardless of the platform you choose

How to Attract People to Join Your Fitness Community:

Attracting people to join your community requires a combination of compelling content, genuine interaction, and strategic promotion.

Start by creating valuable content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. 

Use hashtags, keywords, and engaging visuals to increase visibility and attract new followers. Collaborate with influencers and partner with complementary businesses to reach new audiences. 

Offer exclusive incentives such as free resources, discounts, or access to members-only content to entice people to join your community.

Personal Branding: 

One of the most powerful tools in attracting people to your community is your personal brand

Your personal brand is essentially your reputation - it's what people think of when they hear your name. It's built on your values, your expertise, and your unique personality. 

A strong personal brand can act as a magnet, attracting like-minded individuals to your community.

Here are a few ways you can build and leverage your personal brand:

Authenticity: 

Be true to yourself. Authenticity resonates with people. Share your journey, your successes, and your challenges. This helps to build trust and connection with your audience.

Consistency:

Be consistent in your messaging and your presence. This helps to build recognition and trust. Whether it's your visual branding, your tone of voice, or the content you share, consistency is key.

Value:

Provide value to your audience. This could be through informative blog posts, engaging social media content, or helpful resources. When you consistently provide value, you position yourself as an authority in your field.

Engagement: 

Engage with your audience. Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and participate in discussions. This helps to build a relationship with your audience and shows that you value their input.

Visibility:

Increase your visibility. This could be through guest blogging, podcast interviews, or collaborations with other brands. The more visible you are, the more people will be aware of your personal brand.

Remember, building a personal brand takes time and effort, but it's an investment that can pay off in the form of a loyal and engaged community.

How to Encourage Engagement and Develop a Vibrant Community:

Once you've attracted people to join your community, the key is to keep them engaged and foster a vibrant atmosphere.

This is where consistency comes into play. Regular, consistent interaction is key to maintaining a vibrant community.

Here are some strategies to maintain this consistency:

Regular Posts:

Schedule regular posts that your community can look forward to. This could be a weekly fitness tip, a monthly challenge, or a daily motivational quote. Use a social media scheduling tool to automate this process and ensure consistency.

Live Sessions: 

Host live sessions on a regular basis. This could be a Q&A, a workout session, or a discussion on a relevant topic. Live sessions provide real-time interaction and can significantly boost engagement.

Regular Events:

Organize regular events for your community. This could be virtual meetups, webinars, or workshops. Regular events provide an opportunity for your community members to learn, interact, and build connections.

Consistent Responses: 

Make sure to respond to comments, messages, and emails in a timely manner. This shows your community members that you value their input and are there to support them.

Community Highlights: 

Regularly highlight members of your community. This could be sharing their success stories, their progress, or their contributions to the community. This not only makes the highlighted members feel valued but also encourages others to engage more.

Remember, consistency is key. The more consistent you are, the more your community will engage, grow, and thrive.

Six Inspiring Examples of Successful Online Communities

Here are some real-life examples of fitness professionals who've successfully built their communities:

Kayla is a personal trainer from Australia who created the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) workout program. She started sharing before-and-after photos of her clients on Instagram, which quickly gained attention. Today, her community, known as the #BBGCommunity, has millions of women worldwide. They share their progress, motivate each other, and even meet up for group workouts. This community has not only helped Kayla's business grow but also created a supportive network for women on their fitness journey.

Joe Wicks started as a personal trainer who shared 15-second recipe videos on Instagram. His simple and quick approach to fitness and nutrition attracted a large following. He then created the 90 Day Plan, an online workout and meal plan, which has been purchased by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. His community, known as the #LeanIn15 community, shares their progress, recipes, and supports each other. Joe's community has been a key factor in his business growth and his ability to publish multiple best-selling books.

Peloton is a brand that sells high-end exercise equipment, but their real strength lies in their community. They offer live and on-demand classes that Peloton equipment owners can join from home. The sense of community comes from live leaderboards, high-fives, and shout-outs during classes, and a very active Facebook group where members share their achievements, ask for advice, and support each other. This community feeling has helped Peloton retain customers and grow to a multi-billion dollar company.

Girls Gone Strong (GGS) is a global movement that aims to empower women to embrace all that's possible for their lives and for their bodies through strength training. Founded by Molly Galbraith, GGS started as a Facebook page and has grown into a thriving community of hundreds of thousands of women from over 70 countries. The GGS community is a safe space for women to learn about strength training, share their experiences, and support each other. The success of GGS lies in its mission to empower women in an industry often dominated by male perspectives, and its commitment to providing evidence-based, body-positive information.

