Most of us are now using social media platforms like Facebook socially. We post about our lives, read news and interact with our friends. However, promoting your business on Facebook is another thing entirely. How do you interact with current and potential students? What content should you be posting? How can I measure what I'm doing and create a budget that works for my school?
Social media strategist, content specialist and principal of Social Victory Marketing, David Walmsley, will show you 10 insider marketing tips to start effectively using Facebook to promote your Martial Arts school. Learn how to boost retention, create brand ambassadors and attract new students, through the effective use of social media.
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Perfect, sounds like you can all hear me; my name is Noah Mithrush I'm marketing coordinator here at ChampionsWay and PerfectMind. Joining us today we have David Walmsley the founder of Social Victory, a full-service networking firm. He also has worked closely with TED-X Vancouver on the board of directors, and specializes in online content creation and management as well as company, group and personal branding. Today he's going to be bringing us an interesting topic to do with social media on 10 tips for using Facebook to promote your martial arts school. Just to let everyone know we will have recordings available for all of the registrants that will be sent out within a couple of business days after the broadcast here, as well as we're going to be having a question and answer session at the end of this webinar. So stay tuned, if you have any questions feel free to enter them into the question box during the webinar so that we can answer them at the end. And with that you can take it away David!
Thanks Noah, thanks again guys for having me with Perfect Mind and ChampionsWay. As Noah mentioned my name is David Walmsley. I'm the founder and principal of Social Victory here in Vancouver. We're a boutique firm that handles quite a number of different types of content for different companies from corporations to small business to publically traded groups and all over the place but I'm here today to talk about some tips for using Facebook to promote your martial arts school. I know we've been in contact with some of the ChampionsWay clients on Facebook and we've had a fair amount of really interesting inquiries around Facebook and Twitter and a whole lot of other social platforms. So, I want to do a webinar that kind of goes over Facebook in particular and then we may be doing a few more of these for different platforms down the road.
So, let's get started on these guys. So, there are going to be 10 tips for using Facebook to promote your martial arts school. It's going to be kind of broken down into 10 different points, and then each one of those is going to have 3 little sort of ideas or subsections. So, let's get to it. So, one of the biggest things I tell clients and larger business/smaller business owners and anybody that's just interested in social media in general is that social media is social. It's something that can be easy to forget as a business, but the point of social media itself is that it's interactive. It's not the traditional approach to PR/sales that we're kind of used to where you put out something about yourself or your company in a newspaper or magazine or something like that where people are reading documentation about you and they don't have a channel to respond. Social media is very much a 2 way style of communication. It's more of a conversation than anything. So, it's not just self-focus it's really about people and conversations, so with that being said it's not primarily a sales platform…it's not that cold-calling style that some people might be used to. So, because of that being active is very important; not only on your own page but also on others. Whether it's through your personal account and interacting with potential clients or students or instructors, but also other local businesses and just pages in general…getting your name out there, starting conversations not necessarily around yourself but about topics that are important to you and your school.
Another really big point is you need to know your audience. So knowing the skill level you're going for, the age brackets you're looking at…what are the other things they do? Where do they live? What schools do they attend? And knowing who the audience is and the best way to approach them, so content is going to be one of your biggest factors in there, because your content needs to be tailored towards what that audience is. So, if you're going after primarily students who are you know below the age of 18, your style of content is likely going to be very different than if you're going for a mature audience. Similar to that your ads are going to be very highly targeted.
Facebook ads are…they're always changing and always improving a bit, and we're at the point now where you can be very targeted from a very specific age range to the city that you live in. One recommendation that I'll make there is that if you're in a smaller city you do have a bit of an advantage using targeted ads because you're not going to be competing against as many groups and you have almost a captive audience. So, if you're in a town that's 100,000 people or smaller, it's very easy to target those people as opposed to when you're in a major city where you're in the millions; it gets a little bit more convoluted. So, definitely take advantage of those ads to get into the audience that you know is going to be responsive to your school, and also to do some digging to see who's really going to be interested. You might actually uncover some things you didn't know about your potential audience.
