Business, Social Media, Yoga

WTF should I post?

R 3 Tricks for Building an Active Facebook Following 

Engage Your TribeBuilding a following on Facebook can be a challenge for lots of yoga teachers and studios because they’re not sure of the most effective ways to engage users and grow their tribe. Businesses with successful Facebook Pages use some key strategies to keep their fan base active and attract new followers on a consistent basis.

Here are three of the most effective tricks for building a following on Facebook:

Offer Value. Post Relevant and Informative Content. 

Content is key. And content doesn’t simply mean your class and workshop schedule. It’s essential to post relevant content that your tribe will enjoy. Did Elephant Journal post a great article? Share it. Did something make you laugh? Share that too. You can also ‘keep it local’ by engaging fans with news or information their local yoga community. Current events are a great example of localized Facebook content that readers want to hear about.

Being informative (read: ADDING VALUE) will keep users returning to your Facebook Page and can also lead to your page being shared by your fans. Whether your business is local or not, posting links to articles and tutorials is an effective way to include informative content. You can post information from other websites or create your own content and brand it with your business name to build name recognition and increase brand awareness.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is a fantastic way to generate discussions on your Facebook Page. The answers your fans provide may give you insight into what your tribe wants and ideas about how to improve your offerings (or even dare I say, marketing!).  There are some very specific types of questions that can lead to increased engagement and participation on your page.

Yes or no questions are very simple and can be quickly answered by Facebook users. Two great yes or no questions to ask users are if they have signed up to your newsletter or visited your website. These types of questions create awareness of the rest of your business, are quick and easy to answer, and are engaging at the same time.

You can also use polls to ask questions about customer preferences and interest. Facebook makes this really easy by visiting facebook.com/poll. While products and services are one subject for a poll, you can also have ones about current events or other topics related to your business. You can even have a weekly poll so that users will know to return to your page on a regular basis. As with any methods for increasing your following, the trick is to make it fun and users will come back frequently.

Create Contests

People love winning prizes and contests, especially if there are free products or a discount involved. By asking readers to like the content on your page or tweet your page to enter the contest, you can dramatically increase your following. When one of your readers likes or tweets your page, all their friends will see that. People are much more likely to like pages based on the recommendations of their friends and colleagues. In addition, you will build more brand awareness as your name is seen in more places on Facebook.

Building an active following on Facebook may take some time, but it is an essential part of every business’s social media marketing plan. The key is to be engaging and post content consistently so that your followers have a reason to visit and interact. Community development and management must be considered and treated as an investment. Slow expansion, not viral growth, is normal with Facebook. Don’t expect fast results. Be happy with steady growth. A Facebook Page is the page of your “brand” -Own it and use it wisely!

Business, Social Media, Yoga

Using Facebook Groups

Last week I dipped my big toe into the Facebook pool.  Today I want to talk about FB Groups and how they should (and shouldn’t) be utilized. There are huge differences between FB pages and FB Groups. “A Page is meant to be more of a broadcasting platform one-to-many (though obviously you should be engaging with your fans also), whereas Groups are meant more for equal collaboration and discussion amongst a group of people who are related in some way and/or share some sort of similar interest.”  While each can and should be used by yoga business owners for marketing, networking and connecting to their tribe – they can and should be used in different ways. 

Facebook groups can be formed for a number of reasons to accomplish any number of goals. They can be formed by a business or coach for teleclasses or programming, by membership association,  formed to start a movement,  to promote your business and to network.

Here’s the DL on Groups:

  • Facebook Groups can be public, closed (anyone can find Group, only members see posts) or secret (nobody can find the Group unless added by a member).
  • There are two ways to join Groups – a Facebook friend adds you or you ‘ask to join’ and an admin of the Group accepts your request.
  • Groups don’t allow much branding at all. You get only your profile picture (a small square image), and nothing else.
  • Groups don’t allow other tabs/applications. This means you couldn’t run a competition, or have a contact page, welcome page or anything like that.
  • Group posts don’t go to your newsfeed. Instead, you get a ‘notification’ that someone has posted in the group. This can be both good and bad – it’s good because people definitely won’t miss it, no matter how long after you post the content they log onto facebook. HOWEVER, sometimes when there is too much posting going on it just gets so annoying a lot of people choose to change their notification settings so that they don’t receive these anymore. As the posts aren’t fed to your Facebook newsfeed, you effectively forget about the group forever because there is nothing prompting you to visit.
  • Groups allow ‘shared documents’ as well as group chat.
  • Fans of a Page cannot see everyone else who is a fan. Members of a group can see other members of that group.
  • Both Pages and groups can create events, post images, allow commenting/liking, restrict posts to only admins, and create polls.

