Dance Advantage is very happy to announce Suzanne Blake Gerety’s new column Studio Bizwax! To wax lyrical means “to talk about in an enthusiastic and effusive way.” I can’t think of a better description for the way Suzanne fulfills her role in the dance community. Not only is she the Vice President of her her mom’s very successful dance studio but she is the co-founder of DanceStudioOwner.com, a wonderful site for those who are exploring, starting, or growing their dance studio business. I am an affiliate for DSO because I have witnessed first-hand the care Suzanne has taken to make the site a a truly useful support for studio owners. I’ve found her to be a wonderful resource and she’s been a great friend as well so I am thrilled that she’ll be sharing her knowledge with Dance Advantage readers bimonthly.-Nichelle
Here’s how you can S.T.E.P. your way to social media success!
Retweet other people’s posts, quote and link to great blog posts by others, share what you are reading, let people know information that could benefit from.
Be a connector.
Social media is about making connections. One of the things we do with our dance studio fan page is to post about local theatre productions and community events. Why? Because we know that the hours of dance lessons that our young dancers have has a potential impact on local theater. We want to spread goodwill to our sister arts organizations. See yourself as part of the thread woven between your arts community.
Post favorite quotes, share your expertise, add value, be generous with your knowledge it does make a difference.
A crossroads for dance studios. Many dance studios today are still very protective, not only their class schedules, but tuition fees, competition schedules, studio policies and more. It’s the fear that the studio across town will take or steal information that would cause that studio to lose students. I completely understand the worry.
Here’s the reality. I also represent a demographic I like to call ‘busy mom’. I’m the target market for many dance studios, I have two young kids. First thing in the morning, I don’t read the local paper. But I do read the newsfeed on Facebook and I certainly check trending topics and updates on Twitter. Text messaging is the best way to reach me.
How will you serve this demographic by decreasing your presence, hiding a class schedule, or making registering for classes a challenge? Dance studios want more students; they want their current students to be loyal raving fans. Social media is a great way to achieve this if done well.
Take it one step at a time. Social media is not a race with a winner crowned at the end. You’re missing the point if your approach to social media for your business is all about getting more followers as fast as you can. Soon enough it will become commonplace for every business and brand to have some sort of social media outlet to connect with their clients, customers, and students. We all started with one fan or one follower.
Be just as appropriate behind social media that you would be in person. If you were invited to a party with real people at someone’s house you wouldn’t just barge in the front door, run up to everyone you see and start selling them something. Nor would you just haphazardly repeat yourself ten times. No way, you’d be ‘that person’ everyone would want to avoid. Don’t be that person in a virtual setting either! I personally know, do business with, employ, recommend, and have met many of the faces behind twitter ID’s and Facebook fan pages. Best thing to do – be YOU.
After you take time to share, teach, and engage…then you can sprinkle in some ‘promote’. Ask yourself, ‘what’s in it for them’ before you hit send tweet or post it. Promoting on social media makes sense and is appropriate when incorporated into a balanced approach.
More Social Media Tips
Consistency is key to seeing results.
This can be a big stumbling block for people. Either the novelty wears off for social media, it starts to eat up too much time or they report ‘no impact’ on their bottom line. Your updates do not have to be complex. Just be consistent. Give a compliment, connect with someone, be generous. Here’s the catch, you may never be able to truly measure the impact of your social media presence in terms of dollars and students. But you can build your brand, make it easy for people to find you, and position yourself as an expert in your training and offering.
Be open to what is possible with social media
A little background. In early 2008, I started tweeting. Very few people at that time were using Twitter, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally meet a friend – that’s when Nichelle and I connected. Since February is the month in which we celebrate love, I wanted this first post to reflect the love I have for social media and the good that it can create. I certainly don’t have all the answers – by a long shot – but I have seen people come and go, have observed great techniques in using social media as a business tool and I’ve also cringed behind my computer seeing tactics that are big mistakes.
Leave a legacy
Google indexes much of what you post online. Be mindful of this. You’re representing your brand, your image, your legacy. Who do you want to be known for? What do you want your social media reputation to be? There are simple ways to separate your dance business social media presence from your personal life. I would encourage any dance studio owner and teacher to direct their social media relations with students and parents to a public fan page or twitter account that is strictly professional. It is a win-win for everyone.
Thank you for all that you do to keep dance education alive in the world!
If you’d like to see how our dance studio is using a Facebook Fan Page to connect with our current and potential students visit www.facebook.com/KathyBlakeDanceStudios
Coloring Pages Giveaway!
To celebrate Suzanne’s new column she’s offered to give away some of the Dance Coloring Pages CDs available at DanceStudioOwner.com!
26 printable coloring pages designed by dance teachers that you can print from the CD. They feature girls & boys, tap, ballet, recital and more. http://www.dancestudioowner.com/products/item9.cfm
Enter to win by placing a comment (name and email is a must!) on this post! Tell us why you love social media (or what is keeping you from trying it).
Suzanne is offering two CDs to give away here on the blog. Winners will be randomly selected from these entries and contacted by email. At this time I will ask for your mailing address so we can get the CD out to you. Any information provided will be used solely for the purposes of this contest. We do not sell or share and you will not be added to a mailing list.
The contest will close Friday at midnight EST. If you are contacted you will have 72 hours to respond or I will move on to the next name drawn. This Contest is Closed but your comments are still welcome on the article! Winners were selected using the random integer selector at RANDOM.ORG. Congrats to commenter #4 (Maria) and #2 (Vivette).
If you are a studio owner (or are going to be), I highly recommend Dance Studio Owner. It’s membership includes studio owners from 44 of the United States and countries all over the world including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, People’s Republic of China, and Norway.
Suzanne Blake Gerety is not only the very busy mom of two young children but is the owner and co-founder of DanceStudioOwner.com, and the Vice President of Kathy Blake Dance Studios. She is a regularly featured contributor in various pieces for Dance Teacher Magazine including, “Ask the Experts”, business articles, and has presented live workshops at Dance Media’s Dance Teacher Summit New York City.
Suzanne experiences the ups and downs of studio ownership too, which is what inspires her to help studio owners and teachers keep their passion for dance alive as they grow their business. You can connect with Suzanne on Twitter @SuzanneGerety and at DanceStudioOwner.com.