Social media, when used correctly, helps to develop lasting relationships with clients. Ongoing and meaningful client contact retains your current customer base and helps to grow new business.
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS IMPORTANT
Social media is vital to a business because potential clients spend a large percentage of their time on various social media websites. In fact, recent studies show that up to 80 percent of consumers research products and services online. Consumers look to social media channels for reviews of products and often base purchasing choices on them. With effective social media platforms, you can share content through word-of-mouth marketing and reach curious consumers.
When utilizing social media, you want your website to appear on the first page when prospective customers search the Internet for skin-related products and services. The more often your social media websites mention your business, the more your search engine optimization (SEO) improves.
Be smart about which social media websites you select and how many websites you can monitor daily. Also, do not forget to link all social media icons to every page of your website.
Begin your marketing efforts by asking clientele to sign up for your newsletter, ‘like’ and ‘follow’ your social media websites, and refer your business to their friends and colleagues. Do not forget to reciprocate by ‘liking’ and ‘following’ your customers in return. Post the opening of your business with networking groups such as LinkedIn, at your gym, your medical and/or aesthetic organization, and any other groups to which you belong.
DEFINE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Begin by examining your current or future and desired customer base. Do you cater to the aging client? If so, are you specific to men, women, or both? Are you targeting teenagers to treat acne? Do you specialize in treating ethnic skin? Does your practice offer general services to everyone?
Once you have determined your core market, decide on the best social media channels to engage with that demographic. If you will be working with multiple markets, segment your customer base into separate lists, enabling you to run marketing campaigns targeted to each specific group.
GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA PREFERENCES
Although all of the social media platforms are useful, every demographic gravitates toward a different website. For example, men prefer online forums over social media channels; however, they will log into Facebook and Google+ over other platforms. Women prefer Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Teenagers are leaving Facebook for platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Millennials prefer Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The easiest way to find out what social media platforms your clients engage with is to simply ask them!
DETERMINE MANAGEABLE TIME LIMITS
Decide how many hours per day, week, and month you plan to devote to your social media before you begin establishing a presence with each medium. Remember, the goal is to engage your customer, not to overextend yourself. Part of a successful engagement includes responding to consumer posts in a timely manner.
Start by creating a social media policy, then sharing it with your entire staff. Consider hiring a social media manager or assigning a staff member to post, monitor, and respond to posts on each of your channels. The sole proprietor must set specific time frames for each platform and stick to them. Train all staff members active in social media to follow your brand’s messaging. After including social media in your marketing calendar, be sure to monitor and evaluate your various platforms for return on investment. Do not forget to budget time into your busy schedule for quarterly reviews of campaigns that run on each social media channel.
CREATE ENGAGING CONTENT TO POST
Make sure that your posts are entertaining, engaging, informative, timely, and relevant. Do not be afraid to use visuals! Post items of interest to your clients using pictures and informational video clips to drive engagement. Try to become the expert on a particular topic, but be sure that your posts are short and understandable to your reader. Furthermore, generate coupons and other pull-marketing promotional vehicles.
Always be sure to follow the 4-1-1 rule. For example, provide four entertaining, engaging, or informative posts to every one sales post. One of the engaging posts can be an industry-related question. Sign up for Google+ alerts and Rich site summary (RSS) feeds deliver updated information in areas of interest on items related to the industry to obtain ideas for fresh content. For more ideas on how to do it better, look at a few of your competitor’s websites to see what they post and how frequently!
POPULAR PLATFORMS TO CONSIDER
Facebook is the largest social networking website in the world. With over 1.5 billion accounts in 2015, and more than eight billion viewers of user-generated and advertising video, Facebook is simply the one website you must master first when it comes to engaging your customers. Keep in mind that women use Facebook more than men, with the average female in the United States having 250 friends.
Your business Facebook page and direct interaction allows you to interact with customers at no cost (other than in-house labor). Do not overlook paying for Facebook advertising. The array of webmetrics which can be finely tuned to instantly reach your targeted audience delivers perhaps the most cost-effective means of acquiring customers in the history of media buying. Plan to post once or twice per day.
Twitter has almost one billion registered users and more than 320 million active, monthly users. The average business sends out three tweets per day. A Twitter follower has already indicated that they have an interest in your business. Smart business owners will nurture this interest to gain new clients and retain solid relationships with existing ones. Pick timely content that is of interest to your client base. If consumers like your post, they will retweet it to their friends, spreading word-of-mouth marketing for you.
