Tone It Up Wins Through Engagement

joanna_clarke    May 17, 2017

Tone It Up was started by Katrina Dawn and Karena Scott with a $3,000 start-up investment in 2009 (Lepore, 2017). They began by self-shooting and editing beach workout videos targeted to women, that they put on YouTube. Fast-forward to 2017, Tone It Up is a multi-billion dollar fitness/nutrition/lifestyle company, boasting a community of over 5 million women (Lepore, 2017). What is in the secret sauce for their success? Tone It Up has tapped into one of the most successful tactics to propel businesses in this highly social and digital age – engagement.

Engagement can be defined slightly differently dependent on the use of the term. For the purpose of this case study, “engagement” will focus around business to consumer, across social platforms (though there are multiple applications of engagement with social media on a business internal capacity). And as cliché as it is, just so we are all on the same page, we will use the definition of “social media” to mean “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content and to participate in social networking” (Google, 2017).

The framework – do not confuse this with strategy towards content – for Tone It Up (TIU) is based entirely on social platforms. These platforms are the key to Karena and Katrina developing an online community for their followers and members. Although all major content is housed on, they have impressively woven in the use of appendage platforms – through which they engage with their followers, share products and promotions, and foster online conversations and community. Here’s some examples:

  • Daily content is regularly posted and updated on all social platforms, specifically Instagram.
  • Tone It Up / Karena and Katrina actively reach out via social platforms to TIU followers, retweeting tweets and commenting on Instagram posts.
  • Followers are encouraged to “check-in” on Twitter and Instagram when they do workouts, for their meal planning/prepping and throughout challenges (there are a multiple challenges each year TIU runs, IE Bikini Series, which is a 6 week fitness challenge, with accompanying nutrition plan for those who are members). Specific hashtags are encouraged, such as #TIUCheckIn #TIUBikiniSeries.
  • There is an online community forum, for conversations around mostly all things fitness and lifestyle related: whether you are in recovery from an illness / injury, have nutrition plan / food related questions, inquiries regarding workouts or specific exercise … even if you are a #TIUBride (yes, Tone It Up has you covered with a specific plan and workouts just for brides!).
  • Tone It Up has annual retreats and encourages local meet-up groups.
  • Do not forget the TIU app available for your phone!

Lessons for Others

…the list goes on, but it is easy to see Karena, Katrina and the entire Tone It Up brand is innately engaged with the customer base of followers and members…and it is a winning formula. Karena and Katrina are the face of the brand and the founders behind the business, but they also are accessible, relatable and the kind of women that would seem approached and fun to have a glass of wine with after a run on the beach or a yoga class. Their followers love this; it’s evident as across the social platforms of Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Tone It Up has over 2.6 million followers.

Organization: Tone It Up
Industry: Fitness
Name of Organization Contact: Not available for comment at time of publishing

Authored by: Joanna Clarke

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Google. (2017). Search: social media definition. Google. Retrieved from

Lepore, Meredith. (2017, February 27). How Tone It Up Remains Relevant in the Fitfluencer Market. The Observer. Retrieved from

Tone It Up. (2017). Tone It Up. Tone It Up. Retrieved from