The Movement Lab’s Instagram projects an undeniable joie de vivre. From the synchronized dance and Pilates video sequences to the cheerful shots of its staff and studio, it’s hard not to feel like you want to be part of the party.
The dynamic duo behind the Cape Town studio and its engaging Instagram account is mother-daughter team Lisa Palmer and Jessica Mandel, who present just as covetable a friendship and business partnership online as they do in person.
“People like to see us working together, they like that dynamic of a mum and daughter running a business together,” says Jessica, the junior of the pair.
It was Jessica, a millennial and avid Instagram user, who decided to branch out beyond Facebook and launch the studio’s Instagram account about two years ago.
“When we moved to Cape Town and opened a studio here, Instagram became more relevant to our market. This city is very cosmopolitan, upbeat and young,” says Jessica, a finance and accounting student at the University of Cape Town, STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor and Total Barre® Qualified Instructor.
Jessica started paying more attention to brands she admired on social media to see how they did it. And she learned that the most successful businesses on Instagram knew the answers to the following questions:
- Who are you as a brand?
- Who is your target market and who are you trying to appeal to?
- What are your core values and beliefs as a business?
- How do you make your posts coherent and consistent?
“If you don't know those things, then you're not going to know how to pitch your social media. Once you get that right, and I think my mom and I always knew our core values and what we wanted our business to be, then it will come more naturally,” she says.
The Movement Lab aims to be a welcoming, dynamic and inclusive space, something Jessica wanted to ensure translated digitally.
“” We’re not your average Pilates studio. We bring an element of fun, enjoyment and energy to everything we do. There’s an incredible vibe and atmosphere in our studio that you feel the moment you walk in and that’s what we want you to feel the moment you look at our Instagram page.
How to boost client engagement online
The Movement Lab’s success on social media didn’t occur overnight. There was a lot of trial and error. “At the beginning it wasn’t as coherent or tailored as it is now. It was a little messy. But I learned what our audience liked and responded to,” Jessica says.
With a mind for numbers and analytics, Jessica dove into the data. “I looked at the analytics and extrapolated from that and decided what was working best and how we should move forward,” she says.
Her most interesting finding? Synchronized, music-driven videos perform best. Like this one of mother and daughter that garnered 2,355 views:
“I don’t know the science behind it, but there is a huge difference— you can double your engagement just by adding another person,” she says.
While the videos do generate more attention, they also take a lot more effort to produce.
One video takes Jessica about two to three hours to put together. She comes up with the concept, sources the music, choreographs the moves, recruits the staff, shoots the clip a few times on her iPhone and edits it with iMovie.
“The content is great, but the actual editing and all that isn’t perfect, but I think people relate to it because it’s real.
“We could post more often, but our ethos is quality over quantity. We want to look back at our feed and be proud and love every video we’ve created.”
Their strategy, which has been refined over time, appears to be working. The Movement Lab now has more than 5,300 followers and regularly gets thousands of video views, including one video that attracted 12,871 views.
So, is Instagram worth it for your studio?
“It’s a snowball effect. If you have a good Instagram that you invest time and energy in, it draws a lot of people into your studio and it expands your reach. We’ve had models and influencers with big followings drop in for a visit. They post about our studio, then we get more followers because of that, then those people come in to visit and it’s just a continuous cycle.
“We also find that when clients come to the studio, they feel like they know us because they’ve seen us on social media, they can put names to faces, which is great as well. It establishes a sense of community.”
Social media tips for your business
Optimize your social media marketing – 5 simple tips
Social media for fitness businesses
Find out more about Merrithew’s marketing support, guidelines and photo assets