*This list was created by Cara Pring on The Social Skinny.

I am totally ashamed to admit to how many FB groups I am a member of. It’s a disturbingly high number.  Every so often I go through the list, leave some and update others.  But my membership issues with FB groups isn’t really what I want to talk about today.  I really want to talk about how yoga business owners can use FB Groups for more personalized networking and marketing.

I am all for FB groups, obviously – I participate in them, moderate them and network in them. However in order for them to be beneficial to the members of the group and to the administrators, we need to remember that they serve a different function than Fanpages. There are two killer mistakes I see yoga teachers and studios making when it comes to creating and participating in Facebook Groups:

Mistake #1: Creating a Group instead of a Fanpage

If you’re running a business and using Facebook as a marketing tool to build your tribe and email list, you need a Fanpage.  FanPages are the official profiles for your business. Using a Facebook Page to connect with your students is a form of community development and it’s free advertising. The big bonus here is you don’t have to be a member of Facebook to view a Fanpage. This allows you greater access to your growing tribe and potential new students and a new student pool is essential for studios and teachers!!  A Facebook Page is the page of your “brand” -Own it, use it wisely and grow it organically.

Mistake #2: Joining a networking group and spamming the crap out of them. Networking groups are designed not only to promote, but to support. If you’re just promoting in your networking group, you’re doing it wrong.   Here’s a great example- if you’re in a networking group filled only with other yoga teachers promoting your “introduction to yoga class series” there really isn’t going to get you jack shit for enrollment. Even worse, it’s going to piss off the people you’re trying to network with- why would another studio owner want to enroll in your into to yoga class? She wouldn’t. Networking is the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically :  the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. It’s about cultivating relationships, NOT simply promoting your shit. If you’re just there to promote, you’re better off buying add space and leaving the group. 

The business of Facebook can be tricky, but these days, it’s practically essential to grow your business. Be sure to update regularly, keep your tribe engaged and offer something of value. ALWAYS offer something of value.  If you use your page or group only for promoting your workshop and classes you can kiss brand loyalty goodbye.  Even worse, there’s a good chance that your members and friends won’t be returning to your page anytime soon.

Business, Social Media

Facebook 101 Series

facebook-2This month I am going to talk a little bit about Facebook. It’s not the first time. It probably won’t be my last.  Facebook posts always seem to garner lots of responses. I think it’s because many yoga teachers and studios owners are either Facebook averse or they’re not utilizing it to their advantage. It’s time to change that. Facebook and social media isn’t going away, it’s actually becoming more and more essential to our business success.   Being a business owner is hard. All of a sudden we’re supposed to be experts not only in our field and craft but in marketing, social media and website design too.  It’s ridiculously frustrating – trust me, I know.  I don’t expect you to become a Facebook or social media expert, but you should know enough to use it to your advantage. I ‘m not a Facebook expert, but I learn from experts.

Today I am going to get a little dangerous and do a little Facebook breakdown for you. Facebook comes in basically three flavors for your business: the profile, the Fan Page and the Group.  If you’re currently rocking your business in flavor number 1- stop it. First, it’s against the rules, second you won’ t be seen and lastly, you could run out of friends – you’re only allowed 5k you know. Create a Fanpage and migrate that shit over.  Every business should have a Fanpage and here’s why:

It’s all Marketing, baby. 
Using your personal Facebook account profile for your business is limiting. Search engines may pick up your name via your Facebook profile, but not necessarily the name of your business. It’s all in the SEO.  It just makes more sense to use Facebook to your advantage + be found by search engines.

Another core issue with using your personal Facebook account for marketing is privacy settings. Businesses aren’t private, well I guess some may be, but not Yoga Business. You want to, need to get out there.  If you want other people to see the information you are sharing on Facebook with your private account, they first have to be accepted by you as a friend. This is an extra step that delays that person from being able to interact with you. Facebook offers business pages that are more search engine and people friendly.

Creating a Fan Page
Fan Pages, are optimized for small and large businesses. They are currently the most ideal way for businesses to promote themselves on Facebook for several reasons, including the ability to brand an individual page with your own style and layout. Facebook Pages feature tabs that can include very similar content to what is typically available on static websites. Great uses for Facebook tabs include a newsletter signup tab and a coupon tab for customers who like the page. These types of tabs can lead to increased sales and provide you with vital contact information to reach out to customers via email as well.

