As a yoga teacher, building a strong brand and reputation in your local market can mean the difference between having the financial means to pursue your yoga teaching full time and struggling to make a living as a yoga teacher. Having a strong brand and building a following can translate into more income as many yoga studios either pay “per student” or have incentives if you can attract more students into your classes.
At the core of building a strong brand is the ability to provide quality instruction and connect at a personal level. It is also critical to have a strong presence in the “digital world.” With the average American spending hours online each day and much of that time on Facebook, leveraging Facebook to build your reputation and following should be a priority.
It seems like everyone in the yoga teacher community has a Facebook account, but it is clear that a large number of yoga teachers are not making the most of them. Inviting all your friends to like your page can only go so far; the same goes for sharing pretty pictures of yourself doing different yoga poses. Don’t focus on the number of followers, focus on engaged followers who could become your students.
Facebook is a network, you have to start with your current followers, engage them. The Facebook algorithm will help you along the way by showing your content to their friends who are likely to engage with it and who may end up following you. It takes time, it take work, but if you are committed to making this happen, here is a practical guide to help you along the way:
1. Set up a separate page from your personal account:
Both your personal account and a dedicated yoga page can be used complimentarily to achieve your objectives. By only using a personal page to build your brand, you limit your options. Facebook pages are designed for the purpose of building the brand of “your business” as a yoga teacher, so create one and start pointing your students and your yoga followers to that page.
2. Align your “Facebook brand” with your personal objectives:
Before you even start, you should be clear on the identity and focus you want to have as a yoga teacher. Once you are clear about that, make sure the tone and the content shared on the page are aligned with it. If you want to be the “yoga teacher for athletes in Seattle,” make sure that your content and the following you are building are aligned with the kind of students you want to have in your classes
3. Find the right cadence for posting content:
Post too little and your audience forgets about you, but post too often and the audience starts unsubscribing. Posting once a week is too little, posting 10 times a day is too much. You need to find the right middle ground for your specific audience. Start by posting once per day and adjusting the frequency as needed, while aiming to meet a certain engagement level for each post.
4. Post the right type of content:
Great content is is relevant and interesting to your target audience. Be original, be different, make sure that what you share actually benefits them. Photos and videos are the content categories that result in the most engagement. If you are planning to share a quote that inspires you, create an image with an interesting background and overlay the text; it is much more likely to engage your audience.
5. Keep the text short:
Posts with longer text do not perform as well, in terms of engagement. If you cannot capture the user’s attention in the first few words of the post, they have already scrolled down to the next post in their feed. Facebook posts with short text (less than 140 characters) get more comments, more likes and more shares.
6. Be relevant to what is happening right now:
Posts that touch on relevant news and the latest developments in the community tend to engage followers more. So keep track of what is happening and engage your audience on those topics.
7. Participate in the conversation:
Too many yoga teachers use their Facebook page as a one-way communication channel to broadcast information out. The most successful ones are the ones creating a dialogue with their followers. It is not enough to just share great content, make sure that you are responding to your followers through comments, answering their questions and liking their comments. This type of engagement creates more long-term loyalty.
8. Don’t lose credibility:
You need to build trust and ensure that you are not saying things or sharing content that is offensive or will alienate your followers. Also, ensure that you are always using respectful language with proper grammar, and always fact check the sources on any information you share.
9. Make the most of the cover and profile photo:
You should really take the time to think about and select the best images to help drive engagement with your page. For profile pictures, select a portrait where you are smiling. For the cover photo, use an image that is aligned with your brand and ensure that it is sized properly (851 pixels by 351 pixels).
10. Focus on quality rather than quantity:
The Facebook algorithm will only show your content to a subset of your followers. The algorithm optimizes each user’s feed to only show the most relevant content, taking past engagement into account. If you are sharing content with your followers and they don’t engage, it’s less likely they’ll see your future posts. Focus on sharing the best and most relevant content to maximize engagement.
11. Stop telling and start asking:
Posts with questions perform better, in terms of engagement, compared to ones without. Close-ended questions which only have a few specific answers (“which… ?”) or can be answered with yes or no (“do you… ?”) perform better than open-ended ones (“why… ?”)
12. Limit the amount of promotional content:
Your Facebook page should not be about broadcasting the fact that “you are teaching a yoga class right now” — that is what the schedule on your website is for. It is fine to promote your upcoming workshop or retreat, but ensure that these types of posts make up less than 20 percent of the content shared. A follower who engages with your content on a regular basis is more likely to respond to a post where you promote an event, than one who only comes across promotional posts from you.
13. Engage with your target audience across Facebook:
Find Facebook pages that attract your target audience and Facebook groups where your target audience hangs out and be part of the conversation. Focus on having meaningful conversations and adding value, don’t just go around spamming different discussion threads with self-promotion.
14. Tag the right people and pages in your posts:
When referring to a business, a person or a place that has their own Facebook page, make sure to tag them by preceding their name in the post text by “@.” This provide you with a drop down of suggestions; when you select the correct one, it hyperlinks to their page. The same applies when responding back to a follower in a comment. Doing this increases the likelihood of further engagement and potential re-shares.
15. Enable private messages on your page:
Not everyone wants to engage publicly, so ensure that your page has the “message” button enabled and list a valid email address in your contact information.
16. Create a Facebook page widget for your website:
It is easy to set up one through this Facebook page. Once configured, all you have to do is copy and paste some simple HTML code into your website and you will end up with a widget, which can help new followers find your page directly.
(Make sure to like the Seattle Yoga News Facebook page while you are at it. )
17. Leverage Facebook advertising:
When used appropriately, Facebook advertising can be a great way to grow your following. Like any type of advertising, you need to ensure that you are getting a positive return on investment.
18. Manage your Facebook time effectively:
Too many yoga teachers spend way too much time on Facebook, with the goal of growing their following, with little to show for it. My recommendation is to schedule a slot of time each week to schedule posts to go live automatically over the course of the week. Then focus time each day to engage with followers and potential followers.
[Photo by Facebook(let) – CC BY]
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