Many RMTs are asking themselves if they should create a social media presence in order to further market their practice. Below are some questions we are often asked and our responses to them.
What is social media?
Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google+, blogsites and the list goes on, are examples of social media sites that encourage individuals and groups to connect, interact, inform, share thoughts and opinions with one another online.
Does a social media presence replace the need for a website?
No. Your website contains a great deal of organized information about you, your practice, expertise, availability, policies, forms, location and any other information you wish to convey. Social media for business is all about interacting and stimulating word-of-mouth promotion of your practice.
Your website is designed to get results for popular online search queries. Try searching online for “massage therapist” in your town. You will reach pages of RMT business websites before you ever find an RMT’s social media site. Your RMT website is the ultimate place you want online searchers and social media users to find. However, there can be a great deal of positive synergy between your website and social media.
If you decide to create one or more social media presences, they should informally direct potential clients to your RMT website and vice versa. Ideally, your website should allow current and potential clients to request appointments online at their convenience.
Why use social media?
The answer is that many of your clients and potential clients are quite active in the social media space. You have an opportunity to learn more about the interests and health concerns your clients and potential clients have and to position yourself as a professional and subject matter expert. You can also use other people’s social media sites to post information with informal links back to your website.
Most RMTs would agree that word-of-mouth advertising is a highly effective method of gaining new clients. Word-of-mouth referrals and social media have a lot in common. For example, when people “like” your Facebook page and recommend your services on Facebook, several of their friends are introduced to your services.
How can social media work for me?
The intent is to keep current clients engaged with you and attract new clients to your practice. Using Facebook as an example, you can start a Facebook page and invite your existing clients, professional peers and personal friends to join. They view your content, post content or opinions and generally interact with one another. They in turn, may invite others to view and interact on your site. You are building an online place where “digital” word of mouth proliferates and you become a trusted expert.
Many massage therapists also “embed” their websites’ online booking request system on their Facebook page, thus allowing current and potential clients to request appointments from both places.
What does it cost to create my social media presence?
Most social media sites are free or have inexpensive “upgrade options.” However, there will be a great deal of your time involved in learning how to create your social media page(s), researching and creating content, monitoring and answering comments. Experts agree you should allocate up to one hour of your time per day as an overall average.
If you are not prepared to make this time commitment, then it is advisable not to do it at all. A large percentage of therapists are not active in business social media and they have successful practices. There are many other forms of engaging with, and advertising to, your target market.
Where do I start?
Speak with your peers about what social media platforms they use and why. What results have they seen and how long did they take to occur? Plan your content and posting schedule. Be realistic regarding your available time. View other therapists’ sites for ideas of what to do and what not to do. Keep your business and personal Facebook pages separate. Initially, choose only one platform - that is start only with Facebook or Twitter – if it requires content and management from you. Above all, remember that success in social media takes time and effort. The rewards can be well worth it.
Until next time, be well!
MindZplay Solutions is a provider of massage therapy websites and practice management solutions. To learn more about mindZplay solutions for massage therapists, visit us at www.massagemanedger.com or call toll free 888-373-6996.
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