Which social media channels should your yoga business use?
By Ehron Ostendorf
In part 1 of our yoga social media series we help you find clarity by looking at who your audience is, how you should use social media for your yoga business, and the top 6 platforms to consider
A while back we shared a post advising businesses which social networks could benefit them the most, but as you know, a yoga studio isn’t any ‘typical’ business. Even among different yoga businesses, audiences vary based on what style of yoga you teach and whether you’re providing teacher training, community activities, retreats, therapies, etc.
Without social media, it can be a challenge connecting to a greater audience and maintaining casual contact with your yoga community. There are lots of social networks out there and being on all of them all the time can be draining when you’re busy running a business and teaching classes.
This post will help you avoid wasting time trying to manage social media accounts that aren’t serving you. We’ll cover looking at your audience, the function of social media, and summarise each social network to find the right channels for you.
Who’s your audience?
If you run a studio, what yoga styles do you teach? Are you a strict one-style shala, or do you have several teachers helping you to provide multiple styles? If you teach private classes in people’s homes, then what do you offer?
Do you know the general age groups that come to your classes? Do you have more classes for youths, parents or retirees? Do you cater more towards active styles or gentle styles? Do you teach at universities and businesses, or do you frequent festivals and parks? These are important questions and there are many more you could ask depending on your region, teaching background and personal yoga journey.
There’s never only one type of yoga for one type of person. On a large scale, it seems that younger and more ‘active’ people frequent Instagram, adults and retirees frequent Facebook, ‘professionals’ frequent LinkedIn, both middle-aged and younger home practitioners frequent Pinterest, and Twitter has a wide range of audiences.
Now, the above summaries aren’t absolutes — there are always exceptions and major differences for individuals. But it’s a quick way to glean what sites certain groups gravitate towards. Most importantly, think about what social media platforms your current students frequent and start from there.
Social media is the cherry on top of your marketing cake
At Wildheart Media we like to think of your marketing as a delicious, velvety cake. All cakes must have a solid foundation at their base, many will have a nice layer of icing on top of this, and some will even have a juicy red cherry on top! So, let’s find out what these delicious elements represent…
Your website has long-form content, which appeals to prospective students and also tells a story that new students can relate to. This is the foundation of your business’ online presence and therefore of your marketing cake. Your site most likely also provides class info, prices and a schedule; this is what will bring in new students, ultimately.
Your website has crucial information needed to convert someone from a one-time drop-in student to a recurring student. Websites can also take payments, host a blog and even provide an FAQs section.
Your website should be structured to take a new student on a journey with you so that they know what class they should try first and why. They can learn more about you and your community so that they can try to picture how they might fit into that story.
Social media simply doesn’t have the time or capacity to do all the above, let alone add a unique touch and style for your business (since all social platforms have only one kind of layout and design for everyone).
- Write specific content: don’t say ‘We teach yoga,’ say, ‘We excel in Iyengar yoga and emphasise holding poses longer with the assistance of props until you can reach the full extent of the pose.’
- Have clear calls to action, e.g. ‘Sign up for a relaxing class here’ with a linked button.
- Keep site structure simple, favouring clarity over too many options.
- Publish regular content (like a blog or workshops) to show Google that your website is active and relevant.
The icing of your cake is your email marketing. Your website should have an area where students can subscribe to your mailing list. Remember, icing is sweet, so when you tell people they should sign up to your email list, it’s good to offer them an incentive, a goodie or two for subscribing. For yoga businesses, this might be sending a short video or PDF with a free yoga sequence.
If you’ve thought about email marketing, but aren’t sure how to get started, then check out our post on the 5 reasons why you should use Mailchimp for your email marketing.
Social media isn’t meant to be the #1 tool to bring in new yoga students. Placing high expectations on that will lead to some big disappointments. That’s why it’s the cherry on top of your cake; it’s the perfect addition to the rest of your marketing efforts, but you can’t have just the cherry without the cake!
Put things into perspective and think about larger companies — have you seen certain Facebook or Instagram ads that feel cold or flat? There’s a reason for that — they’re trying to push out a product or service and that’s it; they’re not trying to make meaningful engagement with customers. Why? Because trying to make those connections takes time and effort when they’d rather use social media to push their sales.
