Social Media and Digital Business in the Fitness Industry: Part 2

For my class presentation, I discussed examples of how the fitness industry leverages social media and digital business. The three key examples I highlighted were: Classpass, fitness programs, and tracking devices. In this blog post, I am going to provide a bit more analysis as to why these examples are so successful.

Network Effects:

Network effects is defined as a good or service that increases in value as more people utilize the product. Below you can see, as the number of users increase, so does the number of connections- and in turn the value of the company or product.


Fitness programs such as Tone It Up and Kayla Itsines leverage network effects in order to be leaders in their industry. Network effects allow these programs to become more popular and more successful. Katrina and Karena, the Tone It Up founders, as well as Kayla Itsines, have ~749K and 5.8M followers, respectively. A majority of the value of these programs comes from the network of women who follow their programs. If fewer people utilized the program and weren’t so prevalent on social media, these programs would not be as successful as they are currently.

Network effects in this situation are also beneficial in that they serve as motivation for program users. Followers of Kayla and Tone It Up will find before and after pictures, pictures after workouts, and examples of workouts to complete. These serve as a platform for followers to continue to leverage the program and have somewhere to go when they feel like they start to lose motivation.



Sense of Community:

Along the same lines, and perhaps due to underlying elements of network effects, a sense of community is a primary reason why these programs are successful. Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms become a place where people can leave comments of encouragement and motivation. The sense of community is a huge reason as to why these programs are successful. Even if the members have never met in person, there is a sense of allegiance and belonging to those the use the program.

Tone It Up Community.png

Another program that exemplifies the sense of community, is Team Beach Body. A major component of the Beach Body program are coaches. These coaches create a community or team of its users. They hold meetings, workout sessions, daily touchbases, etc. with its users. This helps the users with accountability, motivation, and continued dedication to the program. All in all, a level of community is necessary in order for these programs to be successful. If not, these programs would be no different than going to the gym by yourself on a day to day basis.

Team Beach Body .png


Another example that I discussed in class is Classpass. As a reminder, Classpass is an app that allows you sign up for a variety of classes at a number of different studios for a flat rate per month. One of the great features of Classpass is the ability to review and provide feedback on classes that you have taken in the past. This allows Classpass to recommend classes that you may like in the future as well as give users feedback into classes that you may try.




As a personal example that highlights the importance of reviews and feedback: this weekend, I decided to drag my boyfriend to a workout class that I wanted to try. It was a combination of Rowing and Spinning- both of which sound utterly scary when combined into one class. I had no idea what to expect, so, I decided to look at the feedback that other people had on the same class. Comments mentioned the lack of a good sound system, that it was a bit hectic when switching between rowing and spinning, and, finally, that it was a good workout. Because the common theme was that the class was a good workout, and as a first time visitor the class was free, we decided to give it a shot. I must say- the comments were right on the spot. The sound system made it difficult to hear the instructor, it was a bit hectic, but it was a really good workout. I am still sore! Even though there were negative comments, they didn’t seem to leave a bad taste when I experienced it firsthand, because it was expected. If I had gone into the studio without those expectations, I may have had a different opinion of the studio and class- instead, I am definitely going to go back! It is interesting how the feedback, even if negative, as long as it is present and available, can have a powerful impact on the consumer.

Generate Additional Revenue Stream

These programs are also successful in their ability to transform an Instagram account or digital platform into a program that generates revenue streams. They are able to do this in a variety of ways. In the cases of Kayla and Tone It Up, they create workout programs, nutritional plans, workout attire, and protein, as a way to generate sales to the consumers. For example, Kayla’s app has generated more revenue than UnderArmour and Nike +. In many cases, these workouts and programs are only available if you purchase the plan. If you are not a member, you only have access to limited parts of the workout. This is one way to create a revenue stream.


Additionally, in the case of ClassPass, they generate revenue through their membership fee, which is currently $199 dollars per month. Furthermore, ClassPass is also able to generate revenue by taking a percentage of the class fee. According to an article on Quora, Classpass is able to keep anywhere between $5 to $25 per customer, depending on the time and popularity of the class. While they are able to keep this money, it is not much compared to the $25-$35 price tag of some classes.

These are examples of how social media and digital business platforms are successful in the fitness industry. Since there are so many players in this market, it will be interesting to see how they are able to differentiate themselves in order to remain successful and innovative.


  1. finkbecca · ·

    Nice post! It’s interesting how some people feel more comfortable talking to people through a computer screen about health, wellness, and fitness, but I guess it makes sense. I think whatever works to help motivate people to be active and healthy is great! Digital businesses and social media personalities seem to help encourage people and that’s awesome. I think it’s inspiring for people to click on a hashtag and find people who are struggling in the same ways they are-so the network effects and sense of community do really play a part here.

  2. francoismba · ·

    Great addition to your class presentation. I enjoyed how you connected your personal experiences to the topic. I didn’t realize that ClassPass allowed users to give recommendations and feedback. It’s intersting to hear that you thought highly of the class given your expectations of the class were already set. Do you think you would have enjoyed the class as much if you hadn’t already know about the terrible sound system and hectic transition?

  3. mikeknoll98 · ·

    ClassPass really jumped out at me here. What a cool idea for a centralized platform. I also loved the point you made about connecting with others who are striving for the same goals. I think these examples are great ways for people to positively influence using social media one another to achieve goals and I wish more of social media was used this way. Great post.

  4. gabcandelieri · ·

    Great post! I think Kayla Itsines business model has a particularly appealing value proposition. The transformation photos she provides on her Instagram account pictures real women who have taken her training regime seriously and have experienced visible results. Most advertisement and marketing promotions for diet programs or diet pills feature nearly perfect women with disproportionate body shapes and airbrushed skin. Itsines has created a lucrative empire out of her program because she has made a community of women’s goals attainable through the visual evidence social media provides to her viewers–a tangible idea regular women can rally behind.

  5. gabcandelieri · ·

    Great post! I think Kayla Itsines’ business model has a particularly appealing value proposition. The transformation photos she provides on her Instagram account features real women who have taken her training regime seriously and have experienced visible results. Most advertisement and marketing promotions for diet programs or diet pills feature nearly perfect women with disproportionate body shapes and airbrushed skin. Itsines has created a lucrative empire out of her program because she has created a transparent community of women through social media. These women now believe their goals are attainable through the visual evidence social media provides–a tangible idea regular women can rally behind.

  6. adawsisys · ·

    Enjoyed reading your post! I agree that the sense of community in many of the workout programs provides the user with the extra motivation needed to achieve difficult goals. I have never been a part of a strong workout community, but I imagine it is similar to a team sport, where everyone works hard to succeed, and creates a tight knit bond along the way. A couple of my friends are into Crossfit, and their ties to the Crossfit community are very strong. The strength of the community might be a determining factor in the long term success of the current workout platforms.

  7. katieInc_ · ·

    Great post! As evidenced by your presentation and this post, social media is transforming the fitness industry. In addition to providing a strong sense of community, I follow various “fitness gurus” through social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter to gather a little extra creativity when I am deciding what workout to do or trying to get out of an infamous “workout rut.” This added value makes me more willing to purchase fitness leaders’ specific workout plans (i.e. the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body workout) or try new classes (i.e. ClassPass Orange Theory). All in all, I believe the added creativity coupled with the key positive attributes you outlined will continue to generate revenue for the industry.

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