Are you social media savvy: Part 1?
- Written by Jane
I think it's fair to say that social media has developed at a rapid pace and new platforms seems to be emerging almost daily. It has undoubtedly transformed how all businesses communicate directly and openly with customers, and his revolutionised how we receive and share news and information.
As therapist we must be ready to meet the demands of mastering social media whether we like it or not. We need to engage with existing clients and increase visibility with prospective clients. Having a Facebook page for your clinic allows you to promote your business on interact with client or potential clients, building and developing positive relationships.
You will need to talk about the services you offer, products you sell and procedures you perform. But Facebook is just the place to begin. There how many additional platforms that offer new opportunities for therapists to build their brand.
The challenge is finding the time to do it all, as well as standing out from the crowd in getting your message across effectively in the right tone to the right people.
Whether you are just starting on a social media marketing strategy, designing a new campaign, all trying to figure out if WhatsApp make sense, get up to speed on the most relevant platform, get an understanding of who uses them, why and how.
Most Valuable Platforms: Active monthly users
Facebook: November 2017 there were 2.27 billion
YouTube: June 2018 1.9 billion
Instagram: June 2018 1 billion
Whatsapp: 800 million
Twitter: April 2017 326 million
Snapchat: September 2016 301 million
Pintrest: September 2018 250 million
Linked-In: April 2016 106 million
This just gives you a guideline to the numbers as social media metrics change constantly under calculated differently by various outlets. In addition, we need to factor in horde of fake accounts and users is it get booted off daily say the numbers may be inflated.
Social media platforms have enabled therapist to be more visible to clients and the most successful businesses have become visible in new and exciting ways. They provide an ideal venue for humour and other forms of creative content. If you create quality content your fans will come back for more. The content the excites your fans is what gets shared, forwarded add linked to and from other sites. This is what keeps people reading and drives conversions from follower to client.
It’s getting harder for therapists to stand out in the digital world. It seems to take a double dose of ingenuity and a creative mindset to build a community and keep them engaged. Social media users can be a fickle bunch (well I know I can be!). They are easily distracted by the next few things and can quickly screen out anything that doesn't catch their interest. If your campaign fails to encourage participation, social media users can be brutal. If you missed the mark, they are not shy about telling you so. We all know that happy satisfied clients are less likely to go public, say thank you or write glowing reviews and endorsements. Disgruntled clients tend to be more vocal, proactive and often tell you what they do not like and expect an immediate response.
Unfortunately, the beast of social media is 24/7, 365 days a year. People will be posting on social network on their mobile devices at any time during the day or night. Each platform has different peak times for interactions. Just because your salon is closed on Sunday, it doesn't mean people are not on social media on Sundays.
As much as we might not like it, someone must be minding the store and responding to posts and queries, creating interesting content and engaging with fans and followers even when the salon is closed. You should aim to respond to every reasonable comment as quickly as possible and deal with negative posts head on.
Social media should not be seen as a chore or slotted in when you have a few moments.
Social media platforms always seem like they were designed and developed by the younger age groups. In fact, most social networks start with that audience as its core demographic since they are what we class as early adopters. Then, as each network starts to catch on, the audience invariably expands, and the demographics change. Think of how Facebook started. It was a network built exclusively for college students. Today, college students have moved away from Facebook, partially because their parents are all over it, so it's lost its edge, its hippiness.
Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp are amongst the fastest growing platforms. They are not quite Facebook yet in terms of numbers but they are no longer niche social networks that you can ignore. Social media has become increasingly diversified as content is more engaging visually. The key is to choose the platforms best suited to your target audience. If you haven't yet identified your target audience you clearly haven't been following my live feeds!!
It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself on platforms with hundreds of millions or billions of users and an ad strategy should be seen as mandatory to get seen.
While having a lot of likes on Facebook used to be considered important, actual engagement, human interaction and two-way conversations remain the overriding goals of social media. You need to be present where your target audience is going and be an early adopter on those key channels.
