As virtual classes become the norm COVID-19, here’s what you can do to increase online engagement and even expand brand awareness over the next few weeks:

How to Increase Member Engagement for Online Fitness Classes 

1. Interact With Members Individually 

Research from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) shows 90% of gym members say they want to receive communication from trainers and staff members. Now more than ever, it’s important to still create a sense of community at your gym. To maximize your impact, address members one-on-one during a class or with a personal email.  

Gym-wide announcements can keep everyone informed, but addressing members individually shows members they’re more than just a number. To increase online engagement and lower your attrition rate, trainers should get to know the people who attend their classes and follow-up about their progress.  

2. Consider Every Angle of the Member Experience 

When you transition to virtual classes, you’ll need to make decisions that affect multiple stakeholders. An online messaging feature, for example, might be extremely important to members who attend virtual classes and want to ask the trainers questions; on the other hand, trainers might not see an immediate value to this feature and therefore won’t suggest it. 

Before you make a decision, think about each stakeholder’s goals, motivations, and their importance to the organization overall. Sometimes you might need to prioritize competing needs. 

3. Create an Integrated Digital Experience 

Today’s athletes love data—that’s why so many of them wear fitness trackers to gather information about their health. Gym owners can leverage the fitness tracking craze and tailor training to the data that’s collected.  

For example, if the trainer can see a member’s fitness stats, they can offer advice on how to reach their target heart rate by adjusting their pace or position.  

4. ‘Gamify’ Workouts 

Take fitness trackers a step further by introducing lighthearted competitions. For example, you could host a weekly fitness challenge for doing the most walking or spending the most time exercising. Even without high-tech features, you can boost engagement by asking members to track the number of sit-ups they do per week, or use another familiar exercise. If your video hosting software supports member-to-member interaction, devote a portion of the class to a group activity. Games help members identify concrete goals, which creates an emotional investment in their training. 

5. Post Classes On-Demand 

One of the greatest advantages of an online platform is the flexibility. If you record sessions and post them online (behind a paywall or as a promotional asset), members can do workouts on their own schedule. Although this presents fewer opportunities for one-on-one guidance, on-demand recordings can be a powerful membership feature.  

6. Ramp Up Your Online Presence  

Now that people are staying home, they’re spending more time online. To keep your members engaged with your gym, it’s important to stay on their radar. Update your social media pages regularly with instructional material your members will value—for example, video clips from fitness trainers, instructional infographics, article links, event announcements, and more. Platforms like Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are useful for hosting events in real-time.