Meaningful Social Media

Social media platforms are saturated with businesses, all vying for the attention of their ideal client. Personally, I don't love social media, but there's no getting away from how important it is for us running music lessons.


In order both to stand out from the crowd, and to stay true to who you are as a teacher, I think we should be thinking about how we can make our posts meaningful, communicating our teaching philosophies, our messaging, giving our audience an opportunity to get to know us. The more personal and personable we can be, the better.


We of course also need to communicate more practical aspects, our class times, lesson openings etc.


So we need to find a balance. We want engagement, but in my opinion, not at the behest of being consistent with our message. Yes people are on Facebook to be social, but if our post showing a Happy Turtle Day image gets lots of likes and comments and is passed around people that don't follow our page (which is ultimately our aim) is that going to incite the right type of engagement? Are the people that have engaged actually learning anything about you and your studio? Do you think they have clicked on the original poster to see who made the post? The answer is probably not.


Think about how you use Facebook. You probably scroll super fast and only stop your scroll for something that really captures your attention. Even if you have 'liked' the Turtle post, that would take you a second, and on you continue with your scroll.


So the way I see it is that our Facebook pages are where we can show people around what it is that we offer, before they decide on whether to engage in a BtoC relationship with us. Potential parents may have heard of your studio or they may see someone mention it in a community/mums group, and then they click on your page to see what it's all about. They use this (often instead of your website) to get to know you and what you offer. They are taking the active step to have a look at your page rather than just coming across it through organic engagement (their friend has like a post from you) and so instead of seeing just the one post, they are having a browse of your last few months worth of posts!


If you make sure your Facebook page has plenty of information about the types of lessons you offer and the type of teacher that you are - they will know from this whether you are veering towards being an exams factory with minimum daily practice requirements and a fairly firm approach, or whether you are there to enable your students to fall in love with music with your fun and engaging curriculum/manner (I'm not saying there can't be a mix of both by the way, but simply giving the two opposite ends of a spectrum).


An excellent example of a page that has lots of engaging videos of exactly how their curriculum works, and where you can get a real sense of what you could expect from them is the International Swimming Academy: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalSwimmingAcademy/


I love the way they feature real lessons of real kids to portray their approach and outline exactly how and why they teach what they do. Their passion is so apparent, as is the face that their lessons are very well thought-out and high quality (2-year-olds swimming without any aids for example).


Another, and equally important approach that I have come across recently is called "Sharenting". It takes the idea that people like to share their lives on social media and all the awesome things they are getting up to - but once you're a parent, your life is all about your kids and so to share awesomeness you have to turn to your kids and what they are doing! So pics of them in their piano performance, or receiving a certificate are very likely to be shared and we should be helping them to make sure they get those snaps (setting up the opportunities within the recital/lesson etc)! Then once they share them to your page (or mention your page in their post and you share it) there will no doubt be a lot of views from their friends, i.e. more of your ideal clients. If they are active on Facebook and have lots of local "friends" then that's brilliant!


Your parents are your ideal clients - appeal to them and you will appeal to your ideal clients.


Here is an example of parents "sharenting" and posting pics of their babies to their class page (plus look out for the general "quote" posts being hugely relatable, therefore inciting engagement) for their ideal client - new mums in their first year of motherhood: https://www.facebook.com/Bloomclasses/


I'm a firm believer in quality not quantity when it comes to posting. I've had a few people suggest that you want to post 4-5 times per day!! Seriously?! The meaningful-ness of your posting is going to be way too diluted and have the opposite effect of what you want it to have!


Something that is supposed to trump all other types of posting in terms of the Facebook algorithm (in summary, how often Facebook will deliver you post to people's newsfeed) are live videos. These are a great way to show your personality and give potential customers an opportunity to get to know you. I would like to think that most of us music teachers are warm and friendly people, but if a parent is choosing between two studios and has seen several videos from one of the studios owners/teachers, they, just because of human nature, will gravitate towards that one. Have a weekly schedule to go live and plan out a bit of a campaign with it - what do you want your potential customers to understand about the way you teach, about how and where your kids learn, about the approach the lessons take etc. It may well be a daunting prospect but it is definitely one that will propel your social media engagement!


Clearly, testimonials (or what they now call "recommendations") are going to be really key in enabling parents to see what the vibe is in your studio! Apart from occasionally reminding current parents to post a recommendation, there isn't much you can do to grow this part of your social media yourself! But it's certainly well worth an ask. I occasionally get emails where parents are asking about scheduling or something admin-based, and they end their email with a lovely compliment! I would ask if I can take that quote and use it on my Facebook page. So although you can't add it to the recommendations section, you can add it as a post over a coloured/patterned background. Of course you could ask them to repeat it in a Facebook recommendation but I find that parents are too busy to compliment you twice!! Make it easy on them!!


What about posting to multiple platforms? I think it's imperative for reach, but also for our own sanity (and not spending the majority of our time on social media) to focus on one social media platform and really go for it on that one. I dabble in Instagram but I wouldn't necessarily post the same thing to Facebook and Instagram. I follow a few people on both platforms and get a little frustrated seeing the exact same post twice on the two different platforms! I believe Facebook to be our most valuable tool but if you want to dabble in Instagram like me, it is generally believed that Instagram posts should be about beautiful images and inspirational quotes! I love this account from another children's activity class based in London:


https://www.instagram.com/tarka.london/ - but I would suggest they have almost daily access to a pro photographer/videographer! How many of us have that?! Not me, that's for sure! So I can see why Instagram is a great platform for them!


Oh and Twitter? Honestly I wouldn't even bother; unless someone wants to tell me about a great use of twitter in our industry! It is a place people go for the latest news and to get people's views on a trending topic - not a place, I don't think, where people look to find piano lessons!


Sometimes it might be a good idea to schedule your posts so you can spend an intensive block of time scheduling for a couple of weeks, and then forget about it for a while!! I would simply do this through Facebook although there are tools such as Later, Buffer, Hootsuite etc where you can schedule to multiple platforms (but remember this will lead to the posts being the same in all platforms and not being tailored to what that platform generally engages with).


Just to end with the obvious, potential customers should know how to make contact with you (make sure you have a message button, website address etc). Make sure you have all your info pinned to the top of your page (make a post and then click three black dots and there will be the option to pin to top).


After my live on this (in my Facebook group) I learnt that you can also add Facebook badges to your group so that regular engagers get "top fan" status! You can find the Facebook badges under your group settings, simply switch to on and let everyone know you have done it! People love the gamification! I have even heard of pages giving prizes!


I explain all this in a live video in my Facebook group. If you would like to join for this and many other training videos, relating to group piano, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/grouppiano/

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