I’ve been intending to write this post in the “Studio Marketing” series (perhaps the last one) for awhile now, but I was stalling in hopes of being able to include more information about the new Google+ social networking site……I’ll get to that in a moment. Read on. :)
What can Social Networking do for YOU?
I’ve discussed before about how important it is today to have a website for your business. It’s important to have an online presence, period. Utilizing social networking helps built rapport between you and your current & potential customers. Marketing is promoting your business. It’s about reaching people where they are. And it’s about creating an image for your business that people want to identify themselves with.
The good news is that social networking is free. Yes, you will have to invest a little time to set things up and update things now and then, but I think you will find it a very rewarding activity if you aren’t doing it already!
Millions of people are on Facebook. Creating a Facebook “page” for your studio is a great way to reach them. Rather than using your normal Facebook profile to reach your students and their parents, I recommend creating a separate business Facebook page for your studio. Why? Because they can subscribe to your updates by “liking” your page, but everyone’s privacy is maintained. They won’t be able to see your personal profile (depending on your privacy settings), and you won’t be able to see theirs. After all, they might not necessarily want their piano teacher to see all their updates. Do you really want to see all their updates, anyway? Probably not. :) Having this separate page allows your students to interact with each other, too, without becoming official Facebook friends with each other either. And meanwhile, you can showcase student achievements, post photos of new studio games/materials, post videos of student performances, share inspirational quotes, post news/reminders, and whatever else you can come up with!
I’ll admit, I don’t know a ton about Twitter. I don’t use it as much as other social networking options. But I do have my blog set up to automatically post a tweet whenever I publish a new blog post. I’m amazed at how often people “follow” my twitter page, even though all my updates are automated. I should probably learn how to better use this resource. :)
Here’s a link to my Twitter page, if you are interested.
Uploading videos on a YouTube Channel will allow you to easily share videos on your website, Facebook page, and more. Posting student performances can also allow students and their families to share their playing with family and friends, whether they be near or on the other side of the world. Posting video from portions of actual piano lessons with your students can allow prospective students can see what your teaching style is like. Be sure to follow copyright laws regarding publishing performances of compositions online — check out this post by Wendy Chan to learn more about what pieces can be posted on YouTube and what cannot.
Here’s a link to my YouTube channel, if you are interested. Another YouTube channel I strongly recommend visiting is Irina Gorin’s channel (see her Teacher Feature here), where she posts performances of her students (all excellent!) and even excerpts from piano lessons (I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas from her teaching).
Google Plus (or Google+)
Google+ is the new kid on the block when it comes to social networking! Some people are predicting that Google+ will eventually make Facebook obsolete, just like Facebook made MySpace and Zynga obsolete. In comparison to Facebook, Google+’s interface is sleek and beautiful. It’s a pleasure to browse on Google+.
I think of Google+ as a mix between Facebook and Twitter, taking the best from both worlds. Instead of “friending” people to establish a two-way connection, you subscribe (a one-way connection) to people’s updates by adding them to your “circles.” The other person can choose whether to follow you in return or not, depending on whether or not they are interested in your output. This allows you to follow people you know personally (friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, etc.) as well as people you don’t know personally (celebrities, random people, etc.). I’m not going to go into much more detail about how Google+ actually works, because there is plenty of info about this online already.
Google+ is attracting many people involved the arts (photographers, artists, etc.), since it seems to be a more conductive interface for viewing photos and videos. Artists are suddenly finding they can establish a following of people interested in their work just by posting updates on Google+. I find it so fascinating that the internet can do to provide these kinds of connections that would not have otherwise been possible! Another cool feature? You can group video chat with people. In general, the people who are active on Google+ are generally people who are interested in longer, deeper, and more thought-provoking conversation. I don’t see as many trivial updates that are full of typos on Google+. It’s a cool place to be. I think Google+ is going to be utterly awesome, especially once more people get on it.
Google+ is open for people to create accounts so long as they are personal accounts (i.e., with your real name). In the upcoming months, Google+ will be launching “business entities,” which are the equivalent of Facebook’s “Pages.” I can’t wait until this is launched, so I can create a Google+ presence for both Color In My Piano and my teaching studio!
If you aren’t currently on Google+, I’d be happy to send you an invite — just send me an email message that includes your email address. Once you on Google+, there are a few interesting people I’d recommend “putting in your circles”:
- Trey Radcliff, a travel photographer.
- Elena Kalis, an creative underwater photographer.
- Me! haha. I’d be happy to connect with you.
So, what are you waiting for? Jump on the bandwagon! If you have more questions about using social networking to help market your studio, Google is your friend. Chances are, if you have a question about something, somebody else has already asked the same question before. I’m always happy to answer questions too, so feel free to contact me.
How can the internet and social networking helped/affected YOUR studio?