HOW TO BUILD YOUR FOLLOWING AS A NEW YOGA TEACHER
Friends, yogis, fellow teachers
There is no doubt that it takes a lot of effort to build your following as a new yoga teacher. But what if instead of just working hard, you could work smart and get more students?
Sounds like a great plan, right?
Before I show you how to do just this, I just want to make sure you’re in the right place. So let me know if this sounds like you:
- You’re fresh out of an intensive yoga teacher training program or you have been seriously practicing yoga for years now and have decided to turn it into your profession.
- You’ve heavily invested in a yoga teacher training program and are desperate to start making a living with yoga.
- Or you’re quitting your day job or switching to a part-time job so that you can follow your true passion – to teach yoga to others.
If any of that sounds like you, then read on because I know that as a new yoga teacher, the struggle is REAL.
But if you’re ready to take charge of propelling your yoga careers in the right direction, it’s time take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, sit up straight and read on
HOW TO BUILD YOUR FOLLOWING AS A NEW YOGA TEACHER
1. Pick a niche within yoga teaching
What kind of yoga do you truly enjoy teaching? Is it restorative yoga for busy mothers who need relaxation, or is it Vinyasa flow yoga for young professionals who sit at a desk all day?
Remember, yoga is all about focus and that’s why you need to narrow down your focus and define your yoga niche.
2. Set a target for student attendance in your classes
As you’re learning to market yourself as a new yoga teacher, it’s important to set goals for how many students you want to attend your class in advance so you can promote yourself with an attendance goal in mind.
Is it 10? Is it 35?
To know whether you’re achieving your goal, you need to know what success looks like so you can decide whether the methods you’re using to build your following as a new yoga teacher, are working or not.
I’d also recommend that you spend some time to create a persona for your ideal yoga student.
3. Build your blog and email mailing list
Take some time to get clear around what questions, problems and challenges your students have, then set aside some time each week to create highly engaging SEO blog posts content that answers those questions.
You can also get started with Pinterest and include an informative pin in each blog post.
Don’t forget to create an irresistible opt-in freebie so that you can start growing your email list subscriber base. And make sure that you use your professional email address for all your business communications.
Start a mailing list (and did I mention, always use your professional email address for all business communication).
4. Maximize the power of social media
Think about this for a second – you rent a space, hold a class, but if no one knows about it, you’ll have a studio full of empty yoga mats, even if your neighborhood is teaming with yoga enthusiasts.
You can Facebook and do as many digital detoxes as you like, but the truth is social media is a great tool which – when used strategically – can be used for the greater good.
Worried about selling out?
Don’t be. As long as you always stay true to your values as a yogi, you can be visible online, attract a drove of new students and still stay authentic as a yoga teacher on social media.
From sharing blog posts and live videos via Facebook to post a short YouTube video, they’re no shortage of ways you can use content to help you build your following as a yoga teacher.
Create, curate and share content on your social media channels that are useful and interesting for your new yoga students.
Think that it will cost too much?
That doesn’t have to be the case. As long as you approach how to build your following as a new yoga teacher in a strategic way, it’s entirely possible to market your yoga business on a budget.
So let’s look at the different social media channels you can use – and effective ways to use them.
- Getting started with Facebook
The entire world is on Facebook and so are a lot of people who’d love to try out yoga.
When used correctly Facebook can be the secret sauce you need to bring tons of followers to your business.
Start with creating your Facebook business page – and remember this is separate from your page.
Once you’ve created a page, make sure you fill it out completely and link it to your blog.
Once you have a professional Facebook page, you’re ready to start planning what content you plan to share on your page that will engage potential students.
Focus on getting engagement from your Facebook page followers, as Facebook rewards those pages who get more engagement with more visibility in the newsfeed.
- Get connected in Facebook groups
Facebook groups are also a powerful tool to help you build your following as a new yoga teacher.
The groups are full of people who come together based on a common interest, location, needs, profession, etc, and you can use these groups to promote your classes.