Black Girls Run was founded in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks-Rocha to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners. What started as a blog has now grown into a national movement with local running groups in over 70 cities across the US. The success of Black Girls Run can be attributed to its focus on a specific demographic, its commitment to promoting health and fitness in the African-American community, and its ability to foster real-life connections through local running groups.

I’ve met Mark and absolutely love his approach to building his business. (MFF) is a unique fitness brand that combines serious fitness with a sense of humor and a welcoming, inclusive community. Based in New York City, MFF aims to make fitness fun, approachable, and effective for everyone, regardless of their fitness level or background.

MFF offers group classes, semi-private training, and online coaching, all delivered with their distinctive brand of "ridiculousness and fitness."

They're known for their high-energy classes, expert coaching, and supportive community.

MFF's success lies in its unique approach to fitness, its commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment, and its ability to deliver real results for its members.

"Remember, the key to these successful communities lies in consistent engagement, providing value, and fostering a sense of belonging among members." - Andrew Wallis, Founder of Fitness Marketing Blueprints

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In addition to their physical gym, MFF has an online platform called the "MFF Clubhouse" where members can access workouts, nutrition advice, and community support.

This online component allows Mark and his team to reach a wider audience and provide value to their members beyond the gym walls.

The key takeaway from MFF is the power of a unique brand personality and an inclusive environment in building a successful and engaging community.

They've shown that fitness doesn't have to be serious or intimidating – it can be fun, welcoming, and effective all at the same time.

Here are some key takeaways from these examples:

Personal Branding:

Mark Fisher, Kayla Itsines and Joe Wicks have all built strong personal brands that resonate with their audience. They've used their unique approach to fitness and nutrition to attract and engage their community members.

Social Proof:

Sharing before-and-after photos or progress updates (like in the #BBGCommunity and #LeanIn15 community) provides powerful social proof, which can motivate existing members and attract new ones.

Value-Added Content:

Offering value-added content, like Mark’s Snatched in 6 Weeks, Kayla's BBG workout program or Joe's 90 Day Plan, can help retain community members and generate revenue.

Peer Support:

All six communities foster a sense of peer support, whether it's through group workouts, sharing recipes, or giving high-fives during a Peloton class. This sense of camaraderie can increase member engagement and loyalty.

Diversified Revenue Streams:

Peloton's model shows how a community can support diversified revenue streams. In addition to selling exercise equipment, they offer live and on-demand classes, and have an active Facebook group, all of which contribute to their business growth.

Consistent Engagement:

Regular interaction and engagement are key to these communities' success. Whether it's through Instagram posts, live classes, or Facebook group discussions, consistent engagement keeps the community active and connected.

These examples show how building a community can significantly impact your business. 

It not only helps in retaining existing clients by providing them with a supportive network, but also attracts new clients who are inspired by the transformations and camaraderie within the community. 

Applying Key Community Building Strategies

Now, let's talk about how you can apply these insights to your own community.

  1. Personal Branding: Think about your unique approach or perspective. What makes you different from others in your field? Use this to shape your personal brand and make it resonate with your target audience.
  2. Social Proof: Consider ways you can showcase the success of your community members. This could be through testimonials, case studies, or progress updates. Remember, people love seeing real results!
  3. Value-Added Content: What valuable content can you provide to your community? This could be in the form of courses, guides, webinars, or even regular blog posts. The key is to offer something that your community members will find useful and valuable.
  4. Peer Support: Foster a sense of camaraderie within your community. Encourage members to share their experiences, ask questions, and support each other. This could be through discussion forums, regular meetups, or even a simple comments section on your posts.
  5. Diversified Revenue Streams: Think about different ways you can monetize your community. This could be through selling products or services, offering premium content, or even through affiliate marketing. Remember, the goal is to create a sustainable business model.
  6. Consistent Engagement: Keep your community active and engaged. This could be through regular content updates, interactive events, or simply by being present and responsive in your community.

Remember, the key to these successful communities lies in consistent engagement, providing value, and fostering a sense of belonging among members

Conclusion:

In conclusion, building your own community isn't just about growing your following; it's about building meaningful connections, establishing your authority, and creating a supportive ecosystem where individuals can thrive. 

By investing time and effort into cultivating your tribe, you can unlock a world of opportunities for personal and professional growth in the ever-evolving landscape of fitness and wellness

Ready to take your community building to the next level?

Let's chat! I'm offering a free 20-minute discovery call where we can discuss your goals, challenges, and how to create a thriving community for your fitness business. 

Or, if you're ready to dive deeper, book a Power Hour call for just £197. In this call, we'll work together to create a personalized strategy for your community building efforts. 

Don't wait - your path to a stronger, more engaged community starts here. 

Click the 'Book Now' button to schedule your call and let's get started!

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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