take control of your yoga studio’s reputation on social media

Did you know that people are talking about your yoga studio on social media? Even if you don’t have an active social media presence, people are discussing your studio on sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s important to get involved and take part in the conversation. 85% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses* 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more* 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations* Online reviews are the new “word of mouth” for local yoga studios. It makes sense, then, that you need to know what people are saying about your practice. It’s easy to get involved and take control of your reputation on social media following these four easy tips. 1. Create Optimized Business Pages on Social Media Your yoga studio doesn’t need to have a presence on every social network. Instead, focus on the three social media outlets your students are most likely to use to voice their opinions. Set up a Business Page on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Optimize the pages with your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) – keeping this information consistent across all pages. Include descriptions of your classes and any products you sell, as well as links to your website and other social media pages. Facebook and Google+ both have review features. While you can’t remove bad reviews, you may be able to mitigate them. If you notice that the reviews of your studio are not flattering, ask your happy students to leave a positive review. Google+ is particularly important since the reviews show up in your Google Maps listing on search result pages. Never buy fake reviews, because consumers can easily sniff them out and you will lose credibility. Twitter doesn’t currently have a review feature, but Twitter users make frequent use of hashtags. When you sign on to Twitter, regularly check your “Notifications” section to see if anyone has mentioned your yoga studio in a post. Whether the mention is positive or negative, if you have been mentioned in a Tweet, respond in a kind, professional manner. If you don’t have any resolution for the student, it’s best to respond by thanking her for her feedback. Many Facebook and Google+ users also include hashtags in their posts; you can find them using the search function. 2. Post, Engage, Respond on Social Media Maintaining an active presence on your social media pages is another great way to take ownership of your reputation online. Create interesting posts and share them on your social pages. When students and followers interact with your posts, engage in conversation. Engaging and responding to your followers is a great way to create a positive reputation since it shows you are interested, listening, and responsive. 3. Set up Alerts for Your Business Name A free service provided by Google is “Google Alerts.” Go to http://www.google.com/alerts and set up an alert for the name of your yoga studio. When an online user mentions your studio on the internet, you get an email with a link to the mention. Google Alerts are the easiest way to track what people are saying about your studio. They allow you to keep a close eye on your online reputation simply by checking your email. 4. Claim Your Yelp Page Did you know that your studio can have a Yelp page even if you didn’t set it up? That’s right. Yoga students can review your studio on Yelp and create a page for your business without your consent. The great news is that if there is an existing Yelp page for your yoga studio, you can claim it and take control of the information (not the reviews) on your page. Go to Yelp and search for your practice name in your city or zip code. If a page exists for your business, follow the instructions to “Claim” the page. If a page does not exist, you can still set up a business page for your studio. Click on “Yelp for Business Owners” and follow the instructions for setting up a page. Optimize the Yelp page for your yoga studio by completing as many fields as you can. Once your page is set up, you cannot control the reviews students leave for you. You CAN respond to the reviews, however, and ask satisfied students to leave a positive review. When responding to reviews (whether publicly or privately), always, always, always be professional and courteous. Ensure your response is sympathetic, conciliatory, and resolution-focused. Remember that potential students are reading these reviews and responses. As a local yoga studio, it is essential that you take control of your reputation on social media. Being proactive is the best way to manage your online image. Always be positive and never engage in arguments with yoga students online – this will always reflect poorly on you. If you have any bad reviews, be sure to solicit great reviews from happy students. In general, potential yoga students expect to see a mix of great reviews with a handful of negative reviews. Lara Vukelich is a Marketing Content Editor at iMatrix, a provider of affordable web marketing solutions for small, practice-based businesses. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies, both from San Diego State University. Lara is experienced in writing content optimized for search engines and users, creating engaging content for social media, and crafting articles about SEO and social media marketing for small businesses. Resources: *All statistics are from Search Engine Land, 2013. Read next >> 5 ways to streamline your yoga studio’s social media efforts