Do you ever feel overwhelmed or uncertain when phrases such as “branding” and “social media marketing” enter the conversation? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, I was there at one point, too. But, having an online presence is just one piece in a larger puzzle that helps create your yoga business. The four simple steps outlined in this post provide clarity and support so that you can act confidently as you put those pieces together.
One afternoon, on a recent yoga retreat I taught in Barbados, our group sailed up the teal blue waters of the west coast on a 45-foot catamaran. Before lunch, we stopped to snorkel and swim with sea turtles. One way to get into the sea was to walk down the steps at the front of the vessel. The other was to fling yourself off the side of the ship, over 15 feet above the water below.
One woman in the group was hesitant to jump. The others jumped before her, including her husband. I then extended my hand, and offered to go with her. She placed her palm in mine. We counted to three, held our breath, and took the leap of faith. Her ear to ear smile of joy as she came up out of the water is still ingrained in my memory as a highlight of the entire week.
I had the chance, via a small action, to make a positive impact on someone’s life. While it may seem more natural to do this in person, social media marketing is really not much different. You get the chance, with each and every conscious post, to touch the lives of others. Some of these people you may know, or have met in person. Many might remain connected only via the ethers of the internet. In any case, you have the power to influence those around you. And there couldn’t be a better time for you to do so!
2 MAIN DRIVERS BEHIND SOCIAL MEDIA
Pictures and videos are the vehicle by which you get to tell your story via the numerous social media platforms available today. Your words matter, too. But many times it’s the picture that speaks volumes about you first. Then, the clever prose you use in conjunction with any image adds to the purpose of your message.
So what has been the driving force behind the massive growth of social media over the past decade?
Two factors: (1) Acquisition, and (2) Aspiration.
People are drawn to the possibilities of what they can have, or attain, in their lives. This includes objects, investments, and purchases. Humans are also inspired by the ability to achieve new heights in their lives, to actualize their dreams, and manifest their desires.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR YOGA BUSINESS
Take a moment to think about why you entered the yoga profession. Did you start to teach because yoga improved the quality of your life, and you wanted to share that same possibility with others? Did you want to make money doing something that you love? Did you want more control over your schedule? Personal validation by making a difference in your career? Or, even something that would keep you healthy and happy over the course of your lifetime?
While acquisition and aspiration might seem contradictory yoga principles, they are actually concepts than align with your business goals.
For example, do you teach great classes and want to grow your numbers? Do you have a fantastic workshop you want to fill in the upcoming months? Is there an offering you want to share with others? By sharing your gifts and talents with the world, you have something for them to acquire. And, by your great yoga skill set, you have something to which they can aspire to attain in their own practice. This might be physical postures, a peace of mind, an equanimity of emotion, or any other element of the yogic path.
Thus, you can infuse your social media marketing approach with this passion and authenticity. In fact, it’s essential you do this if you want to develop a lasting yoga business.
4 SIMPLE STEPS TO SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
In order to use social media in a way that will align with your purpose, we suggest you follow these four simple steps:
- Shift your mindset
- Create a strategy
- Utilize the right tools
- Build your skillset
Keep in mind that each of you has different goals for your business and that those goals will change over time. Thus, the reasons and ways you interact online will vary, too. Are you new to teaching yoga? Do you want to increase the frequency and attendance of your classes? Do you want to notify your community about your new studio? Or new events at your studio? Would you like to receive brand sponsorships or modeling opportunities?
Whatever your intentions, get clear about what you want to accomplish with your social media platforms first. Then, you can use these four steps over and over again to increase your impact.
(1) SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
Your attitudes, beliefs, and values dictate how you experience the world. This is no different with social media marketing. In fact, I could possibly be one of the richest people in the world if I solely received money every time I heard a yoga teacher say they wished they could just hide from the online side of their business.
Well, social media outlets appear to be a well-accepted and joyfully-embraced part of our culture nowadays. When you shift your mentality about them to a positive one, you can leverage these platforms to enhance your relationships.
REPLACE RESISTANCE WITH ENTHUSIASM
Negative emotions are just an indicator that your perspective does not match that of your highest self. Thus, if you have resistance about a topic–such as social media marketing–you are the only one cutting yourself off from the well-being that could come into your experience. We suggest using another 5-step process shift your mentality when stress or negative emotions arise.
Then, when you allow the positive counterparts, such as enthusiasm, curiosity, and fun to infuse your online social process, you become a magnet for more of the same.
FOCUS ON GIVING INSTEAD OF RECEIVING
When you spend time catching up with a friend, do you dominate the conversation? Or, do you allow a natural flow of speaking and listening during the encounter? The interactions you have online should be no different.
When you spend time on social platforms and “like” what others have to offer, you demonstrate you care about what’s important to them. You show you are listening to what they have to say, what they have to offer, and what they want to experience in life. Then when it’s your turn to speak, or “share,” you can do so in a way that’s in congruence with the overall conversation you have going on with those around you.
REPLACE UNCERTAINTY WITH CLARITY
Life can be more satisfying when you have a clear understanding of who you are, where you are going, and why you are taking action. This could not be more true with social media marketing. Know your authentic self and allow it to shine. Clarify your goals for all areas of your life. Decide why you want to engage in an online conversation, and then use your internal sense of balance to align your actions with your beliefs. Doing this can take the uncertainty and stress out of this aspect of your business.
Photo Credit: Ember and Earth Photography
(2) CREATE A STRATEGY
Once you shift your mentality, the next step is to create a structured plan of action by which to move forward. An efficient strategy contains three basic elements:
First, decide how much time you want to dedicate to your online social networking. Just as you would look closely at your schedule before adding another teaching time or location to your weekly commitments, consider the time you want to spend with your online relationships.