The thing to remember is don’t just do a drive-by, where you run in to promote your latest class and run out.
Facebook groups will only really generate results when you start to make real connections. So ask questions, reply to other people’s posts, offer helpful advice and interact with your audience regularly.
This is also a great way to bring potential students to your page, blog and ultimately your classes.
- Use Facebook’s paid advertising options
This is such an in-depth topic that we can’t go into detail here. But if you want more people to visit your Facebook page, your business website, and ultimately attend your classes, getting skilled at Facebook ads could be your secret weapon to attracting an abundance of students to your classes.
Check out these articles using Facebook to promote your yoga business:
- Getting started with Instagram
Instagram is overflowing with people who’re into healthy eating, fitness, holistic living, and yoga. These are YOUR PEOPLE.
And while building your following as a new yoga teacher on Instagram is not the walk in the park it used to be, it’s still very much possible.
The most popular yoga teachers have Instagram accounts with millions of followers, so the smartest thing you can do to hack your success to take a look at what they’re doing and make a note of what’s working.
- How often do they post
- What do they post about
- What times do they post
- What times of content do they create – pictures, videos, stories
- Who are they collaborating with and how
Success leaves clues.
So take cues from the most popular and successful yoga teachers – those who have the following you would like to have one day, and use those cues to help you formulate your own Instagram marketing strategy.
One thing you’ll notice about the most followed profiles is that they don’t just photos and videos of them doing headstands.
They also post about their life – getting a cup of coffee, making a yogi bowl for lunch and even yoga goof ups.
It’s because they tell very human stories – of life as a yogi and its ups and downs – that their followers become so loyal.
Check out these articles on how to build your following on Instagram:
- Getting started with YouTube
Youtube yoga tutorial is one of the most powerful ways to build your following as a new yoga teacher.
Think about it?
Before you decided to go all-in and attend regular classes, then do your YTT, how many hours did you spend watching your favorite yoga teachers on YouTube?
Just like Instagram and Facebook, this is not a channel where you can just show up and expect to be inundated with new followers and subscribers.
If you want to enjoy any traction on these platforms you need to be committed to showing up consistently with the type (and quality) of content that does well on this platform.
Things to consider when starting your YouTube channel:
- What type of videos will you make and how frequently will you make them?
- How long will they be and how will you edit them?
- Where will you get copyright free music for your videos?
- What marketing tactics will you use to get your subscribers off Youtube, and over to your website?
Video is one of the most engaging mediums and is only going to increase in popularity. And the best thing is, there’s also a really low barrier to entry – as you can start making YouTube videos with your smartphone. All you need is natural light a video editing app.
Check out these resources for tips on developing a popular YouTube channel:
- Getting started with Snapchat
Are you rolling your eyes thinking, ‘how on earth can Snapchat help me?’
Well, don’t underestimate Snapchat…
Stats reveal that Snapchat has 166 million daily users who watch a whopping 10 billion videos a day. Pretty crazy, huh?
And all you need to do if you want to start using Snapchat is:
- Create a Snapchat account (that’s public)
- Follow popular yoga teachers and see the kind of content they create
- Decide what you’d like to create), take photos, do videos
- Get the ball rolling by sharing your Snapchat ID with people you know
Check out these great resources on how to use Snapchat:
Before we move on to the next part of this guide on how to build your following as a new yoga teacher, it’s important to make these points.
Like I said earlier success leaves clues, and while you can recreate some of the most popular and engaging content you find for your brand. It’s equally important that you get clear about your USP (unique selling point) and what makes your brand different.
A little creative copying is a smart way to get started, but if you want to stand out, you need to find your ‘thing’, sooner rather than later.
How to build your following as a new yoga teacher:
- Be your authentic imperfect self – Show your human side to your followers (this means not just being the perfectly calm namaste-ing yoga teacher)
- Do class prep in advance – No one likes to return to a yoga class if they found it dull or difficult or poorly paced. Make sure you show up on time, bring yoga philosophy to the mat, prepare your sequence, remember your cues and create well thought out playlists for the class.
