Are you fed up with trying to figure out how to gain some visibility for your yoga content on Instagram? It’s so frustrating when you put your heart into a caption, or spend days on a graphic only to get a handful of likes.
After trial and much error, error and more error, I have developed a checklist for hitting the mark with yoga posts on Instagram more often. Is it 100%? Is there a specific template to use? No, and I doubt this exists. But if you’re trying to make progress with your small no-budget yoga business, this three-question checklist is pretty useful.
How I know this
I’ve been a professional writer and a yoga student for more than 20 years. After a severe case of depression and anxiety, I decided to go all in and become a trauma-informed yoga teacher. Now I specialize in digital communications for yoga teachers and wellness professionals.
That’s the short version. In the longer version I had to re-train and re-think all the skills I’d gained from writing print articles about financial services and the food industry to help my yoga clients gain visibility in digital spaces – with no budget!
This itty-bitty simple checklist is the result of three years of mostly failures and occasional wild successes. If you’re a yoga teacher trying to build a following on Instagram, save yourself three years, and start here.
Ask Yourself Three Questions
When you’re trying to think up some great yoga content for Instagram, you have to think of three things
- Could people enjoy it without reading the caption?
- Would they share it with their friends, even if they didn’t want to register for your class or make an appointment?
- Is it helpful, useful, or inspiring?
Over a few years of trial and error on Instagram, I learned that this checklist would ensure my yoga content would reach as many people as possible. More reach means more people see your post. Honestly, the majority are still going to scroll past it without bothering to like it, read the caption or engage with you.
Why care about “reach”?
Many people will tell you that engagement trumps reach, and they’re right. But reach is still important. People can’t engage with your yoga content if they don’t see it.
The other reason reach is important is because we are always trying to please the algorithm. Once Instagram observes that one of your posts is popular, it may assume your next yoga post will be popular too. So your next post gets a headstart, because Instagram shows it to more people right off the bat. (This is a simplified explanation. There are other factors too, clearly.)
Let’s dive into the Yoga Content for Instagram Checklist
- Enjoyable without the caption?
In other words, is your post like-able on a fast scroll?
Your post needs to warrant a Like on face value – no deep thought (beyond working out a pun) and no caption required. I call this the cute factor.
It sounds shallow, and to some extent it is. But here’s why you need to appeal at first glance.
Your caption has no power here
Lots of people are scrolling fast on Instagram, never reading a caption, no matter how great the post.
So even if you’ve written pure poetry in your caption, even if it solves the deep questions of the universe, even if it’s comedy gold, the vast majority of people will never know it. Nothing will make them read the caption. If they wanted to read captions, they’d read a book. (Hmmm. Maybe you should write a book.)
Why care about chronic scrollers?
I don’t care about shallow Likes, you might be thinking. If they’re not signing up for my classes anyway, why do I care about them at all?
The reason is reach. The shallow Likers are not putting money in your bank account. But they are helping you deliver your message to more people. If only 1 in 100 ever clicks through to your website, then you need 700 views to get 7 people in your digital door. An easy way to get more views is to make sure your post passes the basic Like test: does it make sense and give a tiny hit of joy at first glance? If yes, move on to number 2 on the checklist.
- Do people want to share it with their friends?
In other words, does it look like an ad? Because people don’t share ads.
You may be thinking of ads you’ve seen that are funny or thought provoking. Maybe you “Like” ads that show clothes or wallpaper or tech equipment you want to buy, simply because you want the algorithm to send you more like that.
I totally agree – some ads are great. I may share one that is cleverly teaching me something if I like the message. But I never share an ad where the product is obvious. Maybe it’s my anti-consumerist ethos, but sharing product posts just seems like I’m showing off something I’m planning to purchase. And that’s too close to showing off money and privilege. (For me. It may land differently for you.)
Generally, I don’t share posts with logos either. Because I feel like before I can share, I need to investigate the company and ensure it’s not problematic.
Lots of people think the same
Now this is fairly anecdotal evidence, you may be thinking. Maybe everybody isn’t like you, Wendy.
To that I say: have you ever tried to name a baby? (Or a yoga business?) You think you’re so clever and original, carefully hoarding the perfect rarely used name for your precious baby. And then one day, you discover that name on a Top 10 list and realize you’re actually a demographic. Somehow everyone in your age group has been hoarding the same name.
How do you make an ad that doesn’t look like an ad?
Okay, Smarty Pants, you may be thinking. But I’m building a business here. I need to promote my classes and products.
The truth is that Social Media isn’t the best place for ads, unless you’re paying for them. People come to Instagram to be entertained, informed, and to feel connection. We’re scrolling for a hit of dopamine, not a Hatha yoga class on Tuesday at 4pm.
People tend to share posts that represent their own opinions. Instead of having to write their own manifesto, or create their own graphic, your post is doing the job for them.
Or they share posts that made them chuckle. And they want to be responsible for making their friends chuckle too.
Or they learned something useful, and they want to help their friends and followers learn something useful too.
If sharing your post could make someone appear funny, wise or helpful, they’re more likely to share it.
- Is your post entertaining, useful or inspiring?
If you can answer ‘Yes’ to this question, you’ll get more people “saving” your posts. The algorithm rewards you for “Saves.”
If you want people to save your posts, the posts need to be so entertaining, useful or comforting that they just have to read them again.
For example, you could share a way for people with bad backs to do Sun Salutations. You might be tempted to start them off, and then tell them they need to attend your class or subscribe to your newsletter to get the rest.
People won’t save half a tip. Half a tip is useless. Or half of an inspiring quote. They need a whole, complete nutshell of inspiration or information that they can act on immediately. Or…in a few days when they have more time. Hence, they save your post for later. Yay!
The Checklist in a Nutshell
There are endless ways to design a post about meditation. Just as there are endless ways to explain meditation in person to students or clients. If you want your posts to reach more people, raising your profile as a yoga teacher, design in such a way to get more Likes, Saves, and Shares.
When you’re planning an Instagram post for potential yoga students, ask yourself three questions:
- Is it likeable to people on a fast scroll who don’t read captions?
- Does it look like an ad?
- Is the caption helpful, useful or inspiring?