SEO. Lets get back to that for a moment, shall we? Facebook has already established itself as a reputable resource within search engines. Facebook Pages with the proper keywords may have an easier time being discovered on search engines because of Facebook’s high traffic volume and online integrity.

Connecting with your tribe.
Your family isn’t your tribe. You tribe is made up of potential new customers and raving fans. You need to build a deeper connection with them. Connect to your family and your high school ex boyfriends on your personal page.  Connect to your tribe on your Fan Page. It’s free and easy to create, Facebook Pages can bring the type of targeted attention and traffic to your business or website that just isn’t possible with your personal profile.

If you’re promoting and marketing your yoga business through your personal profile your challenge this week is to create a Fan Page and tell your friends to like it!

Next up, Facebook Groups!

Business, Social Media, Yoga

Teasers…I Got A Whole Buncha Stuff Up My Sleeve.

Since last week I posted about to do lists, I”ll share my monster one with you today…

Wake Up Kick Ass

Done, Done and Done.  I am sure you did the same thing today, right?

So, I’ve been dropping teasers about ‘Darshana Communications’ and ‘The Darshana Collective‘ for a while and I realize that I’ve been a little bit cryptic. So let me take a moment to explain.  ‘Darshana‘ is a Sanskrit term meaning “sight” (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding; from the root drishti “to see”), vision, apparition, or glimpse. A ‘Collective‘ is the formation of a whole, individual characteristics taken together. As many of you know from this blog, I am a whole lot of things – attorney, yogini, serial entrepreneur, social media + communications junkie and business + brand strategist. The Darshana Collective rolls it all into one; Creative Communication, Righteous Strategy + Business Moxie for Women with Vision.

I am still hashing out the services, but they will include 1:1 Coaching (Jam Sessions, Branding + Strategy Intensives), Tailored Legal Services, and a few killer packages that I’m going to try to keep under wraps until everything is close to perf.

There are a few programs already in the works I can tip you off to:

  • The Corporate Yogini – Corporate Proposals for Yoga & Wellness Practitioners. This package includes a 15 minute Skype session to review your services and proposal needs. A branded proposal template that you can use over and over simply by tweaking a few sections. Custom pricing for your services and geographic area. And marketplace research and citations substantiating credibility, benefits and RIO. Send out your corporate proposals and put the Affordable Care Act to work for you!
  • Yogini Superstar Business Strategy Toolbox  The SBS Toolbox is  for newly trained yoginis as well as seasoned practitioners who are looking to make the part time to full time transition.  It contains everything You Need to Skyrocket Your Yoga Business. Easy Peasy.
  • Social Media Rehab for Yogini Superstars – If you’re scared or clueless about social media and marketing yourself on line,  this one is for you!  Learn to effectively + authentically harness the power of social media to build your brand and fill your classes every single time.
  • Yoga Business E-Course (Online YogaMBA) – We’ll dig into starting and running your business (mission, vision and values), yoga business models, key legal agreements, financial planning, branding + social media, packages + Pricing and student and client retention.

I also have a few freebies that will be coming your way including Yogini On a Mission – 5 Steps to Create Your Kick-Ass Mission Statement. I hope to put the finishing touches on this one while I’m out in Last Vegas doing the ‘I’m-a-very-important-lawyer’ thing next week.

Make sure you join The Darshana Collective to receive real time updates on the launch of the website and programming roll out.  I am really excited to be offering a fresh perspective on the whole yoga business strategy thang.

xox
Terra

TDCeyesm

Business, Social Media, Yoga

WTF to do after you finish your RYT.

Most registered yoga schools offer a sliver of information on the business of yoga. But between liability, insurance, employment Yoga Alliance registration, marketing, social media, blogging, business cards and websites things can get busy and confusing fast. Here are 7 things you should do as soon as you finish your 200hr teacher training (if not before).

Yoga Journal Benefits Plus Program

Pay attention to the dirty details! I know, you just want to spread the yoga love but here’s the reality: we live in a litigious society.  If you screw up and someone is injured in your class,  kiss your assets good-bye.  Most yoga studios (if they’re smart!) have liability insurance, but as an independent contractor, you’re probably not covered. If you want to get into corporate yoga, businesses are going to require you carry it and may even request to be added as an additional insured to your policy. Yoga insurance is easy to get, and it’s cheap.  There’s no excuse. Get insured.

