November 10, 2011

7 Tips for Growing Your Yoga Community on Facebook.

We have the joy and obligation to spread yoga to as many people as possible. With over 800 million people on Facebook, we have the ability to reach more people faster than ever before in history. What do we have to do? Connect and grow our global yoga community! It starts with every studio and extends thru our teachers and is completed by every person who practices yoga. Below are 7 ideas to help you build you ignite your yoga community on Facebook.

1. Become a Connector. Invite yogis you meet or know from the Studio to be friends on Facebook, think of it as a compliment “I’d like to get to know you better.” The average number of friends is 135, we are a community that believes in making connections, physical and virtual. Each person you connect with makes the world a little bit smaller and less lonely. Sometimes the best assist in a class is simply touching someone’s foot, grounding them. The deepest connection in your life may come from inviting someone you practice next to during class to be friends on Facebook. Every yogi should be connected to at least 750 people, why are you being so cheap with your friendship?

2. Share More. We get to know you by what you share, whether it is what you ate for breakfast, the movie you saw last night or what time you are going to practice. Your silence is deafening. Start by sharing the little things, when you get personal Facebook gets really interesting. Experiment with this and see what works for you. When you post a Status Update about your studio or product you sell, do people like it and comment on it? When you share a real thought you have or an experience, how do people react? Just like you found your voice in the real world, find your voice on Facebook and use it. Share the Status Update or Link from your favorite charitable organization, while you are at it – Share an article from Elephant Journal! At least once a week Post a Status Update with when and where you are teaching and Share a Post from Your Studio on your personal Page.

3. Like Generously! Seriously, it is easy to Like things on Facebook, loosen up and get comfortable liking updates and comments in your newsfeed. It is a simple acknowledgement of that person, it is a high five, a wave. It is harder to comment, yet the more you do it the easier it will become. When you comment you are moving past a high five and giving someone a hug. It is when we express our opinions that we get to know each other better. Your activity in liking and commenting keeps you in front of your friends on Facebook, and brings the updates you are engaging with to the attention of your community.

4. Check-in every time you do yoga (you must have a smartphone to do this). We lead by example in the yoga community and in life. Your community wants to be inspired by your practice, tell them who you are practicing with and encourage them to join you. When you promote the classes of your favorite teachers, more people will come to your class. You practice yoga more than most yogis, let your practice shine on Facebook! If you own a yoga studio, get your teachers inspired to check-in every time they teach or take a class. This will encourage your students to check-in as well. Every time someone checks in to your studio on Facebook, your Page and your community is exposed to a larger community. Checking-in is promoted activity on Facebook and critical to building out your community.

5. Create Deals. As a studio you can create a Deal on Facebook (free), when someone checks-in a coupon will appear on their phone and on their Facebook newsfeed. Reward people for promoting your studio and community. Something as simple as 5% off of retail or as complex as a loyalty deal (check-in 10x and get a free class) will promote your activity and grow your community. Remember, you want people to claim the Deals! If they are not claiming the deals, you are not getting the check-ins and engagement you want to grow your community. Stop wasting your time, energy and money with coupon deals like Groupon, start rewarding the people who help you grow your community!

6. Give Recommendations (and ask for them). Recommendations breed credibility. When you Like a Page you are given the opportunity to write a short recommendation for the business, there is also a box on the top right of the Page on Facebook. very important you must be a Place on Facebook to open up this feature (claim your place by making sure your address is correct on the info Page and then start checking-in). Yes, you should write recommendations (promoted activity by Facebook) – encourage your students and fellow yogis to write recommendations on Facebook (especially for your class or studio). This is a great way to share what you love and open yoga up to more people.

7. Pictures Pictures Pictures…Video. 250 million plus pictures are uploaded to Facebook every single day. How many have you loaded up for your Studio? Please tell me you have noticed that your yogi friends can not go on vacation with posting a picture of them in Dancer Pose at the top of the mountain or Screaming Pigeon at the base of the waterfall? Why? Because we love yoga and when we are in the middle of nowhere, we get into a pose we should have warmed up for and our mate snaps a picture of us in our happy place – which we promptly share on Facebook! Whether you upgrade to the latest iPhone or buy a new $150 digital camera, start taking better pictures of your community and sharing them more often on Facebook. We love to look at your pictures and you can add new pictures every single day and we will not think you are annoying (tell me to buy your latest Groupon every day and yes we will find you annoying). Remember that people want to look good on Facebook, so edit out the blurry bad pictures from your old blackberry and start tagging your friends. We love to be recognized as being a part of the community, it reminds us we are welcomed and appreciated! How many pictures are you going to take and load up to your Page this week?

This is a simple yet effective jump start to your Studio or teacher Page on Facebook. Really this is a call to action, our community must be connected so we can communicate quickly and effectively with each other. Imagine what is possible if each one of us exposed one new person to yoga, now make it happen!

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