I love social media enough to make it my primary job but my relationship with social in the wellness space is...complicated. I understand the importance of a social presence for a professional brand and personal use; sometimes, depending on your career, those are one in the same. I know how to use social media to promote a product or service, I know how to cultivate a brand using strong visuals and copy, I know how to measure the success of an individual post and a campaign. I know how to be a marketer. I’m figuring out how to be a yoga teacher, I’m figuring out how to connect a practice that feels deeply personal to the broader ways I share my life, and how to do it in a way that feels authentic without overly monetizing a thing I do for my actual income. I know there are others in the same position as I am. Yoga, a practice thousands of years old, deeply rooted in personal development and separation from the ego, has been pushed into the stark spotlight of personal promotion.
This juxtaposition is a difficult one for me and, I assume, for others. When I found an article in my inbox about teachers and social media I was interested to see how another teacher viewed the duality. What I read further perplexed me. There were things I identify with like, the frustration of showing up for a class when you don’t have the energy, or when you’re the only one there, seeing other teachers amass interactions or class numbers that far outpace your own. At the beginning of my teaching career I was doing all the things you should do. I was posting my classes on social, I was curating images every week, I was inviting people to my class. And nothing was happening. The posts were some of my lowest interactions. The writer of the article was advised to increase likes on her posts by liking other posts on applicable hashtags. Which, yes, will work. However, these connections aren’t strategic. It’s the social media equivalent of a loss-leader approach, you’ll get initial traction but it is highly unlikely you’ll develop a long term relationship. I would never advise my clients to do this.
I made a conscious choice several months ago to change my approach to how I teach. I am less concerned with getting people to my class and am more concerned with being 100% present and connecting with the people who do show up, if it’s 3 or 33. When I stopped being worried about it, I started to grow my classes and even have regulars! (If you are one of them, thank you so much.)
In the interest of connecting more authentically I also changed how I use social media, I share less (really, I do), I turned off notifications, and I respond to people more. I rarely highlight my own practice, I don’t share inspirational quotes, I share the things in my life that bring me joy. A lot of times it’s coffee or food because I’m fascinated with both, it’s LP, my fledgling attempts at being artsy, the topic of my latest blog post, sometimes the motivation I find out in the world. It’s me. Me across several facets of my life.
We live in a world where your #personalbrand matters, it is something to cultivate. While a shift may occur in the future, right now my brand is as complex as I am. I don’t focus on one thing, I don’t use my social to present my practice or myself as any type of inspiration. I don’t want that. I want to share with you who I am, not through a posture but through the things that bring me joy. I recognize that is different in different humans. For me, letting go of that aspect also eases the temptation of jealousy, of comparison, of envy. I may choose to develop one area eventually but for now, I am complex and so is my feed. I can't look for validation through the 'likes' of others, I have to cultivate that for myself.
(If you’re looking for some advice on how to leverage your brand you can check that out HERE.)