Tuesday, 26 November 2019 02:19

Instagram Hacks: Building a Profitable Spa Business through Social Media

Written by   Richard Merrill

Skin care professionals not currently using Instagram for Business are missing out on a massive marketing movement that could potentially change the trajectory of their entire spa practice. Instagram has been reported to have a 93% growth of added followers for brands month over month. With over 500 million active users and over 95 million posts per day, Instagram for Business has become an essential part of every successful marketing strategy around the globe.


The first step is to make sure the spa has an Instagram for Business account, not just a personal profile. This tool allows users to turn their regular profile into a business profile which provides more reach and engagement for marketing success.


Once a business account is established, the skin care professional can add in relevant business information like spa hours, business address, phone number, a link to their website, e-mail, and online booking – all right from Instagram.



Here are a couple unique tools to access as a business on Instagram.


Insights: Instagram Insights helps a business learn more about its followers and the people interacting with it on Instagram. For example, Insights shares information such as the gender, age range, and location of viewers. It also sees which posts and stories the audience sees and engages with the most. Insights and metrics about the account include paid activity, as well. Reach, accounts reached, impressions, and impressions by day reflect both paid and organic activity. This data assists in creating content that targets those who are most engaged with the business.


Promote: When the spa has a hot topic or needs a quick response from its local audience, promoting a post can help target that audience and get the message out quickly. Setting the promote audience to match insights will help attract even more of a like-minded audience. The main benefits of promoting on Instagram include increasing exposure quickly and targeting audiences for local engagement.


Quick Replies: Setting up a quick reply allows the spa to save frequently used replies with a keyword for a faster response. This is a great way to save a welcome message. At the end of each day, go to each new follower and quickly send them a welcome and tell the new follower how to best interact with the business.


Online Booking: Many online booking services are now able to be synced with an Instagram Business page to create a booking link right on Instagram, making it even easier for clients to book an appointment without doing anything time consuming or difficult. This means 24-hour access to booking an appointment. If the spa does not have online booking available, it can be set up painlessly using Square Appointments, which is free for independent professionals.



The first step in achieving success with an Instagram account is determining goals. What is the primary reason for using Instagram? Will it showcase the spa’s culture? Client testimonials? Will it incorporate lead generation tactics to increase bookings?


Whatever the primary goal, take note and remember every effort taken must address that goal.


To help visualize how to set forth achieving goals, this article is going to discuss lead generation tactics for increasing bookings. To do this, a very specific goal must be set, first.


For example:

  • Gain x number of followers per month.
  • Convert x percentage of new followers to website visits.
  • Convert x number of website visits into newsletter subscribers.
  • Convert x number of newsletter subscribers to new appointments.


Now that there is a goal with an action plan, how does one track progress? Use data to track growth and make adjustments to the marketing strategy every month until the recipe that works best for your time and business is found.


The number one mistake found regularly on social media accounts across all platforms is a lack of unique content specific to the posting brand’s identity. Sure, resharing content is a great way to break up content and support favorite products, but is it selling services or building the brand’s influence?


Every post shared on an Instagram feed and story needs to remain within the parameters of the brand’s unique identity. This means using favorite products in images and videos produced by you. Have you seen a layout from a favorite brand that you want to share? Before using that repost app, try recreating it in the spa using your actual business as the backdrop. This builds familiarity on social media and allows potential new clients to begin to experience the spa without stepping foot inside. A great tool to make this easy process is canva.com. You can create templates and then copy and edit for different content without losing the brand’s style in every post.



Take Great Pictures: Not everyone is a photographer and many who are just getting started cannot afford a professional photographer to capture every moment. But creating layouts and space in the business for a consistent image can be simple. Is there a dedicated space for before and after photos? Is the backbar kept clean and photo ready? Can a magnifying lamp be used to add lighting options?


Follow Typography Rules: Pick four fonts to represent the brand. Headline fonts should be bold and show personality. Sub-headline fonts are typically smaller in size and may be the same as the headline, with the variation being as simple as sentence style capitalization, while the headline is set to all caps. Body text is usually easy to read and designed for large bodies of text. The fourth font should be a super playful option used to spice up call outs and reserved for special announcements.


Use High-Quality Stock Images: As mentioned before, canva.com is a great tool for creating social media content. It offers a vast library of quality stock photos and layouts to make content unique. High-quality photos set as a backdrop for text and graphics are a great way to showcase the brand’s look and feel.


A few stock photos should be created for the business:

  • parking lot
  • front of business
  • lobby
  • retail area
  • backbar
  • treatment table
  • professionals performing treatments (create at least one for each service offered)
  • consultation area
  • professionals performing a consultation
  • towels and linens
  • hung artwork (using a picture of your artwork as a backdrop for text images is a great way to create familiarity and a unique brand experience)


After defining goals and determining the needs for engaging the audience, put together a framework for scheduling posts. Iconosquare is a tool that provides in-depth analytics to how posts are performing and allows one to schedule both Facebook and Instagram posts. Most importantly, it provides data that enables one to post during the highest traffic points based on actual followers.


When initially scheduling posts, start by experimenting at different times to see when the most engagement occurs. Consider the ideal client and when they are free to spend time on social media. Targeting the schedule to post when the ideal clients are most engaged will dramatically increase success with social media. Once at least two weeks’ worth of posts are scheduled, remember to review reporting and see what times and what topics received the most engagement.



Not sure how to create a wide variety of content? Here are nine types of posts every spa professional should be using to capture their audience and engage meaningful relationships.


Food: Everyone loves food. Sharing recipes that have a similarity in skin care ingredients is a great way to break up sales content and develop commonalities among an audience. Does the product line use avocado oil as a featured ingredient? Try sharing a photo of a bowl of guacamole from dinner with the family and detailing the skin benefits of avocado in the caption with the hashtags #guacamole #skintip #avocado.


