Case Study: Kayla Itsines and Julian Smith

This article will focus on the business strategies of two of the most successful fitness “influencers” on social media. We chose to look at these two, specifically, because the tactics they used to grow their digital brand are simple and repeatable. By learning about these simple strategies and implementing small changes, you too can grow your digital business!

The best of the best - Kayla Itsines

By now you've probably heard all about Kayla Itsines through social media or in the news. Perhaps you've even downloaded her app once before. But exactly how good is Kayla's digital business?

Kayla’s app, Sweat with Kayla, generated more revenue in 2017 than any other fitness app on the market--beating out both Nike+ and Under Armour's MyFitnessPal. Her business is the #1 digital health and fitness business in the world. She even outshines some of the most successful digital fitness programs in history, like P90X and South Beach diet. While these fitness giants spent tens of millions of dollars in marketing, Kayla grew her business with a fraction of their marketing spend through an organic growth strategy.

So now the question that's on everyone's mind...

How does she do it?!

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The Sweat App: Novelty is crucial
Kayla’s app is nice but from a technological perspective, it's nothing that someone else can't create. One of her biggest assets, and the reason customer's continue to pay $20/month for her subscription, is novelty. Kayla uploads new workouts and posts different recipes every week. Her ability to constantly give customer's new content is the reason that people stay subscribed to her app. They feel that they are getting extraordinary value in exchange for their $20/month.

The importance of novelty and creating new content every week for your subscribers is talked about a lot in training. Think about your favorite book, movie or song. You obsess over it in the short term but tend to fall out of love with it after a few weeks/months. That's because humans are novelty-driven creators--we constantly crave new stuff!

We built Playbook knowing that consumers want your freshest content, week after week. By sharing content consistently on our platform, you will increase customer engagement and as a result, your customers will keep their subscription! 

Remember, it's all about providing value. If you provide your subscribers more value than what it costs them to subscribe each month, then you will maintain and build your subscriber base.

Novelty is crucial but it's not the only piece of the puzzle
Kayla's new weekly workouts are a key part of her success but they're not her key differentiator. Kayla's "X-factor" is her community strategy. Check out this article, “Want To Build A Global Business Empire? Engage And Empower Women”

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Community strategy is your X-factor

Kayla’s community strategy, her "X-factor", is a lot easier to implement than one might think. The biggest issue people come across when trying to implement a strategy like Kayla's is that they don't take the time to focus on growing their online community or they plaster their social media account's with pictures of themselves (the "me, me, me" approach). Most of the time, it's a combination of both.

Kayla knows how important it is to build an online community around her brand. For instance, about 60% of Kayla’s posts are from her customers. In our article, Community Repost Strategy we walk you through the necessary steps for building an online community. Please take the time to read and implement the strategies expressed in this article. The time you put in now, will reap so many benefits in the future!

Kayla's main focus is her customers. She has a community first strategy. You won't find her posting about herself 24/7. Instead, she builds a real relationship with her customers and consistently shows them that she cares! 

If you reviewed our Community Repost Strategy article and still want to learn more, here are some excellent articles on Kayla's community marketing strategy. The more you educate yourself on building an online community, the better you will perform on our platform!

Julian Smith Shows You It's Not About the T&A!

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Julian Smith is a digital bodybuilding expert who crushes it on all things social media. In the last 2 years alone, he went from having 60,000 followers on Instagram to well over 700,000.

The main reason we're including him in our training is because he has created an online marketing system that works. Not only has he grown his online following, but he has curated meaningful followers. In other words, his followers aren't just random Instagram spammers. They are people who fit his target demographic. They are people who could become customers.

How did Julian build up a loyal, meaningful following and a great digital business?

Step 1 - Clear personal brand messaging

The first step to creating a great social media marketing strategy is to make sure your brand message is clear across all social media platforms. Your Instagram, Facebook, Website, Blog, etc. should clearly express who you are, what you're about, and how a potential customer can interact with you or buy from you in seconds.

In terms of personal branding, there's no better place to start than your Instagram profile. Your profile she be neatly organized with the most important information that you want your audience or a potential customer to know about you. It's your digital elevator pitch.

The picture below of Julian's Instagram profile is a good example of how you can craft your profile to display your personal brand. This is by no means the only way to create your profile. It's just a sample for you to follow.

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Step 2 - Consistency

Building a brand is about consistently adding value so that consumers can create habits around your content. Julian posts 2x per day and all of his posts are created using the same format. This consistency allows Julian's audience to build viewing habits around him, ultimately driving people to share his content with friends. 

To follow a consistent strategy like Julian's pick out themes or pillars for content you want to post and consistently cycle through these pillars. Also choose a time of day that you wish to post and a posting frequency. For the best results, follow this strategy every single day!

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Step 3 - Clean content formatting

  • Every one of Julian’s posts has the exact same formatting & his audience loves him for it! 
  • They know exactly what they are getting from Julian when they go to his Instagram 
  • His posts are clean and easy to read
  • They provide value - his audience learns something new with every post 
  • There is a clear call to action - aka check out his product!
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Step 4 - Building a community

Almost every day, Julian gives a shout out to one of his customers in his Instagram stories. By calling customers out in a public platform (your social media!) you are showing that person (and the rest of the world) that you genuinely care about your customers. 

As we know from Kayla's success, creating a community and showing others that you genuinely care about them is crucial to a successful digital business. Giving someone a shoutout on Instagram is just one of many ways you can create a community around your digital brand.

The best way to build a community is to show up for your followers every day and show them how they can interact with you. In Julian's example of calling people out in his Instagram stories, he is not only making one of his followers feel special that day (which can turn this follower into a paying customer!) but he is also indirectly showing the rest of his followers how to interact with him. His post is essentially saying to his followers, "Tag me in your Instagram posts and I might repost you to my stories!" 

By engaging with your online followers every day, you are moving one step closer to building an amazing community around your brand. To summarize calling people out on Instagram...

  • Makes your customer feel great > tuns them into loyal customers and ambassadors 
  • When your customers feel great they tell their social circle about you 
  • New customers can easily see how they should interact and engage with you 
  • Shows that your product is working and that other people are doing it! 
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Key takeaways for you to start implementing!

  • Post every day, around the same times
  • Post inside your chosen themes or pillars - stay consistent 
  • Post pictures/videos with clean formatting - make it look nice!
  • Give as much value as possible in your posts (workout tip, nutritional advice, lifestyle quotes, etc.)
  • Tag followers in your stories
  • Make your social media about your community, not yourself