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Getting digital

These are unprecedented times .. it's spring here in Calgary, and this is usually my busiest season, this year, I'm home. The upside is, everyone in my family is healthy, so far, so I have a LOT to be thankful for!

When I began this online journey, I was totally lost as far as how to connect everything, and build a community online. I'd say I'm a far cry from a master yet, but I'm well on my way! Given this season of seclusion, I thought I'd take a little time to give you a few tools and tips in case you're considering taking your studio online more.

How to Successfully Use Videos Online

Video is one of the BEST ways to reach your students during these crazy times! Compared to audio files or pictures, this is likely your choice way to reach them since your art/expertise is so visual!

You can either prerecord it on your smart phone and then upload the video (to whatever platform you like), or do a LIVE recording in real time. If you decide to do a LIVE on Facebook, you can download the file afterwards and edit it in any free video editor (I like to use the App, Splice). Then you can upload it elsewhere like your website or other online platforms (Youtube, IG, LI, Twitter, etc). You'll see that download option in those 3 little dots at the far upper right in the information area about the video. 

If you decide to do a LIVE on Instagram, it's not quite as transferable because you can't just download it. What you can do though, is get the code for it and then embed it on your studio's website into the coding.

Whether you do LIVES or prerecorded videos that you release on your FB page or Instagram, this is a great time to develop your studio's presence on Youtube by also  posting EVERY video, class, tip, ETC for others to benefit from! 

If you are wanting to email videos to your students, I need to give you a heads up, that is not a feasible option. If you want to keep your lessons and videos private and only allow your students to have access to them, then follow these steps! 

  1. Record the video
  2. Post it to your youtube channel but, privately.
  3. Share the link ONLY to your students via DM or email 
  4. If you want it to look like the video is in the email, make a JPG/PNG/picture (Canva is a great place to start creating stuff like this) with a "play" arrow on it so it LOOKS like a video, and make it clickable.
  5. Use the URL for your private video on Youtube as the location they get directed to when they click on the picture (The picture that looks like a video that you made in step 4).

Steps 4 and 5 are strictly to make it pretty looking.. totally unnecessary when you're getting started unless you feel like being extra suave in your presentation!

FACEBOOK GROUPS vs PAGES

Another way that you can really connect with your students and their families in a private, yet social setting, is to create a FB group for your studio. 'Groups' are private and require an invitation or acceptance, to enter. Random strangers cannot be in there unless you allow them in!  This is different than a business page on Facebook where anyone can like and join it.

A FB group would be an easy way to connect with all of your students' families in one place, whether it's via LIVES (Teaching a class to your students) or maybe a stretch and strengthening class that you prerecord and post. What's nice about it is, people can comment, ask questions, etc, and you can respond.. Again, it's private so only the people in the group can read and respond to any comments posted!

This would NOT be the way to go if you want to use this temporary secluded online season to draw in more students, as a Facebook group is private and unseen by anyone else.

Make Your Website Your Best Salesman, Not Just Your Brand

So, if you've got a studio website, now would be a great time to add a page dedicated to all the video recordings you've made or are now planning on making. Classes, words of hope, reminders of stretches, etc.  Make sure that it's easy to find and has a LOT of tags on it to draw in google and the people using google to search out ballet information.

Also, any and every domain can house individual lead pages that are set up entirely separate from the site itself. If you're considering using this bizarre season as a time to provide free education and connect with potential students, you could record an amazing video introducing yourself, your teachers, your website (informing them of the stretch and strengthening classes posted?), the benefits of studying with you, your studio, the benefits of your location, you and your studio's values and add a sign up form (name and email) for anyone who wants to know when you are opening back up again!  Keep this video real, not too professional/proper.. these days, conversational speech is the new professional.

Better yet, create a stretch, strengthening, cardio video intended to help ballet dancers maintain their bodies. THEN, create a lead page (a singular page that looks and reads awesomely with a sign up form on it) that people need to sign up to get access to it. Make sure it's a well done video (edit the recording to clean up the beginnings, ends, and lighting) as that will be their first, and possibly only impression of your studio's instruction and you want them to be watching and doing it over and over so that they LOVE you, your teachers and your studio and want to join your tribe and studio when this season of seclusion is over!

Ideally this is a one page wonder that you share to the high heavens online! Any parent groups of your city, athletic groups, dance groups, activity groups, homeschooling groups, etc. Share the bajeebees out of it!  Send the link to your email list of student families and ask them to share it out to anyone they know of who loves to dance but is stuck at home.. word of mouth is insanely powerful!

In Conclusion

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures and stepping outside of the box, or shutting down! I hope that you will be able to implement and utilize at least some of this information that I've tried to explain and lay out in a usable, Reader's Digest fashion. 

Much love to you and your studio and may you find a way to enjoy the simpler things in life (like a HOT CUP OF COFFEE instead of luke warm!), now while we're all laying low. 

Love and music to you all!

P.S. I'm turning 40 on Thursday (March 19th, 2020) and will be emailing out a special gift to my email subscribers (you should probably get on the list, if you're not yet!). SO, if you're a ballet teacher, I promise you, you'll want it and be able to use it.  I've created multiple awesome options for you choose between, or grab them all if you like! 

Tango vs Habanera PDF

Free snappy Godfather Love Theme (think frappe music)

Working with a Pianist Cheat Sheet

Free 3 Step Course for Choosing Music for Ballet Class

Cheers, over and out!

Working with a pianist soon? Do you wish you felt more prepared?

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