Product-centric: Every business has a hero product – that item that just flies off the shelves. But what about the items that do not move as quickly? Provide alternative uses for the audience and show how one product can be used in multiple ways. Does the cleanser double as a great shaving product? Grab a stock image of someone shaving and share this professional tip in the caption with hashtags.


Client-centric: Incorporating before and after images in a consultation process for tracking a client’s success is a great way to show a client their progress and ensure great content at every appointment. Do not forget to have the client sign a model release waiver. Post clients’ results with their written testimonial and a brief snapshot of their treatment plan to encourage others experiencing the same skin concerns to consider choosing you for their next appointment. Use local hashtags.


Continuing Education: Did you just take an incredible certification class to improve a wax technique? Make sure to grab photos throughout the day for use on social media. Post one photo from during the training and announce you are in the class. Wait four to six weeks and post another image from the training as a #ThrowbackThursday reminding clients about the treatment options you have upgraded and pair it with a testimonial.


Giveaways: The next time a giveaway is scheduled, get creative to boost engagement and entries. This is a great way to incorporate video, client testimonials, and supporting content to build a following and then reward them for their support. During the contest, ask clients to hop on Instagram Live to share their favorite part of their treatment and encourage followers to enter. Follow up with everyone and directly message all who entered with an exclusive limited time offer.


Video Lessons: Images are where the Instagram journey begins, but with simple, short format video options, a spa can boost engagement by sharing quick tips, how to videos, last- minute appointment openings, policy updates, and more in their Instagram story. These can then be saved as a Highlight for long-term access.


Ingredient Spotlights: Are you a product junkie? What are the top three ingredients in a favorite product? Create a few posts to share and encourage followers to come in and experience why it is a favorite. This is a great way to create a product of the month feature for social media.


Upcoming Events: Are you attending the local holiday concert or state fair? Share photos to bring the community together and find ways to make people fall in love with your personality. Rollercoaster enthusiasts are going to love seeing you screaming and having fun. It cannot be all business all the time. Be a fun, lovable person.


Monthly Specials: Last, but certainly not least, remember to share special offers and tell followers why these limited time specials are valuable to their skin health. Remember to add value instead of decreasing price.



Instagram expanded the picture perfect experience to include the convenience of quick updates and short videos without cluttering up one’s feed. The Highlights feature allows users to host long-term announcements in categories for easy access by followers. IGTV allows users to generate in-depth content for longer conversations.


While a photo is worth 1,000 words, a 30-second video can convey personality, establish stronger relationships, and boost appointments and sales dramatically.


If camera-shy, pre-record the content and upload it once the message is perfected. Keep in mind, the more authentic the better, so having a few flubs and stumbles actually does better than a perfectly edited video. Welcome to the age of authenticity.



There are a few different schools of thought on how to appropriately use hashtags and the right way is truly unique to each brand.


A few key points to consider:

  • Does the hashtag relate to the post?
  • Is the hashtag popular with local residents?
  • Will the hashtag resonate with the ideal client?


When coming up with hashtags for the brand, be sure it is something unique enough that it will be relevant to the brand but not overlap with other brands. Iconosquare’s search engine can help determine the best hashtag to use by sorting the number of times a hashtag has been used, showing how the hashtag compares to trending hashtags, or simply sifting through the top tags on Instagram.


More than just photos and videos, social media is the leading business tool that must not be ignored. Through personalized social marketing strategies on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms, there are professionals who help brands connect with their target audience, promote ongoing conversations about the brand, and create a loyal following of clients and ambassadors eager to share the brand’s story with others. How can a spa know if a social media manager is right for the business? Ask questions. Here are a few to get started.

  • What social media platforms are best for the business? Have them explain why and
    ask them to describe the “personality” of the spa in three words. They should have done research before your meeting.
  • What are the two most important social media metrics a business should monitor regularly? Engagement: No matter what platform, if the message is not engaging, the audience will not be able to recuperate the return on investment. Conversions: Conversions can be tracked using three specific key performance indicators: increased mailing list, increased appointments (ask on your intake forms how the client found the spa), increased online orders.
  • Are they accomplished in a social marketing environment and in a social customer service environment? A social marketing environment is the gift of being able to create anticipation and excitement before a sale is made and requires a conversational approach that is not profit centered. A social customer service environment is about building long- term brand loyalty. This requires empathy, patience, and the ability to resolve conflict.
  • What is the most important thing a social media manager should be doing? Monitoring, listening, and responding to the audience. When they listen, they learn how to help potential clients buy. The social media manager should be reporting back any data that is pertinent to the growth of the brand.
  • Have they ever had to handle a social media crisis? Ask them to define the crisis and describe the steps they took to resolve the situation.


Social media can be an entire marketing strategy, thus making it time consuming. Create a strategy that allows time to plan ahead and incorporate execution tasks into daily life without creating a huge burden. Whether managing social media or hiring a qualified professional in the spa industry, having a deep understanding of how to be successful on social media is the first ingredient in building a spa’s influence across all social channels.


Richard Merrill Rivas 2019Richard Merrill is a 15+ year award-winning beauty industry expert specializing in salon and spa sales and marketing. Licensed aesthetician, makeup artist, educator, and consultant, his experience in the industry is vast, making him a great resource for assisting to build salon and spa businesses. For more information, visit richardmerrillconsulting.com.

Want to read more?

Log in or subscribe to continue reading this article.

Login to post comments

P&E 2021

Business Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • Celluma by Biophotas, Inc
  • Repechage
  • Alexandria Professional