Starting a yoga studio is a labor of love for most of us. But while you’re most likely not doing it for the money, you still need to keep the lights on. The key to keeping the studio that you invested your heart and soul in up and running is getting people into your classes. But gaining a following at your yoga studio doesn’t have to mean spending big bucks on advertising. For the most part, smaller studios don’t have large budgets, and furthermore, paid advertising is often not the most effective tool for getting the word out about your small business.
Word of mouth has always been the most valuable asset for a successful business, and now thanks to modern technologies, more specifically, social media, word of mouth has expanded to the click of a button. Twitter and Facebook can be truly effective tools for spreading positive words about your studio if used correctly.
Building Yoga Classes Through Social Media
1. The Whole Staff Must Be Committed
A committed teaching staff at your yoga studio is always a crucial piece of a flourishing business. And this especially comes into play when you’re dealing with social media. At my yoga studio we are expected to use Facebook as well as Twitter to advertise our classes. And this doesn’t just mean haphazardly writing a short blurb about your classes in the status box on Facebook. It means becoming Facebook friends with the studio, all the other teachers at the studio, and any students or potential students that could attend your classes. If you’re not in contact with them in the first place, then your message will be missed. This goes for Twitter as well. Make sure that your page is active and that you’re following those that would have a stake in your messaging. It’s important that staff members don’t fall short and not play their role. If a teacher isn’t drawing students, then the class is costing you money with little return.
2. Facebook and Twitter Pages Most Be Yogic in Nature
Successful yoga teachers practice what they preach. That is, they don’t just get up in front of the class and “turn it on” for an hour. All the thriving teachers that I have ever known truly believe in the path of yoga. Just like you should practice what you preach in life, so it goes with your Facebook and Twitter pages. Your Facebook page should be representative of your belief systems. Think about inspirational quotes and yoga links. Maybe include pictures of yoga poses. On the other hand, there should in no way be pictures, thoughts, or other bits of information that exemplify you or your teachers in a bad light. This could include excessive partying and drinking or general misbehaving. Twitter messaging is equally important. Twitter updates should be well thought out and include encouraging messaging with links to your studio‘s website. It’s not about being fake or phony because if you truly believe in yogic philosophy these practices should come naturally.
3. Quality Versus Quantity in Messaging
Spend your time thinking of articulate news feeds and status messages instead of constantly pushing out the same bland sentences. Make your classes seem appealing and your messages timely. For example, if it’s the middle of winter try a pointed message like this:
Find your inner springtime with a day of soul warming yoga! All Levels Yoga at 8:15, Restorative Yoga at 12:10, and Hot Ashtanga Yoga at 5:45. Did I mention that we have hot tea?
It’s especially important with Twitter to avoid bogging people down with insipid updates because they will eventually ignore you or even worse, block you. Directly contact those that you know are available for certain classes, or as we like to call them, “regulars,” and entice them to come into class. If you’re not particularly friendly with them this may not be a good idea, but for acquaintances, it can often be fruitful.
4. Building a Class is Hard Work and Takes Time
Unless you’re a highly recognized teacher that’s been practicing and teaching for over 15 years, building a class, social media or not, is difficult. Students are fickle. Sometimes a huge group will show up at one class and a week later the same class will be empty. This isn’t necessarily a reflection on the teaching quality. But at the same time, if a teacher refuses to build their classes through outlets like Facebook and Twitter, you may question their commitment to you and the studio as a whole. If they are unwilling to make their Facebook or Twitter page a declaration of their practice, you may speculate about their yogic commitment. Consistency and heart are key in promoting your business through social media as with anything else. If people feel like they’re a part of an online yoga community, then they have a personal stake, and are more likely to commit for the long term to your studio.
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