Let’s talk about why social media matters for belly dancers.
I can’t remember the last time I sent someone an email just to chat. I don’t call someone unless I absolutely have to. All of my communication takes place via either text message, face-to-face interactions, or social media. It’s just how it is.
Social Media Has Taken Over
If you’re like me, you remember a time before social media. I spent my teenage years communicating via email and chat rooms. Some of you grew up with just phones instead. How about letters? I had honest to goodness pen pals that I wrote to, with stationary and stamps. It all seems like a lifetime ago now.
Whenever someone is surprised that I respond quickly to something online I joke that it’s because I “live on Facebook”, but it’s practically true. Between managing pages for my social media clients, maintaining my own online presence as a dancer, and talking with my friends, I can spend hours online every day.
And it’s not just about the time I spend there. When I’m planning my weekend, or checking whether I can agree to a performance, I look at my Facebook events first. If your event isn’t on Facebook, it might as well not exist.
Now, not everyone is even on Facebook or other social media. Some people never caught on to it, others may still use some profiles but got fed up with Facebook’s real-name policy. Younger people sometimes spend less time on Facebook because it’s where their parents and other older relatives are, and they want a little more privacy.
That’s why I believe you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. After all, I’ve got this website. I don’t just write long posts on Facebook, instead I write blogs. I want to have something that belongs to me, and something that will still be here if Facebook suddenly closes down tomorrow.
Why All of This Matters
It’s important to reach people where they are. Almost no one reads the classifieds anymore, or looks something up in the Yellow Pages. We use Google or Facebook or some other online platform to find what we’re looking for. We ask our friends online, who then tag the pages we should be following.
If you’re a professional dancer, a dance teacher, a workshop host, or an event organizer, you need to be social media savvy. If you neglect your social media, you lose your audience. If people can’t find the information they need, they’re not going to dig around to find your email or phone number (exception: some people will email or call you to ask questions that are clearly answered online. It’s some subset of Murphy’s Law).
And it’s not enough to just have a website and/or Facebook page. You have to know how to use them. You have to keep them regularly updated. You have to observe online etiquette and best practices so you don’t accidentally stick your foot in your mouth or waste your money on a poorly-thought-out Facebook advertisement.
You Can Do It!
I know it can be hard or overwhelming. Although I’m pretty comfortable with social media, I still always have to learn new things for my job. Getting used to LinkedIn was quite the learning curve, and then I didn’t use it for a few months, and then another client needed my help with it and they had changed everything. I had to learn it all over again, while I was on the phone with my client. How embarrassing!
But you can do it. It just takes a little time and some willingness to sit down and learn. Sometimes you’ll have to ask some questions that will make you feel silly, or spend all day Googling to get an answer, but over time it will get easier.
If all of this sounds overwhelming and you’re not sure how to make use of these tools, I’m here to help! I just published my first Belly Dance Business Academy course! Social Media Presence: How to maintain privacy and authenticity is designed to help you navigate the tricky task of sharing yourself with the world. How do you decide what to post? How do you control who sees it? When should you use a personal profile, fan page, or group on Facebook? Should you use filters on Instagram? What about checking in to places?
So many questions! But I answer all of these and more, and the best part is, I’m also available to answer any questions that come up during the course.
I’m pretty excited to be offering this class, because I’ve had several friends ask me questions all along this same topic, but I knew it was way too niche to be offered at a festival (would you rather learn about shimmies or privacy settings while you’re at an event?). Now you can learn at any hour of the day, in your pajamas, while sipping tea and snuggling your pets, if you want to.
I’m also taking requests for future class topics, so if there are other aspects of social media you’re interested in, just let me know.
FTC Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.