How This Instagram Fitness Coach Grew Her Account & Built Her Business: A Case Study

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Instagram fitness
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Published: Apr 2, 2020

Last Updated: Sep 2, 2020

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Fitness coach Nicole Liolios knows the importance of pairing her real-world experience and fitness expertise with her love of people. As an expert in her field, Nicole uses Instagram to grow her reach and connect with other interested fitness lovers all over the world. Using tutorials of her own workouts, videos from her training sessions, motivational reminders, and healthy meal ideas, Nicole encourages others to prioritize fitness in their own lives.

Though fitness is such a popular niche on Instagram, Nicole stands out on the platform with her authenticity and commitment to bettering herself and others. We sat down with Nicole to discuss her love of fitness, as well as essential Instagram growth strategies that helped her get to where she is today. Here’s Nicole…

Tell us about yourself and share some details about what you do as a fitness trainer?

Nicole Instagram fitness coach

As a Registered Kinesiologist and Fitness Coach, my mission is to help people move well, gain strength and feel confident in their bodies. I empower those in my community through movement education, and the promotion of positive health behaviors, in-person as well as online.

My specific areas of work include mobility training (i.e., helping people achieve strong ranges of motion so they can move pain-free), strength training, fat loss, goal setting, and nutrition counseling. 

How did you find yourself in the middle of the fitness space? How did it all start?

I started out in the fitness space teaching bootcamp classes to a group of awesome people. At the time I was just starting out and jumped on the first opportunity I found to start gaining experience. From there I went on to studying Kinesiology at the University of Toronto, while getting into personal training and more group fitness. I continued to gain knowledge and experience and was fortunate to be a Nike Trainer, and part of leading Nike Training Club classes in Toronto. During this time I started posting fitness related content on my Instagram, which I later turned into a dedicated Instagram fitness account, and began growing a following. 

Nicole's Instagram fitness account

What initial challenges did you face when you were just starting to grow your Instagram followers for your business?

Some initial challenges I faced when starting to grow my Instagram, was figuring out what to post and how to get people engaged. I wasn’t sure whether photos or videos were better and how to get people to view my posts. I would search for what other fitness accounts were doing for ideas, until I realized I needed to find my own voice and stay consistent with that in each piece of content I put out. 

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Can you share with us some Instagram growth strategies that worked for you?

The best growth strategies that worked for me were:

  1. Meaningful engagement with my audience and other accounts in the Instagram fitness space.
  2. Creating captivating and valuable content for my audience.

Meaningful engagement with my audience means acknowledging their stories and posts, and interacting with them on a deeper level (e.g., instead of commenting an emoji on a post, providing a sentence of positive feedback or encouragement). 

Content creation is so important when it comes to Instagram growth, especially with the current algorithm in place. I find my content that is most engaged with are posts that are good visual quality, offer value in the form of education, or something the viewer can take action toward and follows the KISS rule (keep it short & simple).

example of some of Nicole's content

How do you choose which hashtags to use on your posts? 

After doing my own research and reading several articles on optimizing Instagram hashtags, I choose my hashtags based on specific niches and aim for hashtags with less than 500K posts. By doing so I hope to maximize my reach in less crowded hashtags searches, and increase the chance of users viewing my post. For example, instead of using the hashtag #fitness, I will use #fitnessforwomen.

Instagram fitness hashtags

Based on your experience, does using hashtags really help increase followers? If yes, how?

I think using niche-specific hashtags can help increase followers as long as the content is captivating enough to draw the user to your page, and they value and relate with the content you put out. If this is the case, the user is more likely to hit the follow button and become a loyal follower. If you’re using hashtags that are very broad, I think your chances of increasing followers is much less.



As a fitness trainer, are there any plans/goals you would like to achieve in the near future?

My goal is to continue putting out no-nonsense Instagram fitness related content, create an online platform for fitness for teenage girls, and open up my own studio to lead private and small-group training, workshops, and rehab sessions.

What does it take for one to be successful on Instagram in the fitness space?

  • Be authentic – have your own style and stay true to what you do amidst the never-ending trends.
  • Lead with integrity – claim authority in your niche and be consistent with the content you provide your audience. 
  • Provide informative and creative content – once you’ve gained people’s trust, they value what you post and are more likely to share with other users. 
information Instagram fitness content

Use These Tips To Grow Your Instagram Fitness Business

Nicole Liolios’ superpower may be in the gym, but her strength clearly shines in her ability to connect with others. As she continues to use her platform to help others find the power within themselves, she’s excited to continue growing her fitness brand and building powerful connections as she expands her community of followers, both locally and all over the world.

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