To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Business Roundtable: Retail Success,” with Cherie Sohnen-Moe, Shelene Taylor, Jean Shea, Lynda Solien-Wolfe, L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., and Kelly Robbins, in the August 2013 issue. Article summary: Practice building experts share information and advice on creating revenue streams in your massage business.

Social Media and Retail Sales, MASSAGE Magazine

In 2006, several years into my massage career, I was running a successful massage clinic with 10 therapists. I wanted to sell more retail to increase my monthly income, particularly passive income, so I decided to buckle down and learn how to market online. I have since created several digital and tangible products for both the general public and massage therapists, which adds to my bottom line every month.

I have used social media platforms, primarily Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, to drive traffic to my websites, exposing thousands of readers to information I have found valuable for myself and my clients.

Social media offers a unique way to build your brand, get more clients and sell more products. Since it is permission-based, it requires special care in keeping the eyes and attention of a reader on what you are posting. Remember, your readers can unfriend, block, hide, unfollow or ignore you at any time.

A key I have found over the years is to be sure to share content that is valuable. By valuable, I mean viewers can apply the information to their lives or it solves a problem for them. We make sure to share information that is helpful to our target market. That way, our readers continue to pay attention to our messages, so that the 10 to 20 percent of posts we use as promotion to a sales page for our products actually reach our audience.

Using social media, particularly to increase the number of touch points with readers and clients, can be an effective marketing strategy. It can build credibility, and it expedites the travel down the know-like-trust-buy pathway. This can help get new clients on the table or increase your retail sales.

Tiffany Blackden (www.professionalmassagenetwork.com) was a massage therapist for 13 years. She started and sold two successful massage practices with her husband, Gary. She shifted her career as a massage therapist in early 2012, to focus on Internet marketing full time, so she could work from home while caring for their children with complicated medical needs.

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