Social media engagement really matters for your marketing efforts. Platforms use engagement levels as a ranking factor, so the more people that interact initially, the more other people they’ll show it to. It’s central to building a loyal community, generating leads, and tells you whether your content is resonating with your audience. 

In this article – we share 20 proven social media engagement strategies, interactive post ideas, and best practices. 

Engagement is all about getting people to interact with you. This means likes or reactions, comments, shares, follows, and clicks. If 1%-5% of your audience interacts with your post, then that’s considered a good engagement rate. So how can you give your levels a boost? 

We’re a specialist fitness marketing agency with 15+ years of industry experience, so we know first-hand what works (and what doesn’t!). We’ve helped gyms, fitness studios, and personal trainers to successfully promote their businesses using social media, so our marketing strategies are tried and tested.

Here’s a high-level overview of proven ways to get more engagement on social media…

  1. Ask!
  2. Post photos 
  3. And videos
  4. Run polls
  5. Show your personality
  6. Feature user generated content
  7. Host contests
  8. Ask questions
  9. Create valuable content
  10. Run quizzes
  11. Use GIFs
  12. Feature customers
  13. Ask me anything
  14. Tap into trends
  15. Test effective hashtags
  16. Respond to comments
  17. Engage with others
  18. Post daily
  19. Avoid links
  20. Track what works

Let’s look at each of them in more detail…

Social Media Engagement Guide Contents

Social Media Engagement Guide

A downloadable guide to boosting social media engagement for health and fitness businesses.

1 – Ask!

It might sound simple but we see so many social media posts where this is overlooked. Ask your audience to engage by saying ‘double tap if you agree’ or ‘tag a friend who might benefit’.

Including a call to action like this is standard practice for professional marketing agencies and an easy way to encourage more engagement on every single post. Sharing gym and workout partner quotes on social media is a great excuse to ask people to tag a friend and generate lots of interaction.

2 – Post photos 

According to research by digital marketing expert Neil Patel, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs than text posts. That’s a huge increase in engagement metrics simply by changing the format of your post.

Research by Agorapulse also shows that photos get more engagement on Instagram than graphics. In their experiment, likes were 156% higher on photos and comments were 302% higher! They’ve previously found that colour photos performed better than black and white ones. 

Interestingly, photos don’t need to feature people to get more engagement. Hootsuite ran tests and found no difference – they concluded that content aligned with ‘your brand and what your audience loves’ does best. For health and fitness brands, this means flatlays of nutritional products, photos of plush gym interiors, and mesmerising workout settings are all fair game.

Top tip – If you don’t have time to source photos, our ready-made image posts are a quick and easy solution.

3 – And videos

Videos are hugely effective at increasing engagement on social media. They get 2x more engagement on Instagram and 10x more on Twitter. So, while they take more time and effort to create, this is rewarded with more engagement. 

Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap Hero LR

Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap

Grow your fitness Instagram, increase engagement & generate leads.

4 – Run polls

When it comes to social media engagement posts, polls are highly effective. Running social media polls is an easy way to generate engagement and gain customer insights at the same time. They’re effective for two reasons:

  1. They don’t demand much effort from the audience 
  2. People are naturally inquisitive so they want to know what everyone else put

It’s easy for someone to choose from three pre-written answers and then pop a quick A, B, or C in the comments. Much easier than writing a comment from scratch. So more people are likely to interact with a poll.

Here are some poll ideas for more interactive social media posts:

  • ‘What’s your favourite’ questions
  • ‘Would you rather’ questions
  • ‘This or that’ polls
  • ‘Get to know me’ questions
  • ‘Do you want to’ polls

5 – Show your personality

People engage with people, not bland brands. So show a bit of personality in your social media posts to encourage more engagement. Try using humour and authenticity to attract like-minded followers on the same wavelength as you. These are the people who will engage most with the content you’re publishing. 

You might also like… 7 Ways To Differentiate Yourself In a Crowded Industry.

Fitness Social Media Posts Editable Templates

6 – Feature user-generated content

Featuring user-generated content (UGC) is an excellent way to generate engagement. The people who’s content you include will like, comment and share. And their audiences and followers will do the same. And so will the people who want to be featured in the future too. 

According to Taggbox, 72% of brands say UGC helps them engage customers and build a strong connection with them. Easy ways to do this include sharing…

It doesn’t need to be high-tech or polished – screenshots or regrams both work well for these posts.

User Generated Content Instagram Example

7 – Host contests

Running contests is a brilliant way to increase engagement on social media. Ask people to comment, like, and share in order to be entered into the competition. With the right prize up for grabs, you can substantially boost engagement levels and grow your follower base too. Offering additional entries for people who tag others is a great way to expand your audience through word of mouth. 

8 – Ask questions

When it comes to interactive social media posts, asking questions should be high on your list. They immediately prompt a two-way conversation and encourage people to comment. In fact, ‘question’ posts get 100% more comments than statements according to data from Neil Patel.

9 – Create valuable content

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what you want to promote. But the key to engagement is creating fitness content that’s valuable to your audience. This is the stuff they’ll like, share, and interact with. 

So take a moment to look over your last few posts and ask yourself objectively, do they offer value to my followers? Or have you become sidetracked with what you want to talk about or promote? If it’s the latter, think about the most insanely useful thing you could share with your audience and then post it.

You might also like… 7 Types of Social Media Content Your Fitness Audience Will Love.

Social Media Engagement Guide Contents

Social Media Engagement Guide

A downloadable guide to boosting social media engagement for health and fitness businesses.

10 – Run quizzes

Running quizzes on your social accounts can generate lots of interaction in the comments. You can use them to bust common myths in your industry, increase audience education, or pique their interest in your subject matter. With a little pre-planning, you can also use quizzes for high-quality lead generation too. 

