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gymshark social media case study

Gymshark: How Do They Use Social Media?

Before we dive into a Gymshark social media case study, let’s consider where it all began. Starting life in 2012 as a garage-based screen printing operation, Gymshark has quickly grown into one of the most recognisable fitness apparel and accessory brands online today. A huge part of their growth comes from their expansive, creative social media presence and influencer marketing.

Gymshark’s profits shot up from £1.1 million in 2016 to £18.6 million in 2019, with 2019 bringing in sales of £176.2 million. Those numbers aren’t too shabby! We’re taking a closer look into how Gymshark has become so successful on social media.

Gymshark’s social media presence

Gymshark utilises a whole range of social media platforms in its marketing scope:

Instagram: @gymshark 4.9m followers; @gymsharkwomen 2.8m followers; @gymsharktrain 946k followers

Facebook: 1.82m likes

Twitter: 278k followers

Pinterest: 793k followers

YouTube: 263k followers

They even have a Spotify profile with 55k followers! That’s some impressive social media usage and shows that they know where their target demographic is (hint: mostly on Instagram). Let’s take a deep dive into Gymshark’s social media presence and what they do best…

Knowing Their Audience

Gymshark is a key player in knowing your audience and using social media channels in a hyper-targeted way. For instance, Gymshark owns 3 different Instagram accounts (@gymshark, @gymsharkwomen and @gymsharktrain) all with different goals and purposes.

The main Gymshark Instagram account features its familiar clean, modern branding and is the most varied of the channels, showcasing promotions, workout tips, and content targeted towards both men and women of varying fitness levels.

Gymshark model social media

When Black Friday 2020 deals went live, Gymshark jumped on the “tag someone to respond within X minutes” trend to promote their hot new deals – a clever way to up engagement as well as drive sales! This is just one example of how Gymshark uses informal language, social media trends, and encouraging comments/shares to appeal to its target audience of young adults.

This doesn’t just apply to Instagram, either. Check out their Twitter feed:

Gymshark Simpsons social media post

Using ‘memes’ helps them stay fresh and relevant, encouraging retweets from their loyal follower base with relatable posts.

The Gymshark Women accounts are all about body positivity, uplifting other women in their fitness journey, and fitness tips targeted to women. The branding of these accounts is of course still in line with Gymshark’s overall branding, but generally more bright and positive – note the use of colour in their Instagram highlights. This is representative of the account as a whole: a smart way to appeal to and grab the attention of different parts of your follower base while staying in line with the big picture.

gymshark women social media

Values of diversity and respect run throughout Gymshark Women’s social media veins, especially with the inclusion of “plus-size” Gymshark Ambassadors (more on those in a bit). Gymshark recognise that this type of posting is not relevant to their entire customer base, making the smart decision to create separate accounts for Gymshark Women (and also Gymshark Train) so as to appeal to everyone in meaningful ways.

Speaking of Gymshark Train, this side of Gymshark has the smallest following as it is the most niche: targeting full-on fitness fanatics. Take a look at their bio on Instagram:

gymshark social media train

While Gymshark as an activewear brand is great for fitness beginners all the way up to athletes, Gymshark Train hones-in on the top-end of that spectrum with daily videos focused on “upping your workout game” and training hard.

Wherever on the fitness spectrum, you fall, there is something for you on across Gymshark’s social media accounts. Gymshark is a great example of knowing your target audience and showing them what they want to see, where they want to see it.

Using Their Influence: Gymshark Brand Ambassadors

Along with knowing their audience, Gymshark is killer at letting their customers take the reins in proving the quality of their products. They achieve this by utilising influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC).

Gymshark, across all channels, encourage their followers to tag Gymshark accounts and use Gymshark-specific hashtags in their own posts. UGC is great for brands like Gymshark where customer relationship and loyalty is a key business objective.

Within this pool of UGC, which is shared by Gymshark accounts on occasion and with permission, is a group of influencers who acts as brand ambassadors for Gymshark (sometimes called Gymshark Athletes). These influencers are sent free or discounted products to try, then share their opinions with their followers, giving a personal touch to reviews/recommendations and reaching thousands of potential new Gymshark customers through influencers’ follower bases.

Posts on Gymshark Women’s Instagram account typically average 35k likes, which is no small feat. Every so often, a post will out-perform their usual content and reach viral status – this body positivity post featuring a Gymshark Brand Ambassador almost doubled the average number of likes.

Comments poured in with support (ignoring the usual social media “trolls”), feelings of representation, and positivity were weaved throughout. Connecting with their audience with an important message worked wonders for increasing engagement, follower count, and their relationship with their customers. Getting your company’s values across is a great way to build brand loyalty with repeat customers.

Community engagement

UGC and influencer marketing is great for community engagement, but Gymshark doesn’t stop there – all of the content they post embodies community at its core. Despite its biggest following coming from Instagram, Gymshark utilises each social media channel they use (and that’s a lot) to engage with the members of their target audience from each platform, as well as having a cohesive marketing plan designed for each channel instead of copying and pasting from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram and so on.

Take for example this post on their main Facebook page, following their big Black Friday 2020 video launch:

Gymshark Black Friday social media

This uses a familiar ‘meme’ format seen across Facebook which includes multiple “options” and urging followers to use the React button to choose an option. This is a clever way to promote engagement activities on your post, as well as get to know your audience a bit better. Utilising each social media platform’s unique tools and quirks can seriously boost engagement and keep people coming back for more.

Gymshark puts the community at the centre of what they do; appealing to those in the fitness community with friendly, inviting, and relatable posts.

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