Save a life. Get AED/CPR Certified. Some Teacher Training programs offer this in their curriculum, but most do not. It is your responsibility to get this training Any reputable place will require you to have this certification (if they do not – RED FLAG ALERT!!!). It’s inexpensive and you could save a life. Call your local hospital or EMS to find out when the next class is.

Sign up for Yoga Alliance and start tracking your hours. You earned the hours, don’t forget about the technicalities, SIGN UP! (You also get all sorts of mad discounts  with your membership from places like Gaiam, Be Present and Hugger Mugger!) After you sign up, start tracking your hours, ritually. When I first joined YA, nothing was online and everything had to be updated manually. You had to keep track of your teaching hours as well as your continuing education hours on your own and submit them once a year. Welcome to the land of Excel spreadsheets!! Thankfully these days everything can be updated online. It seriously makes life so much easier. So now that it’s easy peasy, don’t forget to do it!  Set a reminder in your Ical, google cal or whatever scheduling tool you use and do it weekly! Recreating your year of learning and teaching sucks, believe me I speak from experience!!

It’s all about style, baby! I am not talking yoga style, I am talking personal style -if you’re trained in Jivamukti, you’re not going to be teaching a Bikram class. Yet every Jivamukti teacher has a different style or teaching voice. Some teachers wow you with their humor, some tantalize with spirituality and some engage through stern direction. Which are you?  If you’ve always been the funny chick and try to turn into a “strict” yoga teacher you’re destined for failure. Your students will see right through you and you’ll struggle to connect with them. Connection is essential to filling your classes! Stay in touch with your personality. Cultivate your authenticity and don’t try to mimic another popular teacher’s style.

Create an online strategy for promoting your classes
Create an online strategy for promoting your classes

Be a social butterfly. Go to other local studios, gyms and community centers, introduce yourself and sign up as a sub. Even better, offer a free class at your local community center or place of worship. Get active in your local yoga community.  If your local community isn’t very active, be the catalyst for this change!  Start a local meet up- chit chat about anatomy or the sutras or whatever it is that gets you juicy and turns you on about yoga.  This Kula will become your family and it’s not just the three dimensional connections you make in real life, it’s online too.  Start joining different yoga networking sites. Check out Find Yoga Studios (tell is founder, Lisa I said hi!) and join The Yoga Recipe, download some classes, learn from seasoned superstars and maybe even upload some classes of your own!  And while we’re talking about the online world… If you don’t like social media, get over it. Right now.   If you haven’t done so already, make sure you create a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest account. Start following people you admire including teachers, activists, organizations, whatever floats your boat.  Follow Darshana Communications  on Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Give a shout out and I’ll shout you back. If you scratch me here I’ll scratch you there – Shimmy shimmy cocoa-pop.

You’re a professional! Nothing says I’m a pro like a business card, eh? I jest, but they are important. You can get free ones from Vista Print. If you really want to up your game, check out Moo. They’re a little more hip and you’ll definitely have more design options!

Go Deeper. Start thinking about the next workshop or training you want to attend. Make a top 10 teacher list – who do you want to learn from and what do you want to learn?  Your 200hr just ended, but your training just began. Continue to take lots of classes in various styles from lots of different teachers. Each time you step on your mat, treat it as if it were the first time. Be open to new lessons. Every one and every thing can be a version of your guru, so long as you listen from within.

This winter Darshana Communications will be launching the Yogini Superstar Business Strategy Toolbox!  Everything you need to know to Skyrocket your Yoga Business. Tool box includes  legal consent forms, a personalized bio and tagline, a 1:1 Jam session with me (where you get to pick my brain for a full hour), a 5 pack of class outlines (including class theme, pranayama, asana, meditation and playlist) and so much more! It’s seriously chocked full of everything you need to get rolling as a yoga teacher. Easy Peasy. If you’re still confused, a little lost after reading this list and can’t possibly wait for the YSBS launch, don’t fret!! I am totally here to help you. Shoot me an email and we’ll set up a 15 minute jam session via skype or the phone.

It’s free baby!

     

    Business, Social Media, Yoga

    Cave to the Facebook Pressure

    The irony of blogging about Facebook to a culture + generation of people that are averse to joining social media platforms: is anyone going to benefit from this post?! oh hellz yeah. Someone is going to read my words of wisdom and tell their mother’s brother’s cousin’s best friend’s aunt’s sister. BAM! viral. Just. Like. That.

    Ok maybe not.

