Change can be good. Change can make us more productive. But if you think of change as too scary a concept, let’s call it an adjustment. Let’s look at some ways in which you can adjust your business to include new technology and social media to make your business better. As speaker Robert Stevenson says, “In business you have to ADJUST to competition, technology, economic issues, healthcare issues, rising expenses, changes in media advertising, changing demographics of customers, and availability of workforce … to name just a few.”
Before computers we had to make appointments with paper and pencil on a physical calendar over the phone. Now, clients can go online and book appointments for themselves. Setmore and Schedulista have online scheduling programs specifically for massage therapists. Both of these services allow you to connect your online schedule to your Facebook business page, so clients can visit you on Facebook and book their appointment straight from there! And you can view your schedule right from your smart phone. Now that is convenient. This new advancement in technology has changed client behavior. Are you making the most out of your Facebook page?
In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that according to a 2012 AMTA survey, over 80% of massage therapists are on Facebook, but only 36% used social media to stay in touch with clients. Here is a great opportunity to be different from the competition, set yourself apart from the rest. Your clients are out there on social media, you should be too. A whopping 97% of consumers now use online media when researching local products or services. If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy, get one. Feel free to email me is you have any questions on how to go about doing this.
It will be important, as you move forward with social media marketing, to keep an eye on the technological advancements that occur. Look at what your business needs and find a tool that provides that service. Who would have thought ten years ago that there would be a service like Zeel. Zeel is a Massage On-Demand app (free) for a smart phone. Clients download the Zeel app and can book same-day, in-home massages with licensed and vetted therapists. Therapists signup and join the Zeel network of therapists. Currently Zeel is only available in NYC, Long Island, the Hamptons, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami areas, but it is growing fast. This change in consumer behavior created the need for new technology. Are you keeping up?
As technology continues to change and improve, this will impact our behavior and how we do things, including simple things like making appointments, these changes in our client’s world, demand that massage therapists keep up to date so we are in the best position to reach our clients with our marketing efforts.
If you are not reaching your goals with your business, it’s time to adjust your actions.
 Stevenson, R., (2014). Adjust vs. Change. Retrieved 11/5/14 from http://seekingexcellence.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/adjust-vs-change/.
 Retrieved 11/5/14 from http://www.spaboom.com/social-media-marketing-for-spas
People want to share content online. It’s just a part of modern life. People pass on news articles, YouTube videos, photos, etc. In 2011, 59% of people reported that they frequently share online content with others (Berger, 2011, p. 1). But, what makes something go viral on the web? Are there commonalities of the types of information that does go viral? Why do some marketing campaigns take off, while others fail? First and foremost, people have to want to share the content. What are things that people want to share? Here are 5 themes a viral campaign can include:
|Humor – Laughter is universal. Laughter sounds the same in any language. People cannot seem to resist sharing something funny. Take for example this video produced by Pepsi. Since its upload in Nov 2007, it has nearly 50 million views. This made me laugh, so much my husband had to come in from the other room, so I could show him.||
|Interactvitiy – Blending a marketing initiative with audience interaction is a great way to get your message spread. Take for example Pharrell Williams interactive music video, 24 Hours of Happy. This music video allows the user to choose the time of day to watch the video, it is the world’s first 24 hour music video. Since being uploaded to YouTube in Nov 2013, this video has received over 36 million views. This doesn’t include how many visitors have interacted with the video on their website.||
|Relevance – What is the latest trend, latest news or what’s hot? Take for example the latest trend on Twitter in the United States is Zayn Malik, #CrazyForZayn. He is a signer in the boy band One Direction. There are over 378,000 videos on YouTube featuring Zayn and within about 3 minutes there were 91 new tweets with the #CrazyForZayn.||Channel 96.1 out of Charlotte, NC is giving away tickets to see Zayn and One Direction in concert. Fans have to listen to 96.1 and wait for the next One Direction song to be played. When it is, the DJ’s will announce the special hashtag to tweet. Fans and followers are suppose to “Trick or Tweet for 1D” using the special hashtag as many times as they like. The more times they tweet with the special hashtag, the better their chances of winning the tickets.|
|Emotion – Emotions do shape what information is spread. Is the information positive or negative? Does it evoke specific emotions (anger, sadness, awe, happiness, etc.)? Which cause people to share more and which tend to become viral? Berger and Milkman conducted a study and found that “content is more likely to become viral the more positive it is” (Berger, 2011, p. 5). “Consumers often share content for self-presentation purposes or to communicate identity, and positive content is shared more because it reflects positively on the sender” (Berger, 2011, p. 2). Berger’s study was published in the American Marketing Association Journal of Marketing Research,
Since being uploaded in Aug 2012, Nike’s Find Your Greatness Jogger video has received over a million views.