Let your audience know where they can find you, so they do not miss out on your posts. Add social media buttons and usernames on all your marketing materials, including your website, blog and all other social media channels, business cards, newsletters and salon brochures. Whenever possible, secure the same username throughout all social media channels for consistency and to make it easier for clients to find you.
It’s better to be on your platforms of choice in frequent bursts than to put in an hour or two randomly throughout the week. Key time savers include the ability to pre schedule updates and tools that can update multiple platforms at once. Facebook has a built-in scheduler on business pages. Hootsuite, Buffer are subscription-based platforms enabling scheduling for multiple social channels from a single dashboard (you can also get free accounts with limited ‘tools’.
Learn which platforms are most relevant for your marketing goals and how to maximise performance on those key platforms to reap the greatest rewards.
Link back to your website by posting your URL on Twitter, Facebook etc, driving people back to your website so that your activities are not purely conversational. When you are tweeting, Facebooking or blogging, you can continually send people back to your website to capture their email addresses. Remember, social media platforms may come and go, may breakdown, may waiver in popularity, but your email list is marketing gold.
Remember, you don't have to be on every platform that is out there, but I would suggest you at least set up a profile to reserve your salon name should your target audience then switch to this platform.
I'm sure you've all felt it sometimes. I am posting but is anyone listening or reading?
First, you need to figure out the platforms that your clients and potential clients are on and expand from there.
Know, Like, Trust (KLT)
Building trust with your customers is akin to dating. The courtship (now that is an old-fashioned term!!) phase does not happen overnight. It takes time, powers of persuasion and a healthy dose of sensitivity.
Social media can help to increase the KLT factor of your clinic and can be an effective way to build new relationships and let them know what's happening in your business. It was once said to me that I need to think of social media as a network of communication channels. At the end of the day, our aim is to lead people towards making a purchase, be that a product or a treatment.
Relationships need to go both ways. I feel you need to keep the human component in customer relationships. And remember, you have to give them something to get something. Consumers want to know more about you and your practice before they schedule a consultation.
Setting a budget
It’s a mistake to think that social media is free because it doesn't cost anything to start a Facebook page. But why do I say this is incorrect? You need to input your time which is your most valuable resource. A campaign with the right tone and relevance can create affordable, meaningful audience engagement when compared with the cost of traditional advertising. If you think about it, there are many ways to reach thousands of potential clients all over the world without spending a fortune on print etc.
Having said that, it does require commitment and resources. At some point you may have to outsource this marketing strategy and maybe a search engine optimisation (SEO) company to handle this for you. If this is a route you're thinking of taking, proceed with caution. There are so many outsource SEO companies out there but a lot of these are generalists. I firmly believe we need to work with somebody who knows the industry inside out.
Social media isn't something that you should just delegate to whoever has some free time. Personally I feel it should be executed strategically and consistently by someone who ‘gets it’.
Consider the frequency of creating content, promoting your salon via ads and boosted posts and then determine how much you're willing to spend and go from there.
Always make sure your business owns all your URLs; websites, blogs, Facebook page etc. Keep copious records of all your logins. If you terminate a contract with say your web designer or social media consultant, change all your passwords immediately to stay secure. Similarly, if you let an employee go or someone leaves in suspicious ways, change all passwords ASAP.
In Part 2 I will be covering:
- Measuring results with tools
- Posting guidelines
- Rules for social success
- Engagement strategies
- And more
Secrets to Successful Blogging: Part 2
- Written by Jane
In part one we covered
- Better Blogging
- Staying on message
- Getting started
- Integrating your blog with your website
- Blog structure
- Choosing categories
- Keyword tags
- Title Tags
So, to expand on this:
Did you know that search engines can read the file names of your photos? If you are using a photo or photos in a post, use a keyword for the filename when you save it to your laptop. Therefore, name images strategically before uploading them to your post and include alternative text in case your image does not show up for the user.
