I teach a university course in health communication. Although my students are well versed in “all things social media”, they don’t yet have the knowledge and skills to develop a comprehensive social-media strategy. This skill is important so they can effectively apply communication theory once they join the workforce.
The Global Martial Arts University (GMAU) provides instruction in a diverse array of martial arts. And through our Certified Martial Art Instructor (CMAT) program, we provide official instructor certification for teachers of many different styles. While our martial-art styles may differ, we’re all united through universal principles and concepts.
The same is true for communication–it doesn’t matter what field you’re in, there are universal principles and concepts you should understand and know how to use to effectively draw in customers and build your brand.
So, if you want your school (or skillset) to be noticed, you need to have a well crafted social-media plan. In this article, I provide a step-by-step approach to help you stand out on social media. This includes specific questions to ask yourself as you proceed through each step, and examples of relevant answers to those questions.
Step 1: Determine Your Overall Goal and Set S.M.A.R.T. Objectives
A goal exemplifies what it is you specifically want to accomplish, and objectives are the strategies or methods you employ to reach your goal. Your objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Question: What do I want to achieve through engaging in social media?
Goal: Build trust and brand recognition within my school’s catchment area.
Example of a S.M.A.R.T. objective:
We will increase traffic to our school’s website via social-media channels by 20% within 6 months.
Step 2: Know Who You Want To Reach
So you can target your social-media campaigns to the right audience, it’s important to know the ideal type of customer you want to reach. For this you need to do some research to develop a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is an abstract depiction of the ideal customer, as determined through qualitative and quantitative data from market research or existing customer profiles. Creating a buyer persona is not about describing the business’s potential purchasing audience. Instead, it’s about generating a set of insights that can be used to make informed decisions and smarter investments.
Developing an audience persona can help you understand where your audience is online and what type of content is going to impact them the most.
What would be a broad description of your ideal customer?
The answer could be multi-leveled: families, kids, adults, after-schoolers, etc.
What’s important to them when conducting business with your school?
Consider things like what you offer and how much your program(s) costs. Why are you the best option and are their discounts for families, veterans/LEO, single vs. bundled program access.
Step 3: Perform a Social Media Audit
Audits are key for benchmarking previous efforts and planning for new ones. If you’re just getting started on social media, begin with an initial kick-off audit. This means understanding which accounts are currently linked to your school and what they’re being used for.
What social media outlets do you use already?
Websites are good, but if you’re not using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube you’re not as visible.
How are you using social media?
You must have a plan for what you post and how often you post. Be systematic and only post information that relates to your goal and objectives!
How do your engagement rates look?
Engagement Rate = # of social engagements [divided by] # of social impressions. Engagements are likes, comments, shares. Impressions are the total number of times social-media browsers have been showed your content. Impressions are different than reach because it doesn’t count people who click or engage with your content, just those who are exposed to it.
Step 4: Identify Social Media Outlets
If you know your audience, then you know where they tend to get their get information. Give your favorite customer a phone call, send them an email, or if they’re concerned about protecting their personal information create an anonymous online survey for them. Find out where they are online and how you can best reach them.
Which social media networks are my customers more active on?
Document these. Rank or prioritize them to increase your reach.
What kind of initiatives can I take based on the findings from my social media audit?
Consider other communication outlets like blogging, document and celebrate student accomplishments, follow and engage with influential martial arts leaders.
Step 5: Execute Your Plan
Execution is an easy concept to talk about, but it’s a hard one to…well…execute!
Executing your strategic plan is as important as (or more important than) your strategy. The majority of businesses that have strategic plans fail to implement them. Don’t be that business.
What can I feasibly do now?
Consider if you need to revise/refresh your current accounts. Determine what you can do consistently at this time. It may be easier to be more active on a Facebook account you already have as opposed to initiating a blog from scratch.
What other communication channels do I want to use?
Maybe you use Facebook daily, so that is nothing unusual for you. Having said that, busy school owners don’t always have time to “learn” how to use other social-media platforms. Plus, they serve different purposes: while Twitter is used for sharing ideas and catching up with news and trends around the world, Instagram is meant for sharing your best photos and videos with followers.
Examples of Detailed Steps / Metrics for Your Social Media Plan:
Certified Martial Arts Teacher Programs
We hope this article helps you grow your social-media precense and expand your number of martial-art students!
As a last suggestion, please keep in mind that one of the best ways to build and maintain trust in your prospective and existing students is to be a certified martial-arts instructor.
If you currently hold a black belt but aren’t offically certified as an instructor by a martial-arts organization, check out our online Certified Martial Art Instructor (CMAT) program!
If you’re an uncertified Krav Maga school owner or instructor, check out our online Krav Maga Instructor Certification program!