|“Nike’s Find Your Greatness Campaign touches all of us because it’s such a positive inclusive message. It says we don’t need to be technically amazing, as long as we try and do our own personal best. The message inspires everyone. It follows Nike’s previous message of Just Do It!: also broadly meaningful because it says “action is better than no action” and because it pushes people to take a risk, try something new, do something they’ve always wanted to. The implication is that Nike products are there to back us up and help you accomplish our personal goals” (Greenwald, 2014, para 4).
|Entertaining – the more entertaining a message, the more likely it will be shared. Take for instance, Chipotle’s Back to the Start Campaign. This ad is “aimed at informing consumers that there is such a thing as ‘food with integrity,’ which is simply natural, family-grown or raised, and ultimately socially responsible” (Montoya, 2014, para 1). Since its upload to YouTube in 2011, this cute video has been viewed 8 and a half million times.||
While marketers often produce content that paints their product in a positive light, content will be more likely to be shared if it evokes high-arousal emotions (ex: awe). Advertisements that make consumers content or relaxed, for example, will not be as viral as those that amuse them. Furthermore, while some marketers might shy away from advertisements that evoke negative emotions, negative emotions can actually increase transmission if it is characterized by activation. Good luck!
Berger, J., Milkman, K., (2011). What Makes Online Content Viral? American Marketing Association. Journal of Marketing Research. Retrieved 10/30/14 from http://ldi.upenn.edu/uploads/media_items/virality.original.pdf.
Montoya, N., (2014). Chipotle is Going Back to the State: Marketing with Integrity. Retrieved 10/30/14 from http://www.advirtues.com/2011/10/20/chipotles-sustainabilit/
Greenwald, K., (2013). Secrets of 7 of the Most Effective Ad Campaigns. Retrieved 10/30/14 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellegreenwald/2014/07/10/secrets-of-7-of-the-most-effective-ad-campaigns/.
Scott, D., (2008). The New Rules of Viral Marketing: How Word-of-Mouse Spreads Your Ideas for Free. Retrieved 10/28/14 from http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/documents/Viral_Marketing.pdf.
Let’s look at two well known spas Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, NY and Omni Resort Grove Park Inn in Ashville, NC and see how they each utilize social media.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Situated on 12 acres in Skaneateles, NY, Mirbeau is a 34-room Spa Resort combining the amenities of a French country inn, a world-class spa and nationally acclaimed fine dining, all with the elegant comforts and residential feel of a wine country estate.
The Inn and Spa buildings are clustered around sumptuous Monet pond gardens. The exterior architecture, interior décor and landscape design are reminiscent of a Provencal French Country Estate.
Our 14,000 sq ft Spa Mirbeau is designed to offer a protected place of elegance and comfort. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and staffed with highly experienced professionals, Spa Mirbeau is one of the top spas in the country with numerous national accolades and awards.
Omni Resort Grove Park Inn
Located in Ashville, NC, Grove Park Inn is “one of the South’s most venerable and famous grand resorts. Built in 1913, the resort overlooks the Asheville skyline and provides guests with majestic views of the legendary Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Our 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa features cavernous rock walls, arches, tunnels and 20 water features. The main pool area features two therapeutic waterfall pools, a warm mineral pool and lap pool with 6,500 fiber-optic stars embedded in the ceiling and constant underwater music.
Three fireside lounges await you with overstuffed chairs, warm blankets, light snacks, hot organic teas and herbal infused waters. And step outside to enjoy fireplaces, whirlpool, and a tiered outdoor terrace with panoramic mountain views.
Both of these resorts are stunning, but how well do they utilize social media to enhance their efforts?
|SM Platforms listed on their website||Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.||Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Trip Advisor, Google +, Pinterest.|
|What does their social media accounts look like?||Both resorts utilize lost of pictures and videos. They both promote the resort and its various aspects (food, rooms, event hosting, weddings, etc.) and charm of the local area.|
|Mirbeau highlights its Provencal French Country Estate feel.||Grove Park highlights various aspects.|
|Fans||Fans are less engaged more apt to click “like”, rather than comment.||Fans are much more engaged. They are more apt to make comments on various posts.|
|How they utilize social media||They are pushing advertisements. They have multiple deals & sales promoted at the same time. There is minimal customer engagement, just shouting which make it almost seem like begging. When they post, they connect the resort to money.||They do also post specials and deals they are promoting, but it doesn’t come across as pushy. They incorporate a lot more informational posts about the resort history and area. They connect the resort to emotions of potential visitors.|
Posts to Facebook since July 1, 2014
37 – 22 (59%) included rates for services or deals. 6 posts were advertisements for the spa.
