social media for the studio?

Meghan Coil said: Aug 7, 2015
Meghan Coil
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Portland, OR
16 posts

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has any success stories about using social media to connect studio parents. I know that private facebook groups work really well for providing support for groups of people engaged in a common endeavor, such as weight loss, fitness, etc. and I thought some of my studio parents might enjoy a way to share daily successes and challenges with a sympathetic audience. However, I am a late adopter of both social media and smartphones, so I’m not very savvy.
One problem I do know about is: on facebook, the organizer of the private group has to be “friends” with all of the group members, and I prefer not to be fb “friends” with my studio parents for many reasons, including that my fb posts are sometimes political. I thought about creating a separate profile for my studio and using that to befriend my studio parents, but I don’t think business profiles are enabled to host private groups. (correct me if I’m wrong?)
I have found google+ to be really useful for sharing videos taken during lessons. (The files are too big to email.) But like most people, I’m less familiar with and less active on google+ than on fb. I like how google+ lets me choose how I define my relationships with (and what to share with) my various “circles,” which seems promising for what I need, but I don’t even know if a function similar to the fb “private group” function exists on google+. Also, my phone is an android, so I wonder whether iPhone users are even less likely to bother with google+…
I appreciate any thoughts or ideas you all have!
Thanks!

Mengwei said: Aug 7, 2015
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

If you mean a “closed” FB group—you can invite people by their email addresses. You don’t have to have them as FB friends. If you email out the link to your group, parents can request membership for you to approve.

I host my studio parents’ group from my personal profile (which I basically don’t otherwise use anyway). I also have a public “Page” for the studio where I post videos and occasionally links to articles and blogs.

Colleen Lively said: Aug 8, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
8 posts

I set up a separate FB page last summer for my studio. I actually set up a “fake name” (Colleen Lively-Strings) and “fake birthdate” and didn’t complete my profile. Since I have family members and many friends on my personal FB and some political and religious discussions take place, I felt it best to set up a FB page where I just share music info. When new students come to me, I encourage them (students & parents) to “friend” me on the alternate (music only) FB page. I do not seek out the parent or student on FB, I let them seek out my page. I stress that I just “share” positive music stuff. I post reminders of music events, group lessons, etc. I “share” neat music videos from Youtube. I also encourage parents to share photos of their child practicing or performing. I “like” local orchestras so that I can share their posts also.
I am also low-tech, so this works for me. I have 2 local colleagues who also set up a separate FB page just to share music. On the interesting side, when a parent posts something political, I find it interesting and do not “like” or “comment” or “share”, but it actually helps me to make sure that I avoid any potential conversations outside of class that we might possibly disagree on. On the opposite side of that, I was able to help a student learn a new religious piece to perform at their religious ceremony as a result of having seen the mom’s post on FB in their religious attire.

Colleen

Libby Felts said: Aug 10, 2015
Libby FeltsSAA Staff
Forum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
35 posts

Hi Meghan,

You are correct, business profiles (pages) cannot participate in groups.

It is also against Facebook TOS to use a personal profile as a business page. In the last six months, most businesses using Facebook as a profile (not a page) were forced to convert to a page. Facebook is also cracking down on using pseudonyms for profiles. Your mileage may vary where a second profile for your studio activity is concerned.

Mengwei is correct that you do not have to “friend” people to add them to a group, but be prepared to receive friend requests once everyone is participating in the group. You can manipulate privacy settings on your Facebook account and add friends to “Lists” such as “Acquaintances” or you can create a custom list for studio families. Then, when you post on Facebook, you can select privacy settings from the audience drop-down menu in the status bar. If you select “Custom,” you can choose to share a post with Friends except those who are a member of the specific list.

This is unwieldy and confusing and requires a lot of energy input on your part, and it may not hide other activities—such as posting on a friend’s status who allows their posts to be seen by the public or friends of friends, or your posts interacting with a Page (commenting on an article posted by your local newspaper, for example). You could also make the group but have a policy that you do not friend studio families.

Having a Facebook page for your business is great for marketing and building an audience, but it does require effort to build and retain an audience. It’s not for everyone. Also keep in mind legal issues (parental consent) when sharing pictures and videos of students on Facebook!

I agree that Google+ is not a very popular platform. I don’t think you’re likely to get people to engage where they’re not already active.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Brecklyn Smith Ferrin said: Oct 3, 2015
Brecklyn Smith Ferrin
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Kaysville, UT
28 posts

I have had good success with my Studio Facebook group, my studio parents seem to enjoy it, and it is safe to post videos and pictures of my students there—because it is private, only those I invite can see them.

I have a buffer account that I use to schedule posts to the group a few times a day. I share practice tips, helpful videos of performances or exercises, and shout-outs to students on their birthdays or when they’ve passed off a new piece, etc. Buffer allows me to post regularly without tying me to social media all day. (I do try to respond to parents and students when they post.)

I am FB friends with my studio families, but haven’t had any issues with parents taking offense at my political views or whatever. (I sometimes post vegan or animal rights stuff, which is a turn off to some. They can choose not to follow me, I suppose.)

I have a Business Facebook Page that is more for recruitment. I post some of the same helpful tips there as well as videos of me playing or talking about the violin. (Video uploaded directly to FB does really really well in the newsfeed right now. But it has to be uploaded there, not linked to from youtube. I would just upload in both places if you want to have a youtube presence for your studio.)

I actually get a few new student leads from FB every little while. It’s not super effective—but mostly because I haven’t invested a lot of time or work there.

Alan Duncan said: Oct 3, 2015
Alan Duncan
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
60 posts

As a parent, I’d just give a contrasting viewpoint. There are those of us who decline to use Facebook for varied reasons. By driving more content toward Facebook, you risk alienating small numbers of parents and prospective families who for very valid reasons don’t live in FB’s ecosystem. That said, I’d read a studio teacher’s blog. I do understand that FB might be a marketing or outreach tool; but if our studio began using FB as a primary communication tool, I’m not sure how our family would function in that environment.

Brecklyn Smith Ferrin said: Oct 3, 2015
Brecklyn Smith Ferrin
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Kaysville, UT
28 posts

That is an excellent point, Alan. Facebook is a huge time-suck, and I admire those who can escape its clutches. I think it is best to approach building a studio community from a variety of channels—a blog is an excellent way to do that! (I have a newsletter for parents who aren’t active in the FB group.)

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