STEP Studio(“STEP”) is a commercial dance studio based in Singapore catered to beginners. Its target demographic ranges from 15 to 35 years old, largely characterised by students and young working adults. Due to the nature of beginner-level classes, STEP appeals highly to casual dancers, who tend to attend class on an irregular, spontaneous basis. Serious dancers may be more dedicated, but are less likely to stay loyal to STEP as other studios present more of a challenge. Thus, STEP’s customer base is characterised by a high turnover of new, inexperienced dancers.
At this point, I wish to clarify that studio loyalty does not equate to customer retention. For example, a casual student attends classes only at STEP. However, she/he comes for classes only once every two months. Success of retaining the customer, would be attending classes regularly, at least once a month. This is not a phenomenon unique to STEP but across other dance studios due to the prioritisation of work over such pursuits.
Thus, in view of the weak customer retention and the competition faced by other studios, my report seeks to evaluate its social media strategy and address how STEP can improve its branding strategy to differentiate itself from its other studios and increase the appeal of its services.
Instagram is the most active platform in terms of frequency of posts. Posts range from 15-second videos of class choreographies, schedule updates to publicity for commercial event appearances. On the other hand, STEP’s Facebook page is used to make announcements for major events such as recital auditions, while the class videos on its YouTube page allow students to monitor their dancing.
These platforms help to increase STEP’s brand awareness through hash tags such as #dancesg and the practice of tagging its instructors and students. In addition, they help to remove the informational barrier of not knowing what to expect for people who have no danced before but wish to sign up for classes.
Analysis of STEP’s Social Media Strategy
In comparison to more established dance studios such as O School, STEP stands out in its centralised social media marketing strategy and a customer-centric approach. However, there are also limitations. Outreach is restricted to existing dancers due to the specialised interest of wanting to learn how to dance. Engagement in terms of likes and shares is also poor, which might impact the brand’s visibility in light of Instagram’s new feature of showing posts that are based on users’ preferences. This presents a need to find other ways to increase its brand awareness, beyond the dance community.
Objective: To increase mass appeal of STEP Studio as an outlet for recreational dance.
As recreational dance is encapsulated by the idea of having fun, the hashtag campaign #dancelor seeks to change people’s misconceptions of dance lessons as a stressful process and increase the appeal of dance as a fun leisure activity. This will in turn strengthen the appeal for STEP’s classes.
Using the hashtag #dancelor, users are invited to post a photo of them dancing in unconventional places, tag STEP’s Instagram account and include a short caption starting with “I dance because…” Entries submitted by STEP students will be reposted on STEP’s Instagram with comments about their growth after joining the studio. After a month, the five most creative entries from the campaign will stand to win a STEP T-shirt, free classes for a month and an opportunity to participate in a concept video that will be uploaded on YouTube. Based on the popularity of its previous video, “The Singapore Bus Stop”, this video will be publicised as the continuation, featuring STEP instructors and the winners dancing to a choreographed piece with strangers at bus stops across the island.
With STEP at the forefront of this light-hearted dance campaign, its identity as a fun studio passionate about dance will be strengthened. By shaping STEP’s image to be one that is attractive to recreational dancers, it will thus be able to differentiate itself from its competitors to ensure the long term sustainability of its operations.