Mirbeau posted a comment about the stunning view from their porch for dining: “Claim your table on our porch overlooking the Mirbeau Pond Gardens today for lunch or dinner. 877-647-2328 http://mirbeau.com/skaneateles/dining#menus
There isn’t a bad seat for porch dining at #Mirbeau. Won’t you join us for lunch today? 877-647-2328”
While it does look a nice view…I’m already thinking about how much it’s going to cost me.
22 – Two of these posts (9%) included rates for services for deals. Only 1 was for was for the spa. The remaining posts were informational, historical, interesting and appealed emotionally to viewers.
For example: They posted – “Absolutely #stunning day to relax on our terrace and watch the world go by.” And posted a picture from their terrace.
<sigh> It does look amazing and very relaxing and I want to go. I don’t care how much it costs, I want to go.
|Mirbeau vs.||Grove Park|
|Successes?||Both resorts have been active on SM since 2008, however Grove Park has managed to attract 5x the following on Facebook and with half as many tweets on Twitter, Grove Park has gathered 3x the number of Twitter followers.|
|What’s the difference?||Grove Park is engaging their fans. Cultivating a relationship. On Twitter they are listening. If they see a tweet saying what a great job they have done by a recent guest, rather than just retweeting it as Mirbeau might do, Grove Park tweets a thank you to that person.
Mirbeau selling and yelling, asking people to spend money. Grove Park Inn is connecting and engaging, asking people to feel emotions.
|Recommendation||Grove Park Inn will serve you better all around.|
I have already shown in last week’s blog, that your business should be blogging. If you are still not convinced, “HubSpot research reveals businesses that blog generate 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and have 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog. In essence, business blogging is a great way to generate qualified traffic to your website and fill the top of your sales funnel.”
|There is a movement on the internet called the Groundswell. People are looking to the internet and other people to get information. Your company can be a part of this movement and leverage the benefits of participation, or not. It’s your choice. You can read more about the Groundswell in the book Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.||Groundswell Book Image|
So, now that you have decided to start a blog, here are some of the best practices for blogging as suggested from New Breed Marketing company in Winooski, VT.
#1 – Have an Objective
What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? Are you looking to attract more quality visitors to your site? Generate leads? Increase engagement? Become a content leader in your space?
#2 – Keep Your Brand in Mind
Your blog is an extension of your company, so it must still adhere to the standards and values of your brand.
#3 – Know Your Audience
Who is reading your blog? Who are you trying to reach with your message? You want to reach people who are customers and who will become customers.
#4 – Stay Organized
Organizing the flow of topics will be important. Set a schedule for consistency of blog posts. You can play around with which days and times are the most productive for your readers, but then stay consistent.
#5 – Research Before You Write
“Industries are always evolving – stay ahead of your competition and deliver content with a total wow-factor by researching a variety of different topics and covering them in your blog posts.”
#6 – Blog Frequently & Consistently
You want readers to come back and read every single post. If they come back and see the same post from a month ago, you’ve lost them. For larger organizations, you can delegate the blog writing to different departments. This will keep the information interesting, relevant, correct and takes the burden off just one person for all posts. Many blog platforms allow you to create a blog and set a day/time for publication. So you can take some time to write out several blogs (if you get on a roll) and then store them for publication later. This is a nice feature if (as a small business owner) you want to take a much needed vacation.
#7 – Provide Content Variety
Get others and other departments to contribute, “and it is not just about the topics, it is also about switching up the type of content you are posting. Start brainstorming different types of content to ignite a spark with your reader. This can range from text-based copy, charts or graphs, infographics, Q&As, videos, interviews, audio content, guest blog posts and/or product reviews. Get creative with your text and visual content to keep your readers engaged and returning for more. The most engaging blogs offer content to their readers in many different ways.”
At this point – I’ll take my own advice….here is a video that talks about the best blogging practices. The video is about 10 minutes in length. It does talk about blogs in the Physical Therapy Industry, but the suggestions can be transferred to any industry.
