Local Case Studies: Social Media for Small Businesses in the Time of COVID19 – Part I: Yoga & Fitness Studios

Hi, hi, hi!

The outpouring of support for (and from!) our small businesses in our communities is impressive and beautiful. Small businesses of all kinds have taken to creating and providing content online as a way to continue to serve their people — their customers, clients, patients and colleagues. 

Here are just a few awesome examples from my own life. Shout out to Royal Oak, Michigan!

The beauty of small biz is how close they are to their communities. Which means, they are our neighbors and their biz models all differ, so they can’t and shouldn’t do the same things. We’re only here to admire these folks’ creativity, resilience and work ethic.

So let’s get to it! Today I’m inspired by the fact I signed up for a 6am yoga class… in another Michigan city about 55 minutes away. But let’s start in my neck of the woods.

  • Nafas Fitness is a local dance, yoga and fitness studio. I’ve been going (to use the term loosely…) there since I moved to Royal Oak, and their classes are always full because they are that good.In the Times of COVID19: They are using their Facebook page to post videos of TABATA, ZUMBA, yoga and barre routines — and you can just see how it’s keeping their large community of Nafas-lovers happy & connected.

So happy you are going live. I have not been able to come regularly since (…) Never giving up my membership!

This is amazing. Please unfreeze my account no matter how long the physical studio has to be closed, even online only it’s still the best deal in town!

What’s good? They are providing steady and consistent content that helps keep us healthy, which is a great way to continue to build their audience. Everyone going stir-crazy is looking for ways to stay healthy and exercise without going to the gym or studio. But the best part is how they execute tit — all the videos and social copy is super Nafas — bright, happy, energetic and electric.  

The content even mimics the thing we all love about Nafas: the range of their instructors. Having a Nafas membership means access to yoga, zumba, tabata, barre, bellydance, pilates, bootcamps, and they offer these free video routines in all that.

In fact, I’m starting to get nervous that they won’t have room when we go back—I buy classes by 5s and 10s—so I’m may even purchase a monthly membership just to make sure!

  • Detroit Yoga has a totally different vibe from Nafas. It’s a small, serious studio for dedicated practice owned and run by Jason. I honestly just joined a few months ago to try Ashtanga yoga for the first time, so I hadn’t gotten very far yet!In the Times of COVID19: But this studio also consists of online classes through Patreon even before all this craziness, which provides Jason an archive of content that he can share as he needs to. After receiving a video as an in-person student during one his email updates, I decided to purchase more online classes on Patreon.

What’s good? Detroit Yoga in-person classes require a 6-month commitment of attending at least 2 times a week. (But why, Cara, I wouldn’t expect that of you… that’s a different post!)

There are many types of exercise that are built on consistent practice and inspired dedication to learning all the details. It’s like learning a new language; it’s a skill you build and take with you, that you’re meant to practice on your own as you take what you learn in class and try to remember it for next.

Then COVID19 interrupted and locked us out the classroom. So hearing directly from our teacher with an update is exactly what’s needed — simple, clear connection

He followed up minutes later with an email saying someone had requested recordings of classes, and sent us one with the promise of more to come. That’s an immediate relief when you’re looking for ways to handle The Waiting. It makes a big difference too to know that there’s more on its way, because it sets expectations.

But until then… what was that about yoga at 6am?

  • Have you heard of the MindBody? It’s this awesome app that many studios use to manage their bookings.In the Time of COVID19: As I wait to get back to in-person classes, there is a silver lining—there are studios out there that are holding classes online. Some of these studios aren’t even typically online; they are doing this in order to keep their businesses afloat and continue to connect with students!

What’s good? From the consumer perspective, you can try different classes and instructors out… some of whom you might never have tried because their class was at a funky time or you’d never drive out there anyway. (Hence, taking classes from instructors and studios in other cities.)

But since I’m working remotely, I am in need of scheduled breaks. And since I’m incredibly driven by peer pressure, paying (often a reduced) fee for an online class that I can join with other people who are also putting themselves in the class at a specific time is motivating.

These are factors that I hope more studios and teachers are able to use to find new people to join them. Even temporarily, that can fill seats for now, and when we return to normal social distance, have a stronger online reputation and healthier audience.

P.S. Speaking of… does anyone have any recommendations? 🙂  I like yoga, pilates and Zumba. I don’t care if I can’t outrun the apocalyptic zombies, I just wanna be limber.

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