Social Media 1-2-3: Do I Really Need This?, MASSAGE MagazineSo you just read your umpteenth article about social media and how businesses are tweeting, pinning, liking, following and QR-tagging themselves all the way to the bank. You wonder how you, as a massage therapist, can get in on this.

Don’t be intimidated. The important thing to remember is social media sites are designed to be figured out. Learning how to use them is easy. Learning how to use them efficiently, professionally, constructively and creatively can be a bit of a challenge.

Social media allows you to put a face with your business name. It helps you stay connected with current clients and can certainly help you network for new clients.

First, let’s go over your options:

  • Twitter: “Who needs a #massage?”
  • Facebook: “I have openings for massage today.”
  • Foursquare: “This is where I give massages.”
  • LinkedIn: “I am good at giving massages.”
  • YouTube: “Watch me give a hot-stone massage.”
  • Yelp: “The massage at (your business name here) was awesome!”
  • Instagram: “This is a nostalgic picture of me giving a massage.”
  • Pinterest: “Check out the fantastic lotion I use for massage.”
  • Spotify: “Listen to my playlist of relaxing music during a massage.”

The key question, of course, is what do you want to put on your social networks? Examples include:

  • Services you offer: Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, facials, craniosacral therapy, etc.
  • Promotions: discounts, limited time offers, holiday specials, etc.
  • Expertise: massage-related articles, benefits of massage, new techniques you are researching.
  • Humor and personality: Clients like to know their therapists. Use social media to let them see who you are aside from massage therapy. Share interesting photos, funny links, and good advice. Just always keep it professional and relatively neutral, as you don’t want to offend clients.
  • Environment and atmosphere: Show off your spa, studio, room or table setup. Let clients see how comfortable and relaxed they will be with you.

Think of this marketing strategy like the DVDs you buy. There’s one DVD that’s the actual movie (this is your practice) and then there’s that extra bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes and extra scenes. This bonus DVD is your social media.

The first rule with social media is to keep it simple. Don’t try to do all of them; just pick a few and do them well. Keep up with regular updates and build a following.

Start with Facebook. It’s the most popular of all social media, and you likely have a presence on it and an idea of how to use it. Ultimately, it will probably be the most useful social media site for all the things you may want to talk about. Make sure to create a business Facebook page and not use your personal page for both.

LinkedIn is another good place for you to connect with other therapists, and can serve as a great resource and community to help answer questions about the industry.

As a business, you also want to have a Yelp page. Clients want to see reviews, and more businesses are getting listed there.

Remember not to spread yourself too thin. There’s no need to have a presence on all social media sites. The important thing is to figure out what works best for you, your practice and your clientele.

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