Social Media & Indoor Climbing Gyms

Posted By: Jessica Malloy CWA Blog,

social media use in indoor climbing gym

Managing your marketing from a social media account is an easy, free way to advertise your
business and there isn’t only one way to do it well.

There are multiple avenues you can go down as a climbing gym to have a successful and engaging platform depending on your available resources.

While developing a full marketing team is beyond the scope of this article, there are multiple ways to maximize your social media accounts.

Article At A Glance

  • Writer: Jess Malloy, head coach at the Crag Nashville. Jess has written about coaching, management, and routesetting for the CWA.
  • Who Should Read: This article is for managers, senior managers, front desk staff, or marketing professionals within the indoor climbing industry.
  • What Will You Learn: The basic strategies of B2C marketing in an indoor climbing gym, and the different theories of managing your audience.
  • Tie-Ins, Resources, or Further Reading: Jess created a downloadable weekly posting calendar for social media to get you started. Check it out!

Whether you outsource, develop an in-house team, or just let one of your staff take on the responsibility, you can use these platforms to generate revenue, encourage community engagement, and expand your reach.

Think about what you want to get out of your social media account.

Define your goal. Are you looking to:

  • Gain more new membership 
  • Increase fitness class attendance
  • Advertise events
  • Improve member engagement and retention

Determining your primary focus will help guide how much of your feed is weighted toward informational, fun, or advertising content. While you will likely want a blend of these
elements, having a focus gives your social media marketing some direction.

How to Work the Algorithm

There isn’t a science to having your posts be seen, shared, or liked. You could put a lot of time into a post and have it barely reach your audience or you could put up something with very little
thought and have it receive hundreds of interactions.

While there isn’t an exact right way to optimize posts, trends show posts on Instagram and Facebook do well when you create relatable content for your community that the algorithm thinks your target audience will find interesting or relevant. Think of the algorithm as a filter that shows viewers the content it predicts they will enjoy the most.

If you are trying to maximize your reach, your best bet is to use multiple forms of media. A staggered blend of reels, posts, stories, and live streams will cover your bases. Platforms like Instagram favor Tik-Tok-style reels with trending audio, short clips, and straightforward videos. Use your platform to engage with your membership, even if you’re trying to use it for marketing. No one wants to follow an account that constantly asks for money.

Even if your primary purpose for using social media is to drive sales, creating fun and relatable content can’t be overlooked. An easy way to do this is through member or staff highlights, event recaps, or just showing updates with existing programming.

Look for opportunities to highlight your company mission by asking yourself some, if not all, of these questions.

  • What is your gym about?
  • What kind of environment are you trying to foster?
  • What other things are you doing as a gym outside of just climbing and setting routes?
  • Do you collaborate with the neighborhood library, or your local climbing organization?
  • Do you do outreach or host events that benefit different affinity groups? Give your membership something to be proud of and use social media as an opportunity to show what sets you apart from other gyms.
Create Engaging Reels

If you don’t feel up to speed on what’s trending on Instagram, you can always go to the reels tab on your app to see what is trending. From there, tap on the audio for the content, and get some ideas on what other accounts are doing. Then this can be used for inspiration to repurpose content for your own channel, and your business.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take much creativity to put together a reel that gets plenty of views and reach. Look at what others are doing and reinvent it for your community.

  1. Keep videos short. Aim for videos that are around 10 seconds long.
  2. Use natural light when possible. Shoot near a window or go outside when you can to make your videos bright and clear.
  3. Apply trending audio. Instagram will let you know when audio is trending, so be sure to pay attention when you’re scrolling and move quickly to stay ahead of the game.
  4. Be sure to include Call to Actions (CTA’s) within your posts and utilize the link feature on Instagram stories to make it easier to convert engagement to sign-ups or memberships.

Download A Social Media Calendar For Free!

Broken down by day and weekend, channel, and even notes for the following week, we have a super simple template for you to begin your social media marketing planning journey.

Download For Free


Team up with other accounts or businesses to maximize your reach and expand your audience. If you are trying to expand your targeted audience for a specific event, see if you can find someone within your community to create a post with another collaborator.

For example, if you are trying to reach an adaptive community, look to your sponsors or grassroots organizations to create a collaborator post. This is beneficial for both parties as it will be shown on both feeds and depending on the follower count can highly increase the amount of views the post gets.

Social Media Management Options
Option 1: Knowledgeable Staff Member

If your goal is to have more of a presence that translates to community engagement, hiring staff to manage the account is a great option. Just posting a few stories, having someone paid to respond to questions that filter through direct messages, and making the occasional post for when a special event is coming up can be done with just a single staff member who is fluent with social media.

While having a curated and planned content calendar is a great marketing method, you don’t have to go that far if you can’t invest. This can be just candid images and videos combined with basic Canva-created graphic design and you’d be surprised how well your gym can do.

The benefit of having a team member responsible for running the account is that you will have an insider’s perspective on day-to-day happenings, behind the scenes for planning events, and someone easy to get a hold of for last-minute posts or organic (homemade) looking content. 

The images and videos don’t have to be high quality either, they just need to be interesting to your members and audience.

Option 2: Outsource

There are several different marketing options you can outsource to for a more curated and professional presentation.

Outsourced marketing can help you provide a more curated and organized brand.

Professionally designed material, swag, branding, and photography can be the perfect combination for gyms with a budget.

Outsourcing your marketing to an agency can mean that you hand over all marketing including social media, or you outsource just the bigger ticket items and keep someone on staff to manage social media.

For the sake of this article, let’s assume social media is one of the items being outsourced. The benefit of handing over this responsibility to an agency is that your feed will likely look more curated, branded, and professional.

You can plan for promoting events and ensure that someone is dedicating a significant amount of time and effort to represent your gym on a professional level. While this means you likely won’t have as many casual posts, it can be the right move for larger gyms with multiple locations that are looking for consistent branding.

Option 3: Develop An In-House Marketing Team

Combine the best of both worlds by developing an experienced marketing team that works in-house on your payroll. One of the best ways to make sure you are marketing to the right audience is to have someone who understands your community values on a personal level.

This gives you the benefit of having a marketing team that not only understands what members are looking for, but you will likely have climbers who speak the verbiage. Much of marketing is about speaking the language of your customers, and paying someone to do this ensures quality. 

Having a marketing team that can cover high-quality images/photography, understand marketing strategies, create a content calendar, do graphic design, and can be present for live postings at special events is a major plus. To create your ideal marketing team you may not have to look much further than your own existing staff or members, which can in turn create opportunities for growth within your company.

About the Author

Jess Malloy HeadshotJess Malloy is the Head Coach at at The Crag Climbing Gym in Nashville where she also dabbles in routesetting. She has worked in five climbing gyms in the past sixteen years, is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and has accumulated years of experience as a climber, coach, setter, yoga teacher, and as a published writer. She is the owner of @yoga.for.climbers a small business where she can combine all her passions into one. She loves runout slab and trying to static dynos. She gets nervous on pumpy overhanging sport but can always commit to the last move on tall boulders. When she isn’t climbing, she skateboards, reads books and comics, and does yoga. She also hangs out with her eight-pound rescue pup, Beta, who despite her name is not a crag dog but is an excellent cuddler.