Guest blog from Debbie Ringwood who runs The Marketing Shop, which takes care of Marketing and Social Media for small businesses, for enquiries click here.

In a time where everything is more reliant on the web than ever before, I’ve put together a selection of tips that might come in useful for those of you working with an audience on social media.

Define Your Audience

You may know who your ideal customer is but is that written down on paper somewhere?  Very few of us have the general population as our target audience, so you need to be specific in who your ideal customer is, so that you can determine where they spend time and ensure you’re there where they can see you.   Many businesses will have multiple ideal customers and this is perfectly normal too.  If you’re teaching yoga for example you may define you customers based on whether they’re a beginner or experienced, whether they’re at a particular stage in life such as pregnancy, what type of yoga they’re interested in or for those who might not be teaching online, location.

Hootsuite in this report cites figures of 78% of all social media users in Ireland owning a Facebook account, compared to 57% on Instagram and 45% on Twitter, even if Facebook wasn’t your personal preferred network, with those figures you should be exploring the demographics in more detail.  Choose your social media presence based on where your audience are, not what your competitors do, or where you’re more comfortable, social media is about you going to meet them in order to cultivate a connection.

Create A Plan

What gets measured gets done and this applies most definitely to your social media, this is where a Content Calendar becomes an important tool in your business.  Write into your plan what days you will post and what that content will be, even if you don’t know what the content for a weekly Friday video for example is to be just yet, committing yourself on paper to sharing a video on Friday ensures there’s a lot more chance of that actually happening.

Be Creative 

Experiment with different types of posts; video, photos, graphics, text, going live – all will have a very different result and every network is equipped with the tools to help you determine what’s working best for you.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every business but you also shouldn’t copy others at the time time, your social media is about being you and in an era where the world is changing around us, authenticity is key and people will always prefer to see you sharing a photo fresh from the yoga studio to a perfectly poised image from a professional shoot.

Some people stand out on social media because they’re quirky or different, one such person in the yoga field is Beach Yoga Girl who you can find at http://instagram.com/beachyogagirl – we won’t all have the luxury of the sunshine in Florida as our backdrop but her unique approach has generated over 1 million Instagram followers and a thriving online yoga business, she used what’s unique to her very effectively.

Adopt Relevant Themes

World Yoga Day is 21st June and this should be noted on your Content Calendar every year.  Local dates that are appropriate to your audience or even international dates such as the upcoming Black Friday should also be on your horizon, everybody loves a special offer, so if business permits why not consider an offer exclusively for that date every November?

Choose carefully what you bring into your business, while your business is yoga and its associated fields, there is a place for showing the human side behind the business too.  If you’re an avid tennis fan give Wimbledon a shout-out or if golf is your sport there’s no harm in giving your fellow country-man a cheer in the latest championship.  Shout-outs may not be part of your regular update but you’d be surprised by how many people pick one business over another purely because they identify with one business owner who brings their beloved dog into an occasional photo or their fellow travel addict or that teacher who shops in a particular store for their yoga clothes that fit within their budget.  You want to resonate with your audience, using opportunities a little outside of the norm for you is the ideal chance to do this.

Advertise

If you haven’t yet explored digital ads you’re missing a trick.  We’re all mindful of budgets but with a platform such as Facebook / Instagram you can start to make a difference with as little as €1 per day.  The targeting they offer is second to none – choose by age, gender, location, interests, job title, friends of those who have already liked your page – and lots more.  You can connect with people who have engaged with some of your previous posts or with people who have been onto your website.

People often complain that social media isn’t free and that the reach i.e. those who get to see their posts, is decreasing all the time.  In business remember that your time is money, if you can make €50 an hour on a one to one session with a client via zoom isn’t that better use of your time than spending hours trying to jump in on the right conversation over on Twitter or Instagram?

Think About Email

An email list when generated through the correct channels is far more valuable than any social media network, you own this (when collected legally!) whereas with your social media if you break the rules or the network shuts down if you’re over-dependent on it for a business you’ve got a problem!

You can collect email addresses through your social media – offer what’s known as a lead magnet, that might be a once-off tutorial or a guide for example in exchange for that email address.  Offer it in your social media posts or run a dedicated ad campaign through Facebook/Instagram, you’d be surprised how little it costs to find those people.

Don’t Stress About The Numbers

In every area of marketing, think quality over quantity, it’s far better for you to have 500 people who are interested in what you have to offer and in a position to become a customer than to have 5000 who are only following because you gave away a nice prize.  

A lot of business owners focus on growing their following, these vanity numbers though aren’t what matters because those numbers won’t necessarily pay the bills if they have no interest in yoga.  Remember, the number that really matters is the total income you generate from sales!

Measure

One of the most important things you should do with your social media is check what’s working.  If you’re posting regularly on networks you should be seeing those listed on your Google Analytics as sources of traffic – if they’re not there maybe they’re not working.

Facebook Insights which is available from a tab at the top of your Facebook page is powerful, you can see which people are interested in you, what posts they particularly like, what time of the day your audience is online and if you look at it in detail you can also keep an eye on your competitors there too – competitors are your business too.

Social media is a wonderful tool for business, I would suggest that Facebook/Instagram, in particular, is a powerful place for you to connect with your audience for those working within the fields of yoga – Linkedin, Twitter, TikTok or other networks have a place too, Linkedin in particular if your focus is on the corporate sector, but remember for a lot of people Linkedin is the professional network, so they may engage more with you from their Facebook or Instagram, so that the boss won’t see them commenting.

You have to find your place and what sets you apart from the rest, pricing in business isn’t always going to be the deciding factor for most.  There isn’t a set formula, you should most definitely invest in ads but most importantly you should be you – you’re the brand, you’re the business and you’re what the audience needs to connect with in order to get that sale, the end goal after all.