Social Media for Dance Studios – The Bad and The Ugly

Day 45 in our 90-Day Social Media Success Challenge for Dance Studios

Yesterday I wrote a blog post entitled, “What I Love About Social Media for Dance Studios”, which highlighted some of my wonderful experiences with meeting people through social media, and some of the great benefits for dance studio owners. That was the “good” side of social media. So for today’s post, it only made sense for me to address the flip side of all that social media love, and discuss the bad, and the ugly side of social media. So here goes…

What I strongly dislike about social media for dance studios is, toxic people. We all know them. Negative people, jealous people, people who walk around with a chip on their shoulder, people who claim to be someone they’re not. You know, those people who can’t ever be happy for someone else. The type of people who copy your ideas, and then claim them as their own, or who pretend to be your friend, your supporter, or on your team, when all the while they are just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Those people who talk about you behind your back to others, who spread rumors about you, who are cowards, and hide behind other people, or their computer, while they build a campaign against you for no good reason. Well, these people are a reality in our everyday lives, and they are very much a reality in social media for dance studios as well.

As I’ve said many times before, social media is real-life. So if there are issues that you deal with in real-life, there’s a good chance that you will come across them in social media as well. The thing about social media is that, it’s the real-world, but it’s also a virtual world. So it is easier for people to hide, to lie, to create alternate personalities, and also spread negativity and hate at the speed of a forest fire. Consequently, you have to be very aware of this, and be very careful when interacting with people, building relationships online, and also promoting your business.

I’ve personally lived through, and heard many social media horror stories, and it’s all very real. There was a dance forum discussion gone terribly badly, then a person pretending to be a prominent and knowledgeable figure in the dance world, only to later admit online in a video, that they are in fact a fraud. I’ve even experienced people perpetrating as if they have a legitimate dance business, yet they hide behind their computer, and have no legitimate proof that they are who they say they are, and no actual business either. There have been dance studio owners who have deleted their Facebook pages because some students were using it as a way to harass or bully other students. The list goes on and on. Now this may all sound a little scary, but it’s a reality that needs to be addressed, and I wouldn’t be being truthful with you if I pretended like this bad and ugly side of social media doesn’t really exist.

So, on that note, there are three types of people you need to look out for, and try to avoid in social media for your dance studio.

1) Haters – People who are jealous of you, have a chip on their shoulder, want nothing but bad things for you, talk bad about you, try to destroy anything you do, try to get close to you and gather information about you, only so that they can somehow use it against you later. People who constantly send negative energy your way whether directly or indirectly, pretend to be your friend or supporter, but are in fact jealous of you, and dislike you for no good reason. Toxic People.

2) Imitators – People that don’t have the confidence or the know-how to be creative and come up with ideas of their own, so they try to steal yours, and pretend that they are the originator. They will take what you’ve done and reword or refashion it, to try to pull it off as their own work or idea. Or even worse, they take your exact words, idea, or strategy, and pretend to be the creator of it, in their own small circle.

3) Perpetrators – People who lie about who they are, whether directly or indirectly. They may tell a partial truth about their background and experience, but it’s not the whole truth. They forget to mention that the things they are claiming are 5, 10, or 20 years old. They forget to mention that, they were only affiliated with a certain organization or position, and never really held a particular title themselves. They have no legitimate business, track record, or real-life profile that can validate who they claim to be online. They may not have real pictures of themselves anywhere on any of their social media profiles or pages. They speak badly about others as a way of “warning” you about the snakes that exist in the social media world, only to distract you from themselves, the real snake.

You may be frightened at this point by this very unpleasant side of social media, and be wondering, “How do I deal with this? What do I do when I find myself in the middle of this type of situation?”.

1. The first thing that I would suggest is to read my article, “5 Ways to Overcome Negativity”. This article will give you specific steps to take when dealing with these types of people and situations.

2. In addition to that, my advice is to always stay on the offensive. You don’t want to get into a back and forth battle with anyone online, especially taking into consideration that your social media updates are tracked by search engines. When you can ignore it, do so. Remove those people from your social media accounts, delete them, block them, do whatever you have to do to separate yourself from them. At the same time, as a business owner, you need to track and be aware of what is being said about your brand/dance studio at all times. I recommend using Google Alerts. That way, if something does come up that needs to be addressed, you are aware of it.

3. I would also recommend being proactive in what I call the “two most important aspects of social media for dance studios”. Watch this video to find out what I mean, and why these are the two most important aspects of social media.

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Just remember that, as long as you are being honest and genuine about who you are, what your dance studio is all about, and cultivating real relationships with your fans and followers, the truth will always prevail. You will find that your supporters will always rally around you. Once you’ve built that trust level within your social media relationships, your fans, friends, and followers, will always believe you over anyone else’s negative claims. I would even go so far as to say that, you should reach out to your social media contacts when faced with challenges such as these, and put them out on the table. Your true supporters will be happy to encourage you, lift you up, and remind you of all the great reasons you got involved in social media for your dance studio in the first place.

Please do not let this article discourage you in any way. The benefits of social media well outweigh the negative aspects. It’s no different from some of the challenges that you face as a dance studio owner. You deal with some difficult people and situations at times, but when you look at your happy students, you see their growth, their confidence, and the support from the moms and dads at your studio, it reminds you of why you do what you do. My philosophy is to always focus on the positive. That’s where you should invest your time and energy. Which is why out of our 90-day challenge, this will be the only article addressing this negative side of social media. We’ve acknowledged it, and now we will move on to bigger and better things.

By the way, if you haven’t submitted your dance studio’s social media success story yet, do it today, and be featured on this blog.

Be sure to join our online social media success resource center for dance studios, Exclusive tips, tools, and strategies for promoting your dance studio through social media will be available exclusively to the members of this site in July 2010.

Have you had a negative experience in social media for your dance studio or business? Please share your story and leave a comment. I’d love to hear all about it.

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