I was recently contacted by a well-known yoga teacher from the UK, with questions about growing her social media reach. Flattered, and always willing to help a sister out, I responded with some of the tools I have learned while growing the Stoked Yogi accounts. Today, I will share those tips with you on how to go about posting with a purpose to expand your social media reach.
In today’s day and age, all our activities – from the morning latte to our fave new shoes – are documented meticulously, captured through the lens of a camera and shared in a digital forum. One particularly prevalent trend is the sharing of our yoga practice through social media – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Though it may seem to fly in the face of the ego eradication principles of yoga, social media is a powerful tool for connecting, marketing, and reaching your audience. For yoga teachers and business owners, I would not say a strong social media presence is not necessary to be successful in your endeavors, but it is certainly helpful!
There are a few principles which help to grow your accounts organically. Here are a few tools you can use – and apply to any industry – in order to gain followers and invite more engagement via social media. Keep in mind, these apply mostly to Instagram, but also work for Twitter and Facebook.
1) Content: This is the meat and potatoes (or for veg-heads, the kale and almonds) of your social media. What you post needs to attract the eye! Visual posts (photos and videos) should be high quality (high resolution) and diverse, yet consistent in theming your imagery. What I mean by this is figure out what message you want to communicate, and share that. If your primary focus is teaching yoga, it would be best to post high resolution images of yourself practicing asana, meditation, or teaching in beautiful spaces. The occasional lifestyle photo is fine, or selfie, but those don’t garner as much interest.
2) Engagement: Often overlooked, this is a crucial piece of the social media puzzle. Ultimately, social media and networking platforms are tools for connection, rather than advertisement. This takes some mental re-framing when your overarching goal is to gain customers or clients for your products or services. Remember that people are not on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to buy things – they will go straight to the source for that.
Rather, people want to connect. They want to make friends, and share inspiration. Tap into this by providing images or messages that resonate deeply with you – odds are, if they speak to you, they will speak to others as well. You’ll know your message is coming through when you see posts “regrammed” or shared, (retweeted on twitter), or if your comment feed is full of people tagging their friends.
I find that inspirational quotes that are clear and able to read are the most engaged posts. Other ways of engaging followers: create short video tutorials, offer product giveaways from brands you work with, or simply ask a question. Think of your accounts as a two way street, a conversation between you and the world.
3) Hashtags: This is often perceived as the key to gaining followers, however, in my experience it is pretty low on the list of ways people find my account. Let’s back up a bit. What is a hashtag?
Hashtags, denoted by a #, are a way of categorizing posts so they can be easily discovered in a search. For example, I can post a photo of my sailboat and use hashtags #sailing #boatlife #marina #mermaid #sailor. Anyone searching these terms will find my photo in the hashtag feed.
When you post, think of a few relevant hashtags to share, but don’t go crazy. There are algorithms in place which limit how your post will show up if you go nuts with the tags. In general, no more than ten tags are necessary or useful. You may also search for “trending hashtags” on the web, and use the relevant ones in your post.
A final note on hashtags: If you’re building a brand, use the brand name as a recurring hashtag! 90% of my posts are hashtagged #stokedyogi, and I also love to use #staysalty #staystoked.
4) Tagging: Tagging other accounts is similar to hashtagging, but way more effective. If other people, companies, or brands are present in your posts, tag them! You can do this by putting their name (i.e. @stoked_yogi) in the comment field, and also by tagging IN the photo – check the […] options to find how to tag friends. When you tag accounts this way, it shows up in their “photos of me” section.
5) Partnership & community: My favorite tool! Other humans! Connecting authentically is, in my humble opinion, the strongest key to growth. Call on your friends who have larger accounts and ask them to tag you. Offer to co-host a yoga challenge or giveaway, or find a way to offer reciprocity for regular posts on a larger account. A lot of my growth came from hosting a challenge with @kinoyoga and @beachyogagirl. If any of your real-life friends or associates have large accounts, be bold and ask for help! The worst they can do is decline.
6) Go Analog: Lastly, remember that social media is no substitute for human connection. It is a far better thing to be loved and engaged at an analog level. If this digital frontier can serve that goal, then by all means, go for it! When you do connect with people in real life, don’t be shy about asking if you can stay connected via social media. When I host events, I usually ask people to fill out a welcome form with their email/Instagram so I can share photos with them later.
That’s it, friends! Happy posting and as always, keep it real. Keep it you. xoxoexpand social media, facebook, grow your accounts, how to gain followers, how to grow your instagram, instagram, twitter