When setting up your Twitter account, use @yourbusinessname for your Twitter handle/name. When using Twitter, remember that hashtags are the key to success. When you add common phrases like #skincare or #facials, you make it easier for users to find you when searching for related content. Never break up a hashtag with a space or symbol and keep them simple for maximum effectiveness. In addition to hashtags, be sure to use common phrases; they make it easier for consumers to find your tweets. Furthermore, brevity is key! Twitter limits each tweet to 140 characters, so take that into consideration when linking videos and images and using hashtags. Use bitly.com to shorten long URLs. Know when your audience is online. Send out tweets when your targeted audience is active on Twitter. For example, 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. tweets reach millennials and young professionals ages 25 to 34. 8 a.m. to noon tweets reach busy business individuals and parents age 50-plus. Noon to 6 p.m. tweets reach most working professionals ages 25 to 49. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tweets reach family-centered females ages 35 to 49.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, boasts 400 million active monthly users. With photocentric content, it literally increases visibility for events, your spa and your products or services. Clients love to see pictures of you; photographs make consumers feel more related and therefore, engaged! Your spa will appear more approachable, drawing in prospective clients.
Slightly more Instagram users are male (51 percent) versus female (49 percent). Instagram is an excellent platform to reach all demographics. It is also a great place to run contests. These contests can be done by asking for customer engagement. For example, have clients post a photograph displaying your products or ask clients to dress in attire with your logo. Run seasonal contests as well, using Instagram for customer holiday photographs (with products or without).
Google+ has over 300 million users and over 49 different platforms that can increase your SEO rankings. Google+ is Google’s version of Facebook. Twenty-two percent of online adults use Google+ at least once a month. Some businesses post up to three times per day. Three posts per week is a good start for a small business. It is important to be consistent with the frequency of your posts.
The following percentages represent Google+ monthly users by generation: 19 percent are baby boomers, 23 percent are from generation X, 28 percent are millennials, and 29 percent are from generation Z.
Because SEO rankings are so important, a Google+ account is recommended for a successful business.
YouTube reaches over one billion users around the world, so it is definitely a platform you do not want to overlook. Since Google owns YouTube, posting YouTube videos can also help boost your Google SEO rankings. Unlike most other social media platforms, creating a successful YouTube channel can also generate income as views of your content are monetized.
One issue to consider is the use of Google Adwords. There are pros and cons to using YouTube with the influence of Google advertising.
Consider this scenario: You have recorded a fantastic video of a new product or a new procedure that you have critiqued to perfection. You post the video to YouTube and every time it plays due to a Google search, your competitor’s pop-up advertisement appears because they purchased an advertisement through Google Adwords!
An option to prevent this from happening would be taping your video using a non-Google medium, then embed the video into your website. Vimeo is an excellent alternative to YouTube.
If you plan to post instructional videos on YouTube, create your own channel under your business name, then share proprietary videos with your customers privately by using an unlisted setting. You can also purchase your own Google Adwords so that your advertisements appear on your competitor’s videos!
LinkedIn is thought by many to be a career-networking website. While it is true that LinkedIn’s user base is more of a professional audience, but that also makes it an excellent resource and demographic for many businesses to target with the right marketing content. What hardworking person could not use a day at the local spa? Effective networking strategies can lead to establishing you as an industry expert, creating multitudes of other business opportunities. LinkedIn is an excellent medium to build brand awareness and generate leads. Be sure to cross-link your LinkedIn profile page to your company webpage to increase SEO rankings. Like most social media platforms, you can set up a company page on LinkedIn at no cost.
Pinterest boasts 100 million users, 85 percent being female. It is an easy way to share photographs or infograms with your customers. Pinterest is a digital pin board that allows you to bookmark (pin) websites that you like. If a client who follows you likes what you pin, they will re-pin your post, sharing it with their network and expanding your marketing reach! Large businesses pin up to five times per day, while a new business may want to start by posting one pin per day.
Snapchat is a big deal to millennials and generation Z. The sender can take a picture, add a caption, and then send it to a group of recipients. A time frame is pre-set so that the photograph disappears, unless the receiver quickly takes a screen shot. With 70 percent of Snapchat users being female, and under age 25, this medium can be excellent for product launches or special promotions when marketing to the 18 to 24-year-old female client.
