To complement “3 Little Questions to Help Brand Your Practice” in the August 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: If your social media efforts aren’t boosting your massage business, there are several strategies you can use to increase your following and build a stronger relationship with your audience.
If you’re like many massage therapists, you already use social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, to market your practice. How effective is your marketing via these channels? Here are some symptoms your social strategy may be in need of an overhaul:
- You look at the pages of other practices in your area and see hundreds, maybe thousands, of followers, and you only have a few dozen;
- You post to social media often, but you rarely get many comments, likes or shares;
- You hardly ever post to social media.
If your practice’s social media presence isn’t doing much for your business, here’s how you can help turn things around.
Define your social media goals
The first step to social media success is to define your goals in conjunction with your overall marketing and branding strategy. If your page is new, or just doesn’t have very many followers or fans, a logical first step is to boost the number of people who follow you, by a certain number or percentage, every week or month.
Establish a realistic number by reviewing your website traffic. For example, if you drive approximately 100 new visitors to your website each month, it’s realistic to set 10 new social media followers, a 10 percent increase, as a monthly goal. (You can increase your goals each month as you gain more followers.)
If you don’t post frequently to your social channels, another goal might be to commit to posting a set number of times per week, per channel; once per day, per site, for example. If you do post or share frequently but don’t see much activity, you might even want to reduce the number of times you post, and focus on quality rather than quantity.
Creating and sharing original content—posts on your own blog—should also be one of your goals. You might set a goal of writing one quality, original post per month. This will give you new material to share with your audience, and also help establish you as an expert in your field.
Use social tools appropriately
Another good goal is to define each method of connecting with your audience, determining the best social media tool based upon the type of content. For example, you might decide to use Twitter for sharing shorter content, such as links to deals and discounts; Facebook for sharing articles on health and wellness your clients might find helpful; and your own blog to write longer, original content on the benefits of massage therapy.
You can share links to your own blog posts across all your social media channels, as long as you tailor your posts to work well on each network. For example, you would add an eye-catching, appropriately sized photo before posting to Pinterest or Instagram.
Different networks also have different customs surrounding details such as how often to post or whether to include hashtags in posts. Spend some time observing how people in your audience use the different sites where you have pages for your practice, and act accordingly.
Be social, not sales-y
Think about your own preferences as a consumer. Would you prefer for someone to take an interest in you—or skip right to the sales pitch?
Sales and marketing is like a dance; as the salesperson you move to the left in a tango and hope your partners, potential clients, follow. The best way to entice them to follow your lead is to get to know them as individuals.
Take some time to find out what kinds of hobbies or activities your clients enjoy. What are they interested in, and how can you use those interests to connect with them? For instance, if many of your clients are senior citizens, topics they think about might include health insurance, pensions, vacation homes or grandchildren. Posting and talking about common interests with your massage clients helps you engage with them on a personal level. You can also consider specific health issues they might face, such as osteoarthritis or cancer treatment, and build some posts around the topic of ways massage therapy might be able to help.
Don’t just post to social media and move on. Once you post your latest and greatest tweet or blog, get ready to interact with your fans and followers. As you receive feedback in the form of likes, re-tweets or comments from fans, talk to them and have fun with them—show that you are a human being and not a bot.
For example, say you post a link to an article about island paradise vacation homes on Facebook, and an audience member replies and says, “I’m moving there next week.” Comment back. Or maybe you post an article about how massage therapy can help ease low-back pain, and a potential client asks a question. Post a reply.
In both cases, you have connected with your audience, and in the second possibly even gained a new future client. When other users see you are an active participant on social media, they will be more likely to jump into the conversation and engage with your content by liking and sharing it.
Measure your success
Finally, you want to measure your social engagement efforts. Determine if you met the social media goals you set. Were you able to gain more fans on Facebook? Did you post more often (or less often, with higher quality in mind)? Did you create original content? Did you connect with fans? Note your number of likes, shares, followers or fans, and any other numbers you can use to compare your pages’ performance now and in the future. After evaluating, establish goals for the next period.
Feel the love
You can gauge how well you are doing on social media by analyzing many factors, but the most important thing to remember about this method of marketing is that it is about building relationships—not constantly promoting yourself and your practice.
By using social media to build a relationship with your audience, you strengthen their trust in you, as well as their sense that you are an expert in the field of massage therapy who can help them, and increase the likelihood they will eventually become clients.
Thousands of brands compete every second of every day for your clients’ and potential clients’ attention; make your practice stand out by using social media to strengthen and deepen those relationships, and connect with your clientele on a personal level. It might take time, but your efforts will convert to more sales in the long run.
About the Author
Kris Briscoe is a national marketing expert and has experience working with a base of 20,000 small businesses throughout the U.S. She earned her master’s degree in Internet marketing, and teaches. She is passionate about Internet marketing. She wrote “3 Little Questions to Help Brand Your Practice” for MASSAGE Magazine’s August 2015 issue.