Expert Roundup: How Your Favorite Teachers Use Social Media

 
 
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To round out this series on staying connected with your studio, Megan Desmarais and I have teamed up to interview a few expert teachers on how they use social media.

We asked each teacher three simple questions about what they use, what goals they are able to achieve, and how they stay consistent on their chosen platform.

We received some fantastic answers - including a few we weren’t expecting!

Here’s what Marie Lee, Sara Campbell, Amy Chaplin, Nicola Cantan, and other experts had to say:


 

Nicola Cantan, Colourful Keys Piano Studio, Dublin, Ireland

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

Although I use Facebook a lot for staying connected to other teachers, I prefer Instagram for my studio parents.

I find that parents are much more likely to mention that they saw something on Instagram and they get a kick out of seeing their kiddo's composition up there or a game that's being added to the collection soon.

2. What goal does Instagram help you achieve?

For me, social media is about creating community rather than marketing to new potential students. It helps me to stay top-of-mind with my piano parents and to connect with them more than I would get to otherwise, to create stronger bonds.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

Even though I schedule pretty much all other social media (for the blog) I almost never schedule Instagram posts about the studio. I just try to find moments here and there to take a quick photo and post it during a teaching break. It's perhaps not as consistent as it should be, but I find if I make a habit of looking for those moments it's frequent enough to be effective.

Amy Chaplin, Studio 88, Bluffton, IN

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

First, I use MailChimp for all my studio information/newsletters.

I also love Instagram because that's where a lot of my students are. I use a Facebook page but see it not as much about communication with my studio families - because they're not all there - but as more of a marketing tool.

2. What goals do these platforms help you achieve?

MailChimp is about information and in-studio marketing (Letting parents know what their students are doing and learning).

Instagram keeps me relevant and connected to my students, and Facebook helps me stay well-known in the community.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

Once a week I go through my Google Photos and post anything I took that week. In the past, I've done this during small breaks throughout the teaching day but this year it just doesn't seem to be happening for me. I have a reminder on my calendar to send a studio newsletter once a month.

Becki Laurent, The Music Studio, Lubbock, TX

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

I stay connected with my studio parents in multiple ways.  If I need to get information out to my families quickly, a mass email and text will go out.  For weekly student highlights and upcoming events, we mainly use our Facebook pages.

The main reason Facebook works for us is because it is used by parents, friends of parents and grandparents. Since we use this platform to highlight our students and events, everyone seems to see it!  

2. What goals does Facebook help you achieve?

Facebook is a super versatile platform and allows us to post links, videos, live events, shout outs and just fun stuff. We are also able to super easily share between all of our studio pages.  This has the added benefit of helping boost our rankings in the algorithms and it ensures that the cross posting gets shared often.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

Consistent posting is key and is a part of my monthly studio planning.

I keep a marketing plan in the app BaseCamp and check off the “posts” to do list when I sit down to plan short and long term.  All posts are part of the overall marketing strategy for the year and I can easily see when I need to highlight recruiting or advertising based on my yearly business cycle.

Sara Campbell, Sara’s Music Studio, West Middlesex, PA

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

That all depends on what I want to communicate and who needs to receive the message. If the goal is sharing a picture or video with parents or potential clients, I'll post to my studio Facebook page.

If I'm trying to create a connection with my students, I'll post on my studio Instagram account. (And sometimes I'll kill two birds with one stone by posting on Instagram and sharing to Facebook. Easy peasy.)

I'm big on in-person communication. While social media and blogging are certainly useful tools, they're not reliable enough to communicate valuable information such as recital dates, lesson expectations, and so forth. Even email can be a unreliable way to communicate nowadays!

When I need my studio to know something important, I'll speak to my clients in person during lesson time. Then I'll follow-up with a copy of that information via email.

2. What goals do your methods of connection help you achieve?

Using social media keeps my accounts active and relevant. A lot of potential clients have found their way to me through those accounts!

If you want to use social media as a way to attract clients, you need to keep them updated consistently. Let's be honest here: an abandoned social media account just looks sloppy. Either keep it updated or delete it!

Connecting with your clients in person is tough. I get it. There can be barriers that you have to break through -- it might mean having to dash out to the car that swings by to pick up a student (or a quick text to say, "Hey! Can you come into the studio at the end of the lesson, thanks!").

The effort will be worth it. There is no replacement for speaking face to face. Taking the time to connect with my clients on a regular basis is a very important part of how I run my studio.

Happy clients = happy business.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

If you've seen the cobwebs on my blog, you'll know I'm not always consistent. Haha!

My social media accounts are pretty active though, and I regularly do FB Live videos on my business coaching page and Upbeat Piano Teachers. My studio FB page has 2-3 posts a week, and I try to drop at least one Instagram post.

My accounts aren't crazy active. I'm not the kind of blogger or social media person who posts a ton.

When I have something important to say, I'll make a post. It's about quality, not quantity.