Periscope is a live-streaming social media application, available through Twitter. It launched in March 2015 and boasts over 10 million registered users and almost two million daily users. The primary demographic is 16 to 24 years old with 29 percent of posts being by females. If live streaming of trainings or events to the teenage and young adult market will benefit your business, consider Periscope.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform hosted by Yahoo. It has millions of blog posts featuring stories, photographs, television shows, jokes, mp3s, videos, fashion, and art, amongst other categories. It is important for every business to host a blog page with content designed to spur interest in its products or services, along with providing factual-based reference data put at the client’s fingertips. Fifty percent of Tumblr users are under the age of 25. If you want to target younger clients, consider this platform.
Alternative-blogging mediums, such as a free service like wordpress.com, enable you to link your blog page to your website or insert a hyperlink to your blog with your posts and tweets.
This website offers skin care professionals a tool for communication and growth within the industry. In addition to educational content and a community to communicate with brand educators and writers, DERMASCOPE.com provides users with a platform to create and manage individual blogs. To sign up for DERMASCOPE’s complimentary blog service, visit the Community section online. Click on ‘Get Connected’ to set up your username, password, and professional profile. After your registration is complete, you may post blogs from your profile page. The Community can also be used to network and communicate with professionals from around the world. Similarly to Facebook, users can update statuses, add friends, like posts, and create events. It is a great opportunity to connect with contributors, as many of the DERMASCOPE writers are members of the Community. This is an excellent tool to share your knowledge and to grow your network within the industry!
Yelp is used by over 142 million visitors. While Yelp is not normally thought of as a traditional form of social media, it is important to list your business in Yelp so that customers can find you. Yelp allows you to post check-in offers and pictures of your location. Consumers post reviews on Yelp that affect other consumers’ buying decisions. In October 2015, Yelp had over 77 million reviews posted.
Vimeo boasts a superior user experience with high definition video. Business owners pay for their accounts rather than through advertising. It has 70 million visitors per month and is an excellent alternative to YouTube. Vimeo offers a statistics analytics program. If you have a large marketing budget, you may prefer to go with the quality of Vimeo videos.
Vine users post trendy, six-second videos that are fast-moving slideshows of still shots. There are 12 million Vine videos uploaded to Twitter every day! The application allows you to start and stop filming so quickly that you can create stop-motion effect videos. These short videos are the perfect teaser to show products or announce an upcoming event. Vine could be compared to Instagram, the difference being that you are looking at short video clips instead of a photograph.
Much like Instagram, Vine is a good platform for a contest. Ask your customers to create a Vine video of themselves using your products, offer a special discount code within the six-second video, or use the video to engage clients educationally, adding a link to a blog or webpage.
You can also engage your clients in a conversation by linking the video back to your Twitter feed or Facebook page. Use Vine to show a product application or treatment protocol (it will look like a movie on fast forward), promote your products surrounding an upcoming event, display before and after photographs, and ask a question and video the answer. You can even have your clients post Vine videos promoting your products and/or business, and announce upcoming product launches or events.
There is no time like the present; it is time to put your plan into action. Determine your target market(s) and where they like to spend their time online. Set up the platforms that you will utilize for customer engagement and hire any additional staff necessary to manage your daily social media activities and promotional campaigns. Determine a time frame for your engagement marketing; create a calendar and follow it! Decide on the content for your postings on the various platforms and market segments and hold a meeting to create and record your social media policy. Finally, start posting! Successful engagement marketing begins here, with you!
Brenda Linday is a licensed aesthetician, licensed aesthetic instructor, and certified aesthetic consultant with over 12 years of experience in the medical aesthetic industry. She offers consulting services to medical and aesthetic companies desiring to build strong sales and education teams. She also develops educational and engagement-marketing content for employees, contractors, practitioners, and industry distributors around the world. Linday’s passion is to share her wealth of knowledge with other like-minded professionals who believe that education is key to building lasting relationships with clients, making each clinician more successful by increasing client satisfaction.
Cerissa Linday is an award-winning graphic designer with more than 10 years of marketing experience serving the medical aesthetic and insurance industries. Linday has won seven GDUSA In-house Design Awards during her career. Her specialties include print/digital design, branding, and social media marketing. As with any creative artist, Linday thrives on bringing her clients’ visions to fruition. She believes the path to branding and marketing success lies in cohesion, consistency,