Social media is a way to send out bits and pieces of your website’s content and show the world who you are, what you do and why you do what you do. It’s a way to build a community, interact with students outside of your studio and potentially reach new traffic.
Share relevant content about what you do — something that interests you — that way you can build an audience who’ll find that same content interesting to them. Sharing your interests will bring you a stronger base of followers, rather than people wanting to follow you because they like the aesthetic of yoga pictures.
Social media tips
- Share relevant content to what you do.
- Don’t make more than 25% of your content self-promotional.
- Use a handful of relevant hashtags, not a heap of random hashtags.
Social media is a way to direct this new traffic towards your website, which will do the rest of the work of telling them why they should come to your studio.
The top 6 social media platforms
In this section we look at the pros and cons of the top 6 social media platforms, to help you decide which one is right for your yoga business. We consider the top 6 channels to be:
Highly recommended for most yoga studios and yoga businesses. On Facebook, you can create a business page where you can add events, opening hours, location, contact information, and best of all — you can schedule your Facebook posts. So, if you want to post about a time-sensitive event or you just want to schedule some content to keep your Facebook page active, you can set this up in advance.
You can also see information on your published posts like whether someone clicked on an embedded link, e.g. grabbing an event’s link from your website and dropping it into a post will link a previewed picture and Facebook will tell you how many people clicked on that link.
If a post does particularly well, Facebook will bring attention to it and ask whether you want to pay to boost the post. Boosting a post acts as an ad, which can be very helpful if you’ve thought about making a Facebook ad before, but weren’t sure what would perform well.
If you’re hosting a special event or workshop, then putting that event on Facebook itself and not just in a post is extremely helpful because you can invite all your friends and acquaintances to attend it.
Facebook is also, without a doubt, the biggest social media platform in the world. It’s also known as a place where people relax on their downtime and engage with casual posts that interest them. So, posts about hobbies and fitness, like yoga, usually do well.
Highly recommended for all yoga businesses. Now, Instagram can be tricky to navigate. There are celebrities and fitness-oriented people using this app to make glossy videos and photos. This can feel impossible to compete with, but don’t worry, it is possible!
Authentic accounts do much better on Instagram. Followers pick up on people and businesses that make authentic posts. Followers also enjoy it when you respond to their comments on your posts — this starts to build a community.
Instagram is the perfect place for you to upload pictures and videos of you teaching and interacting with your community. Instead of only publishing content about you and your practice, publish student-oriented posts. Potential students will see that and start to picture themselves as being part of your community.
The ability to upload ‘stories’ can help you better interact with followers, too. If you feel that you want more views on a particular post, you can share it to your story by selecting a post and then clicking the little arrow next to your comment and like button. There are all kinds of features you can use with your stories like small questionnaires, emojis and gifs. These stories stay up for 24 hours and are shown at the top of Instagram’s home tab, so they’re easy for your followers to see.
Quick tip: Links used to be active when you put them in a post, but since Facebook purchased Instagram, they don’t allow this anymore. You can add one link in your profile, which should be to your website. But what happens when you want to link to class info, events or a blog? We recommend using Linktree.
With Linktree’s free version, you can have up to 3 links in your profile. Then, in a post, you would direct followers to go to your profile’s description to click a specific link. If you publish a new blog post, you can prompt them to follow the “blog” link in the description. It’s not perfect, but it works well.
Recommended only if you already have a sizeable amount of connections there. LinkedIn isn’t for a yoga business to post and connect, it’s a ‘professional’ place that talks strictly about business. You could set up your business on LinkedIn, but it isn’t a place to share funny yoga posts. So, as a yoga business owner, you could use your personal LinkedIn profile to engage with other people about the business side of yoga.
You can write articles with more professional and refined topics — posts discussing running a yoga business or maybe the health benefits of yoga. Topics that are more on the physical side would do best here. Philosophical posts most likely won’t land well on LinkedIn.
Having this professional edge will help if you want to reach out to your connections and ask them whether you could teach at their business. Since LinkedIn is a place for professionals, showing that you’re a yoga professional will give you certain credibility that channels like Facebook or Instagram can’t.
Recommended only if you own a yoga studio and teach multiple types of yoga. On Pinterest, you can create boards where you can add a collection of photos and/or videos. These boards could be yoga sequences or classes that you’ve taught or it can be a way for you to collect certain yoga poses centered around their posture type.
