Before we dive into a Gymshark social media case study, let’s consider where it all began. Starting in 2012 as a screen printing operation, Gymshark
has grown into one of the most recognisable fitness 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 £1.1m in 2016 to £18.6m in 2019, with 2019 bringing in sales of £176.2m. Those numbers aren’t too shabby! We’re taking a closer look into how Gymshark has become so successful on social media.
Gymshark Social Media: The Accounts
Gymshark utilises a whole range of social media platforms in its marketing scope:
- Instagram: @gymshark 5.8m followers; @gymsharkwomen 3.2m followers; @gymsharktrain 994k followers
- Facebook: 1.9m likes
- Twitter: 343k followers
- Pinterest: 1.3m followers
- YouTube: 425k followers
They even have a Spotify profile with 76k followers! That’s some impressive social media usage and shows that they really know where their target market is. 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.
The main Gymshark Instagram account features its familiar clean, modern branding and is the most varied of the channels. It primarily showcases promotions, workout tips, and content targeted towards both men and women.
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. Which is a clever way to boost engagement as well as drive sales! This is just one example of how Gymshark uses informal language, trends, and encouraging commentsto appeal to its audience of young adults.
This doesn’t just apply to Instagram, either. Check out their Twitter feed:
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.
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. So instead, they made the smart decision to create separate accounts for Gymshark Women so as to appeal to everyone.
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:
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.
Gymshark Social Media: Community Engagement
UGC is great for community engagement, but Gymshark doesn’t stop there. The content they post embodies community at its core. Despite its biggest following coming from Instagram, Gymshark utilises each social media channel to engage with their target audience. This includes having a cohesive marketing plan designed for each channel instead of simply crossposting.
Take for example this post on their main Facebook page, following their big Black Friday 2020 video launch:
This uses the familiar meme format seen across Facebook which includes multiple “options”, urging followers to React. This is a clever way to promote engagement activities on your post, and to understand 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.
This article was originally published in March 2021, and was updated for relevance in October 2022.