So you now have a profile page for yourself or your Sensei on Facebook. It's a good idea to now set up a page for the Dojo. The profile page lets you focus on info which gets you or your teacher recognized as a teacher, In other words, use the Personal Profile Page to develop the teacher's reputation.[FONT=Georgia, serif]
[FONT=Georgia, serif]The Dojo page can be used for promoting the activities of the dojo. Because Facebook is a world wide community, this is best used for promoting the events which you dojo holds which you need to promote to the wider community. Anything which you host to which you would like to invite participation from the whole Aikido community, or at least your specific subset of "Friends" within that community, should go on the Dojo Facebook page.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, serif]So, now you have done all that... You now have to develop a following for each of these pages. Make sure that your Profile Page lists your interests on the Info section. Specifically Aikido, perhaps martial arts... Facebook will then "suggest
" Friends you might know. If you don't list Aikido related info on your profile page, Facebook will not be able to suggest Friends which are targeted to your audience.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, serif]When I set up my profile, I spent a lot of time "Friend-ing
" the folks suggested by Facebook. You can classify your friends as well. Yo can have a list for dojo members, a list for local dojo friends, and a list for folks from outside the area. This lets you tailor your messages to the folks you wish to message
. I limited my "Friend-ing
" to people who actually do Aikido. I did not add people with related interests such as other martial arts. The more you focus narrowly on this, the more targeted the suggestions about new Friends Facebook will be. I have only a few family and personal "Friends", just so they can see what I am up to. But the vast majority of my "Friends" are from the Aikido community world wide.[/FONT]
Using this method, I have been able to get my "friends" up over 3300 people connected to my network of Friends. Once you have developed a network of Friends, you can invite folks to follow your Dojo Page. If you have a little dojo which isn't very active in terms of seminars or in terms of doing things of interest to the larger community, you could skip the dojo page. There's no reason to have a ton of folks following your page if you don't do anything interesting and aren't committed to adding new content. Stick with the Profile Page alone if all you want to do is have a place where dojo folks can connect with each other and their teacher. You can set up "Group
" for your dojo members rather than having a Dojo Page.
The only issue with "inviting" Friends
to follow your dojo page is that it will end up being exactly the same folks who are following the profile page. The single best way to get to some serious numbers on one of your Facebook pages is to run a paid ad. I do pay per click ads that are highly targeted. You can specify what interests, what sex, what ages, what languages, etc. For my purposes, I have targeted only Aikido folks but left most of the other elements open to all since I want to reach the largest possible community of Aikido people. Many Aikido people have neglected to actually list Aikido on the info section so I also have targeted martial arts. When someone "friends" me, if they don't look like they do Aikido I don't accept the Friend Request. That way my Friends list s stays highly targeted.
Pay per click ads
are highly effective. I took my page for the Aikido Randori and Weapons Intensives from around 250 people following to over 1900 in about a year. That's 6 times the size of my e-mail list and reaches out far beyond my own organization and personal contacts. Since I run this event twice a year or more every year, it was worth making an extra page just for this event.
The great thing about pay per click is that you get to set a daily budget. You will not ever find that you spent more than you wished to spend. When your daily budget runs out, your ad merely stops showing until the next day when you start over again. So, for one set of ads I run, I have a $3 per day limit, so I will never spend more than $110 / month.
Do make sure that any Page you promote via an ad has updated content that looks like it would be of interest to the folks you are targeting. Otherwise, you are wasting your money. When they click on your link, they need to then be interested enough to hit that "Like
You can have multiple ads
running within that budgeted amount so you can be simultaneously promoting a couple of different pages if you wish. If you wish to build your following more quickly, you need to spend more money. If you keep track of how you are building your following, you can play with different budgets and track how that effects how fast you build. If at $3 / day I am adding 3 - 5 people daily, I can see if spending $4 generates proportionally more. It will right up until you have saturated your target community. At that point, more money will not generate more "Likes". For most of us the Aikido community alone on Facebook is so large that we simply do not have the money to max our pay per clicks out. So, we take the longer more gradual approach.
Using pay per click ads I have been able to get the folks "liking" the Aikido Eastside Dojo Page up to almost 2900 people. I have also been able to get various specialized event pages up to several hundreds of folks, very targeted in their interests. This can be important if you run events, as we do, with teachers from other arts. We host Daito Ryu seminars, Internal Power seminars, Karate seminars and each of these has an overlapping but largely separate community which wishes to follow those pages.
So many dojos would like to be doing more than they do. They'd like to host interesting teachers, have people from outside attend their own teacher's seminars that are in-house events... But they feel restricted because their own dojo membership is too small to support the events they'd like to be holding. By reaching out and making an extended network of connections you can get to the point at which the larger community is supporting your events. The students benefit, the community benefits, the teacher benefits. All it takes is time and a little bit of money, which comes back to you when your events start being really successful.
The generation of seniors in the Aikido community was largely pre-Internet (my generation). Most of the best Aikido teachers out there are only slightly comfortable on-line and many simply have no internet presence beyond a website which a student volunteer may have done. If you are a student of a great teacher, you can really help them and help the dojo by mastering some of these skills. For those folks who aren't perhaps very senior in rank at your dojo and can't contribute by teaching classes... this is a great way to support your teacher. See if whoever runs the dojo finances can spare $100 / month and see what you can do to build your network. It will come back to your eventually.
(Original blog post may be found here