Let’s Get Social (with Kim Hale)!
We love social media! We know it’s the single best marketing and branding tool for our dance studio. And, whether you know it yet or not, your social media accounts are crucial to your dance studio business, too!
To make sure we are on the up-and-up on all things social media, we had a Confetti Conversation with a social media maven we admire: Kim Hale with Heart2Heart Social Media. Before Kim started Heart2Heart Social Media, she was responsible for the social media accounts at Debbie Allen Dance Academy, where she grew their Insta followers from zero to 65,000! So, yeah, she kinda knows what she is talking about it. We are definitely all ears (and eyes!) to hear what she has to say, and so excited to learn from her! We also knew we had to share our Confetti Conversation with you, so here it is! (Also, stay tuned in the coming weeks for more scoop on #confetticonversations!)
Tell us a little about yourself and how Heart2Heart Social Media got started:
Heart2Heart Social Media grew out of my desire to assist dance studios and dance-related brands with creating and growing their social media platforms. I learned so much managing the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) platforms that I really wanted to share that information with other studios. The DADA accounts were 100% organically grown at a very grassroots level — no fancy photo shoots or editing. For example, in two short years, our Instagram audience grew from 0-65K followers. My intention was to make those platforms a window through which our audience could get a glimpse into the training and philosophy of Debbie Allen and her Academy, and IT WORKED! I now consult and manage accounts around the world. We are a small start-up, but I have lots of new ideas that I will be implementing in 2017 to help studios and dance-related brands continue to expand their reach.
We can’t wait to watch your new ideas unfold this year! What are some of the best ways you see studios building their brand through social media?
I am a HUGE fan of classroom videos. I am not talking about about pulling the “best” dancers aside and filming them. I am suggesting videos that give your audience and, hopefully, future customers a glimpse into the studio culture and training philosophy. For example, people noticed right away on the DADA Instagram account that there was a studio dress code. Each level wears a different color leotard. This sends a strong message to future customers about the teaching philosophy, and that Ms. Allen and DADA are focused on training dancers rather than showcasing who has the best leotard.
That is such great advice! For our studio (and we imagine most studios), our recreational dancers are the core of our business, and we work hard to feature the diversity of students we teach at our studio. Speaking of posting, how many times a day do you suggest posting on Instagram and/or other platforms? Why?
With regards to Instagram, I suggest posting 2-3 times a day in the beginning. I have found the best times to be early morning, late afternoon and in the evening. You really need to establish a consistent presence to be noticed and gain committed followers. Once that pattern is established, your audience will start to look for your posts which is what you want. I posted a “Quote of the Day” on the DADA accounts every morning between 7-8am. These posts received some of the highest engagement, in part because people knew they could count on them. And, who doesn’t like receiving an inspirational boost every morning?!
As for Facebook, I suggest 1-2 times a day in the beginning. Morning and early evening. Twitter is more stream of conscious but mornings and evenings are high traffic times.
What are your thoughts on Insta-stories and Snapchat? What do you see successful brands doing on these platforms that everyone else should be doing?
First off, I think it is very important to keep in mind that you cannot be all things to all people on social media. I believe the ideal plan is committing to 2-3 platforms and doing those very well. Do not feel like you have to create accounts on every new platform that emerges. Where does your audience/future customer live? Basically, you have parents and students. Parents are most likely not on Insta-story or Snapchat but your dancers are and, if they like what they see, they may ask their parents to investigate further. That said, given I am strong proponent of studio Instagram accounts, I think Insta-Story is a wonderful place to engage your followers in “Behind the Scenes” moments. Quick little moments like a dancer doing an aerial for the first time can be really fun and engaging. I would put a greater emphasis on making sure your Instagram account is strong, and use Insta-Story to enhance that whenever possible. And, if you do not have time, it is absolutely okay.
Can you talk about hashtags? Why are they important? How can they help dance studios?
This is one of my favorite topics! The primary way to expand your studio’s reach and audience is through the use of hashtags. I am going to specifically address hashtags on Instagram. In short, without hashtags, you only reach the people who follow your account. Let me be clear, I am not talking about hashtags you make up but rather the most used hashtags for dance-related posts like #dance #dancer, etc. People on Instagram often search specific hashtags for engaging content. If you use hashtags, you are more likely to be found by new people who may in turn follow you and start to share your posts and messages. You are permitted to include up to 30 hashtags per post on Instagram. I encourage you to try including them and see how quickly your account starts to grow. This is a pretty general answer but if you want to learn more, check out my Instagram posts on @heart2heartsm.
What do you have to say about authenticity and originality in content and brand image? How can a studio be inspired by a brand they love without copying them?
You can be VERY successful without having fancy content, so do not feel pressured to create something extraordinary. At DADA my number one priority was to share the diversity of the students and techniques taught. I would say the JOY of dance and diverse population were our brand image, and every piece of content I posted reflected that. I think it is really hard to “copy” a brand, especially in the dance world. Dance is a living art form. Keep it simple. This leads me to avoiding too much selling on social media. Audiences are savvy, and if you are constantly selling them your product they will get turned off very quickly. Confetti on the Dance Floor does a wonderful job of engaging their audience with fun and upbeat content which in turn leads to further engagement and hopefully sales. You have to find your studio’s unique voice and discover a way to share that story with your online audience.
Wow, thank you for the props to Confetti! We work hard and, positive feedback from someone like you is very validating! Can you share your absolute TOP THREE tips to build a stronger social media presence?
1) Content: Create content that reflects your studio’s mission.
2) Consistency: Post regularly.
3) Connection: Engage with your audience.
4) BONUS: Use hashtags to grow your audience.
Lastly, how would you finish these three sentences:
The biggest mistake I see studios make on social media is… creating their Social Media accounts for their studio audience ONLY. Think big…create your accounts for the world!
If a studio does nothing else on social media, they must… post consistently.
I predict the next big thing in social media will be… new innovative ways to use video.
We want to thank Kim so, so much for her time and amazing, actionable social media tips and advice! We hope that you learned a few things you can implement right away on your social media!
Then, if you’re still craving more social media tools, we have a FREE download available exclusively to our Confetti Circle members. When you join (it’s FREE and EASY…just click here), you’ll immediately receive an email with the link to download the Ultimate Guide to Social Media. This free guide is packed with tips for creating social media content and our favorite apps to add a little fun + fancy to your social posts.
Now, go be social!