Social media refers to the variety of platforms available on the internet (many are free) that allow people to share their content, pictures, videos and status updates with their friends, families and customers.
Top 7 Social Media Platforms
- Facebook is the most popular by far, with almost 1.4 billion users (47% of all internet users) and 4.5 billion “likes” generated daily. Facebook allows you to post updates, pictures and videos to your “wall,” which your friends see. You, in turn, see their postings. Facebook also allows you to “like” things that others post and to repost it to your wall.
- Linked In operates in a similar style, but is geared toward the professional sphere. Where Facebook is friend-based and a consumer-to-consumer or a business-to-consumer platform, Linked In tends to be more business-to-business.
- Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform
- Pinterest is a social media site where members can sort, save and share photos and videos.
- Google+ allows users to organize contacts into “circles” and share content.
- Twitter is a social media site where users can post updates under 140 characters and links to other sites.
- Periscope allows users to live stream video over the internet.
There are hundreds if not thousands of other social media sites available; this list gives us only a selection of the most popular.
Designing Your Social Media Campaign
The first step to designing your social media campaign is to think about who your audience is and what your service and area of expertise is. If you are focusing on an audience of millennials (under 25), you may want to use Twitter, Instagram and Periscope. On the other hand, if your audience is a little older you may want to use Facebook as your primary tool.
Do some reading and get to know and understand the specific platforms you are using. For example, Facebook requires a lower volume than Twitter, but you should be posting much more in the way of content. A successful campaign on Facebook requires only three to five postings per week, when you should post to Twitter three to five times per day!
Your online marketing campaign should be just as organized as your scheduled appointments: use a calendar to plan your posts! It is also possible to set up social media accounts so that a post is automatically shared with your other accounts, allowing you to post to multiple platforms at once. This can be a real time saver.
Build a Following
One quick way to build a following and gain initial exposure is to find the thought leaders in your industry and respond to their posts, making comments and asking questions. This allows others to see you, engage with you, and eventually follow you.
Ideas for Fresh Massage Content
It can be very overwhelming to try to create fresh content, especially when just beginning your campaign. A great source of content can be to curate content from other sites – by posting the link to articles that are relevant to your client base. For example, many massage therapists repost articles from Integrative Healthcare, adding the link to their expert articles to their social media pages. This offers content to their clients and also demonstrates that they are keeping up with current events in their field.
Eventually, however, you will need to create original content. Cijo (2015) shares with us the different types of posts we can make to blogs and social media platforms:
- Ambitions and goals – talk about new projects you are working on
- Announcements, news and events
- Guest lectures or writings (can be video, podcasts or text)
- How to…
- Insight into a common problem in your industry
- Interviews – text, video or podcast
- Lists – Top 10 ways to…, Favorite Things, Warnings
- Memes and jokes
- Interest stories – loosely related to your industry
- Surveys – a good way to engage customers in discussion
- Book and product reviews
You want to make your social media campaign actually be social. Nobody likes a pushy used car salesman! At least half of your content should be about sharing general information, asking opinions, inviting conversation, and generally engaging your audience. In order to maintain a professional image, share real information, facts and statistics, links to information and infographics related to your services and products. No more than 20 percent of your posts should be about your business directly. When you do post about your business, make it a call to action: “Book today to save!” or “Refer a friend now!”
Understanding your audience and being clear on how you want to present your business is the first step to any marketing campaign, online or not. In order to maximize the effectiveness of a social media campaign, you must be actively participating in discussions on your pages and accounts. Many people, especially those under 25 years old, now hesitate to do business with a company that has no online presence. With the number of users on free social media sites now far into the billions, it is foolish to ignore this free marketing medium available to everyone.