Motivating exercise through social media
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The exponential growth of social media and online fitness classes in the last decade of the twenty first century, has provided a multitude of opportunities for individuals and businesses. The internet has created new opportunities that people in the past might not have even dreamed of; from typing a question into a smart phone device and receiving millions of results, to participating in online fitness classes through platforms such as Zoom, Instagram and Facebook live. The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the extent of motivations for following health and fitness influencers on social media and its relationship with intentions to participate in general exercise and online fitness classes. The impact of Covid 19 on gym closures has brought a boom to engagement in online fitness classes rendering this a timely study for investigation. A research instrument was developed to include online surveys and netnography. The netnographic study covered Instagram posts over a four-week period on two health and fitness influencers: The Body Coach and Trisha’s Transformation. The findings suggest strongly that there is a direct corelation between fitness influencers posts on Instagram and participation in general exercise and attending online fitness classes. The study found that half of those who said they use online classes due to lockdown would continue to use online classes after lockdown was over. It was also revealed that the follower count on social media is negatively associated with follower engagement. The higher the follower count the lower the follower engagement. The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that companies should seriously consider including influencers as part of their social media marketing strategy. However, the number of followers of the social media influencer should also be a factor in the decision-making process. In addition, the use of a mixed methodological approach was crucial to determine valid results for this dissertation.
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