Over the years, new social platforms have dictated the fitness industry by the way we think about workouts, products and even nutritional advise. There has been some very good information on how to use correct form when bench pressing for example and there has also some (lets just say) terrible and ridiculous information on workouts and nutritional advise. Before I begin to take a deeper look into these new media platforms in a newer fitness media ecology, let’s begin with defining what new social platforms are and what they do.
Social platforms have become an important aspect as they are identifiable and present some sort of profile, where it has become a certain form of experimental work for who we want to be and how we want to present ourselves to other users but also increase social directions (Lindgren, 2017). Following up from Lindgren’s argument in 2017, most social media platforms also include some form of messaging or chat function, where users can communicate one-to-one or in a group aside from the more public flow of communication but also important for social platforms that have existing profiles. The platform profiles are extensively curated to others where they intend to give a hint instead.
So how does this influence the fitness industry?
Social media has became a great way for Personal Trainers and fitness enthusiasts to create brand awareness and getting themselves recognised. This extra advantage has shown to be vital for fitness industry because by making a fitness profile, it can be more engaging with consumers so that they can engage with the company and generate discussions, creating a relationship and being trusted by current and new audiences. For example athletes or influencers hold the key to success for a social media presence especially in the fitness industry as they use social platforms to promote their personal and sponsor brand, but also build relationships with the consumers. Doyle et.al suggested in 2019 that the theory of self-presentation plays a key role in this success as it attempts to strategically manage how others perceive them but also selectively emphasising these elements on their carer or characteristics, leveraging their relationship with consumers on social media.
Instagram and YouTube has played a crucial role on the social platform scene for the fitness industry as YouTube generate more than three times more views than when the traditional celebrities or athletes post a video. For this very reason, Instagram and YouTube has shown that fitness influencers have so much power that is directly linked to the reasoning behind the taken over in the fitness realm. However, YouTube has been the core of the fitness industries rise in newer media platforms as YouTube has become a mainstream media platform with a complex relationship between producers, consumers, audience, and television but YouTube is a very content agnostic as the platform needs more users, more content and more attention to fulfil needs and wants for newer audiences (Burgees and Green, 2018). What makes Burgees and Greens argument in 2018 so interesting is that the fitness has used YouTube as a platform that has removed entry barriers but fitness influencers can share non-experts to share their videos.
While Instagram has become societies go to platform, it has also become an inspirational and motivational for consumers whether they are working towards their fitness goals to body building competitions or even simple trying to lose/gain weight. With that being said, the constant stream of motivation is drawn on and the fitness brands have capitalised on the consumers on going quests for self-improvement. Instagrams most common ways of engagement are liking and commenting on the fitness companies/influencers post, where the behavioural reactions have shown to be a vital relationship in a marketing tool in the digital era of fitness (Doyle et.al, 2020). In regards to the fitness engagement, the consumers/audience have interacted not by only with images in that have been posted but with the underlying values, attitudes and sentiments conveyed. Toffoleti and Thorpe argued in 2018 that even though instagram is a great source for consumers to engage with fitness influencers, it can also enhance constant judgement by the audience on their posts if the content isn’t good enough or they are providing the wrong information.
So after analysing and evaluating all the possible newer media platforms in the fitness industry, we can see that the social platforms has taken a huge leap into growing the fitness industry to the next level they are at today BUT it has come with a lot of hard work and dedication to enhance the reputation of the fitness domain.