Are you on Facebook?
Actually it doesn’t matter if you are or not, because you should be. Not only should you be on facebook, you should be facebook friends with all your students and their parents.
Allow me to explain.
In the United States there are approximately 206.2 million internet users and 71.2% of them are on facebook. Around the world there are over 500 million people on facebook. Why does this matter? It matters because that’s where your students are, and more importantly, where your future students are.
If you are not using facebook as a tool for enrolling new students, student retention and developing community within your school… You are missing out!
What I’m going to share with you today are the new facebook strategies I’ve implemented in the last 30 days that have brought a new life to our school and have generated many new members. I’m not talking about doing ads or boosting posts, everything I share with you here is FREE!
First, a word of wisdom about facebook for you.
As powerful as facebook can be for building your business, it can be just as effective at shutting you down.
If you are going to talk the talk, you MUST walk the walk.
Think about what you do when you are checking out a business, a movie or a product that you are interested in. Like most people, you probably “Google” it. Your prospective students are no different. Even if they’re just mildly interested in training with you they will try to find you online. They want to see what kind of reviews you have, what kind of people train with you and what others’ opinions are of you. When they see who the instructor is, they’ll do a search for the instructors.
In a few minutes and a few clicks they can know enough about you and your school to make the decision to visit your school… or not!
There are many social media sites, dating sites, review sites and other places you can leave a trail of yourself online. You can bet that if someone is going to consider allowing you to train and impact their lives or their children’s lives, they are going to want to know everything they can about you.
Reputation management online is a whole other article I could do another time. But for the sake of this article where we are dealing with just facebook. I’ll be focusing on giving you facebook strategies that actively help with what you are trying to achieve at your school.
So how do you maximize all these strategies?
1. Your Profile Pic
You don’t have to have pics of you in your uniform teaching class, breaking things or flying through the air. People want to know that you are an authentic person that has interests, hobbies and important people in your life.
When someone checks you out, they want to see a face, someone they can relate to and see themselves training with. Get rid of the logo for your school (save that for your business page) or that pic of you doing some kick where no one can make out who is in the picture. Your profile pic should be your face. Post something from the shoulders up of yourself or even you and your spouse. People want to see who you are, not a logo or a kick.
2. No politics or religion. Period.
Like it or not, this will cost you students.
Furthermore, if you claim to be someone who is teaching an art that transcends national boundaries, race, religion and ideology – then having religious or political facebook arguments that are longer than most novels, sends an inconsistent message about what you claim to teach. It also tells your prospect that you care so much about being right that you are willing to sit at your computer typing away as you try to win a facebook battle.
3. No “Play-by-Play”
Don’t be the “play-by-play” guy sharing everything that is happening moment to moment.
No one cares that you just got up, that you just took a shower, that you had Captain Crunch for breakfast, that you’re tired, that you have a strange itch, that you spilled your coffee on your new shirt and that you’re stuck in traffic. That is the fastest way to get people to stop following you, unfriend you, or just plain be annoyed by you.
4. Keep it PG-13
Don’t put the crazy videos of you drinking and partying with you buddies or that one of you breaking boards with your head that one night at that one party where you took pride in not knowing at what point you passed out. Okay, maybe you don’t have one of those, but there are things that you may think are cool or crazy that a mother with a seven year old would not want her child exposed to.
Your future students and their parents are looking for role models and people they want to emulate.
5. No Secrets
With the internet these days there is little to no privacy. If you’re a guy partying on the weekend while dressing up in women’s clothing and don’t want your students to know about it, don’t post it or just don’t do it.
It will get out. And trying to have a personal facebook profile and a separate professional facebook profile doesn’t work either. It will get out and people will find you.
Just be honest, real and keep it clean knowing that anything that goes up about you online will be used by your prospective students to determine if they should train with you or allow their children to train with you.
6. Be Authentic
Post about things you are interested in and don’t make it all Taekwon-Do. People like to know that you are married, have kids, that you have a dog, or like certain restaurants. They want to know that you are a human being.
Thirty years ago anyone with a black belt was a mysterious ninja that could obviously do back flips, flying side kicks over mountains and defeat bad guys who have claws like wolverine and live on their own secret martial arts training island. If you were a Master, then… well… you obviously have secret death moves that are kept under lock and key, only to be unveiled to the chosen few.
That mystery is gone.
People don’t automatically think you’re some kind of martial arts god because you own a school or teach a program. You know, I know, and they know that you’re just a guy or gal who has committed yourself to martial arts and are providing the opportunity for others to do the same.
You have to earn their respect and the first step is authenticity. They can tell very quickly if what they saw online is not a match for who they meet when they walk in the door.
Following those steps is just one part of the facebook equation. Now that you have the information you need to manage your personal profile efficiently we need to look at your business page and group pages.
