Not everyone loves to write. In fact, for many massage therapists, writing is a tedious, sometimes necessary, and usually underappreciated task. Even for those who like to write, finding the time and energy to concoct coherent thoughts and weave them into fabulous prose can be cumbersome.
The reality is, there are sheets to wash, books to manage, bills to pay, lotions to order, and yes, clients to massage. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a good writer to look like one on social media.
First, get on social media (read “Social Media 1-2-3: Do I Really Need This?“). Next, get the right content for the right network (read “4 Ways to Leverage Your Massage Business on Social Media“), and then follow these few simple rules:
• Interesting trumps length—every time.
Nothing is more excruciating than seeing a Facebook post that includes 10 to 20 lines of text. Admit it, you don’t read those. So don’t write them either.
Remember, something short, clever and interesting is going to have much more impact than three paragraphs of great information no one reads.
Here are some rules of thumb for how long an individual post should be within each social network:
Facebook: 80 to 100 characters max (generally 20 words or less).
Researchers found that clicks on posts go up 60 percent if the length is 80 characters or less. That’s a big increase in traffic. Here’s a 74-character example:
Half-price massage on St. Patty’s Day to anyone with an Irish name! Book a massage today.
With Facebook’s improved timeline, images are even more important, so attach pictures, graphics, quotes—anything your clients will like.
Twitter: 120 characters.
Twitter does a lot of the work for you by counting and limiting posts to 140 characters. But if you want to have a greater chance of being retweeted, write only 120 characters, allowing 20 characters for the “RT @(Twitter handle)” to be added.
LinkedIn and Google+ (discussions): 1 to 3 sentences.
There is no limit by the networks, but your peers will tune out if you go on too long. Keep discussion questions to one sentence and limit your responses to three short sentences.
LinkedIn and Google+ (posts on your page): 1 to 2 sentences, 25 words or less.
Follow the same principle as Facebook posts. These are just short introductions to the content you posted—articles, photos, videos, etc. Additionally, it is generally best to post some content and not just your own commentary.
Pinterest: 15 words or less with your pins.
This is a great time to practice your advertising and marketing skills by rewriting whatever was included with the image or content you are pinning. Think of your favorite slogan for a product and aim for a phrase that would attract someone to your photo, business promotion or product sales.
• Think headlines and slogans
Write your posts with your readers’ best interests and needs in mind. What about your product or service will appeal to them immediately? Marketers have this down to a science, for example:
- How to shave off 10 pounds in 2 weeks
- Need more clients? Read these marketing tips
- Back hurt from shoveling all that snow? Come in for a massage!
Unfortunately a lot of posts on social media reflect our natural tendency toward stream-of-consciousness writing, so after a long introduction, followers finally see there is something in it for them if they get that far—which they usually don’t.
• Stop, edit, post
As tempting as it is to punch out a comment, hit send and go, avoid it. Think about what you want to say. Read it after you’ve written it. Think about how you could edit it to be shorter, clearer or more clever.
Edit; then post. The great thing about social media is that it is instantaneous. The awful thing about social media is that it is instantaneous.
Although there are some opportunities to delete a post, we often don’t realize a need for it until several—or several hundred—people have already read it. Aim to always be professional with any post, and edit it before putting it out there. It will save many embarrassing posts you wish you had back.
• To blog or not to blog?
Yes, blog. A recent report showed that company blogs do more for communicating with clients than social media posts when it comes to purchasing products and services, so start blogging. Remember, you don’t have to be brilliant and don’t have to write a lot (refer to the section “Interesting trumps length—every time” at the beginning of this article).
What you need to be is authentic. Share some insights with your clients about health, wellness, massage, peace, good recipes, interesting ideas—whatever interests you. The main thing is to just share and do it briefly (less than 500 words). Everyone appreciates brevity.
Mark Volkmann, a practicing massage therapist in another life, is founder and CEO of MassageBook, a free Web solution helping massage therapists create high-quality websites with local search engine optimization and social networking built into the design. Knowing how hard it is to start and maintain a massage practice, he is interested in helping therapists do it the easy way. For more information, visit MassageBook.com.