To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Make Social Media Work for You,” by Stephanie Beck, in the May 2012 issue. Article summary: Social media has been referred to, variously, as social networking, a waste of time, a place where my grandkids hang out, where to post what I’ve had for dinner, permission marketing and many others terms. Some business owners are on the fence when it comes to deciding whether social media is a good tool to use for building their business or not. All tools have a purpose, and having the right tools can make completing a job much easier.

by Stephanie Beck

Millions of people are using social media like Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn every day. However, not everyone using social media is a potential customer for your practice; in fact, you really only need to talk to people who are in your local area. This is known as a local marketing strategy.

Having friends, fans and followers from San Diego, California, when your clinic is in Boston, Massachusetts, should not be your ultimate goal, unless they have friends and family in Boston and would recommend them to you or make regular trips to Boston. That is why the content and information you share via social media needs to have a planned purpose. Posting a 2 p.m. opening on Facebook to 1 billion active global monthly users may not be the best use of that tool.

Now, if you were to use a different tool like a mobile app or text campaign, or even Twitter, to get the immediate message out to your local marketing group that you have an opening at 2 p.m., that makes more sense and should produce faster, better results because you are using tools and reaching your local pool of potential clients who are in your immediate area who can take action.

Social networking works on many different levels, so do not discount having fans from around the world because you are one connection away from a having a new client. But be aware of how each tool is best used to maximize your best results. How is your opening in Boston going to help me in San Diego? It may not have anything to do with me, but I may know 300 people in Boston. By posting your opening on my wall and me liking it now adds it to my newsfeed, where my 300 Bostonians will possibly see it.

No one likes a one-way conversation—so if the only posts you make are constant promotions or trying to get me to buy your service/product, you may want to consider changing your strategy. In other words, think before you post.

Stephanie Beck is owner of SRB Solutions, a social-media and business-consulting company (www.srbsolutions.net). She is an educator and advocate for massage therapy business owners’ success. She applies more than 15 years of sales and marketing experience to redefine every client’s marketing process, so they achieve desired results.

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