Pinterest allows you to share these boards with your students, so in an email campaign you could link a Pinterest board to give a new student a free yoga sequence for them to try at home. If you teach multiple styles of yoga like aerial (swing), Ashtanga and Iyengar, then Pinterest would be a great way for you to make multiple boards to share what kinds of poses and sequences each style includes.
Pinterest itself isn’t the strongest platform to try and connect with potential students. It’s mostly a place for you to showcase your class types and what yoga your studio offers, if you own a studio.
Recommended if you take to Twitter well, you like the setup and function, you already personally have a large group of followers, or you know that many of your current students are on there already. Twitter is almost a combination of LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. There are professional audiences, audiences for leisure and passing the time, and audiences who follow niche subjects like yoga.
Since Twitter has such a mixed audience base, it can be tricky figuring out who to pitch to. The important thing is that Twitter will work for you if you like making lots of short posts, versus Facebook and LinkedIn where longer content is the norm. If you have a blog, then you can prompt people to tweet certain lines of your post that you think are tweet-worthy. So, it’s great for sharing short quotes and snippets of information.
Recommended if you own a yoga studio and provide teacher training, any kind of non-traditional yoga or a very niche yoga style. YouTube is not the place to find new customers to come to your business, as people browse YouTube from all over the world. But what YouTube does well is give you the ability to link videos to your website.
So, if you provide teacher training, you can make a video where you or a fellow teacher is reading a section of the curriculum, teaching teachers in training, or demonstrating how you structure your lessons, e.g. if you teach students an adjustment class as part of their training, then you can showcase that. You can host your videos on YouTube and then use the share function to embed them on your website.
If you teach a niche yoga style like Kundalini or aerial, it may be hard for potential students to visualise what that class looks like. New, potential students can often be afraid of the unknown, so making a video to talk about the yoga style or show a sequence is a good idea for YouTube.
You can also make videos of your students giving testimonials about your business, or you can make videos of your fellow teachers and partners talking about your business. This will provide potential customers with ‘social proof’, which can be very powerful.
The downside with YouTube is that there are many professional ‘YouTubers’ for whom making videos is a business in and of itself. Also, to be successful, you ideally need to make videos that have a high-resolution, great sound quality and brilliant lighting. This takes more time and effort than all of the other social media platforms, so if you want to get on YouTube, plan ample time for editing your videos, or make several videos first before creating an account so that you can be prepared.
So, which social media channels should you choose?
Here’s what Wildheart recommends:
- Definitely use Facebook.
- Definitely use Instagram.
- Use Twitter if you have a blog, if you know you have students/contacts on there, or if you personally have a lot of followers already.
- Only use Pinterest if you own a yoga studio and teach multiple types of yoga, or you have another good reason to create and showcase different boards.
- Only use LinkedIn if you personally have a lot of connections.
- Only use YouTube if you offer teacher training and/or a niche yoga style(s) that you want to showcase.
No matter the type of yoga business you have, or what styles of yoga you teach, it’s a good idea to utilise social media. The most important takeaway is to not get overwhelmed and either choose every platform or think it’s too much work and be on none. Just pick 2 or 3 of the networks you like the most, you think will benefit you the most, and the ones you think are the best fit for your particular yoga business — then stick to them. Consistency is key to building up an online presence. You can’t simply post once a week and expect new students right away.
If your business is more traditional and likes to avoid social media because it seems like a fad or compromises your traditional approach, then we recommend you use social media to show people your business’ story and uniqueness. There are students and potential students on social media who may feel disenfranchised by ‘mainstream’ yoga, so be an authentic presence and try to connect with yogis seeking a business with deeper ambitions than just a few likes. Your vibe attracts your tribe, after all.
Now that you’ve read our advice, go try out the platforms that sound right for you. And, most importantly, have fun with it! If you don’t enjoy using a particular social media platform, this will come across in your posts, so choose the channels you feel most comfortable using.
If you have any questions or thoughts about our suggestions, then leave a comment below — we’d love to hear from you.
Read the next post in this series
Read part 2 of this series 6 tips to improve your yoga social media posts.
Or go back to Blog series: Social media for your yoga business
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