Answer questions like:
- How many times a week do I want to post on each platform?
- How much time do I want to spend each week (on my phone or computer) to read new content, connect with others, etc?
- How much time am I willing to spend in order to get great content for my site?
- When will I take photos/videos?
- How will I get gather and store that content?
- Who will help me in those projects?
In fact, this is where I help many of my clients find clarity in their business, for getting started can be the first, and most challenging, hurdle.
Small actions in a physical relationship, like showing up on time or calling when you say you will, build trust between individuals. In an online world, it’s necessary to portray qualities of dependability and reliability with others. You do this by:
- Posting on a regular basis (based on the frequency you decided above).
- Branding yourself in a uniform way across all online platforms. For example, we have the same user ID, @swagtailyoga, on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Decide on your brand, and stick with it. This makes it easy for people to find us when searching online.
- Speaking in your authentic voice. Keep your messaging style similar so people know it’s you. Be truthful. Be confident in your unique personality, ideas, and perspectives. And, allow those intricacies to weave together in a way that continually reflects your yoga brand and purpose.
Patience is one of the 8 essential elements to build a successful brand. It’s also needed to sustain your social media marketing approach for the long haul. The good news is that if you set up your scheduling well, and honor your time, energy and authenticity along the way, engaging in the online world can be a fun endeavor.
Said another way, all of the information in this article provides a lifetime of learning and practicing. Give yourself a year to see changes, and assess your progress only quarterly. Give yourself the time to figure out what’s working and what’s not. When you keep this big picture in mind, you can relax a little and enjoy the entire process a bit more.
Photo Credit: Dominik Gehl
(3) UTILIZE THE RIGHT TOOLS
With a strategy in place, it’s time to decide which tools will help you execute that plan. Ideally, you pick resources and apps that allow you to save time, energy, and money along the way. Here are just a few of our favorites for each platform:
Facebook is the easiest place to start to increase your impact. Once you have reserved your brand name and created a business page:
- Use the FB Scheduler. This way you can decide which pictures and content you want to share over the next week, two weeks, or month. This helps if you are going on vacation, get busy and forget to post, or just want to make sure the right content is shared as you lead up to your classes, workshops, and other important events.
- Invite your friends and family to follow your page.
- Engage an audience beyond your physical studio by offering classes or workshops via Facebook Live. Again, make sure the timing and content align with your goals.
- Sign up for Feedly to discover, and share, related content that might be of interest to you and your students.
This is one of the fastest-growing social platforms just waiting for you to share your great content. Here are three tools to help you make the most of Instagram:
- Unum is a free app that allows you to visually plan how your instagram feed will look when live. Since this platform is all about visuals, this simple step can make a big difference in how others are introduced to you.
- Instagram Stories are a fun way to add a live element to your feed, and the stories disappear 24-hours later. Use this as a way to share some behind-the-scenes elements with your community, and allow them to catch glimpses of your world.
- Hashtags are a great way to reach new people. Instead of hand-typing each hastag, use apps like Autohash, Focalmark, or Smarthash, which allow you to generate hashtags specific to your business and photos. Other free programs, like Seekmetrics or InstagramLikes, will give you the most popular tags in your field. However, many of them are used by millions and could leave you lost in the shuffle.
Think of Pinterest more like a search engine than a social platform and use these tips to increase your impact once your brand has been reserved here:
- Create various boards that reflect the many aspects of your business. This is also a great way to reveal your own aspirations with your community.
- Make sure images you upload have the right name and alt text that will allow people to easily search for you on Pinterest.
- Use TailwindApp to schedule photos in advance. This can be downloaded as a Chrome app, too, which makes the posting of interesting photos from the web much easier.
While there are other social platforms out there, like YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat, I suggest that you keep things simple. Find out what works for you, and do those few things well. This will be another essential element to prevent social media overload.
(4) BUILD YOUR SKILLSET
The fourth step of increasing your skill set is where you master of a positive social media mindset, progress through your clear strategies, and continually learn the nuances of each tool you utilize.
Answer the following questions to decide which skills you already possess in abundance. Then, place your attention in areas where your skill set could grow.
- What are my long-term goals for forming social relationships online?
- Where do I have my social commitments outlined? Planner, online calendar?
- What daily steps do I take to remain balanced, centered, and positive?
- Who keeps me accountable with my online commitments?
- Do I possess any skills in the photography realm? If so, what are they?
- What yoga, and yoga-related, skills do I possess that could be transformed into great photo and video content for my online platforms
- Which social platforms do I naturally enjoy?
- Which social platforms do I want to learn more about?
- What tools do I know well?
- What videos or tutorials could I use to learn more about my online tools of choice?
- Are there any social platforms I would like to outsource and why?
- How would I choose a company with which to outsource my online presence?
The learning about yourself, the yoga journey, and your business endeavors as a whole is unending. Don’t feel overwhelmed if you have many skills to build at this time. Keep the process simple by focusing on the ones that are of greatest priority. Then, once you have a strong hold on that skill, add another set of learning to your repertoire.
Photo Credit: Jay Farrell Photography
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Before we summarize this article, take a deep breath. Seriously! Inhale slowly. Then exhale completely! The online world is a fabulous resource ready to help you grow your business, and the timing for you to use these resources couldn’t be better!
The four steps outlined above are designed to help you create a social media marketing approach that will honor your time, energy, talents, and goals.
Start simply, and then add more depth to your online reach as you gain confidence.
Just like you and your business, social media platforms are constantly evolving. This will provide you endless opportunities to learn, learn, and learn some more. If you keep your goals in the forefront of your mind, the long-range game plan in the back of it, and an open mind along the way, you are bound to increase your impact in a positive way.