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Three top 100 Pilates Instagram influencers on how to grow your business through social media

Three of the Top 100 Pilates Instagram Influencers of 2020 share their tips on how to develop a successful social media presence to help grow your virtual business— plus their predictions on how the fitness industry might change post-COVID-19.

Cholthicha Srivisal, Merrithew® Lead Instructor Trainer
Director and Co-founder of Breathe Pilates, a Merrithew Licensed Training Center in Singapore

Thica Srivisal of Breathe Pilates

What does it take to be a successful influencer?

“Be passionate, be authentic, be yourself,” Cholthicha recommends. “Copying someone else’s work doesn’t elevate yours, so credit the work where it’s due. Be humble. Have a hunger to learn and meet new people and share ideas.”

What do you hope people get out of your content?

“I hope that I have created awareness about Pilates and STOTT PILATES®: the long-term benefits, versatility, fun and adaptability of the method.”

How has being an influencer helped your business?

“I have met many students through my Instagram page. A lot of them don’t live in Singapore, but they’ve traveled here to take Merrithew’s STOTT PILATES instructor training courses with me at my studio Breathe Pilates. Recently, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve launched a virtual studio business. Instagram has helped me reach many more students outside of Singapore,” she says.

How will the pandemic reshape the fitness industry?

“The pandemic has created a new business opportunity through virtual training. I think we’ll see more creative apps coming out that are fully integrated and holistic. So as instructors, we need to be creative, adaptable and proactive. The ability to welcome changes and adapt to changes is very important. Try different modalities and think outside the box.”

Lisa Kaye, Merrithew Instructor Trainer
Sydney, Australia

Lisa Kaye of Australia

What does it take to be a successful influencer?

“A successful influencer needs to be totally genuine. You have to love what you do and do it for love. It is probably a mistake to make your primary goal ‘to be an influencer.’ If you’re passionate about what you do, the rest comes from that. I hope to inspire other instructors to be better instructors and I aim to help spark their creativity as many others do for me. I also hope to provide some enjoyment for non-instructors with the mini-mat, short duration workouts I post each week.”

How has being an influencer helped your business?

“It has helped me raise my profile in the Pilates world, so now I’m known internationally and not just in Australia. I’m also now involved with business tie-ins with several fitness brands through my Instagram profile, so this has generated extra revenue.”

What do you recommend to instructors who want to grow their online reach?

  • Be genuine, friendly and kind
  • Post quality content on a regular basis
  • Respond to all comments made on your posts in a friendly and genuine way
  • Make friends with other like-minded Instagram users
  • Get involved with challenges that are being run by other accounts and follow their rules
  • Understand that nothing happens over night, it all takes time
  • Do not be tempted to buy followers or likes as it’s completely obvious when someone’s done that
  • It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Develop your own visual style and communicate creatively with your audience

How do you think COVID-19 will change the fitness industry?

“We have already seen a big shift to online teaching in various ways and I think it will remain that way. It is a great alternative and allows you to teach people from all over the world. We are currently open again in Sydney, but I am giving my clients the option to remain online if they prefer.  

“As an industry, I think we’re very lucky as we were able to transition pretty quickly to working online. I started my weekly mini-mat workout on Instagram when the pandemic just started as a way of ‘giving back’ to anyone who was stuck at home with nothing to do.”

Karen Copeland, STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor and Total Barre® Qualified Instructor
Owner of Pilates Place in Calgary

Karen Copeland at Pilates Place Calgary

How does your content appeal to your audience?

“I’m consistent, I communicate with my followers and other accounts daily, and I provide daily mini Pilates workouts that others can do using different props and including modifications. Mostly everything I do on my Instagram can be done at home with just a mat. I try to be genuine and authentic in all my posts.”

How has being an influencer helped you grow your studio business?

“My Instagram is like a resume— it provides a clear idea of what I’m about. I have been able to direct people to my account for their personal practice and to promote corporate classes.

“Prior to COVID-19, I had some great opportunities teaching in different environments and I’m hopefully these will resume. One such event was Pilates Fest North, which was a conference of 100 people. I was scheduled to provide several workshops and to teach some mat classes. The event had to transition to a virtual day, so I provided a workshop on ‘How to Grow Your Instagram.’ It was wonderful to meet so many other Pilates enthusiasts!”

How have you adapted your business during COVID-19?

“I run Zoom classes and provide the content for 24-hours following the class, which my clients love. I have quite a few clients who would prefer in-person and I hope to accommodate them in the fall following the proper protocol. This is an ever-changing issue and I’m trying to keep on top of it. I also connect regularly with instructors from around the world and we share ideas of what works and what doesn’t.”

Find out what other studios around the world are doing about COVID-19 and in-person training >

How should other instructors develop their virtual training business model?

“Just do it! It’s intimidating for the instructor and the client to transition to virtual training, so simply acknowledging this puts people at ease. Keep it simple. I use an iPhone/iPad and a tripod and recently added studio lights. Wireless earphones are very helpful. So much of it is simply starting.”

“Providing at-home workouts with small props and less equipment is huge. Making movement accessible and affordable for people is key.”

Find out how to become a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor >

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