HomeArticle InsightsInfluencer marketing success storiesHow GymShark gained 3.4 million TikTok Followers l Success Story

How GymShark gained 3.4 million TikTok Followers l Success Story

Gymshark TikTok followers - influencer campaigns

If you are a sports and fitness enthusiast, you have certainly come across Gymshark at one point or another. If you’re involved in the influencer marketing space, then you’ve most likely come across Gymshark too. With more than 3.4 million followers worldwide (as of December 2021), Gymshark is one of the most followed brands on TikTok. Gymshark launched its first operations in 2012. The business then went on to establish themselves as a global lifestyle brand and sportswear juggernaut. Gymshark’s success was predominantly because the team were able to make brand really stand out in the world of sportswear, through a strong and effective influencer marketing strategy that helped build and drive a super engaged community.

At first, Gymshark started their journey on Instagram, working with the best fitness and lifestyle influencers in the UK. You can learn more about how Gymshark went from £0 to £100M in 7 years with Instagram Influencers here. However, in recent years Gymshark shifted a lot of their focus to TikTok, where they have gone on to build their reputation among younger generations. In our opinion Gymshark has truly become the ‘Nike’ of the new generation with their incredibly well-executed TikTok marketing strategy. This article will explain how they have done so, attracting millions of TikTok followers in the process.

How Much is Gymshark Worth?

Their brand is the among the most valuable top Gym Clothing Brands with a net estimate of £1 billion. Their marketing strategy is straightforward – invest in emotional marketing through influencer endorsements, build quality products and invest in leading marketing technology. It is no surprise that Gymshark maintains a relatively large presence on social media, and TikTok in particular. So, how did they gain 3.4 million followers on TikTok? What is the key to their success story?

A TikTok Gymshark influencers athlete tying his shoes

Gymshark Company Profile and History

If you’ve never heard of Gymshark, here’s a bit more information about them, and their background as a company.

Forget about the sharks, as the name suggests, Gymshark is a fitness apparel and accessories company based in the UK. The company specialises in manufacturing and online retail, supplying their ranges of fitness wear and sportswear across 131 countries. The company was created in 2012 by teenager Ben Francis and his high school friend. The motivation behind Gymshark was to develop innovative and effective sports performance apparel.

In 2013 Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan, the founders, dropped out of school to focus on their newfound venture, and in 2018, their company was named the fastest-growing company in the United Kingdom. Gymshark became the first DTC brand to attain Unicorn status with no external funding. An investment with General Atlantic has seen the brand transform into a trustworthy world-class company and the most recognised brand in fitness.

Gymshark’s TikTok Followers

TikTok followers statistics

While the company has a massive following on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it has realised true growth via TikTok. The growth is not by chance. TikTok, in the last few years, gained fame for its viral videos, challenges, and dance routines. While it is without controversy, the platform has carved out an exciting niche for fitness enthusiasts, as well as many other niches.

It offers spaces where fitness enthusiasts can express themselves, get hot, athletic and at the same time express their personalities. TikTok gives brands, influencers and its users the opportunity to produce creative fitness videos showcasing their fitness abilities, or sense of humour, and share them on TikTok.

The bottom line, TikTok is fan-driven and relies heavily on visually appealing and relatable content, a feature that Gymshark has fully exploited in driving its follower bases on the platform. Ben Francis explains in Forbes’s week feature story, “Young people only want to buy community-led brands that align with their values.”

The Gymshark team’s goal has always been building a fan-led community, which explains how they have managed to build a larger social media following on TikTok and other platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

Gymshark Transitions to TikTok

Gymshark has been partnering with influencers right from its inception. They begun working with Instagram influencers, before the huge emergence of TikTok. In fact, our founding team at House of Marketers played a huge part in onboarding Instagram influencers on to the platform before and during its transition from musical.ly to the new more-widely known, ‘TikTok’ brand.

Gymshark’s entry into TikTok followed several successes on Instagram and other social media channels. In the same visionary spirit, the brand has been collaborating with TikTok influencers to attract followers in their millions, and to expand their reach. Today Gymshark currently has a follower base of over 3.4 million and a whopping 52.2 million likes.

monthly gained followers for Gymshark

How Gymshark used Influencers to Increase TikTok Followers

Ben Francis and the group were a bit at the odds in a highly capitalised marketplace dominated by large brands like Nike and Adidas. They grew their brand using relatively lower budgets compared to their competitors.

But… how was this possible?

Alexandra Sternlicht on Forbes explains, “ By marrying influencers marketing with high quality $25 athletic shorts, Francis has built the next Nike of Gen-Z.” Big brands like Adidas and Nike have a large following on social media, but unlike these brands, Gymshark pays more attention to social media influencers. Longer established brands have been paying huge sums to renowned celebrities and superstars to promote their products. However, Gymshark pays attention to that influencers on TikTok that really resonate with generation Z.

TikTok influencers may not be global sportspeople, but that doesn’t matter. TikTok influencers are effective in engaging and converting the audiences of today. These are the people that Gymshark has been relying on to build its brand for years.