Another big section that you're going to need to pay attention to is the analytics. When you're on your page, if you are an admin you can click over to "insights" and you'll be getting a lot of information there. Another useful factor not only for working on Facebook and social but even just for your school in general is that Facebook has added a comparative audience function when you go into insights. So, you can actually look at all of the people that are on your page and compare them to other Facebook pages and Facebook in general for the amount that they spend, how much they're on Facebook, the things that they're more likely to do and a lot of other factors that you can actually use to incorporate into your larger marketing and sales programs. Now, content really is the king of social media. Without it you don't really have too much that's going to be front or audience facing. And a big, big factor is staying active. Having accounts that look like they're frozen or dead or not used, does make it appear that the company itself isn't really active. So, it's important to be staying on there; updating people about what's going on with your business and having content that's interactive…that's fun, that's interesting and it's adding a value to students and instructors and potential students.
And a big factor with especially small business owners is automation. So, whether to automate something and why to do so; it's okay to automate certain content but you really need to know what you're automating and why. So, things like class schedules if they're fairly static…that's something that's fairly easy to automate on Facebook and across platforms, so if you have something that's posting to Facebook you can have it duplicated over to Twitter and so on. A big issue there is with proper formatting. So, if it's fairly complicated, it's better to do just sort of a one to one and post to specific platforms, but there are certain programs like Mr. Marketer through ChampionsWay can help a lot with the automation of certain content types. So, if you have questions about that program specifically I definitely would contact your ChampionsWay support staff and ask about that one, but the biggest thing with the automation is to remember that just like your general marketing and sales, it's not a fire and forget thing. So you really do need to check in on it. A big thing that will happen with automation is that people will rely on it a little too heavily, and they won't notice when people are actually coming in for inquiries. So, if you're not checking in on that automation you could actually be receiving leads that you aren't actually seeing that are just waiting there for you to respond. They get cold…you don't see it for a couple of weeks and then they move onto something else. So they go to a competitor or they just completely lose interest, so it's very important to follow up on the stuff that's being automated.
Some sort of a content marketing plan or schedule is definitely recommended. It can help you cut the amount of time and help you with a little bit more of…not an automated process but something that's a little more fluid and easy to deal with…less time intensive. So if you have certain dates coming up that you need content for, having that in advance and scheduling it can be a big help. It will also help aid in your larger marketing plan because you're going to be building up that content in advance. You know what it is, you know where to put it…it has a place. Mentioning people is also really key; the idea of outreach in social media is really important, it allows you to contact people that may not know about you, may not know too much about you, are in your industry but not directly connected to you. So, mentioning other businesses can be a great way to create community and create mutually beneficial relationships between yourself and other local businesses.
So, if you're running a martial arts school there may be local product vendors who specialize in martial arts' products. There could be other entertainment avenues, food nutrition and other things that are semi-related businesses that you could interact with page to page. So, you can actually go onto your page, click over to the top right of this dropdown arrow and you can use Facebook as the page. Or if you're on another business page and you're the admin of your own where you go to drop a comment on somebody's newsfeed or if you're trying to reply to a post that they've made, there's a little grayed out flag that you can click on that allows you to switch over to speaking from your account or yourself, so that can really help in creating business to business relationships. Mentioning students on your page is also really great; it's an awesome way to get them involved. They're more likely to comment and share. They're more likely to turn into brand ambassadors who are talking about your school more often and it'll definitely encourage them to be more active not only on your page but with the school, and with actually helping bring in leads for you.
Instructors are another really good asset as far as Facebook goes, because they're already heavily invested in your school. Getting them involved in your social media program as far as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everything else is concerned is really important just because of their ability to not only create content but also have those real person to person interactions. So, they can have those open conversations with students, with potential students on the Facebook page. It's like having the advantage of one-to-one conversations but allowing other people to see what kind of great relationships you're building at your school. And that in itself is great to have out there and for potential clients to see because it can be really impressive for them to see how well you interact with your students.