Remember, if you are posting patient or client photos, make sure their name has been removed and you have consent on file.
Avoid making blog posts a wall of just text. Include at least one image to make your blog reader friendly and in a style of an online magazine. Video content is a useful element to engage readers and search engines.
Internal Text Links
Within each blog post you can include links to other content in your blog or on your website. Whether you are referencing your product, service or a topic featured in another blog post, use keyword rich anchor text to create the link. This gives search engines more information about the content of that page. Include internal links to pages within your domain, with anchor text to help readers find more content and rank for keywords.
Calls to Action
Make sure every blog post includes at least one keyword and well-crafted CTA (calls to action). These can be at the beginning or end the post, sidebar or links within the copy itself.
Some ideas for blogs could be:
- Erasing acne scars
- Early skin cancer detection saves lives
- Get the party for the holidays
- Back to school skin care regime
- Body sculpting without surgery
- Cheekbones are back
- Summer bodies are made in winter
- Here comes the bride and she is glowing
Preferred Posting Practice
What happens when you post another entry to your blog? A few people may read or view it. Some may even post comments or share with a friend. Most blog posts will not gain much momentum unless someone is driving the marketing of your blog. Rather than viewing publishing a post as the end point, this is just the beginning.
Promoting blogs should be integrated into your overall online strategy to drive traffic and build brand awareness.
Leverage every new post by reaching out to other bloggers. Identify who are the top bloggers for your specialism and contact them. Having another blog or blogger recommend something you posted to their followers or people who trust them is a very powerful way to get the word out. But this will take some effort and if you don't have a pre-existing relationship with the bloggers your pitching they may not respond.
If you're going down this route, avoid pitching posts to other bloggers unless your blog has direct relevance to their readers. Only pitch your most interesting and unique posts so they have a higher success rate of getting a link.
Avoid suggesting links to purely self-promotional posts as these are more likely to be declined.
Offer an angle to the blogger, such as what your post is about and why it might be relevant to their blog. Personalise your request with the name of the blogger and blog to show did you have a specific interest and are not just casting a wide net. Remember, some may request a fee!
Try to get your blog included in other bloggers blogrolls. A blogroll is a list of links, usually located on the sidebar, the blogger enjoys and wants to share with his or her readers. A blogger might use a blogroll to help promote their friends’ blogs or offer their readers a wide array of resources on a particular niche.
Think of your blog as a dynamic entity with a unique personality of its own. If you keep your content visible, relevant and unique, you can attract the right kind of positive attention that adds to your credibility as a trusted source of balanced information
6 tips for better blogging
- Engage readers with a catchy title to draw them in
- Ask the reader for response to draw him or her in
- End every blog with a call to action
- Add a ‘Share This‘ plug-in that allows you to automatically add social media sharing buttons on every post
- Add a search box on the sidebar so users can find exactly what they are looking for
- Encourage readers to follow your content by including a link to subscribe to your content via email to help build your list and/or RSS feed
Benefits of e-Books
An e-Book is essentially a booklet created in a downloadable digital format it is usually offered at no charge to interested readers. Choose a theme that is a hot topic to generate buzz for your brand. Think of magazine articles that clients would want to read such as ‘A new way to lift a sagging neck and no surgery required’. Or ‘Banish your mummy tummy in your lunch hour’. Include visuals that tell the story to break up text. Because these are designed not to be printed, you can create e-Books a short or as long as you like.
An e-Book can be used as a hook to build your email list. Marketing an eBook is straight forward and cost effective. Your Facebook page is a perfect platform to start with. You can offer a free eBook from your page in return for fans filling in a simple form to capture their name, email and some other demographic information.
To attract followers who will want to read your E book, a Facebook ad campaign is highly recommended. Give people some copy to entice them to download it and the reason they will want to read it. Promoting any book on social media is it cost effective way to reach a very targeted audience.
