Students are the core of your business and one of your biggest goals should be student engagement. We find this is one of the most important things to focus on, to not only retain but to attract students. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire and you want the community around you to have your studio's name on the tip of their tongue.
Here are 5 tips to help you build community around your business:
1) Be Personable.
Be a leader. You can't avoid confrontation but, at the end of the day, your students will feel more at home if their leader is personable and shows that they care about them as individuals and not just another payment. While you can’t become best friends with every one in your classes, you should put in an effort to make them feel welcome and appreciated.
Not a people-person? Make sure someone on your staff is. One of your instructors can be a main point of contact for students. The last thing you want is for someone who likes your practice to leave, just because they feel like you don’t appreciate their attendance.
2) Host Events.
There are many different types of events that you can plan. You can host a nutrition seminar, workshops, movie nights, or even parties. This is a great chance for students who go to different classes to meet and to spend some time with instructors outside of class time. By creating a memorable event, students feel engaged and look forward to the next one. Don't forget to let them know they can invite guests so that prospective students can swing by!
"There are many ways that you can help build a community. Community gardens, likes the one pictured, are just one of them." (Photo by the Mosman Municipal Council)
3) Utilize Social Networks.
With so many social networks out right now, it's a great way to connect to your fans. Instagram is big in many cities and it's a great way to brand yourself visually to the public. Although it can be tough to create beautiful pictures for beginner photographers, there are many great resources online to find out how to take great shot and how to Instagram it correctly.
Facebook is still one of the biggest social networks and providing your online community with interesting content is a great way to get shared and featured on other people's pages.
4) Create a Business Network.
Finding other local independently owned businesses around you and creating a network is a great way to foster community building. Coffee shops, juice bars, health stores, organic grocers, and restaurants are all great people to cross-promote with. Attend events they invite you to and get them out to yours. Tapping into established followings can be a great way to boost your own.
Here's an easy way to boost your exposure and to boost your social followers: collaborate on an event or even just an image. Make it high quality and post it on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag everyone involved. Just make sure that, if you don't have a following, you're adding value to the collaborators somehow.
5) Karma Rules.
When it comes to community building, what goes around comes around. Be kind, be grateful and treat your students with intention. Give back to the local community. This creates many positive ripples, if done correctly, that will not only do good in your local community but will ultimately attract current and prospective students. That's the goal, right?