When I was preparing to open my practice in 2013, I wasn’t on social media (not even Facebook). Everything I’ve read about marketing since then says something about having a social media strategy. What does that mean, how important is it and how can you do it?
I thought if I had clients following me on social media, they’d share my content and I’d get “referrals” from them. This gave me the idea to offer a social media discount to clients who followed me on Twitter, Pinterest or Google+ (the three platforms I had chosen to use). What I found is that engagement and sharing on social media has declined dramatically as it has become commonplace. After more than two years, I stopped offering this discount because it wasn’t bringing in new clients (it was discontinued when I introduced the Once a Month or More Club).
Last year, I finally created a Facebook fan (aka business) page because Facebook is still the leading social media platform (by far) for women aged 35-49. It seems to be the best place to focus my time and energy since 2013 research indicates, “the highest percentage of [massage] clients are age 35-49” and “More women get massages than men.”
Having a Facebook fan page is expected now, but what do you post and how often? I’ve tried:
- success stories/case studies
- client or inspirational quotes
- specials and promotions
- massage articles geared toward clients
- articles of interest to ideal clients
- self-care videos
The biggest block to a strong social media presence for me is time. As a massage therapist, it’s challenging because I’m working one-on-one with clients all day instead of sitting at a computer. If you have a fan page, you can schedule posts ahead of time using the drop down menu on the “Publish” button. This way, you can set aside a block of time when you aren’t serving clients to schedule new content (that goes to the timelines of those who “like” your page) without having to post in real time each day. Scheduled posts can be seen by clicking the Publishing Tools tab at the top.
It’s a good strategy to mix up the content of your posts for variety and visibility. If you post obvious promotional content more than once a day, Facebook’s algorithm actually makes it so less people see it. They do this so they can get more business owners to pay for boosted posts or ads. Boosted posts and ads can get expensive because you have to be consistent over a period of time to evaluate their effectiveness. Should you decide to try them, create a budget for three months and stick with it. I’ve only tried one boosted post that didn’t result in any clients but I don’t think that’s enough to determine how well they work.
How often you post depends on your goals. If you just want to maintain a presence, once or twice a month is probably fine. At least new visitors to your page will see that you add something occasionally. If your objective is to build a following and attract new clients, posting consistently 1-3 times a day with some boosting or ads will likely be necessary.
Social media accounts can improve SEO for your business but not necessarily your website. Regardless, any websites that have a link to yours give people more opportunities to check out your practice. They also provide other ways for potential clients to get to know you and current clients to write reviews.
Although I’ve seen lots of attention put on getting likes and followers, they do not equal acquiring clients. To date, I have not had one client tell me they found me on social media. I’m confident this is due to my lack of commitment to regular posting and choosing not to use Facebook’s paid advertising routinely. For now, I’m happy enough with the practice that I love as is, but knowing about these options may pay off down the road!
Have you had success building your practice with social media? I’d love to hear about your experience. If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment link to share. Thank you!