3 Ways to Promote Your Virtual Classes on Social Media
By Meredith Simmons
Live streaming classes, offering online courses, and recorded sessions on-demand provides a lot of opportunities for your studio. You can keep current members engaged, earn back your lost customers, or even engage new students from around the world. But to do that, you need to market your classes.
Why use social media marketing?
There are numerous great ways to design your marketing strategy around online courses and classes for fitness. You can focus on content marketing, search engine optimization, and write blog posts. You can build an email list and provide updates in your target audience's inbox. (And we think you should—so we created email marketing templates for you, too.)
Whatever your marketing mix, make sure that you are planning a strong, high-quality social media strategy. Social media is a great place to market your virtual classes and online courses to attract potential students and is a digital marketing powerhouse. Plus, compared to most marketing strategies, social media is low- to no-cost. In a time where most businesses have had to pull back on AdWords and other paid advertising, social media accounts offer a great way to self-publish promotions.
(Still in the early stages of offering video? Watch our webinar.)
Which social media platforms should you use to market your virtual classes?
Whatever your marketing mix, a strong, high-quality social media strategy depends upon leveraging the strengths and target audience of each social media platform. Here’s a short primer on what each network offers, but if you want more, download our social media marketing guide.
Instagram goes beyond just influencer culture. It is one of the most visually compelling social networks, and most popular with Gen Z and Millennials. Instagram is great for images and some videos—especially if they are less than 10 minutes or you want them to be inaccessible after a day.
Facebook offers two things that come in handy when marketing virtual classes: your main business page and the ability to create private Facebook Groups to engage your members if you aren’t seeing them in-studio.
YouTube usage is up 15%, and a good chunk of that traffic is users looking for workouts like yours. So how do you capitalize? Treat your YouTube channel as a lead magnet. Between its search engine optimization-friendly features and ability to build subscribers, YouTube can help you earn new customers by giving them a try before you buy social proof. (Just be sure to have a landing page set up for YouTubers to set up a membership!)
Things are changing quickly—and that’s where Twitter shines. Use Twitter in conjunction with your Instagram Stories to keep your customers up to date on last-minute announcements without blasting your email list.
Chances are that you aren’t using LinkedIn to promote your classes and online courses—which is totally okay. But have you thought about using the platform to develop B2B partnerships with other business owners or connect with industry influencers? Remember that LinkedIn is a bridge between your business and your personal brand, so be sure to think about what you post.
While you may not have an account on TikTok, it’s time to think about creating one. TikTok focuses on short videos and users can edit the videos with filters and music. And it’s not just for influencers—there are half a billion users of the platform.
What’s the anatomy of a good social media post?
A good social media post needs three things: something to catch the eye of a user, thoughtful text, and a call-to-action. What these three things look like changes based on where you are posting. For example, you wouldn’t want to put a link to a blog post in an Instagram caption, since you can’t click links there. A good social media post uses the strength of the platform to engage with the right target audience.
Something to catch their eye
Social media users are skimming apps, so you’ll want to stand out from the pack for your digital marketing to be successful. Think photos and videos with bright colors and real people.
While a picture is worth 1,000 words, your posts need context. Use text to keep someone engaged and share the story behind the photo or the video. Tell them why they should care about you, your business, and the online courses and classes you offer. Remember that every post is an opportunity to engage with a new customer.
Using a call-to-action (or a CTA as marketers call it) is key to your marketing strategy: where do you want the user to go after they see your post? Do you have a landing page with a special intro offer? Are you developing a special online course or teacher training? Is this post part of your content marketing strategy to promote your email list? Whatever the answer is, point your CTA there. Be sure to make your links trackable through a bit.ly or platform like Linktree so you can get analytics to measure whether your promotion
Reviewing analytics is a marketer’s must-do. Once you’ve posted, you’ll want to make sure you are measuring to see if the post was successful—and you’ll want to go deeper than just how many likes you got. If your social media accounts are set up for business, you should be able to access analytics to see how many views your post received.
Also review your call-to-action results. For example, if you are setting up a webinar or free class, did you get enough registrants? Record your results to help develop a stronger content marketing strategy for next time.
If you're ready to get the ball rolling, here are three tried-and-true ways to market your virtual offerings and online courses on social media.
There’s a good chance your schedule has changed from what you offered within your studio, so create a visual infographic that your customers can easily see what classes you’re offering and when they are taking place. It also helps people browsing hashtags on social media see what you offer—so be sure to tell them how to book with you!
If you have a specific specialization or a unique online course, be sure to pull out those classes specifically. For example, Shine Pole and Aerial Fitness in Hurst, Texas, offers live pole fitness classes. There aren't many businesses offering online courses in pole fitness, so the studio's social media posts have been a lead magnet and brought them customers from around the country.
It’s been a few weeks since most studios started teaching virtual classes and online courses, so it may be time to re-engage your members—or your customers who have let their memberships lapse—with a challenge.
You can set up your challenge to focus on the total number of classes they book and attend with you (which is easily trackable with Mindbody) or challenge your customers to share and post their classes for raffle entries. You may even want to consider a special online course to go deeper into what you offer like a goal setting mini-course or instructional nutrition webinar. No matter how you set up your challenge, share it on social media to get started. If you decide to create a challenge, be sure to promote it in your private Facebook Group for members, if you have one!
To use this social media technique, you’ll need first to ask for your customers to send you reviews—have them leave you reviews everywhere they can, from Yelp to the Mindbody app. (If you're doing a challenge, make leaving a review part of it!)
Once you start seeing reviews, create typographic or infographic images using Canva or another design tool that highlight your customers’ feedback. This type of post will help promote that a) you’re still teaching classes, and b) people love you for that.
Chose reviews that talk about your online courses or the results people have found by working with you. Remember to keep the reviews you use specific enough that people scrolling through social media know it's real. It's easy to ignore a review that seems too good to be true or so simple it's generic. Featuring the right reviews is important because showcasing them is a great way to get potential students to trust you, even if they can’t meet you first. (Want to explore more about reviews? Watch our webinar.)
No matter how you promote your classes, sessions, and online courses, be sure to make them discoverable and bookable through the Mindbody app and mindbody.io; you never know who will drop in!