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, Yoga

Finding Your Awesome-Sauce

This morning I was catching up on my  Huff Post reading from last week’s vacation. Huff Post is my morning candy. I eat it up with my coffee after breakfast and before I blow dry my hair. This morning I smirked when I read the title : Yoga: The New Career Path for Corporate Execs. The exodus of yet another stressed out corporate drone making a run for the bliss.  The whole article felt like “been there, done that” to me, but I am sure it was insightful to those embarking on their first training or teaching gig.

One thing that irked me in the article was how they kept referring to the teaching of yoga as a pseudo business. Specifically that teaching yoga full time was “like running your own independent business.”

No Shit. Really?

This is exactly why many teachers struggle- they treat their yoga [business] as a cute little thing they do instead of the actual business it is.  If you’re teaching yoga full time, guess what? You are running your own independent business. In order to be successful, you need to do more than simply prepare for your 5pm advanced flow class. You have to market, network and plan.  We all got in it for the love of yoga, but we need to manage it like the business it is.

You have to take your yoga business seriously, manifest while getting off your ass, and figure out your awesome-sauce.  <~~~ Tweet it!

That’s right AWESOME SAUCE.

What I refer to awesome-sauce, in the stuffy business world is called your Unique Selling Pproposition (USP).  It’s your mojo. It’s what makes you different + unique.  It’s not simply your energy as a human being or your voice as a teacher. It’s tangible. Well, not that you can pick it up, but you sure as hell can write it down.

It’s the statement that explains how your yoga [business] is different than every other yoga teacher or studio. It tells your students and Potential Raving Fans how you can help them and what makes you special. It’s in the sauce. Your Awesome Sauce essentially tells them why they should take your advanced flow class instead of the power II class around the corner. It takes thoughtful creativity to come up with the recipe to your Awesome Sauce, but it’s the biggest decision you’ll ever make for your business.

Why You Need Awesome Sauce 

Put simply, you’re not the only yoga teacher (or studio) on the block.  We’re not as unique as we were in 1997. We’re almost a dime a dozen- what bored housewife isn’t embarking on her 200hr training?  You need to stand out. You want your students to think of YOU when they desperately need that little sliver of bliss and just 10 more minutes of savasana. If you create a delicious recipe for your Awesome Sauce, it will stick in their memory and put you above any other class they could squeeze in.

The Ingredients 

There are three things that make Awesome Sauce:

  1. We got Needs!! It must address the needs of your potential students. You gotta have that little some some they can’t live without, that solves their problems, or makes their lives easier. Yep, yoga.
  2. It’s memorable. It has to stick in people’s minds so that you’re the one they think of when they need yoga.
  3. Emotional Connection. Awesome Sauce speaks to the fears, worries, desires, and frustrations of your students.

Awesome Sauce is especially essential in a crowded market. And let me tell ya, this yoga thing isn’t getting any less popular. If you’re up against a large number of competitors studios + teachers, you need an especially tastey Awesome Sauce to cut through the noise. On the other hand, even if your business is the only game in town, you still need Awesome Sauce that speaks to and connects with your students. You want to change them from passive students, to raving fans.  It’s not only about battling the competition, but also establishing your brand in the minds of your customers.

Pack away your nuts, little squirrel! 

Failing to plan is a plan for failure! Amazingly, a majority of those who start their own businesses (even outside the yoga world) fail to create a unique selling proposition. Of those who don’t, almost 100% fail. (I just made that statistic up, but you catch my drift). Here’s the deal: Awesome Sauce doesn’t guarantee success. You gotta put your money where your mouth is and deliver on the promise.

The Creative Process

Your Awesome Sauce won’t just appear out of thin air. Sorry, it takes time, thought and creativity. Silver lining? It’s not hard to come up with the right message if you follow certain steps. Pay attention to your market, check out your competitors, what’s their Awesome Sauce? Differentiate and define yours. Analyze your teaching methods, style and voice.  Figure out why you’re connected to yoga. What has it done for you? If you can pin point that, the benefit you’re delivering to your students is obvious. We’re not talking any (or all) benefits from taking yoga, but the ones they’ll get from taking your yoga class. Let me repeat for clarity: Not just any yoga class, your yoga class. Those benefits keep students coming back for more. It’s the key ingredient to your Awesome Sauce.  If you put in the time and refine as necessary, you will create the Awesome Sauce that will skyrocket your yoga business.

Business, Yoga

A new Coach Bag or Yoga?

Last month I read an eye opening post about marketing strategy + psychology on Psychotactics.com. As soon as I read the opening paragraph I immediately thought “hmmm interesting, I should tweet this shit out.” I never did – it’s their fault, they didn’t add a share link to their post. Seriously? Who writes professional articles about marketing + advertising and doesn’t add a share link to the page?  WTF.   Anyway. The article flips the idea of competition on its head.  Once you wrap your brain around the concept its logic is so very obvious you’re wondering why you didn’t come up with it yourself.

Cliffs Notes version: the article redefines the narrow application of your competition. The example they use in the article is a ‘kitchen designer’s’ perceived competition is other kitchen designers, when in actuality, their real competition could be a car salesman.

(Photo courtesy of http://themonarchhouse.com)

Get it? No? Ok, let me explain by bringing it into our yoga world. I am wordy, so this may take a while, bear with me…

Your biggest competition isn’t the yoga studio opening up 5 miles away, its the Coach Store.  It’s the Gap. It’s  Antropologie, Ann Taylor, Home Depot and those god damned emails from Joss & Main. It’s what ever that potential student is spending their money on instead of your classes and your studio.

While we all think everyone should practice yoga and it should be available to the masses, the dirty little secret is that it’s expensive.  Those that can afford it (I’m not talking uber rich 1%ers, I’m talking average middle class people with mortgages and student loans) do so because they have made yoga a priority in their life. Their priority is your benefit.  I know at first pass, that sounds uncomfortable, but YOU were put on this planet to share your gift of yoga. You can’t do that if you’re stressed out over your bottom line and paying your bills. 

The students that ritually purchase 10 class packs or annual memberships at a yoga studio are your bread + butter.  Keep doing what you’re doing in class to retain these students, you don’t need to market to them, you need to keep them happy. The new students, Groupon users and the student that pops in once every month or so? They’re different. These are the ones you have to convince to go to yoga (regularly) instead of buying a new Coach bag.  This is why your biggest competition is not the studio 3 miles away or even be the other local teacher offering killer privates at stupidly cheap rates.

Your biggest competition is  whatever else that potential student is spending their money on.

The challenge is to shift your marketing and sales pitch to persuade students to go to yoga instead of  buying that Coach bag.  This is a no-brainer because it’s not risky.  You won’t lose any loyal students by testing this theory out. They already know what’s in your awesomesauce,  they’re drinking the kool-aid and they want more. This shift will only impact the  PRFs (Potential Raving Fans). Now don’t assume switching up a flyer or interacting with your Facebook fans a little differently is going to be enough, you need to follow through to seal the deal. A successful follow up will convert Groupon purchasers into Raving Fans who will come to class instead of going shopping. WIN WIN.

An amazing side effect to this shift in marketing is the energy associated with your prosperity.   Shifting your ideas about what your competition is in reality will allow you to release competition, insecurity and even jealousy. Letting go of this kind of negative competition makes room for effortless prosperity and abundance. This naturally builds community. When you stop hating on the new studio that opened up down the street, you can work together.  Maybe you can plan a kick ass event, bring in your favorite “guru” or yoga celebrity that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford on your own?  We’re so much more powerful when we’re united.

Next week I’ll talk about conversion and creating a sales culture in your studio without feeling totally gross.