You business page is extremely important. It’s get indexed by Google which means that it shows up as if you have another web page and when executed properly, it gives people a sense of what kind of school you are. Everyone can see what is getting posted, what people are responding to and future prospects can tell what kind of culture you have at your school.
There are four aspects to your business page that you MUST have:
The first thing people do on your business page is scroll down you page checking out what is being posted. They are looking to see if there is anything there that catches their attention or interests them enough to consider training with you.
At a minimum you need to posting on there two to three times per week with RELEVANT content.
What do I mean by RELEVANT content? I mean content that is relevant to your current students and future students. This page is like a massive advertisement for your school offered in a format that people recognize and are comfortable interacting with. They may even like, comment or share something they find on your page.
Here’s a few ideas for what you want to be posting:
- Success Stories
- Great Pics of Members
- Instructor Bios
2. The “About” Section
Completely fill out the “About” section!
If someone is engaged enough in what they see posted on the wall of your business page, the next thing they’ll click is the About link below your cover photo. This includes your name, address, phone number, map with location, hours, a brief explanation of what you do and your website.
Having all of this information complete gives you credibility. First, because you are giving them instant access to you and second, because it looks finished. If you were to click the about link for a company you were interested in and couldn’t find their location or a way to contact them, they probably just lost your business because someone else is just a click away.
Also, having your website there gives you a high profile backlink to your web page. If you don’t know what that means then just know it’s a good thing.
3. Call to Action
There’s a relatively new feature on business pages that allows you to put a call to action right there on your cover photo! This is a big deal because you can take people one step closer to becoming a student if you have the pieces in place.
For the Call to Action you can select Book Now, Sign Up, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now or Watch Video. At a minimum you want to use Contact Us and drive people to your website. If you have a good direct response website (which I highly encourage you to do) then you can use the Sign Up button and they’ll go to your site where they can sign up for a trial program.
When people are online they want what they want RIGHT NOW! They want to get what they want with a touch or a click. No one wants to have to print out a coupon from a website so they can call you and set up a time to come in and find out about whether or not they might want to sign up with you. Give them the option to buy a trial program right there!
There are two pics you need for this page, your cover photo and your profile photo.
Your profile photo is very simple. This can be your logo or it can be a head shot of you in your uniform.
Your Cover Photo should take some more time and consideration. This can rotate, contain special offers and even guide users to the call to action button hovering right there over the cover photo. Remember that this page is for future students so you want to take advantage of every opportunity you can to take them one step closer to becoming one of your members.
Now let’s talk about Facebook Groups.
The most effective way to communicate with your students on facebook is with facebook groups.
For starters, you can select the privacy of the group. We keep ours “Closed” so that people can’t see what’s posted, but they can see the group and see who’s in it. This way people can see when their friends are a part of our group.
Facebook groups are different from facebook pages. People can “like” your facebook page and you can accumulate hundreds, if not thousands of likes. The reality is, only something like 10% of the people who like your facebook business page ever see what you post on there. It may be a great tool for providing information to new members, but it’s a terrible way to communicate with your students.
Groups are an incredible tool that creates community in your school, boosts retention and when done correctly serves as a one long list of testimonial after testimonial of students telling you how great you and your program are, reinforcing every new student’s decision to begin training with you!
Group members get notifications EVERY TIME something is posted in the group. That means that when you post a schedule change, a new event, upcoming curriculum, a birthday or any other acknowledgement… everyone in the group sees it!
What do you post in your group?
- Success Stories
- “Shout Outs” to members (for any reason)
- Trailers (short videos for upcoming events or curriculum)
- Useful info, Fun facts
- Pics or Video of Staff having fun
- Pics of Students
- Shout Outs to New Members
- Instructor Bios
- Baby pics
You should have a facebook group for all the different groups in your school. If you have different programs then give them a group as well. For example you could have one for the parents of your kid’s program, one for adult students and one for your kickboxing program if you have one.
When you and your instructors actively engage with your students in the format of facebook (which they are already comfortable liking and commenting on) you’ll see a whole new level of community developing outside of the do jang that just wasn’t possible a few short years ago. People love to “like” and “comment” on pictures and support what other students are up to, especially when it’s about someone who is on the same journey as they are.
So, who should be in your groups? Everyone who is a prospect, all of your current students and even those who have quit.
Your prospects will be overwhelmed by the community that exists within your school and will have all the social proof they need for enrolling with you. Current students will love being apart of the group, and even former students could one day get a notification and wonder why they ever left.
Facebook is a powerful tool that you can’t afford not use.
I’d love to hear your comments, so please comment below!
Next week I’ll be sharing about how we’re completely revamping and streamlining our sales and upgrade process.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com