Social Media Basics for Pilates Teachers - social media should be an important piece of your marketing and client attraction.
Most Pilates teachers I meet are on social media for personal interest. They have a personal Facebook profile, maybe join Twitter to follow celebrities, and use Instagram or Pinterest to publish selfies and fashion photos.
Now, you may wonder if it is really worth it for a Pilates teacher to have a strong social media presence.
The answer is, a very resounding, "YES!"
I started my social media and web networking while I was living and working on Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos. I wanted a way to keep people connected to me and to stay connected to the outside world.
I wanted to entice potential guests with fabulous photos of Pilates on the beach and the gorgeous natural surroundings.
And, I wanted to ensure that, when I decided to leave Parrot Cay and return to the "real world", I would be able to easily prove my worth and have a high-profile job and client list.
Guess what? It worked!
Here are some ideas for how to grow your very own Pilates social media empire. In this post I will cover the big three - Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.
I link to my pages on these sites to give you an idea of what I do.
Facebook - we may love to hate Facebook, but it isn't going anywhere.
- Do not use your personal profile for business, unless you want to share your personal life with clients and have to "friend" every potential interested party.
- Set up a Business Page for your Pilates practice and make the posts public. When people "like" and "follow" your page they will get your posts in their news feeds.
- Basically, if you don't have a website or blog yet, your Facebook Page can act as one for the short term.
Twitter - life in 140 characters or less.
- Use your name or your business name, but have it be recognizable. Add a photo and links to your other profiles.
- Follow people you know, you like, and those in your pilates niche.
- Take time to read tweets, Retweet, Favorite, and Reply. Thank people who do this for you. Twitter is about conversation.
- Make your tweets public. Don't set up roadblocks for your followers!
- I tend to not like linking my Facebook and Twitter posts. Hashtags work differently on these sites (more on that in another post), so Twitter posts can look silly on Facebook.
Linked In - professional connections
- Linked In is where you connect with other professionals. It is basically your resumé on the web. Linked In is also full of active professional groups, where you can really connect with other Pilates teachers in your city, country, and the world.
Since being back in NYC I have had several social media connections prove to be quite lucrative.
- Several Pilates teachers from other countries (Greece, Denmark, Uruguay) have come to NYC on holiday to take sessions with me at Real Pilates.
- I "met" Form Pilates owner Lindsay Lopez on Twitter, and yesterday I spent an afternoon with her in Union Square, coaching a group of Pilates teachers about how to work overseas and gain high-profile celebrity clients.
Basically, your social media presence will allow people to interact with you and see what you are about before meeting you. In a crowded Pilates market this is crucial.
And if you want to work outside of your home country, your public social media presence will allow potential employers to learn more about you and how you present yourself before they interview you, which should be a good thing.
So, Pilates teachers, if you have been hesitant to put yourself out there professionally on social media, get cracking!
YouTube networks sound great, but do they really deliver? ScaleLab did not.
I was a member of a YouTube Network. Was is the operative term.
Back in September I received a message in my YouTube inbox with the subject: "Inviting you to be a leader in our YouTube Pilates community."
Well, I thought, this could be interesting.
So I opened the message.
Love your YouTube channel. I'm a huge Pilates fan, and actually do it about 3 times a week (YouTube is my teacher)!
My name is ------ and I work at ScaleLab, which is a Multi-Channel Network on YouTube. My job at this moment is to find the best Pilates channels to be leaders in our Pilates community.
OK, my Pilates channel is small, but high quality. I am a YouTube partner and actually make some money from the videos. I have a decent-size, active social media presence. And I don't play around with other people's material.
Here's the summary, real quick:
ScaleLab has created the first-ever community of YouTube channels with a focus on Pilates.
We'd love for you to be a Community Leader in our Pilates community, which means you'll have a prominent place among all other Pilates channels in our network -- and other channels will look to you to set the standard for great content.
It's not a paying gig. :) It's more of a prestige thing, but it will definitely increase your video views and subscribers.
There are a bunch more benefits that come from being a member of ScaleLab (increased views & subscribers, access to production financing, etc.). If you like, you can read about that stuff on the website.
Note that not only isn't this a paying gig, the ScaleLab YouTube network keeps 25% of YouTube ad revenue in exchange for all the groovy benefits. I checked the company website and Googled them to make sure there was no nasty news, and all checked out.
The first thing I noticed in the Community forums was how empty they were. However, folks were active and we did a lot of subscribing, liking, and commenting on each other's channels and videos. But we noticed a lack of company presence and communication.
Where were all "the other Pilates channels?" Why didn't the Network channel at the very least subscribe to all of its network members? Where was the branding, the banners to help us gain new members?
We received some emails and messages, most sounding scattered and definitely received as "too little, too late."
And then came what for me were the final straws - reading a news story about a major screw up where the Network channel claimed copyright on member videos (which is such a newbie screw up) and then discovering that the Network channel had been suspended - all with no communication from the Network.
So I emailed.
And they quickly dissolved my contract and offered to send me a check for any of the ad monies they kept during the past 3.5 months of doing nothing to earn it. They booted me out before I even had a chance to see them work.
According to their email, "We're a new company (operational for approximately 4 months now), and we're finding out that even when we hire the best possible people, growing pains and silly mistakes still happen.
"Occasionally, a situation arises where a channel within our network is so unhappy that the best solution is simply to part ways. This seems to be that situation."
Now, in all the company information I saw, nowhere was it mentioned that this was a start up venture. And frankly, growing pains and silly mistakes should not be happening when you are asking people to pay you to help grow the network.
And, how often has this happened? You have only been around for four months and have already done this more than once?
They didn't create the first YouTube Pilates Community. They invited me and thought I would invite others with no incentive whatsoever.
I am not the only one.
Whole Foods Tribeca Success - New Meat Department Slicer
Last week I wrote about my year-long Whole Foods Tribeca - Niman Ranch ham ordeal. I will not rehash the entire event here, as you can click the link and read the whole story.
I posted the article, shared with Niman Ranch and Whole Foods Tribeca, and within 12 hours received a voice mail from the Whole Foods manager letting me know that the store is getting a new slicer for the meat department, so customers who want to buy a whole 2# chunk of Applewood smoked ham can have that less expensive meat sliced in store at the meat department.
While it does seem excessive to me to spend a few thousand dollars on a new slicer when the deli department is fully equipped and could help out, at least they are satisfying the customer (me). This does beg the question, however, about corporate culture. I am not so comfortable with a corporate culture that encourages such crazy competition between separate in-store departments, almost as if they were separate purveyors in a farmers market. It is also interesting that each Whole Foods store has the leeway to choose how to run itself. Union Square, for example, seems to run on more of a traditional "departments working together for store profit" basis, which is why their deli was more than happy to help us out and slice the ham from the meat department.
That said, this is a great example of how customers and businesses can effectively use social media outlets to address customer service and satisfaction issues in a public forum where all can be heard. I also managed to connect Niman Ranch with Key Food on Twitter, in the hopes that 55 Fulton Market will carry the Niman Ranch meats, which would be most convenient!