- Be approachable, yet professional with your students – Find out the name of your students, do a small intro before each class so new yoga students don’t feel lost or left out. And don’t forget to ask your students if they have any history of medical issues or physical injuries you need to be aware of.
- Give personalized attention – Walk around the room as students move through the asana, and customize poses for a few students. Sometimes these small assists help deepen your student’s experience, and the more they feel they get from your class the more they’ll come and the more they’ll tell others.
- Get to know your local yoga community – Whether you’re in a big city teeming with yoga studios on every street corner, or in a small town with a handful of established yoga teachers, don’t get intimidated by the idea of networking. Yep, yogis have to network too! Go out and get to know who your collaborators are. And remember, there’s no shame in telling people that you’re actively looking for teaching gigs.
- Begin local outreach & collaborations – Once you get to know who’s who in the yoga scene in your hood, begin getting the word out about yourself.
- Participate in local festivals and collaborate with local cafes, schools, community centers, health centers and small conscious businesses in your area. And if possible, try and organize your even or introductory class. It’s also an idea to consider asking a popular yoga teacher in your area to become your mentor and train under them at their studio. This gives you access to their audience and you’ll get an opportunity to teach new yoga students under their supervision. When you’re trying to build your following as a new yoga teacher, you want to teach as much as possible, but without sacrificing your yoga practice.
- Encourage new students to come back – to build a long term relationship with your students, keep them informed about new classes and offer them discounted passes. Make sure you have promotional materials to hand which have your website and business contact details on it.
- Get reviews and testimonials – If you see a student who’s benefiting from your lessons, ask him/her to give you a review on Facebook or a short testimonial that you can put up on your website.
Now before we wrap up, I want to share with you some case studies that will inspire you as you build your following as a new yoga teacher.
CASE STUDIES OF 3 POPULAR YOGA TEACHERS
If you’ve ever tried yoga on YouTube, you’ve probably come across the channel Yoga With Adriennewhich has a staggering 2,378,553 subscribers.
Yoga teacher Adriene Mishler joined YouTube in 2012 and she’s been gaining subscribers ever since. To-date her channel has had 172,963,041 views.
This Texas girl is one of the most popular yoga teachers on social media today, and her followers love the weekly videos she creates.
Adrienne is also the founder of Find What Feels Good, which is a membership-based online library of yoga videos.
Kino MacGregor has been doing Ashtanga yoga for a good 18 years, and she’s built a massive presence online with over 2 million followers across all her social media channels.
Kino understands that social media is about engaging.
Her Instagram account @kinoyoga has a mind-blowing 1.1 million followers. And she posts photos & videos daily, sometimes even twice a day.
Here’s what you can learn from Kino – be super active on your social media channels and be consistent with your messaging.
Tara Stiles has earned herself the nickname ‘yoga rebel’ since she first showed up on YouTube in 2006. That’s coz she has a very simple, no-nonsense approach to yoga.
But there’s one thing that makes Tara stand out as a popular yoga teacher – food. Tara knows that food is big for yogis and offers nutrition-related tidbits to her followers.
She has made a clear connection between yoga and nutrition and uses this connection to engage her audience in a multi-faceted way.
Her website, Strala, has a recipe section, and she also regularly posts about food on her Instagram account @tarastiles.
This former model turned yoga teacher is also a new mom, and she shares her life (and lots of cute baby pictures) via social media which makes her very human and endearing.
Now that you have an insight into how the most popular yoga teachers have built their following, I have a small reminder for you.
No matter how many followers you amass, it won’t make a difference if you’re not a good yoga teacher.
Study your craft, always be growing, learning and improving as a yoga teacher and a yogi.
This commitment to personal growth will show up in your practice, your classes, and the development of your students. With this foundation in place, you’ll find it much easier to build your following as a new yoga teacher.