#8 – Optimize Your Content
There are tons of tools out there to help you with this, but Google’s Keyword Tool is free to use and works quite well.
#9 – Encourage Engagement
If someone comments on your blog, respond back. Keep the conversation going.
#10 – Promote Your Content
You just spent time writing a blog, let people know it’s out there.
#11 – Don’t Isolate Your Blog
Connect the blog to the company. The blog needs to feel like it is a part of the company.
#12 – Go Beyond Expectations
Intrigue your readers by included real-world case studies, or entertainment.
#13 – Include a Call-To-Arms
Invite the readers to participate in some way: Post a comment, take a poll, go to a website.
#14 – Conduct a Content Audit
How is your blog performing? Are you reaching your goals?
#15 – Patience is a Virtue
Don’t give up. It takes time.
So now what? Start the process. Get a blog account, plan your strategy and start blogging. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.
To be or not to be…social, that is the question.
Should you take your business into the realm of social media?
Simple answer: YES!!!
This is the age of social media. You need to be where the clients are and they are on social media.
Think of social media like a party.
|You’re invited, but you don’t know everyone that’s going to be there.||You’re invited, but you don’t know everyone that’s going to be there.|
|You may be able to get a friend to give you a ride to the party.||Get someone to help you get a social media account setup. Start with just one. You are only at one party at a time, start with just one social media platform at a time.|
|Your friend introduces you to some of their friends.||Find a friend on social media and look at their friend lists.|
|You stand around in a group and everyone is talking, but you. You’re Listening.||Everyone on social media is making posts, but you. You’re Listening.|
Listening is a very good place to start with your social media presence.
Victoria Edwards wrote a nice article about Why Social Media Listening is Important for Business.
|Listening gives you a chance to learn about this new group of people.||Listening gives you a chance to learn about this new group of people.|
|You make a comment when you find your opening.||You make a comment when you find your opening.|
|At this moment, the cute guy or girl notices you and asks “who are you again, and what do you do?” Your heart sinks and you gulp….thank goodness you’ve been practicing your elevator speech so you can recover quickly and still make a great first impression.||At this moment, someone responds to your comment. This is your chance for further engagement and to show your knowledge. Depending on the engagement, an elevator speech might work well here too.|
|Your friend smiles and leaves the group because you’ve got it all under control now.||Your friend takes off, you’ve got it all under control now.|
|You continue standing with that group as others come and go meeting new people all evening.||You continue with that social media platform. meeting new people all evening.|
Social media can be addicting. So set some realistic time limits for yourself. Many times I’ll just pop into Twitter and the next thing I know it’s several hours later.
|Someone new comes into your group, let’s call him John, you introduce yourself and John says that they were just talking about you in the other room.||You’re surfing your social media platform and find that someone posted something about you and your business.|
|Turns out someone at the party recognized you and gave you a great compliment. John just had to meet you.||Turns out someone visited your business and gave you a great review. You are now present to thank them graciously and be available and easier to contact for others to meet you and find your business.|
People will talk and are talking about you. Now, they do it on social media. Whether the information is good or bad, it is important for you to be aware and respond.
Jayson DeMeers wrote a very helpful article on Huffington Post about How to Use Social Media Listening to Build Brand Loyalty.
|Your friend comes back and says it’s time to go home. Party’s breaking up.||Your friend comes back and says it’s time to log off. You’ve just experienced the time warp of social media.|
|Next weekend, your friend takes you to a different party.||You sign up for a different social media account.|
|Some people at this party recognize you from the party from last weekend and you feel comfortable starting the evening off catching up with them.||Some of the friends from the first social network are also on the new one. Find them first to get the hang of the new platform.|
|Having fun and socialize!||Having fun and socialize!|
|Build a reputation||Build a reputation|
|Before long you will be the life of the party! And be the one bringing new people to the party.||Before long you will be active on multiple platforms and helping others get started in the world of social media.|
So the next time your friend wants to take you to a party, just go and have fun.
To be or not to be social – there is no question.
Facebook and Twitter both have apps to be downloaded onto your smart phone or tablet, so you are never out of touch. But did you know that massage therapists who use an online booking service can generate quick sales by adding a booking link into a tweet? Pretty cool!
I was a diehard pencil and paper scheduler. Clients would call and I could take an appointment anywhere, anytime…..as long as I had my calendar with me. Which wasn’t always the case.
