As a new year is upon us, the infiltration of all things relating to social media and the latest technology seems to be evolving quicker than we can finish our last Tweet. As dance studio owners, keeping on top of the trends, latest social networking sites and technology applications will undoubtedly keep your business current; while reaching a whole new demographic of potential clients that would not have been as feasible a number of years ago.

As a new year is upon us, the infiltration of all things relating to social media and the latest technology seems to be evolving quicker than we can finish our last Tweet. As dance studio owners, keeping on top of the trends, latest social networking sites and technology applications will undoubtedly keep your business current; while reaching a whole new demographic of potential clients that would not have been as feasible a number of years ago.

 

            Keep in mind that your studio's media plan can't remain the same as it was 10, 5, or even 2 years ago to warrant a thriving marketing division.  The objective to remember is that people are now retrieving their information in an entirely new way. People are on the go, they want instant access that doesn't take a lot of time. They want things simplified and to the point. The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about how your dance studio can apply some of these ideas in keeping with the studio's philosophy and mission.

STUDIO WEBSITE: Your dance studio's website should be considered your 'home base.' This is going to be the initial marketing strategy where you direct potential students and will provide the basis for everything your business offers and what sets you apart from the hundred other studios in your community. Website-design should be clean, streamlined and user friendly; while having a memorable layout that is inviting to the eye but not confusing. Keep fonts simple and legible. Think about your studio environment and décor. What does it say to students and parents when they walk in? Your website should echo that as well…Is it a professional, disciplined training facility or is it a recreational studio? What is going to draw in your potential 'regular' client and bring in new ones as well? Keep in mind that the information you provide on your website should always support your studio's philosophy while being clear, concise, and efficient. Think of all the potential questions an impending student (or parent) might have. Try to provide thorough answers to questions they might have as to cover all the bases. Use high quality and professional photos and videos to attract readers as well.

BLOGGING:  Blogging is a great, interactive way to reach out to your audience and give them a glimpse into the knowledge you and your faculty have on a variety of dance related topics. This is one great way to stay connected to your community and give your business a voice to demonstrate opinions, ideas and new ways of thinking. Showing your audience that you are keeping current on trends in the dance world and giving them food for thought on things we can all relate to, will make you a touchstone for students and other educators. Take turns providing articles for the blog and introduce your faculty and their voices as well. Let the public see who your teachers and staff are and introduce their unique qualities, strengths and why they are on your team. This will attract people who are interested in registering for classes and allow them to get to know you all before they step into the studio. Again, keep your blog design inviting and professional; but here, I feel you can go a little creative in the design to show a different side to the studio. So go ahead and be a little more artistic and edgy with it.

E-NEWSLETTER: Sending out monthly or quarterly e-newlsetters are a wonderful way to stay connected with your clients and potential subscribers. Here, you can provide information of upcoming events, happenings around the studio, student achievements, articles focusing on a topic of the month, etc. Providing information this way via the internet will allow your audience to read the information at their own convenient time and not be inundated with post mail which they may sometimes toss in the garbage as junk mail without even looking at it. Be sure to update your Facebook and Twitter accounts too; making sure people know when to expect the email of the newsletter. The first of the month is usually a great time to do this!

YOUTUBE & VIMEO: In today's dance scene, nothing showcases your students and your studio's choreography better than video. Both these sites allow housing for all your video needs. While a reel of your studio's performances both on stage and in class will provide tangible visuals of the work you produce, think about using these sites to also provide promo videos for your studio. Introduce yourself, the environment, your faculty and your mission through an online 'commercial' which can also be displayed on your websites and social networking pages! Remember to keep this current and update as necessary! While YouTube is mainstream and more well known, be sure to check out vimeo.com as well; which is an online population of 'creatives,' passionate about sharing their work with the artistic community.

FACEBOOK: While it seems like common knowledge that everyone and every business should have a Facebook account to market themselves to the community, some may be a little late in getting on board with this mainstream social networking site. Facebook is a great way to get students, parents, staff and faculty in one place and provide a studio's sense of community. While I personally dissuade faculty and students from being 'friends' on private pages for a number of reasons, a public studio page offers a sense of community to share studio updates, accomplishments and accolades, school closings, rehearsal times, last minute schedule changes and all around studio news! Your page also opens you up to a wider demographic to other studios all around the world; making networking and cross-collaboration much more accessible than in years past!

TWITTER: Tweeting is a great, concise way to 'mini-blog.' Quick little updates for your 'followers' will keep you connected on a daily or even hourly basis and your marketing continuous to the public in real time, all day long. Tweeting is a fantastic way for short, exciting status updates to reach the public as quickly as it happens!

SKYPE or FACE TIME: Skyping or Facetime is a wonderful communicative tool which changes the way people are able to communicate, connect and do business. In one respect, while it may be difficult to pin down convenient times for your faculty to come to the studio for meetings, a 'Skype date' is one new way to approach it that is quick, accessible and still provides the personal interaction that a phone meeting does not. Also, with this new technological advancement, Skype and Facetime can open up your studios' world to cross-cultural contacts, multi cultural student collaborations and interacting with other dance  educators, choreographers, guest artists and performers across the globe.

There is a whole new tech-savvy world out there that affects us as dancers, educators and studio owners! Be sure to stay current with this ever-changing world and stay connected to your public! Good luck!