People love to be the person with the right answer which is why quizzes do so well online. Start small by posting an image and asking your quiz question in the caption (if you’re feeling generous you can give them multiple choice answers to select from). You can even turn this into a competition by offering a prize to someone randomly selected from the comments.  

11 – Use GIFs

GIFs make brilliant interactive posts for social media. Honestly, who doesn’t love a good GIF?! They’re an easy way to make people smile and show your personality. Bonus points if you can relate it to your niche in some way. 

Some social platforms like Twitter have a menu of ready-made GIFs you can choose from. But for others you can use a tool like Giphy to find suitable ones.

12 – Feature customers

Featuring customers in your posts is another great way to generate social media engagement. You can share case studies, success stories, or simply highlight the work that they’re doing to your followers. It’s a way to champion your clients and shows that you care about them. When your audience sees you sharing stories about people just like them, they’re more likely to engage with what you’re posting. 

Social Media Engagement Gym Example

13 – Ask me anything

Ask me anything posts or live videos flip the question format on its head and can boost engagement massively. It gives followers the opportunity to ask you a question, enabling you to provide additional value or insights, and them to benefit from your juicy answer. People not only comment with their questions but typically share the post with others, which is why they’re great for engagement.

14 – Tap into trends

Riding the wave of trending topics can hugely increase engagement. It’s a surefire way to ensure your content is hyper-relevant and if you get in early, position yourself as a thought-leader on the topic. 

This might mean sharing your views on the latest fitness trend or tapping into awareness days that are relevant to your niche. By jumping on trends that already have traction, you can tap into interested audiences who are more likely to interact with your content.

15 – Test effective hashtags

Hashtags can transform your engagement levels but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Hashtags that generate likes and comments for one account may get zero traction for another. Which is why we’ve found the most effective approach is to test different ones out. 

General hashtags related to your brand or product might seem like the way to go. But ask yourself honestly – are they really going to generate interaction? Will they help get you more likes, comments and shares? 

You might also like… 101 best fitness hashtags for followers & likes.

A more effective approach is to make it about your audience, not yourself. Which hashtags are your ideal client or target market likely to search for? Hashtags focused on communities, locations, and tips are all excellent for generating engagement. For example, a London gym wanting might use hashtags like #londonfitfam, #westminster and #winterrunningtips.  

In terms of how many hashtags to use, posts that use more hashtags get less engagement. But it’s unclear whether using more hashtags causes lower engagement or is just a reflection of algorithms. Perhaps big brands with lots of engaged followers don’t need to use lots of hashtags because the algorithms will show their posts widely regardless. So, don’t cut your hashtags until you’ve tested different options for yourself.

Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap Hero LR

Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap

Grow your fitness Instagram, increase engagement & generate leads.

16 – Respond to comments

Engagement is a two-way activity so be sure to respond to comments that you receive. It’s polite for humans and has benefits for the algorithms too. 

If people see that you’ve acknowledged and responded to their comment, it makes for a more satisfying experience. They’ll be more likely to engage again in the future and this is how loyal customer bases are built. The algorithms also see this back and forth as a positive sign about your post so will show it to more people.  

17 – Engage with others 

In our experience, another good way to boost engagement is to interact with other accounts just before and after we post something. It helps put us on their radar – if they see a notification that we’ve commented on something, they’re more likely to check out our account and comment on our latest post. Reciprocity goes a long way, particularly on Instagram and X/Twitter

18 – Post daily

There’s a correlation between engagement levels and how often you post. For most platforms there’s a sweet spot where posting frequently maximises engagement, but posting too much leads to a drop off. 

The precise timing varies on every platform – for Facebook and Twitter it’s several times per day whereas for Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, it averages out at once per day. But frequency does affect engagement and platforms tend to reward accounts that post regularly with more views and engagement.

19 – Avoid links

The data on this is clear – social media posts that include links receive less views and engagement. 

  • Facebook posts without links receive double the engagement [Social Insider]
  • Tweets without links get 1.4x more impressions, therefore have higher engagement potential []
  • LinkedIn posts without links get 6x more reach, 4x more reactions, and 18x more comments [Hootsuite]

So, use links sparingly in your social posts if engagement is your goal. Including them is typically important for lead generation posts but alternative these ones with several posts that don’t have links. This will enable you to maximise engagement while still generating those all-important sales leads for your brand.

20 – Track what works

Look at social media metrics to analyse which of your previous posts have got the most engagement. Is there anything they have in common? Are they a similar style of content or posted at the same time of day? Look for patterns of success and then do more of what’s already working well for you. 

Bonus tip 21 – Jump on new platform features

A final bonus tip from us – jump on whatever new feature a platform launches. In the past it’s been live video, shorts, reels, stories, but who can predict what will be next.

What matters is the platforms want to test these new features extensively so they’ll show them to as many people as possible after launch. This means that if you’re quick to use them, you’ll get an algorithmic boost (and who couldn’t benefit from a few extra eyeballs).

Get The Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap

Grow your fitness Instagram, increase engagement, and generate leads with our comprehensive roadmap bundle. It includes video training, practical guides, 4000+ ready-made fitness posts, and more.

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Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap

Grow your fitness Instagram, increase engagement & generate leads.

Grow Your Fitness Instagram & Get Genuine Engagement

Tap into Instagram’s full potential to grow an engaged community, generate leads, and get customers.

  • Do you want to grow your Insta following and build a larger audience?
  • Are your social media posts not getting many likes or interactions
  • Would you like to generate more leads and sales through social media?
  • Do you struggle to create and post content consistently?

Our Fitness Instagram Growth Roadmap is the solution… Learn more here.

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Categories: Social Media

Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.