Teaching Yoga isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. You have chosen an authentic life and now you are facing the question: How do I make this career sustainable?
Social Media are a powerful marketing tool that can help you get your message across and connect with your tribe.
We are all – more or less – familiar with the term and we are all on different stages on our social media journey. Here we will refer to the most common and most widely used platforms for personal usage and business, which are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The same basic principles apply to all platforms.
Social Media offer an effective way to:
- Establish yourself as a professional
- Increase your value in the community
- Expand your network
- Build relationships
They give you a platform to publish content unique to you so that you can establish your presence and become a recognised figure in your tribe.
A successfulapproach to Social Media is about a lot more than having a significant number of followers. You don’t just want followers. You want to create a community and build a following. You want people to feel they belong to your community – your tribe – and you want them to read your content purposefully and come to you as often as possible.
Here we present 5 + 1 secrets that can help you engage in Social Media platforms in an effective way.
- Start by finding your true voice
First of all, you need to decide what it is you want to tell people. Define what makes you unique and differentiates you from other professionals in your field. Marketers would call that ‘branding’, but really it is about identifying what feels authentic to you, and what makes you stand out from the rest.
Social Media is a great marketing tool, but soon it becomes apparent that a high level of commitment is necessary. However, once you start engaging the interaction should become quite natural. At the beginning take your time to identify the platform that works best for you and don’t be afraid to experiment. When you take your first steps nobody is there to criticise you. It is only after you find your true voice and you communicate your authentic message that people will really start paying attention.
- Choose your platforms and create appropriate content
Once your personal mission and your signature offerings are clear in your head you can get creative on Social Media. Decide what it is you want to share with people and then determine your specific objectives on each different platform. Every media offers particular functionalities that work better for different goals.
Facebook, is perfect for posting information on your Social Calendar. You can inform people of upcoming events and facilitate engagement. You can publish posts, photographs and articles and use hashtags as entry points for your content. You can connect with your followers and become an authority figure.
Instagram is more about images. Instagram is the most popular platform at the moment and it enables you to post images and timelines and reach people in a specific geographical area. You can also publish text, but the main attributes remain the visual effect and the option to let people know where you are and what you do.
Twitter enables you to use both text and images but in a condensed version. Your messages have to be short, and usually, they are linked to comprehensive content published elsewhere – like your website, your blog or your Facebook page.
- Match format and frequency to each media
Appropriate format with a cohesive approach
It is clear that every media requires a different form of content. You can publish the same article or newsletter or announcement on every media but styled differently. You can have a long, comprehensive article on your blog or your website and use shorter versions (and hashtags) for Facebook and Instagram. For Twitter, it can just be a short excerpt and a link.
This will also ensure a cohesive approach to your social engagement. You want to communicate your mission clearly across all platforms. Everything you publish must be linked to your unique message and ultimately your website. What you want is for people to get to know you, to put their faith in you and to follow you.
Every aspect of your digital presence aims to make people
- Identify with your tribe
- Learn more about you and your mission
- Arrange to come to you
It is perfectly acceptable to post on Twitter 10 or 15 times a day, but not so much so with Facebook. Even if you had the time to create this much content it would seem inappropriate.
On the other hand, it is also important to note that a certain level of engagement is necessary. Posting once a week makes all the difference compared to not posting at all. Even if you have a crazy schedule or you are not really comfortable with Social Media yet, it is important to commit to minimum frequency. These days you need to be broadcasting your unique offerings in a big and creative way.
- Use widgets – ‘follow’ and ‘share’ buttons
On every platform use every available widget and make it really easy for people to follow you, ‘like’ you and share your content. Add ‘Follow’ buttons on every page of your website and link your Social Media profiles whenever possible. Include Social Media links in your email as well.
- Be relatable and interact with your following – Be regular and consistent
Once the wheels are set in motion with your chosen media, you need to stay in touch with your following.
- Post regularly. Choose the frequency according to your personal program and make sure you are consistent. The rule of thumb is to be posting often – as often as you can. Some people even publish staff daily but don’t get carried away with this unless you are really confident. It is much better to publish interesting content once a week than publish meaningless messages daily. Choose a schedule you are comfortable with.
- Listen to your following and always engage. Engage in conversations that are relevant to your unique mission and interact with people genuinely and intimately. Make sure to share content that is published by others, and reply to their messages. Show that you are human and that you care. When someones ‘likes’ your comment or follows your account, follow them back. Respond to comments, questions or mentions. Your followers will be offended if you don’t.
- Engage in discussions with influencers in your field and gain visibility through your interaction with them. These days a simple ‘like’ isn’t enough any more, you really have to engage, make a personal, heartfelt comment. You need to send replies and post your personal view on a platform that is already established. Share their content with your followers. A positive comment or a ‘share’ form an established figure can help your profile, raise visibility and recognition. (You can use a platform like Buzzsumo to find influencers in your local area).
- Stay true to your voice. Don’t be tempted to publish content that isn’t authentic. People will know if your content doesn’t come from the heart. Everything you publish must be aligned with your true self and reflect your true mission. People follow you for a reason and you need to respect that. They are not interested to know where you bought your outfit or what you had for dinner (unless that really reflects your authentic message).
- Plan your actions – create a Social Media Calendar
It has to be said, that social media engagement takes time – and commitment. The best way to move forward is and develop a strategy and plan out your actions.
Simply put, start with a media that you feel more comfortable with. Instagram is a very popular choice due to the strong images people can post. Set up your account, populate it and start publishing regularly. Facebook is also a favorite. Twitter is easier to manage as it requires less content. A good idea would be to start with Instagram and Twitter. Once you are confident with that, you can move on to the next medium that will help you expand your following.
Since Instagram is very much ‘on trend’, here is some bonus material to help you navigate:
BONUS – Instagram Hacks
- Use Instagram to edit photos even if you don’t post them there (maybe use them for other platforms).
- Turn on Post Notifications and receive a notification when the users you are interested in post something.
- Manage Tagging Options in the settings so that approval is required before adding the tagged photo to your profile. That can save you the embarrassment of having photos in your profile that you don’t approve.
- Add a Bio URL so that users can easily visit your website. Since URLs are banned elsewhere in your profile, consider changing the URL ever so often to promote other pages from your website as well.
- View the activity from people you are following and identify influencers and opportunities.
- You can embed your Instagram to your website (Click the 3dot symbol on the image and choose Embed, then paste the relevant URL).
- View the most popular hashtags. For each hashtag, Instagram can show you the most popular ones with similar wording and how many posts there are for each. If you choose the right hashtag and get a few clicks you could even start trending.
- Link your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Flickr Accounts. This enables maximum social media exposure, plus you get to share your photos easily across multiple accounts.
Your Marketing Calendar
In order to ensure that all your actions serve a purpose and work in synergy [or work well together], it is a good idea to create a Marketing Calendar where you can plan all the upcoming events, posts and publications, as well as everything else you have planned for your business.
Your Marketing Calendar will help you stay organised and ensure that you make good use of your time and effort.
Social Media is all about being authentic!
I would recommend not treating it as a compulsory marketing exercise but as a creative opportunity to dig deeper and find your unique way to communicate your mission.
Truly listen to your following, be open and responsive and strategise your social engagement while maintaining your authenticity – and your sanity!
Be realistic about the devotion it takes, and if overwhelmed ask for help!