Every avid gym-goer knows the start of a new year can turn grabbing a treadmill into an all-out Hunger Games tournament. Nearly half of Americans—45%—routinely subscribe to the notion that a new year yields a fresh start, according to research from the University of Scranton.

An analysis of Curalate data shows that more than 56,000 photos were shared on Instagram with the hashtag #resolutions from December 26, 2014 to January 10, 2015, which resulted in more than 2.6 million interactions (likes + comments). Unsurprisingly, #fitness, #motivation, #love, #inspiration and #happy were among the top hashtags associated with #resolutions, an indication that working out, finding love and being happy are popular goals.

As social media users increasingly turn to their networks for inspiration in the New Year, the opportunity for brands to engage them on Instagram is substantial. Here’s what some retailers are doing to reach their goal-making fans in 2015.

1. Motivate them.

Making the resolution is the easy part. The challenge lies in keeping it. By simply recognizing that a significant portion of their followers are working hard to fulfill a goal, brands put themselves in a great position to build trust with their fan base.

Forever 21

Forever 21 is making a point to motivate followers to stick to their goals throughout January. The brand launched a fitness challenge on Instagram, encouraging fans to share workout photos for a chance to win a complete look from Forever 21’s new activewear collection. More than 1,700 posts have already been uploaded with the #F21FitnessChallenge hashtag. In addition to asking fans to connect with them for a chance to win, the brand is also spending the month sharing tips to help fans fulfill their fitness resolutions.

2. Show how your products can help resolutions stick.


Gyms and fitness studios aren’t the only organizations that can use this time of year to engage fans. Staying organized, for example, is a common New Year’s resolution, and Sephora is well aware. The brand recently posted a photo of a makeup organizer on Instagram with a note that they are backing fans’ goals to organize their lives in 2015. Fans responded by expressing their love for Sephora and dubbing the product as “epic.”

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters is also joining the resolution conversation with its Without Walls fitness apparel brand, taking the opportunity to remind followers that they can still look great while working hard. Fans replied enthusiastically, asking for more information on the products modeled in the photo.

3. Inspire.

Consumers oftentimes turn to social networks in hopes of simply coming across inspirational quotes. With happiness being a common goal in the New Year, the search for encouraging words is even more prevalent.


Nordstrom took advantage of the opportunity to reach their fans with a New Year’s resolution post encouraging them to “Be Awesome.” Followers expressed their excitement within the comments, and many asked if and where it was for sale.

Take action.

With consumers at their most aspirational at the start of the New Year, brands are in an ideal position to engage with fans from late December through January. Creative photos that exhibit motivation, support and inspiration are likely to get retailers off to a great start. With the right tools, brands can convert their followers’ enthusiasm for 2015 into sales.