5 Keys for Using Social Media to Drive Real Results for Your Massage Practice, MASSAGE MagazineInvesting in marketing campaigns can be a nerve-racking decision for many massage therapists. As a massage business owner, you know that when you have limited resources, you must be strategic with your budget—and every marketing investment has to pay off. This is why social media campaigns tend to be the first thing cut.

Although free to setup, social media campaigns take valuable staff resources to manage, and the return on investment (ROI) is not as apparent. While launching a social media campaign likely won’t bring customers pouring in your practice tomorrow, when you implement a few social media success strategies, you’ll find it much easier to drive a positive ROI with social media that benefits your organization for years to come.

1. Start small

As you delve into social media, begin with the platforms that can make the biggest difference for you. Usually, for a massage practice, this means two platforms: Facebook and YouTube. Depending on your business model and size, there may be others; however, if you are just getting started, this is a great set to begin with.

  • Facebook: Facebook has a high adoption rate and people of all ages spend time on this social media platform, thus giving you great exposure. There’s also a local focus to Facebook that can be critical for massage clinics.
  • YouTube: Although a bigger investment than other platforms, consumers resonate with different types of content, and YouTube videos tend to pay off in the long term.

2. Don’t be boring

Take a look at your brand, services and website. Although they may represent you as a business, they may not represent the human element and personality of you, your team and your clients. Social media is not only about building a community, but also engaging your customers. Doing that requires you to show some serious personality.

3. Don’t over-invest

As you become familiar with social media, don’t rush and hire a full-time person to manage it. If you have a staff, see if anyone is interested in the additional responsibility. Chances are you have someone personally involved in social media who would love to have this as part of her job description. As your social media presence grows and becomes successful, you can see the business case for utilizing more resources.

4. Look beyond the “likes”

Judging a social media campaign solely by the size of your Facebook likes is a bit backward. Although “likes” can be a good indicator of success, a new Facebook like won’t drive customers into your practice by itself. In order to measure a successful social campaign, here are a few major metrics social media can influence, and that you can measure:

  • Reach, likes and shares. These soft metrics of social media let you know you are keeping your audience engaged.
  • Social referral traffic and goal completions (measured through Google Analytics). You can figure out who is coming from social media and either buying something or filling in a lead form on your website. Many massage clinics also have appointment settings right on their websites, and many of these programs integrate with analytics.
  • Social media leads. Yes, you can drive business leads from prospects straight on social media.

5. Commit to it

Too often, a small- or medium-sized business sets up a Facebook page, goes gung ho with it for a few weeks, and then gets busy and forgets about it. This sends a negative message about the business. To avoid this scenario, start small with activity you can handle and stick with it. Post something daily, or at least weekly, so your company can stay relevant.

Additionally, make sure what you’re doing looks professional by getting custom banners to match your website. If you are not able to afford a designer to make custom designs, you can get something that looks reasonable on sites like Fiverr, or something that looks professional on sites like 99 designs.

Go social

Social media can be one of the best investments you and your company make. The key is to be smart about it and to treat it like any other business activity. So if you’ve attempted social media in the past but let it go by the wayside, or if you haven’t embarked on this journey yet, now is the time to take the plunge and get involved on social media platforms. By following these strategies, you’ll find social media to be a rewarding, enjoyable and profitable endeavor.

Natalie Henley is vice president of client services at Volume 9 Inc. (www.volume9inc.com), which creates custom search marketing campaigns, including a mix of search engine optimization, paid search management, social media, local search marketing and website development. Henley and Volume 9’s enterprising team leverage search marketing into bottom line results.