Now, the community building factor is really key for building up a page especially in the long-term. Like I said with automation and getting in contact with leads and inquiries, you really need to make sure that you're responding to them and even more so within a fair amount of time. It can be fairly easy to lose track of notifications if you're not staying on them, especially if you're not checking in on your Facebook page very often. So being on there at least once a day to check and see if that kind of stuff happens, or setting up notifications so that you're getting an email or another type of notification when those types of responses come in so that you can deal with them in a timely manner. It makes the difference between night and day when it comes to actually activating those leads, whether they're coming in hot or not. Getting to know your brand ambassadors is really important. You're going to start off with your instructors of course because they work with you directly, key students who have been with you for a fair amount of time are also good brand ambassadors, and also just newer students that are really excited about what you're doing. So, getting to know them and interacting with them more on Facebook is going to actually bring up the amount of reach that your page gets. They will also have their friends who are on Facebook naturally seeing that content going through their newsfeed, so when people are actually interacting with you and your page there is a certain percent chance that their conversation and the fact that they interacted with your page will show up on the newsfeeds of their Facebook friends. So, that can also be a really great asset when you're building those brand ambassadors and encouraging them to interact on your page.
Thanking and rewarding those active users whether it's simply by mentioning them, thanking them for being involved, incentivizing them in some way in the school itself for being more involved with the school outside of class scheduled hours can be a really great way to encourage those people to interact more, to bring in more leads, and to help really promote the page and the business itself. Now, learning from competition is obviously a very big factor. It doesn't have to be direct competition in the fact that your martial arts school is in the same area of the city as another. It doesn't have to be that direct.
It can be another school on the other side of the country who has the same style, who is going for the same martial art, who is going for the same audience… I would say follow the pages. Whether you're interacting with them directly or not is up to you. There is also a way to follow them without the page directly seeing it. If you go into your insights you can set up pages to watch, and what this is does is it allows you to see what other pages are doing, what they're doing successfully, how much they're growing, what their most popular posts are and how you're measuring up compared to them. So, it really lets you see what that competitive angle is, who's ahead and why and how you can get in there and make a big difference for yourself and that really makes a difference in knowing their strengths and what they're doing really well. That isn't to say you should be copying exactly what they're doing. What you should take away from this is learning how Facebook works with clients, potential clients, leads and internal staff like instructors and being able to create content that you know is going to be more interactive, that's going to bring in more conversations and will actually help with your brand voice and establishing your business as one that's more social and one that people really want to interact with.
Collecting user feedback always important in every business aspect, really, and Facebook is where people are really comfortable. There is a recent study that stated that 65% of Facebook users which are in the billions are on Facebook on a daily basis. There are very few things in life, especially places that we go…that we're going once a day, so the fact that people are spending so much time on Facebook it's becoming ingrained in us as a society. It's where people are comfortable. It's where people are now having natural conversations and it's where they interact with each other, and companies, brands and other groups that they're involved with. So, you need to understand that it's where people are comfortable and it's a great place to interact with them. It's also a great way to collect data on how people feel about your company, your school and just learning martial arts in general. When you do have some kind of criticism or comments about your business, about the art, about your instructors or staff or other students, don't just delete them. It one, it comes across as you're just trying to brush things under the carpet which is not a good look. The best way to deal with these is to try to turn that negative conversation into a positive. Obviously, there is a certain point where those conversations aren't constructive anymore, but once you get the hang of it you will be able to turn negative conversations around and in some circumstances be able to turn students who are leaving into brand ambassadors just by having positive, open conversations with them and not just deleting their criticism. So, come into it with a positive mindset with the idea that you want to fix the problems whether it's a negative review or an issue with a certain class, actually try to engage and deal with the problem as opposed to just deleting it.
