How to make sure your social media platforms are doing their job.

Your social media can be your studio’s best or worst employee, according to Adrienne Hoxmeier and Rachael Butts, the owners of Meraki Yoga Studio in Fort Collins, Colorado. In fact, many students are being introduced to yoga for the first time through social media, on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

But before Hoxmeier and Butts began worrying about creating social media accounts for their studio, they knew they had to nail one aspect first: their brand.

“When we first started Meraki, our brand was the No. 1 priority aside from the business plan,” said Hoxmeier. “We really believe your brand and how you come across visually is so important. Sometimes it’s the first thing people see, whether they are Googling or come across you on social media. If your brand doesn’t ignite this sense of connection or emotion for your consumers, then probably nine times out of 10, that person won’t even come in or call to get more information. We spent the better part of six months creating the look and feel of our brand.”

The co-owners knew that to get the professional look and feel they desired they needed to outsource to professionals. Their first hires for the business were a graphic designer and a photographer, both tasked with making their vision for Meraki visible.

“Once we hired our graphic designer and photographer and figured out what our brand was, we found success by marrying those things together,” explained Butts. “There isn’t a photo on our [social] streams that our photographer didn’t take … We will never dilute the post with something that isn’t professionally taken.”

Those streams are scheduled out on a weekly basis by Hoxmeier and Butts, with the content varying. While the pair does use social media as a place to promote classes and their studio, it is also a connecting point in other ways.

“You can look at any social media feed and see, ‘Come in and take this class,’ or ‘Come in and buy this,’” said Hoxmeier. “One thing we really try to do when we are posting our social media [content] is to one, encourage people to come into the space and introduce new retail, but more than that, sprinkle in some of those pieces that speak to our consumers’ souls and spirits. That’s where you find that connection and emotional engagement that will keep them coming back.”

Butts explained that because of the studio’s desire to post connecting images along with promotional material, a weekly scheduling meeting is beneficial. They are able to look ahead and evaluate how often and when they are posting specific material.

“Typically, we post in the morning so people see it first-thing,” said Butts. “We try to incorporate two to three posts that [offer] that emotional connection, that relationship builder. Then two or three that are more of that call-to-action.”

Although the co-owners try to stick to a posting schedule, flexibility is required every so often. With the studio being located in Colorado, the ever-changing weather sometimes requires quick posting to inform members of delayed or cancelled classes.

In many regards, social media has proved to be Meraki Yoga’s “Employee of the Year.” It consistently brings in new members, provides an aesthetically pleasing joy to current members, and keeps the community informed.

“If you use it well, then the amount of reach your business can have [through social media] has no limits,” said Hoxmeier. “Having well-thought-out photos that really give your brand this texture and feel is so important, because it could be the first thing people see — and if they don’t like it, then it could be the last [interaction with your studio].”