The Business of Tai Chi: Your Online Practice

(Originally published in the Spring 2014 issue of USTCC News)

How could computer technology impact your Tai Chi practice? The online world has something to offer you whether you are a practitioner who simply loves the practice and want to immerse yourself in expanding your knowledge and skill, a Tai Chi instructor trying to expand your reach, an experienced practitioner generous in sharing your knowledge, or some combination of all these. Establishing an online presence gives you opportunities to learn and share information among current and potential Tai Chi practitioners.

I use the internet as a marketing and an educational tool for colleagues, friends, future practitioners, and my own self development. I employ 3 formats: 1) a business website – www.wnctaichiarthritis.com, 2) a business Facebook page, and (3) a personal Facebook page. There are links from the web page to the business Facebook page & vice versa. The online presence helps in creating cohesion with our Tai Chi program, sharing the benefits of Tai Chi with current and potential practitioners, while enhancing the Tai Chi for Health brand and creating an online community among our practitioners.

A business web page allows us to share as much or as little as an individual needs to learn about our Tai Chi for Health programs. It’s a quick referral option when doing a public speaking event. You can even have folks pull out their smart phones during your talk and find the site. Placing your web address on business cards, fliers, or brochures may entice individuals to register for classes once they access the website.

Home page tabs help you navigate quickly to find what you need. We have tabs for information about the program, instructor bios, classes (schedule / locations/ pre-requisites), and resources including links to research, other websites, and videos. Another tab allows you to register for upcoming workshops. We’re hosting Dr. Lam on October 4-5 for Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi, so we have a direct link to register for the workshop on our website. A photo gallery is also available – one picture is worth 1,000 words.

Tabs are also available to contact instructors, register for a series of classes, with a “Log In” for our current students to access handouts for each class. Our web page also includes a 15 minute radio interview for auditory learners on Tai Chi Interventions for arthritis, fall prevention, and Parkinson disease.

It’s important to keep your web page updated on a regular basis. In designing your business website you want to capture your audience’s attention, convey a clear message and focus on differentiation – what distinguishes your Tai Chi program from others.

A business Facebook page can serve the purpose of constantly keeping your program top of mind with those who follow your page and their friends. Encouraging participants to share information on the business Facebook page spreads the word about Tai Chi for Health and the benefits of Tai Chi and your program. Here you can share your favorite blogs, the latest research, pictures, quotes or whatever your followers express interest in. It’s also an option for marketing your classes. By visiting a business’ Facebook page, potential participants can compare options and get a sense of the instructor’s focus as well as find information to enhance their tai chi practice.

Your personal Facebook page can be separate from your business or an extension of your business. Some folks prefer to use a personal page just to keep in touch with family and close friends while other folks chose to expand their personal page to include all acquaintances or some combination of both.

Exploring the web is like mining for gold. You never know when you’ll find exactly what you hoped for. If you’ve been reluctant to harness this technology, I encourage you to explore it.

Anne teaches TCA in Asheville, North Carolina.
www.wnctaichiarthritis.com

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