6 Tactics Gymshark Used to Grow Gymshark TikTok Account

A TikTok follower in purple top and black shorts doing yoga

TikTok took notice of the sudden rise to fame of TikTok and has been using the platform as a viable marketing channel to advertise and market its products. The brands have been using several tactics to scale their marketing budgets and lure potential followers to their brand.

1) Collaborating with TikTok Creators / Influencers

There is nobody that understands TikTok follower dynamics like TikTok creators. However, unlike other social media platforms the micro-influencers tend to carry the day on TikTok.

Typically, micro-influencers on TikTok receive an engagement rate of 17.96%, while mega influencers receive as little as 4.97%. With this in mind, it is without a doubt that micro-influencers run the day of TikTok. That said, micro-influencers especially have good insights into what type of content works best with certain audiences and know the best ways to present that type of content to that specific audience.

Gymshark has partnered with influencers to leverage their in-built following, gain new followers and get the expertise to help them promote their brand and products. The brand has collaborated with leading TikTok influencers like Melanie walking, Rybka Twins, and Laurie Elle to promote their campaigns. Interestingly, Gymshark and TikTok influencer partnerships stand out as the vital pillar of Gymshark’s worldwide success.

Brands like Gymshark often working with with reputable TikTok marketing agencies to speed up the scalability of their influencer strategy effectively. If you’d like to learn about how we help scale brands on TikTok, you can contact our team here. Work with the best TikTok Influencer campaign managers to help you boost skyrocket your awareness, online presence, and community engagements.

2) Creating their TikTok Trends or Incorporating Trending Content and Giveaways

@nonabayat

sneak peak of that new new (outfits: @gymshark ) #gymshark

♬ In Da Getto – J Balvin & Skrillex

There is no better way to grow your audience than to become the trendsetter. And with TikTok, you have all the tools you need to get started. Gymshark does it by creating branded hashtags, short dance routines and challenges.

In January 2019, for example, Gymshark launched its ‘Change your life’ campaign. The brand asked their users to choose a fitness goal for themselves and to upload it on the 1st January 2019. On 7th March, 66 days later, they were asked to upload the final photo to show their new gains or latest transformation.

The fans had to tag the brand using @GymShark and #gymshark66. The challenge winners got to take home a free year’s supply of Gymshark goods. The results were terrific; the campaign garnered over 1.9 million likes, 12,576 comments, 45.5 million views for the #gymshark66 hashtag challenge. And they were able to achieve such engagement with the help of top TikTok influencers.

3) Posting Consistently and Frequently – Over 40 Videos per Month

Posting consistently and often is one great way to boost engagements on TikTok. As Kristen Wiley, the founder and CEO at Statusphere, explains, “The TikTok algorithm rewards consistency by pushing your content to more users.” TikTok takes advantage of this, and it posts TikTok-centric content once daily.

Consistency allows brands to build more brand awareness. It also helps them get more eyes on their content which also enables them to expand their follower base.

4) Using User-focused Content to Boost TikTok Followers

Normally generation Z aren’t big fans of promotional content. Most users are on TikTok for entertainment, engagement, and connecting with fellow TikTokers. Gymshark knows this, and for that reason, when it comes to creating content for its fan base, the brand happily walks the thin line between brand promotion and entertainment.

Their content includes a range from workout tips, their take on current trends, funny videos, and amusing videos.

The content is purely entertaining, funny, inspirational, and motivational. The brand curates its content and naturally incorporates its message so that they are not spamming their followers with purely promotional content that offers no value.

This way, they are able to win the hearts of their followers, who are not just out there looking for content but looking for content that adds value to their lives.

5) Developing TikTok Hashtag Challenges to Boost Follower on TikTok

Hashtags are as relevant to TikTok, as Google ranking is to websites. They help users find content quickly. Anyone looking for specific content searches the hashtag to discover an unending range in that niche.

On TikTok, hashtags contribute largely to the content that ends up on the ‘For You’ Page. Trending hashtags will also be displayed on the discover page. So, using TikTok hashtags helps your content get more visibility. It amplifies your content reach, enabling you to get to people beyond your existing followers.

With an extended reach, hashtags help you win more audience and give the audience reasons to follow you.

6) Inspiring Active Community Engagement

Building a solid engagement rate TikTok is a crucial pillar of growing your account on TikTok. After all, the main reason brands are getting on board on TikTok is getting people to talk about their brands. By securing those comments, likes, shares, views, and flowers, the brand is certain to drive its customers to action or achieve their campaign goals. Gymshark remains one of the brands with the highest engagements on TikTok.

Gymshark 66 Days Challenge Campaign

@16vjm

#gymshark66 before it starts – this is a sign. Let’s do this together!! Follow me on my Instagram: 16vjm 💗 #viral #foryou

♬ black out days x another love DJ Lilli – Lilli

Gymshark has continually boosted its following using social media hashtag challenges. The first challenge was the 66 Days Challenge that the brand ran in 2019. The goal was to increase brand awareness and reach. As mentioned earlier, Gymshark encouraged its followers to document their fitness journey and share their ‘before’ and ‘after” videos to showcase their fitness journey and the 66 days lapse.

