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Female Fitness Influencers Flex Monetizing Muscles
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Female Fitness Influencers Flex Monetizing Muscles

When it comes to social media followers, female fitness and wellness influencers far outpace their male counterparts

Seven of the top ten most popular fitness influencers in the world are female, illustrating women’s strength and earning power in shaping the global fitness and wellness industry through Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, according to new research.

The results are based on a list of the top 50 fitness influencers based on follower count and global search volumes, per data collected by Natural Foundation Supplements. Women in the top 50 are leading the way, with 410.4 million combined followers, compared to men with 297.6 million. Just three male influencers placed in the top ten list, although 24 landed in the top 50.

Sommer Ray, a former competitive bodybuilder, is the world’s most-followed fitness influencer, with over 38 million followers across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, according to the research.

credit: NF Supplements

Why Are Women in the Lead?

As for why female ‘fitfluencers’ have such an impact on social media, it could begin with the fact that they are more likely to be followed by fellow women. Across all age brackets, women are more inclined to follow influencers than men, according to data from Influencer Marketing Hub.

Moreover, 78% of women are active on social media and are more likely than men to use social platforms before purchasing a product, with over half of them having made purchases based on influencers’ posts, according to Digital Marketing findings.

Social Media Money

There is substantial money to be made on social media as a female influencer, with 77% actively monetizing their content, especially on Instagram. On the image and video-sharing platform, 78% of female influencers monetize their accounts compared to only 22% of males.

Consider this: Katy Hearn, one of the most prolific social media influencers, has built a multi-million dollar empire and brand on Instagram, known for the devoted following of her female-focused fitness app, which she recently rebranded to Sesh. Hearn’s influence has led her to extend past just an app, having pushed into other wellness adjacent categories by founding Alani Nu, a line of supplements, snacks and energy drinks, CBD brand Onyx + Rose and athleisure line Stori.

credit: NF Supplements

Kayla Itsines, the OG of #fitpreneurship, sold her fitness app, Sweat, to iFit for a reported $150 million in 2021. The app, which has been downloaded more than 30 million times and generated nearly $100 million in 2020, was recently repurchased by Itsines at the end of last year.

Activewear, fitness and wellness companies are also harnessing the power of female fitness influencers to build their brand.

SheFit, a sports bra brand and activewear company catering exclusively to women, has accelerated its presence and sales through the magic of social media after going viral on TikTok in 2020. Four years later, over 50% of the brand’s revenue is driven by organic content, and it has a lucrative ambassador program for influencers passionate about fitness and wellness to promote their brand using an affiliate link.

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Fitness Trainers & Gym Owners Can Exploit Social

While many female fitness influencers launched their business on social media, others, such as Cori Lefkowith, have successfully transitioned from gym owner to trusted online fitness source. 

“This is what led me to start writing blogs, making YouTube videos and developing digital programs,” Lefkowith recently told Athletech News. “I aimed to provide them with resources and support around the clock, to facilitate change whenever needed. Observing the effectiveness of these tools with my in-person clients, I began to broaden their accessibility online.”

As for her advice for building an online social media following, Lefkowith noted the importance of focusing on what can be offered to audiences and keeping it real.

“Want to stand out? Give honestly and earnestly of yourself, wow them and show them you can truly be the support they need,” she said.

Read the full NF Supplements 2024 fitness influencers report here.

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