Social media is an effective way to stay in touch with customers and to build your brand. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all valuable social platforms that every massage therapist should be using by now.

This article will look at the social platform that hasn’t traditionally received its share of attention: Instagram and specifically marketing with Instagram Stories.

Instagram has more than 25 million business profiles worldwide, and those brands jumped on the Instagram Stories train almost immediately. Not only are one-third of all stories shared from businesses, but 2 million advertisers use Stories to share their brand and drive results worldwide, according to Instagram data.

If you’ve yet to try Instagram Stories, now’s the time to give it a go. Your followers want to see your content in their stories feed, and it’s a great opportunity for you to promote your brand.

While your feed is a great place to share daily posts, Stories allows you to engage face to face while showing a more personal side of your brand—whether you a shot of your massage session room or a video of you performing a technique.

Here are a few tips if you’re new to Instagram stories. Use them to grow your brand and build a thriving business.

1. Post Often

I tell my clients to post at least three to five times each day, preferably more. While it may seem like a lofty task with the many other things on your plate, you’ll find that stories will just become a part of your day-to-day life. As you start using them more, you’ll notice yourself thinking, “Oh, let me take a picture of this for stories.” or “Let me do a quick video of this for my story.”

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ways to use Stories throughout the day:

• Share pictures or video of your morning routine. As health professional, clients and followers love to know what you put in and on your body.

• Share meditations or mental health practices you’re loving. Take a picture of your journal right before you dive in, for example.

• Share client testimonials (more on this in a minute).

• Share about any specials you’re offering with a fun video talking about the value.

• Share new blog posts. DU Recorder is a great app for recording a screen scroll. In this case, you could scroll through the article to entire followers to go read it.

As you use this Instagram feature more, you’ll figure out how it fits authentically in your life and brand. Be sure to repost any stories you’re tagged in as well. You’ll get a notification that that allows you to post to your Instagram Story with just one click—you can customize the story post with the same features you’d normally use, like GIFs or text.

Pro tip: Post throughout the day, not all at once, so you stay at the top of your followers’ stories feeds. Unless the post is a specific series, try to put at least an hour between each one.

2. Go Live With Teachable Moments

Instagram Stories serves as a valuable tool for educating your followers. A lot of brands go live for a short workshop or learning opportunity. For example, Jennifer of Natural Wellness Tips often goes live to share about new oils she’s using. She’ll explain why she loves them, how they work, and why they’d be valuable for her followers as well.

Another great example comes from Stephanie of Divine Soul Journey. She does live card readings for her followers; they request to have their cards read in the comments of the video and she connects with them virtually and then does the reading.

There are many ways you can provide similar value to your followers, while showing your expertise, which helps to grow your brand. Here are a few ideas for live stories topics:

  • How often to get a massage and why.
  • The many benefits of massage.
  • Meridian points on the body and how they guide you.
  • How to do self massage properly.
  • Reasons to seek massage.
  • How massage helps heal X or Y.

When choosing topics, hone in on your expertise and value. If you specialize in working with prenatal patients, your focus should be on topics for the mom-to-be audience.

Pro tip: Promote your live video before it happens to build buzz and drive as many viewers as possible. You can promote this in a few stories in the days leading up and even in a regular feed post.

3. Feature Client Testimonials on the Fly

Testimonials can feel stiff and inauthentic, which makes them less valuable. Instead of risking someone getting the wrong impression of your brand, use stories to get client testimonials on the fly.

These are done in real-time, rather than pre-recorded or written in via email, so you can get the true emotion behind their feelings. Here are a few ways to do that.

• Record clients immediately following a session, after they have exited the session room (and after you have obtained permission, of course) and ask, “How were you feeling before your sessions, and how are you feeling now?”

• Take a photo with your client and add their on-the-spot testimonial as text on the image. 

• Ask clients to give a video recommendation post-massage. (“I highly recommend Sarah. My back pain has almost completely gone away in just a few weeks.”)

Because this is Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about being too formal. A featured testimonial with a picture could be as simple as, “I feel so much more relaxed now.”

However, if you don’t feel comfortable asking customers to share their insights right then and there, you can ask them to share and tag you on their own story later. When you’re mentioned, you’ll get a notification and can share on your Instagram Story too. In this case, the testimonial could be video or text.

For example, check out this recent testimonial from a client of mine. Honey Yoga. While it’s funny—which is perfectly on brand for them—it was a fun way to show how my clients take my advice. I started my Instagram Story with a video about why I loved what they had to say, and then shared the various pieces of their story:

Pro tip: Offer a small bonus for clients who share about your services on their Instagram Stories. Give an extra 10 minutes of massage, for example. It may seem small, but when your brand is shared with their audience, you’re more likely to reach a much wider audience, which makes it worth it.

4. Stay on Brand

As you start using stories, you’ll find it’s easy to post anything and everything—but remember to stay on brand. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to develop your brand messaging, along with your brand values, which will dictate what you post. For example, my brand values are:

• Healthy

• Passionate

• Confident

• Grateful

• Aware

• Hard Working

• Professional

As such, I post stories about my amazing clients, meditation and mindset, the new projects I’m taking on, and the places I’m going. I love sharing moments of clarity and passion as well—if I’ve just had a breakthrough, I’ll head to stories to share about it with my followers. All of this is very much in line with the brand I’m projecting and growing.

Pro tip: If you don’t have these details ironed out, but you already know your WHY, check out these two resources: How to Bring Your Brand to Life and How to Identify and Define Your Core Brand Values.

Grow Your Brand

If you want to grow your brand, jump on the Instagram Stories train. They serve as a valuable medium for promoting your brand while boosting your thought leadership and driving clients.

Use these ideas to get started and see where it takes you. You may be surprised how much you love posting to Instagram Stories once you get the hang of it—and your brand will grow too.

About the Author:

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, a content marketing agency specializing in social media coaching for entrepreneurs and small business owners. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes and Business2Community. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, and more.