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

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!

Inspiration

Cleaning your Online Livingroom

A few weeks ago I read a blog post that resonated,  the Art of the Deleting People. Synchronicity in play, I read it at a time when I was feeling the need to hide posts and block users.   I block on the regular. I block bigotry. I block negativity. I block whining.  Block & Hide…it’s the shadow boxing of the Facebook generation.

Earlier this week a good friend posted a FB update: “I’m going to turn my life around after seeing an inspirational picture on Facebook – Said no one, ever.”  It totally irked me and I hid the post in lieu of commenting and getting into a irrational FB discussion. I think it bothered me so much because I do believe that people will move to change their situation when they are surrounded by positivity and encouragement.  That sort of cynicism and misanthropy gets under my skin and makes me aggressive. Negativity begets negativity. no?

I’ve never actually deleted any of my Facebook acquaintances.  There’s a certain level of guilt associated with it. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I don’t want to cause drama. I’ve been deleted before and it has always left me with that WTF feeling. I remember when my former PR agent deleted me after a big fight resulting in us not renewing our contract.  I was stunned. It pissed me off, but mostly I thought it was just so very 8th grade. A 30something year old woman acting like a teenager.  Now I almost understand it. She deleted to move on. (Well, probably not, since she didn’t delete my business partner who had equal share in our decision to not renew- but I choose to take the optimist view).

In the past,  I used Facebook to build my list: promote my yoga classes, promote my health coaching business and doula practice and to promote LBG. It was all about social marketing for gain; more people in my classes, more clients signed on, more tee shirts sold.  Now that I’m not slinging tee shirts, teaching yoga, or coaching health, life and birth  I find myself getting more and more frustrated with my feed. It’s filled with I’m-not-pitching-but-I-am-really-pitching-you-a-sales-pitch posts, women fawning over the same successful 6-figure business women, “friends” I don’t even recognize and friends that are no longer an active part of my life.  My online living room is in shambles and doesn’t reflect where I am in the present moment.  It doesn’t fit and the stupid sales fliers are piling up in the corners, blocking the view of things that currently matter.

So I decided to clean up shop.

I didn’t hide or block. I deleted. I let go, and moved on.  My life is in a different place now.  People can always find me here and on Twitter. If there are people that are truly upset with being deleted, then reach out and actually connect with me. You have my phone number, you have my email address. Use it. If you can’t send a message or pick up a phone there’s no merit to being upset that I removed you from my facebook friends list.  To the 450 business connections that I just let go, we’ll reconnect in another time and space when it’s right.

I feel lighter.