“I wish I knew that when I started!”
If I had a drink for every time I’d said those words! It’s almost my 1 year Instagram anniversary and I gotta say I’ve learned alotta stuff. Stuff that I wish I knew when started promoting yoga on my Instagram feed. Whether you’re a new teacher, or an old-school Instagram guru, I got you covered with some juicy nuggets I wish I’d known sooner.
If you’re wanting to grow and use Instagram as a business tool for your yoga business, start right here.
Why you should you promote Yoga classes on Instagram?
Instagram is an all-in-one media powerhouse, with over 1 billion active users, your ideal students are bound to be in there somewhere. Nowadays with the prioritization of video over photos, Instagram is one of the easiest places to quickly build trust with your audience, making it easier for them to become paying students.
Here are 10 things I wish I knew about Instagram and what to do instead:
1) My content isn’t about me
Congrats!!! If you’re creating content for Instagram, you’re officially a content creator. And as a creator, if there is one thing you take away from this, it is that your content must ALWAYS be about the person reading your posts and watching your videos. There are 3 reasons people come onto Instagram, to solve a problem or become educated about it, to be entertained and inspired (and sometimes to buy). When I started promoting my classes, they all kinda sounded like this “Join me on the mat” “Come back to yourself, I’m teaching a 60-minute hot yoga class…”
The problem with that is that it wasn’t about my audience at all and so, while lots of my friends and family liked it, none of them were actually coming to practice.
Here’s what to do instead:
After each post, you make ask yourself “how do I want my audience to feel?” Informed, inspired or entertained? If you can answer one of those then your good to go.
2) Noone cares if you miss a post
I used to think I had to post every day to grow. That was THE WORST advice I’ve ever been given (or actually I made it up and assumed). There were days when I was scrambling with what to post, made a random caption and posted, only to be filled with anxiety and self loathing when noone liked it.
Create a posting schedule that works for you! Consistency over quantity each and every time. And if you miss a day, the world will not stop spinning, things will carry on and you’ll be able to start again.
3) The perfect grid doesn’t exist
When I first started posting to Instagram as a new Yoga Teacher trying to promote my classes, I spent A LOT of time on design. I would spend hours crafting 1 teeny tiny post, and place it in my perfectly curated grid. While it did look very pretty, it also heightened my anxiety and took a lot of time.
Let it go, nothing will ever be perfect because that guise is protecting you from showing up as yourself. It’s much easier to protect ourselves from rejection than to actually be rejected. Take baby steps and focus on the value of your message rather than the packaging of it.
4) Selling before serving
Every post was the same. “Come to my class” “Dod you know Bikram Yoga is good for your spine” and every response was the same too … crickets. No one wants to be sold to or shouted at on Instagram. People want more from Yoga Teachers and studios. People want support, understanding, validation, and guidance. Instagram is a space for you to offer your clients and potential clients all those things off the mat as well. It’s a place for you to offload your knowledge and truly add value to those that are struggling.
Do this: Serve your audience through your content. Create interesting posts, Reels and go live with other experts in your niche to create content that is exciting for them to sink their teeth into. When you consistently serve, you earn the right to sell.
5) Not showing up in stories
If only I had known the true value of stories sooner. Instead, I hid behind pictures of my family and dogs (and while that’s part of who I am) my audience was missing the key piece of the puzzle, me! I only started to realize the value of stories when my family and I spent 14 days in Military quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand (but that’s a whole different story). In that time, I documented our experiences and noticed a SPIKE in engagement, received messages daily about how my stories are their evening entertainment.
Do this: Create a posting habit. Every time you post to Instagram, post to stories as well. If you’re stuck, click here for some story ideas.
6) Video is the new black
Does that make sense (You know orange is the new black?) Anyway, video is growing on Instagram in a BIG way. And you know what I did when I started? Had a professional photoshoot done and posted no video whatsoever. The problem with posting no video is that it takes much longer for your audience to get to know, like and eventually trust you. If they don’t trust you, they will not buy from you. According to Adam Mosseri (CEO of Instagram), Instagram is no longer a photosharing app and they are focusing on video more, so if you’re not including it in your content mix, it’s going to be harder for you to reach more people with your content.
Do this: Start with stories! You don’t have to dive into Reels right away and go crazy. You can start simple and show up as you. Stories have a short life span of 24hrs and then disappear. This will help you feel more confident in front of the camera and start building trust between you and your audience.
7) Posting and ghosting
You know how it’s called social media? Well, it’s because we gotta be social on this app for our content to be pushed out and grow our audience. If you post without engaging with your followers, replying to your comments or engaging with theirs, chances are that less and less people will see your posts and want to engage with you. Building a community is super important when it comes to the Gram, because these are the people who will buy from you when the time is right.
Comment on your follower’s posts, reply to their stories, and hang around on the app for 10 mins before and after you post so that you can answer any questions in real-time.
8) No brand clarity
I’m by no means an influencer, and that certainly isn’t my goal. I wanted to serve everyone with the magic of yoga and believed I was doing that with every post. In reality, I realised that if you are trying to talk to everyone, youre talking to noone! (Read that again). I was bullied as a younger kid, and that amplified this need to make yoga accessible to everyone, but what landed up happening was that my messaging became diluted (in a nutshell people zoned out and paid no attention).
Hone in on your why. Why do you teach yoga and get clear on who you want to teach. When you narrow down your messaging it cuts through all the noise on Instagram. If you have no idea where to start with brand clarity click here.
9) Focusing on likes
That lil red heart can make us feel soooooo good, but there’s so much more to Instagram than followers and likes. Using Instagram as a business tool means that you need to use likes, comments, shares and saves together so that you can create content that will move the needle forward in your business. If you’re only focusing on likes, you’re leaving behind opportunities to build connections and have conversations with the human on the other end of the screen.
Do this: Turn off the amount of likes you get in the settings and focus on the comments and relationships you can build from there.
10) Coming on too strong in the DM’s
Um, this is probably the one that hurt the most. Whenever anyone would send me a one-liner “I’m new to yoga, how does it work” or “How much is a class” I would send them an epic amount of information in the hopes they would book with me there and then.
Listen more than you talk. The DM’s is where the magic happens. It’s a place of trust where your ideal student will reach out to you. Hold the space for them and invite them onto a call to discuss further.
There you have it lovely yogi. I hope in sharing what I wish I had known when I started promoting yoga on my Instagram feed you can stop making the same mistakes!
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