So, I was a frequent “let me call you back” kind of therapist. Let me tell you, this practice didn’t help increase my client base. Thank goodness for online scheduling systems.
|There are many online schedulers to choose from:
This is one of the most popular online schedulers for massage therapists and it has a nice user interface. Some notable highlights include a mobile app, nice Facebook integration, and email marketing tools.
Genbook is also a very popular scheduler. It also has a good user interface and integrates well with your website. It also has a mobile-optimized management portal.
Schedulista is a fairly simple but elegant online scheduler that has some nice features like customized per-service online booking options, mobile apps, and integration with Google Calendar.
This one is a powerhouse. According to one user we surveyed, “it does everything!” It is a very comprehensive application that includes online booking, a CRM, eCommerce, gift certificates, marketing tools, and membership features with discount options. It’s suitable for individual massage therapists as well as larger spas. SpaBooker also has multiple pricing options for different plans.
BookedIn is an interesting service because of its pricing model. It has the same general features of the other apps, but it is priced per appointment. The system charges you 35 cents for each appointment. Pretty unique!
Look at them to find the one that best suits your needs, budget, level of services, etc. Also check to see if the online scheduling system has a mobile version. Mobile scheduling software applications include features to efficiently and quickly administer your appointments, schedules, staff and customers. All of your information can be access from anywhere, anytime. It’s in the cloud. Safe and secure from power outages and hackers. Using a mobile app can save time, increase productivity, and include some cost-reductions at the same time. Who doesn’t love saving money?
These online scheduling apps are great, but how can they help you get more clients? That’s where ZEEL comes in. Zeel is a Massage On-Demand app (free) for a smart phone. Clients download the Zeel app and can book same-day, in-home massages with licensed and vetted therapists. Therapists signup and join the Zeel network of therapists. Currently Zeel is only available in NYC and Miami areas, but it is growing fast.
Tip: Make it as easy and convenient as possible for your customers to get an appointment with you.
Hello? Is Anybody Out There?
Being an independent massage therapist, it was easy to get the sense that I was all alone. Everything falls on my shoulders and some days I felt like Atlas, holding up the entire world. Owning your own business is hard, daunting, and some days are completely overwhelming. But then I found the world of Social Media!
In 2009, I found the world of Facebook and was able to connect with old classmates, colleagues, and friends. According to a 2013 study by the AMTA, 81% of massage therapists are on Facebook. That’s a lot of connections and support and I found a great community to share ideas, stories, and connect with issues about massage and the business of massage. The weight of the world was gone. <sigh> Tip: Signup for Facebook and start connecting socially.
Then I learned that 47% of Massage Therapists use LinkedIn. That’s more than double the national average! What’s going on with LinkedIn? I thought LinkedIn was just a professional networking site, where I could post my resume, like a job bank. What am I missing? So I did a little digging. Turns out, LinkedIn is a gateway into the business world that can help increase credibility. We all know how hard it can be to combat the less than desirable image the massage profession has to contend with from time to time. LinkedIn helps our image of being professionals. Sign me up! But the benefits don’t stop there. LinkedIn is also great at building your professional and business network. “Want to find a list of chiropractors in your area to reach out to? Search LinkedIn. Want to build a referral relationship with physicians? Search LinkedIn. Want to partner with a personal trainer in your area? Search LinkedIn.” Need to find an accountant to do your business taxes? Search LinkedIn. And the list goes on. Tip: Signup for LinkedIn and start connecting your business.
There is a third social media outlet that is used by massage therapists. 27% of Massage Therapists use Twitter. Twitter is a great platform to combine both social and business networking. It’s a simple concept that can produce amazing results. It is a great promotional tool, lead generator, customer service connection, and resource for information. “A study found that consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely than the average consumer to affect a brand’s online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles, and product reviews!” The key to Twitter is to target your connections, provide meaningful content with a sense of authentic helpfulness. Massage Therapists have a genuine desire to help people and love Word-of-Mouth Advertising. Twitter seems to be the ideal platform. Tip: Signup for Twitter and start connecting person to person.
So what does all this mean? Massage Therapists are out there using social media, but the AMTA report states that in 2012 only 36% used social media to stay in touch with clients. Hmmmm…. Tip: Use social media to connect with your clients.
The world of social media turns Atlas into a community.
Next week, I will take social media mobile!
 McDonald, B., (2012). 7 Reasons Massage Therapists Should Care about LinkedIn. http://info.massamio.com/blog/bid/214283/7-reasons-massage-therapists-should-care-about-LinkedIn
 Schaefer, Mark (2012-07-24). The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time (p. 32). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.
 Same as , p. 15.