Your mom’s Jazzercize VHS tapes may be the stuff of ancient workout history, but some major fashion and health publications are taking to Facebook Live to bring back the exercise video of yore.
Facebook Live fitness videos have become a growing focus for magazines like Elle and Self, and an even larger effort for Condé Nast, which recently launched its Sexy Fit program as part of its new entertainment platform, The Scene. Every Thursday, Condé Nast shares live broadcasts from a dance studio in New York City that teaches dance routines from popular artists like Beyoncé and Justin Bieber.
Lauren Lumsden, digital director of The Scene, said Facebook Live will continue to be a emphasis for Condé Nast in an effort to engage its more than 40 million Facebook followers across a wide swath of verticals, which increasingly includes fitness. She said this is in part due to the ability for users to go back retroactively and watch the videos and reenact the routines on their own time.
“We’re seeing demand for live fitness programming because our audience can tune-in to instant instruction at the right time in their day,” Lumsden said. “The Scene and Self are regularly producing live fitness streams and we’re exploring the right opportunities to extend our fitness programming to other Condé Nast brands.”
For Self, a publication built around health and wellness, Facebook Live helps foster real-time dialogue around fitness with its followers, who ask questions for the trainers and provide commentary as the video plays. The videos provide an interactive element, that allows questions to be filtered from comments directly to the trainers via the social media directors and producers on the scene.
Like Lumsden, Self.com’s executive editor Leta Shy said the videos have the added benefit of allowing users to tune in both live and at their convenience. Self recently shared live videos with Reebok trainer Hannah Eden and celebrity trainer Chris Weber, the latter a spontaneous segment that came from a conventional office visit.
“It’s great if you can follow along to the workout right when it’s happening, but having it so accessible also means that even if you can’t do the workout when we are, you now know you have a 10- to 20-minute workout video, led by an expert, that you can click back to and do anytime,” Shy said.
Gena Kaufman, social media manager at Elle, a Hearst publication, said Facebook Live has been an organic way to connect its readers to fitness routines as the platform continues to grow and gain prominence. In May, Elle shared a live video with celebrity trainer David Kirsch at the Madison Square Club in New York City, where two editors participated in the “Celebrity Express Challenge,” a workout inspired by Kirsch clients Jennifer Lopez and Kate Upton. The video received 1,400 Likes and more than 200 comments and questions.
“We’re always trying to do fitness in a way that really feels relevant to our audience,” Kaufman said. “These are young woman who have busy lives who want to stay fit and healthy.”
She added Facebook Live also provides exposure to renowned trainers that many readers don’t have the opportunity to engage with. To make it even easier, Elle also works to feature scenarios that aren’t restricting or limiting to users as far as equipment that may provide a barrier from replicating the moves from home.
“Fitness is such a huge craze right now that our audience loves seeing new workouts from a trainer they don’t have access to in their regular lives,” she said.
Shy said that while Self has experienced “healthy engagement” in terms of views and reach on Facebook Live, the numbers are still comparatively lower than its other video formats, but it will ultimately not deter them from continuing to try innovative video content.
“The numbers are relatively small compared to the millions of views we’ve seen with our produced, non-Facebook Live fitness videos,” Shy said. “No matter what, we’re always moving fast, trying new things. We’re always looking for ways to show how fun and doable fitness can be, and that when it comes to wellness every little bit counts. Facebook Live hits all of those notes.”