To make sure your E book delivers real value, offer useful tips and insider information. Do not just regurgitate copy that is already available on your site or blog or make it a marketing pitch. Keep it fresh with an upbeat tone in readable and lively, yet informative and visually appealing. It can be difficult to come up with new eBook themes so I am launching in August a list of E books which therapists can purchase I just adjust the front page and any other relevant information to make it salon specific. So, I was going to give you some great eBook themes but then obviously that would be stealing my thunder a launch!
The Secrets of Blogging: Part 1
- Written by Jane
It is said by some that the art of creating great content that connects with clients and potential clients is more of a science.
I think there are certain elements that if you mix them into your content, you will make it more relatable an impactful for your audience.
A blog is essentially an online shared journal which gets frequently updated with brief bursts of content about your topics of choice. Blogging is a platform for promoting your clinic or salon and is an important way to get you up the search rankings. So, if you're not doing it now and you're not appearing on the first page of the search engines I suggest this is something you implement.
You can use your blog to boost your credibility, create a personal connection with your audience and answer questions and queries.
Blogging can be less time consuming then the likes of Twitter or Facebook. You may choose to blog once a week, but I would suggest you do it more often than that. If you are like me and enjoy writing and are willing to invest the time and effort to think of interesting topics for your posts, blogging can be very enjoyable.
BUT if blogging is just going to become another thing on your ‘to do list’, I suggest that you either pass this task on to one of your therapists or perhaps think about employing a beauty or health writer to maintain a blog.
Another good way to add content to your blog is to provide updated headlines or news article from other sites that are of interest to your followers. If you are going to go down this route, I would suggest you include your own commentaries and recommendations to make the content uniquely your own.
This isn't something that I have done (or not that I am aware of any way!) but you can allow comments which can facilitate discussion on your site and turn it into an interactive social place. This could also increase social media optimisation. if you want to do this I would recommend you set the blog so that all comments require approval to avoid spammers or inappropriate posts.
Staying on Message
The regular listeners to my live feeds will laugh at this one as I'm very easily distracted and go off on different tangents that bear no relevance to the message! However, I never said I was perfect!!
The clutter of content online means people appreciate brevity and a targeted message that speaks directly to them. You need to find the ideal online voice for your clinic or salon and stick to it, but this can be very tricky.
Once you have found your voice, the next step is to identify the content pool that your followers relate to most and you continue to create new and unique variations on those key themes.
Maintaining a professional image and tone on line is essential. Resist the temptation to come across as flippant or overly self-promotional as this can backfire on your reputation with your clients and future clients.
Your blogs should be positioning you as someone to take seriously and offering reasonable opinions and solid advice that attract real clients to come to you for consultations and treatments.
Creating a blog is a relatively affordable and a simple process once you get your head around it. The real obstacle is finding the time to maintain a blog by developing content that is relevant to your readers.
There are many different blog platforms but probably WordPress, a fully customisable blog and website platform, is, I think, the one most universally used.
I had my website specifically built for me and I think I use a plugin called Joomla! to create my blogs (but don't quote me on that!)
Integrate a blog with your website
Ideally a blog should have the same look and feel as your website. And as I've said before I urge you never to use Facebook or Instagram to drive your business. Yet again last week Facebook had a meltdown. Hence why you should be driving people from social media platforms such as Facebook to your website, capturing their contact details.
Your blog can be set up to live with in your website (mine is) or under a separate domain name to increase search engine rank (so they say).
As I said earlier, the challenge is for you to find the time to blog and then decide what to blog about. One all the best ways to add engaging and meaningful content to your blog is to find interesting content that is already posted on websites, Facebook, magazines and so on. You can then add your own spin to make it uniquely yours.
Find good content by searching on social media platforms, beauty blogs, health and beauty publications. You can also set Google alerts the key categories and topics such as skin care, needling, the brands you use, acne. I would also encourage you today Google alerts on your name and salon.
A blog can be a useful tool for getting your message across, educating consumers, keeping clients informed of developments or newsworthy items.
