As yoga teachers in this digital day and age, it’s almost non-negotiable to have a social media presence. There are usually two camps in social media—either people embrace it, or they feel it’s egotistical and want nothing to do with it. As a yoga teacher who uses social media, and boldly encourages all teachers to do so, I believe there is a balance that exists.
It hurts your business to avoid social media, as it’s an excellent way for people to discover you. On the flip side, like a fad diet, social media challenges and contests aren’t the key to long-term success either.
People value you as a teacher for yes, the yoga poses you might know; but far greater than that, they value you for what you can teach them, which extends far beyond the yoga mat. They also value you for the energy and message you communicate to them. Classes are an excellent way to reach your people, and social media can multiply that reach exponentially. How can you use social media to share your message?
First things first: know your message. What are you hoping to impart to your students? Your message might always be the same: If you’re into Jnana yoga, it might be “we are one.” If you’re an Ashtangi, you might prefer to share “practice and all is coming.”
Or perhaps your message changes weekly, depending on what you’re focusing on in your life that you can share with others. Either way, come from a strong foundation. If you’re struggling to find a message that resonates with you, turn to spiritual books, or tune up your meditation practice so you can speak from a powerful place inside you.
Once you have your message, think about how you want to share it. Maybe you share quotes or meaningful books that you love. Or maybe you share pictures of your favorite places to do yoga. Figure out a medium for your message. Personally, I prefer Instagram as my medium. Some people prefer Facebook because they like words. Get an understanding of how you like to communicate with people best, and use that. If you’re just stepping into the world of social media, it’s better to run one account well than to manage multiple accounts poorly. Or you can link your accounts so they all show your content at the same time. Instagram, for example, allows you to push your post out to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Flickr.
It’s important not to use social media solely for self-promotion. Use it to convey your message, inspiration, and tips, and then occasionally to promote your classes, workshops, and retreats. People are very sensitive to being “sold to” on social media and if you abuse that, you will quickly lose followers.
After you’ve sorted out your message and medium, decide how often you’d like to post. Posting regularly is very important to keeping your momentum going. It doesn’t have to be daily; even three times a week is fine. Facebook has a nice feature that allows you to schedule posts in advance, which means you could sit down at the beginning of the week and plan out all of your posts. You don’t want to overwhelm people with content; make sure it’s relevant and not sales-y. Observe how different posts perform, and consider the time of day that you are posting. Use those observations to help streamline your social media presence.
Finally, put yourself out there. Follow other yoga instructors and people in the holistic health field to see what they are posting and to get inspiration. As teachers, we have to keep filling our cup so that we can fill the cups of our students. Make sure you are getting your daily dose of inspiration, and keep the energy flowing!
A creative leader in the Miami yoga community, Amy Dannheim is passionate about yoga, plant-based recipes and healthy living. With her degree in journalism from the University of Florida, Amy is a yoga writer and blogger as well as the co-host for Radio 1Om8, a weekly live yoga radio show. After years of working with lululemon, Amy established herself as the go-to person for yoga consulting in Miami, with her finger on the pulse of the yoga community. When she’s not strategizing or cooking, Amy teaches dynamic vinyasa yoga classes that are layered with hip-hop and spirituality, drawing inspiration from her frequent travels. Amy sits on the Green Monkey Yoga teacher training faculty and leads regular workshops and innovative events throughout South Florida. Amy is also a VitaCoco and Funky Yoga ambassador and has appeared on the pages of Wall Street Journal, on lululemon.com and shape.com. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband and fellow yogi, Mike, where they run their bike centric community & clothing company Purdy Ave. Follow her blog at www.miamyyoga.com or find her adventures on Instagram @miamy.