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How Anytime Fitness uses 100 percent user-generated content to feed its Instagram account

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Despite what you see from the Dunkin Donuts, Oreos and Starbucks of the world, starting and maintaining a corporate Instagram account isn’t always easy.

The biggest reason? The constant drumbeat of visual content. Not everyone has the “machinery” needed to sustain the visual output that Instagram demands.

Other companies face different challenges–like Anytime Fitness.

“As a franchise system, it’s difficult to capture what’s going on in our 3,000-plus clubs across the country,” says Kristen Pechacek, senior manager of digital marketing at Anytime Fitness. “We can’t capture the culture of the clubs from our cubes in Woodbury.”

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Enter user-generated content–specifically, “member-generated content.”

Earlier this year, AF tested the approach of using more user-generated content for its Instagram channel by organizing a member takeover. That went so well, they decided to go ALL user-generated content in July.

So far, the decision has been a great one.

AF has seen a 218 percent increase in engagement on Instagram, a 309 percent increase in total likes and a 126 percent increase in comments.

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Pretty impressive numbers.

How did they do it?

Pretty simple, really.

After some initial internal promotion to members (and the fact that the #anytimefitness hash tag was already being used liberally by members), AF started posting three images to Instagram each day (and two on weekends) using member-generated content.

After members realized AF was using so many great shots in their Instagram feed, those numbers grew even more.

What was their recipe for success? From my perspective, the following contributed to their success:

  • Industry/activity set up to succeed on Instagram. If you’ve used Instagram for even five minutes, you know that workout selfies and shots from the gym are one of the big content sources for the social network. After all, last I checked there were 63 MILLION pics using the #workout hash tag.

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  • Instead of trying to build a house–AF just rented one. AF didn’t try to start a new hash tag–they just took advantage of one that more than 500,000 people/members were already using. Smart. No need to recreate the wheel when the wheel is the size of the Empire State Building.
  • Curating is an art form. With 500,000 pics to choose from, curating suddenly becomes a big challenge for AF. But, according to Maddie Spott, social media specialist with Anytime Fitness (and the woman behind the account), it’s “part science, part art form.” Just look at their feed. There’s a nice mix of storefront shots, members shots and what I would call “unique” shots (Anytime Fitness Super Hero water-skiing would certainly qualify!).

Nice work AF social media team!

kristen-maddie-af

 Note: Anytime Fitness is not an ACH Communications client. I just thought this was an interesting approach and was interested in learning more.

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How Anytime Fitness uses 100 percent user-generated content to feed its Instagram account

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