To help with search engine visibility, posts should be optimised by including keywords in that text such as ‘IPL hair removal Alresford’ (obviously that only relates to me!!), whilst at the same time keeping it readable. Blog posts can usually be scheduled in advance and frequency should be at least once weekly to keep the momentum going.
A word of warning. If your blogs all about SEO, you may achieve a higher search engine ranking, but you may not develop a following of readers who pay attention to your content.
To optimise the titles of blog posts directly for search engines, include a keyword in your title, preferably near the beginning. BUT titles need to attract the reader's attention I let them know what your post is all about and how they will benefit from reading it.
Don’t overuse keywords. Stick with a main keyword in the introductory paragraph and use another keyword at the end of the post. The rest of the content should be readable and make sense. So, don’t head up your blog posts with ‘Alresford skin care clinic’ or ‘Top chemical peel therapist’. Search engines are wise to this methodology and they can identify synonyms. If your plan is to get more likes and shares, and to convert followers to clients, the content has to say something worthwhile and be presented in an engaging way.
Content should be readable and interesting and resonate with your target audience. Blog posts need to sound authentic.
You could also consider adding a disclaimer to your blog along the lines of ‘Content contained herein is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical doctor and should not be considered medical advice’. You may also consider adding this disclaimer to your website footer.
It is recommended not to add dates to your blog posts as readers are more likely to only go to the most recent posts.
Remember, a blog is better suited to short form content whereas say an e-book will have a more captive audience interested in scrolling through more pages in charts because someone had to fill out a form with the personal information before it was sent to them.
If you're debating whether to create a video blog or text blog, determine the content format that will help you get your message across in the clearest way and the way your audience will enjoy consuming it. I would recommend a mixture of both.
Make it easy for your readers to learn more about your clinic or salon, staff, products and services by including navigation to primary business pages. The goal is to make them stay online longer and read more. Encourage readers to browse through all the available content by topic such a skin care, hair removal, hair restoration etc.
The average reader has a pretty short attention span when it comes to reading content online. So, make sure your posts are scannable because most online readers will not read every word. Their eyes go to certain words and phrases first so they can get the gist of what you're writing about before they decide to devote any more time to it.
Long posts created purely for the sake of extra words are not effective. Short blurbs do not say enough are also not interesting to readers or Google. If the post is too long, chances are readers will not read to the end.
Find the right length as it takes you to communicate what you want to say. Mixing long, medium and short posts is fine. If you add compelling visuals and links you can reduce the word count, and this is something I would encourage you to do.
Blog categories allow you to organise your posts by topic. It lets your readers easily find the topics that they are most interested in. Whenever possible, use relevant keywords in popular brand names in your categories.
Put yourself in the mind of the reader when you choose keywords. For example, if your clinic or salon specialises in non-surgical anti-aging treatments for women, start off with some basic categories that prospective clients might look for such as:
- wrinkle reduction treatments
- non-surgical facelift
- skin rejuvenation
Expand your keyword list by including product or brand names that resonate with consumers such as skin tightening systems, IPL, chemical peels etc.
Include keywords in your post title, header tag, image text, copy and meta descriptions. Each blog posts can be associated with keywords. Choose keywords that are related to the topic and use those keywords in the content.
Add a meta-description
A meta description is a summary of your web page for search engines. Make sure your blog has one that includes keywords so that searches will know what your blog is about. This area allows you to include a description of your post.
Create the description by using some keywords such as ‘Visit Alresford Skin Care – Top rated clinic for natural aesthetic treatments in the South. If you are looking for the best therapies to naturally reverse the signs of ageing, book a consultation with our skin experts’.
Instead of calling your blog ‘skin care blog’ you can use keywords here as well. Since search engines put more emphasis on words closer to the left, name your blogs page title something that focuses on keywords first, then your company name, gaining authority for those keywords.
The title tag area gives you some flexibility to be creative. Create post titles that are interesting and make the reader want to read more.
Part 2 on this topic will be published shortly.