with contributions from Jennifer Whalen

Social Media Success: Don't Just Attract Followers, Engage Them, MASSAGE MagazineIn order to keep your massage clients engaged via social networking, you must create an emotional bond to keep their attention. The average client is exposed to hundreds of messages every day on the computer, phone and TV. The saturation of messages does not help your advertising brand, so in order to be successful in the social media market, you must engage the client.

As a small business owner, you can generate engagement with your target market by implementing some creative strategies within your practice.

1. Create great content. Discuss the benefits of massage for overall wellness, as well as techniques you utilize for specific ailments or overall stress relief. In this down economy, you need to let your clients know why they still need to invest in massage and bodywork.

2. Consider adding video. The average consumer responds to video better than written content. You could post a series of videos on frequently asked questions, or talk about the services your practice offers. The options are endless.

3. Add humor to get clients laughing. Sometimes sharing a funny video or phrase creates engagement and provokes people to share it with their Facebook friends or retweet it to their Twitter followers—which enhances the reach of your practice.

4. Look at your competition. Look for the top 10 competitors you have in social media. Keep an eye on what they are posting and how many followers they have. Develop your content in a more interesting and out-of-the-box way from what they are doing. Do it faster, more clever and better.

5. Look for other companies that are a good fit to team up with. Make an agreement to swap content on each other sites, so you can take advantage of co-marketing. This could be another manufacturer or service that complements your business. Take advantage of the communities that have already been built and cross-pollinate them through your posts.

6. If you have a staff you oversee, look to employees who may be on the pulse of social media. Put them in charge of reporting to you once a week about what the buzz is in social media. Have them come up with different ideas, promotions or creative posts of interest and test them out in the market.

All of the content-rich aspects of social media will attract—but more importantly, keep—your customers engaged with your brand. Standing out in the marketplace is becoming more important, as competition is always knocking at the social media door. Do it better, be more nimble and watch as your customers stick around to see what you have to offer.

Genae Girard is a speaker, author and entrepreneur. She is the founder of www.BeyondtheBoobieTrap.com, an online social media tribe of more than 23,000 breast cancer survivors, and regularly speaks on the topics of women in leadership and building a tribe. She is also the author of Off the Rack: Chronicles of a Thirty-Something, Single, Breast Cancer Survivor. For inquiries, email: info@BeyondtheBoobieTrap.com or call (512) 796-1618.

Jennifer Whalen is MASSAGE Magazine’s managing editor (www.massagemag.com).