That being said…know a troll and how to deal with one. So, a troll is essentially just somebody who is out on Facebook, who is out on the Internet to spread negative commentary that is not constructive in any way. Now, when you have people who are interacting with the page and they're just being vulgar; they're swearing, they're threatening anybody associated with the business, they're something that's culturally insensitive or racist… That's when you need to step in and get rid of that. A weird place to pay attention to this is on advertising. On a day to day basis I see companies of every size who are posting ads on Facebook and not actually watching them. Not looking at the comments that are coming up on them and it's very important to stay up to date with those, because obviously there are some people that are not fans of advertising or that you're going to hit through advertising that aren't in your demographic and sometimes they will leave negative commentary on ads and it's very important to be able to take a look at those and do it appropriately.
Now, Facebook is really good for giving your business' content a home. A lot of people will create videos or blogs or have photos for events or write-ups for newspapers, and they're awesome material. It makes your business look active. It gives you an internal asset. It's really good for sales, and it's really good for marketing and just really good at establishing the legacy of your school but a lot of people can't figure out where to put it. It's a great piece of one-off content, but where does it go? And Facebook is a great asset for that because you can link everything through from your site, Youtube, other social channels and it gives you something that's very front-facing. So, you put it there and everybody can see it. It's open to the public. It's easily accessible, and you can go back and look at it at any time. You can re-share it on the platform again and in the industry that's called Evergreen Content. It's content that's reusable that you can post this year or you can post next year…it's something that stays relevant.
Having active channels like your Facebook if something's going up on there every day or a few times a week, it really encourages you to create things. It encourages you to document what's going on at your school. It encourages you to have a more active approach in how your business is going. Now, I know that everybody's day to day, very busy, we're all small business owners and there's a lot on our plates, but having those active channels will really get you more involved in the social aspects of the marketing, lead generation and basic promotion of your school. Another big thing is sharing other people's content. Whether it's those other area business that you're interacting with, whether it's student experiences which is an awesome marketing piece to use to lessons from your instructors…that can be another great asset…that we really don't see too often anymore is instructors who are making any kind of information for Facebook, your website, whatever. It can be either directions on a certain lesson plan or it can be video instructions, it could be events that they're involved with but sharing those pieces and having them create them can be really great content pieces that are easily sharable that will get your community involved and get people talking about the school.
Now, your brand message is kind of the essence of your company, so what is your company? If your school was a person how would it act, how would it talk, what kind of words would it use, what are its characteristics? So, the first step really is filling out all of the details on your page. If there's an empty field in your about section fill it in with the most relevant information. Know the voice of your company, like I said if your company was a person, how would it talk, what would it look like, how would it act? That's kind of the most simplified way of explaining what brand message is…if your business was a person, what would that person be? It will help you create content that really represents you and your school and will allow you to have more of a definition around who your target audience is.
Another big thing is experimenting with how you're going to be using Facebook. A lot of people will go in and try one thing and that's what they'll do. So, either they will try just the one thing and think that the whole platform and social doesn't work or they will just continue doing that same thing over and over again without adapting, without changing and without experimenting. Always try out different kinds of content. Different things are going to stick and at the same time you can't always focus on just martial arts and just your school. The content needs to be varied whether it's creating a content map that is you know talking about your school 2 or 3 days out of the week, having a highlight on a student or instructor 1 day of the week and having something else that's outside of the topic 1 day a week. Something like that, create varied content that is interactive, that still speaks about and to the audience of the school but don't always focus on just that one thing. As well, not always serious having some either just comedic or off-topic content is really good for keeping people's attention because if you're always talking about the same thing people have a tendency to just think that you're not really creating anything new if all they're seeing is the same thing over and over again ad nauseam. It's not really…it's not as much as benefit for them and they're not going to interact as much as they used to. I think we're at the point now where we're going to bring Noah back in and we're going to answer some questions and comments.
Principal at SocialVictory. Marketer, writer, doer of things, food consumer and imbiber of beverages.