Susan Hong, Stone Oak Piano Studio, San Antonio, TX

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

My preferred method of staying connected with my studio is through email, FB and Instagram.

2. What goals does this blend of communication help you achieve?

→ It keeps the parents informed of what is happening in the studio. Ex:  Recital coming up, Practice challenge, etc.

→ It helps to build a tribe where the students and studio families are all rooting for each other and walking the musical journey together.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

Having an iPhone makes it much easier to post consistently since it's much faster and easier.  As far as content goes, there are always something to celebrate in their musical journey.

It's nice to know that our job changes and evolves everyday which makes it so exciting!!

Dawn Ivers, Dawn’s Piano, MacPherson, KS

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

Honestly, I don't have one preferred way of staying connected. When you're putting in the time to maintain an online presence, it really doesn't take that much more effort to maintain multiple channels - especially if you use scheduling software, or third party apps that will auto-post for you.

I've found it's easy enough to maintain a robust online studio presence, and each of the social media channels brings different eyes to the website. That said, currently Facebook seems to be the most effective for directing my studio parents to the blog.

However, when I lived in a different area, and had a different demographic of studio parents, Instagram was the more effective social media channel.

A number of my studio parents also subscribe to the blog directly, and so they receive new posts in their email.

2. What goals does your online presence help you achieve?

Maintaining an online presence achieves three main goals for me:

→ To create a sense of studio community, especially among parents, through the use of brag photos or videos from lessons.

My studio parents (who mostly do not stay for lessons) get glimpses into what goes on during lessons, and when they see their kids succeeding are continually reminded of the value of what they're investing in for their students. They also get to cheer on each other's children and get to see that their friends are succeeding in lessons as well.

→ Communication: I do send out emails with important dates & info from time to time, but a lot of day-to-day communication, common questions, or general information is communicated via the blog or social media.

If a parent asks a commonly-asked question that I've done a blog post for, I can just direct them to that post instead of typing out a full reply. This also has the added bonus of making my reply seem more 'official' because if it's on the website, and not in a personal email, people seem to accept it more readily - this is especially helpful when policy questions come up.

→ To be an active member of the larger musical community, and to let studio parents know this.

As a composer & arranger, I tend to share new music on my blog. When I participate in a podcast, or some other project, I share that on the blog. This both helps promote my music or projects, but also reminds studio parents that their children are part of an active, working studio, not just a home piano teacher. (this is important to me, because my studio is in fact in my home).

I think it adds some perceived value, and helps solidify my brand.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

Scheduling posts in advance, and using auto-post options.

I use the scheduling feature in blogger to schedule out my posts once a month for the coming month. (So for example, this December, I will sit down one day and type & schedule my January posts).

I use Planoly to schedule Instagram posts, and Facebook has a built in scheduling feature.

These are what I use to schedule blog posts & the 'big communication' things, which ensures there's at least some regularity in posting.

I add to this existing schedule when I grab photos or videos in lessons. I'll open Instagram & post it there where it will autoshare to Facebook as well, or if I have too many things to share from one day, I'll schedule some of them for future days in Planoly.

Once the automated wheels are in motion, it's really not hard to maintain.

Jeanetta Hopkins, Bull City Music School, Durham, NC

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

My preferred method is email and a private Facebook group for the parents. When I want to connect with others outside of the school: Instagram, email distribution list and then Facebook.

Instagram has been my number one go-to.

2. What goals does this balance of communication methods help you achieve?

Social Media is a way for those outside of the music school to know what is going on.

I view communication in two different modes: If I am communicating internally then email and text messages is a must; communication outside of the school is done by Instagram and Facebook.

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

I have consulted with Digital Innovations Media Group [a local marketing agency] to assist Bull City Music School with consistent posting. We collaborate on the campaigns and they maintain post creation and some of the interactions- not all.

This company has helped my music school by researching relevant hashtags and making sure our posts are seen by the right audience.

Marie Lee, Musicality Schools, Las Vegas, NV

1. What's your preferred method of staying connected with your studio?

A private Facebook group (only current student families are invited.) First names can be used.

Our Facebook business page has a lot of the same posts, but no student names are listed.

We always email important information as we can't rely on Facebook because not all parents check it. [We send] follow up texts to the parents that don't check email or Facebook -- we have a few of those!

2. What goals does your Facebook group help you achieve?

→ Build sense of community within the studio

→ Celebrate student accomplishments, musically and non-musically (academics, sports, etc.)

→ Promote value within the studio as parents see what we can offer their child

3. How do you maintain success in posting consistently?

I try to post once daily on our private studio Facebook page and calendar daily posts with ideas for the week.

I keep a list in Trello for extra posts if I don't have anything studio-specific.

We have multiple teachers in our studio and they're asked to post a photo of each of their classes at least once per month so that helps with content.

A huge thank-you to all the teachers who shared their experience for this post, and particularly to Megan Desmarais for contributing so much assistance and wisdom for this series.

Any thoughts or questions you’d like to share? Comment below!