    But it needs to be said and hopefully YOU can pass along the information to the damn Facebook holdouts in your community.  Here’s the issue: Business owners are still holding out on creating Facebook accounts.  Countless yoga teachers are among these hold outs.  And I get it. I truly do. I’ve been inside your head. Want to see?

    As a yoga teacher, self promotion makes me feel yucky. I strive to release my ego and I worry that it will feed it. Honestly, I prefer personal connection and interpersonal communication. Social media is an annoying distraction. I’d rather have a personal conversation in real time over a cup of chai. I totally get social media is good for my business, I just have some sort of a mental block around diving in.  WTF is a #? I totally don’t understand Pintrest but Instagram is kinda fun!.

    Ya see what I did there? I got right in your pretty yoga teacher brain. I get you. We come from the same space. I’m just a little different.

    I am not a hold out.  Quite the opposite. I am a self proclaimed social media junkie. I registered for a Facebook account as soon as they would let me without an .edu email address. I hate admitting this, but Facebook is an open browser on my computer 99.99999999999999999999999999999999% of the time. The Facebook and Facebook Pages Ap are probably my two most used aps on my Iphone. My financial advisor hubs has been pushing Facebook stock on the reg these days. It’s one of his recent favorite pics, simply because he sees how much I utilize it for just about everything – business, family and friends.

    So, here’s the deal. Social Media isn’t a fad. It’s here to stay. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram and blogging platforms are and will continue to be essential mediums for you to grow your studio, your kula and your following.

    The beautiful thing is, you don’t have to be personally active on Facebook. You can sign up and create a Fanpage, which is different from your personal page.  It’s essential that your business fanpage is not a profile page. Profile pages max out at 4k friends. There’s no max for likes of fan pages. You can also designate another administrator of a Fanpage to help you out!   If you want, you can even manage your all social media from exterior platforms like Social Oomph and Hootsuite. However, the point is, they need to be managed. The key to social media is the social part. You actually have to interact with your community.

    Social media is just an advertising switch you have to flip

    20 years ago, you would have purchased a print ad in a local newspaper. Today you post that same ad on your Facebook fan page. The awesome difference is, you get to actually engage with people and respond in real time to their reaction to your “advertisement.” Now seriously, come on. How awesome is that? It’s almost like a newspaper you picked up at Hogsmeade, but better because the people don’t just wave, they talk back! That’s got to be a sliver of personal communication- right?

    Cave. It is essential to your business. If you have questions or need help, post a comment or email me. I got you, sister!

    et al, Politics, Social Media

    The Art of the Twitter Bio

    I’ve had a little obsession with reading Twitter bio’s for quite a while now.  They are like a down-and-dirty amalgamation of your professional life a la LinkedIn and your dirty, rock-n-roll Myspace page 10 years ago minus the audio. They also lend some serious street cred to your humor, wit and online prowess.  But is it problematic when your Twitter and LinkedIn bio don’t jive? Example,

    Terra has a combined 10 years experience in business transactions and contract negotiations in healthcare, pharmaceutical drug development and academic research. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Health Communication with a concentration in Environmental Health Policy. Admitted to practice law in New York (2003) and Vermont (2004).

    and

    Adirondack Native. Jersey Strong. Yoga + Wellness Junkie. Liberal Feminist + Tree-hugger with a propensity for politics, dirty chai and antiques.

    The difference in story telling is glaringly obvious. In one I am power suit and pearls. In the other,  tye-dye and yoga pants sans bra.  Professional. Rebel. Employable. Good-time. Stuffy. free-spirited.  To be fair, my LinkedIn account is  dedicated to networking within my legal and academic worlds while Twitter is utilized for my blogging and often offensive political opinion(s) and commentary.  From a branding consistency pov, this distinction is NOT AWESOME. I am definitely not living my brand, which could cause confusion.  I could lose credibility in the healthcare industry as a lawyer who is a “yoga and wellness junkie” and any of my yoga students, health coaching clients or the political movements that I am active in would be appalled to learn that I have a background in pharmaceutical drug development.  It makes me feel a bit like the female Harvey Dent.

    Hilary
    #Clinton2016

    I have been trying to figure out how to reconcile  my two lives for a while now.  For the time being, I am ok with having one foot in one world and the other, in another. It is going to take time to weave the two together.  Besides, today Hilary Clinton started a Twitter account, of which she refers to herself as a pants suit aficionado and glass ceiling cracker. That’s pretty sassy for the next POTUS, don’t you think?

    Is your Twitter profile brand consistent with your LinkedIn profile?