Followers submitted their ‘after’ and ‘before’ videos using the hashtag #gymshark66 and @Gymshark, and in the end, the hashtag #gymshark66 generated over 193m views. For the last three years, the GYMSHARK66 challenge’s hashtags have dominated the brand’s TikTok campaigns.

More about the #Gymshark66 2021 Challenge

They reintroduced their #Gymshark66 challenge in 2021. The theme for this years’ challenge was Try new, try now, try-hard.

Gymshark asked users to decide what fitness goal to try, document the progress, and share it on social media using the tag @Gymshark and #Gymshark66. As is customary with TikTok, the #Gymshark66 TikTok campaigns involved user submissions featuring some choreographed movements set to music. And the winner was to take home a year’s supply of Gymshark products.

Like its predecessors, the #Gymshark66 2021 challenge featured several weekly challenges supported by nine diverse challenges every week in the 66 days that the challenge lasted.

The First Week – #ActiveEveryday66

Gymshark kicked off the #gymshark66 2021 challenge with an activity everyday challenge. This could be, for instance, replacing your car journey with a walk, or taking exercise breaks away from your office desk. Gymshark encouraged the user to share their experiences using the tag #ActiveEveryday66.

The Second Week – #PowerHour66

The creatives in this week revolved around waking up an hour earlier than usual and making use of the time to accomplish what they had wished to accomplish. The creatives came involved many morning routines and day planning.

The Third Week #EducateYourself66

This week’s creatives revolved around people teaching themselves self-something new.

The Fourth Week #HealthySwaps66 

This week’s creative challenge involved making small health incremental challenges that could positively impact themselves. This could be, for instance, taking the stairs instead of the lift or playing physical games as opposed to watching TV as a form of entertainment.

The Fifth Week #SomethingNew66 

The creative concept here involved thinking of something new to improve or change their life. For example, learning a new language, enrolling in a new online course, and more.

The Sixth Week #ForTheWorld66

This week’s creative concept involved making a change in the world we live in. This could be by reducing excess wastages, using reusable and recyclable materials, or turning off the lights to conserve energy.

The #5kADay66 Gymshark TikTok  Challenge

This tag involved setting up a cardiovascular goal and smashing it. The brand encouraged users to track a 5KM run at their own pace, before sharing the experience on social media using the hashtag #5KDAY.

The Eight Week #Mindfulness66 

The tag #mindfullness promoted mental health awareness amongst Gymshark followers. Considering the pandemic, Gymshark encouraged followers to be mindful of their mental health since it is equally important as physical fitness.

The Ninth Week #SupportLocal66

This final week’s theme was all about going local, supporting local businesses and people. This could be exploring local tourist attractions, hiring local services like a gardener or electrician, or even checking out a new independent café. Gymshark encourage users to share these experiences creatively in TikTok videos, using the tag #SupportLocal66.

Gymshark asked users to try one, some, or all of these challenges as long as they showed their progress using the hashtags each week.

The Prizes for the Challenge

The prizes? Six overall winners of the #Gymshark66 2021 received an exclusive Gymshark outfit for every month of the year. 60 additional people were selected as winners from the weekly challenges (ten per week). This group took home a host of Gymshark gift cards and product prizes. Not only that, they formed an elite group of people that were championed on Gymshark products and across website the whole year.

Gymshark TikTok Black Friday Campaign

A TikTok follower in green jacket standing for a street photo

High street and online retailers know they can’t afford to miss out on the shopping frenzy that follows Black Friday. Like most businesses, Gymshark has been on the trail utilising art to tell their story in the place where the people spend their time most – TikTok.

Gymshark’s 2021 black Friday campaign kicked off on November 18, 2021. Gymshark promoted this campaign, by making it look like their website had a glitch and that that they had released their products on discount earlier than anticipated awaiting the ‘blackout.’

With this, they give shoppers early access to savings that another platform doesn’t offer until Friday. They encourage users to promote the campaign using the #gymshark and the #gymsharkBlackOut hashtags.

What Made this Black Friday Campaign Unique?

FOMO (the fear of missing out), and the drive of ‘capitalising on brand errors’.

GymShark’s TikTok Success Story

Gymshark is one of the earliest adopters of influencer marketing, especially on TikTok. However, Ben Francis kicked off his earlier campaigns partnering, honing his favorite YouTube influencers like Lex Fitness, and as time went by, influencers marketing became the staple for the brand’s success.

This saw Gymshark bring more influencers like Whitney Simmons and Nikki Blackletter, who became ambassadors. The benefits rippled, as evident in the brand skyrocketed growth that has seen it transform into a world-class company.

What makes Gymshark’s influencer strategy incredibly powerful is their consistency and commitment to working with creative individuals that stand for the same values that they do.

 

 


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