Keeping it professional as a yoga teacher can be a fine line. Nowadays social media is the fastest way to connect with current, future and past students all at once. Maintaining readership and connection with these people requires posting frequently to make sure you stay within their feed, but your posts should stay relevant and true to your teaching.
Using social media to let everyone know when and where you’re teaching, what offerings you have coming up, any last minute changes is fast and easy. For the rest of your content you could post photos, quotes, articles, FAQ and personal tidbits or dharma talks. But how personal is too personal?
Here is a brief list of Do’s and Don’ts for professionally engaging with your students on social media as a yoga teacher.
Your Personal Life
Do: Set up a personal account and a separate business account just for yoga, but know this isn’t always enough to separate your personal life from professional.
Don’t rely on it. Your students will find your personal account too, so it's important to make sure EVERYTHING you post stays within a professionally groomed circle.
Do restrict what gets posted on your page. Watch closely and monitor for things that need to be removed. You can go into your settings on most social media sites and make it so you have to approve anything that someone tries to post to your wall.
Don’t disprove everything. Try to stay honest. If someone posts a bad review or a comment about your teaching, you can leave it up, but perhaps leave a kind-hearted response. If you need a little help on how to handle negative feedback as a yoga teacher, I recommend you read this article.
Do share something personal as a tiny window into your life. Photos of your dog and you napping, you and your mom getting brunch on Mother’s Day, etc.
Don't overdo it. Nobody needs to hear you flaring in anger for any reason...EVER. "This a**hole cheated on me..." is not a great post. Take that pain offline and work through it in the safety of a friend's arms. Oversharing is never wise (even if you’re not using your pages for professional reasons!). A quick snippet into your life is all you need to connect with your crowd on a more intimate level.
Tagging and Events
Do tag yourself when you're practicing yoga somewhere new. Tag yourself and a friend when attending a cool yoga event. Maybe even tag a student you connected with after a specifically juicy class you taught. Tagging is a great way to grow your post reach.
Don't tag everyone you've ever known in the same post. It's the quickest way to lose those people as advocates for your yoga teaching. Not because they don’t love you—but because it is irritating to keep seeing irrelevant posts in your feed.
Do announce fun events that you are hosting, attending, or supporting.
Don't share the same event every hour for a week straight. Remember how it feels when your favorite TV show gets interrupted by the same commercial over and over and over and over and over....
World and Studio Politics
Do share relevant articles and timely news pieces and tag folks you feel would be interested. Keep it relevant to the topic of your teaching.
Don't share political viewpoints and agendas. You never know which of your followers will disagree with you and you will lose them, or start a battle. We are living in a highly sensitive socio-political climate, so it's better to avoid upsetting people over these topics.
Do post interesting and fun things from the studio or gym you work at.
Don't post something about someone else's studio or say negative things. It’s unethical. You don’t want to succeed because you stamped on someone else.
Do send kudos out to any teacher whose class are you taking, send love to someone who is or will be subbing for you, or whom you are subbing for.
Don't say negative things about any other teacher.
Do share photos of yourself practicing, teaching, or hanging out.
Don't share photos of your students without their consent.
Do share images of you in your fun or fancy yoga attire, it's actually a great way to grow an affiliation with the brand and get your name out using their hashtags.
Don't share naked pictures, or pictures of a sexual nature in any way. There are a few photographers out there who can pull off tasteful naked yoga shoots (here's an example), but you might not get this same effect if you take naked shots of you at home in Happy Baby, Tree, or Dancer pose. Know the difference!
When you really look at it, keeping things clean and professional online is basically the same as living by the yoga code held within the sutras and the eight limbs. So as a general rule of thumb—if it isn't ethically yogic, then just don't do it.
Image credit: Paige Yeaton