I am a very active user of Instagram and I am also into gym and fitness, especially Crossfit. It has also come to my attention that there are more fitness brands that have been using Instagram to promote their brand and motivating their followers to workout more and chase a healthier lifestyle. However, how effective is Instagram in helping those brands?
To understand a little further about motivation, I have read articles and there are two types of motivation. One is intrinsic which is defined as doing something because you want to do it while extrinsic is defined as doing something to receive external rewards in return. For social media use, brands tackle the extrinsic motivation of people with the help of the likes and comments from others on Instagram, serving as verbal rewards in the form of validation for them. This way, more people are inclined and driven to post workout videos of themselves and photographs of their bodies after their gym session. This is easier than developing intrinsic motivation in people. However, nowadays, more fitness brands are using this particular strategy to develop extrinsic motivation called identification whereby it states that a person performs an act is due to the belief that there is future benefit for them (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Fitness brands have been showing that the benefits of exercising outweighs the costs of having to go through exhaustion and pain when exercising. However, again, have they been effective in doing so?
I have chosen three fitness brands for my research. They are Crossfit, Athleta and Fabletics. I have been tracking them for the whole month of March 2016.
Crossfit thus far has the most number of followers on Instagram, followed by Fabletics and Athleta. They each have different way of getting their followers to associate themselves with the brands but all of them have the same message, that is to encourage more people to live healthier and to prove that anyone can look good when they choose healthy.
Instagram has its advantages and disadvantages related to helping these fitness brands in motivating their followers. As you all know, Instagram helps brands to utilities user generated content by reposting and showing recognition, which offers value to their followers. This would result in stronger brand community and they would not hesitant to share more photographs and soon, the word of mouth effect will grow. Instagram is also seen as one of the powerful and inexpensive tool to capitalise on using powerful imagery to motivate people. Each brand that i have mentioned above, has different storyline and theme to their storytelling and it is amazing that Instagram has given them the autonomy and space to do so. However, followers might be interested to know more about the articles that have been shared or the clothes that the athletes are wearing however, Instagram does not support putting direct websites into the caption to enable followers to visit the desired websites with one click. This could deter customers from wanting to pursue further on their new interest on fitness clothes or workouts after looking through Instagram. They would feel inconvenient and discouraged even before they could act on the feeling of interest and motivation.
My suggestions are directed to Athleta because i felt the brand has a lot more room to improve on compared to the other two. I came up with three suggestions that build stronger brand community among the followers, develop their brand image that aligns with their current values of sisterhood and friendships and provide the autonomy and extra drop of fun to their followers so that Athleta can differentiate themselves from other famous brands.
All in all, i feel that this rising trend will continue for the next few years and brands need to constantly be thinking of new ways to ensure that their followers do not stop choosing healthy.