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Online Dating: Build Relationships and Stimulate Client Engagement Via Social Media
By: Ashley Ludgood
Posted: October 2, 2013, from the October 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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What you have to contribute doesn’t have to affect your bottom line. Although giveaways can be popular with social media followers, you can offer something as simple as information. Share an original blog post to give advice; ask a question to give them the opportunity to express their thoughts; or share a picture that provides entertainment. Attempt to post something engaging three times for every promotional post. Keep posts focused to align with your brand.
Be open to blind dates. How do blind dates work? A friend connects you with someone they know. This cross-connection of networks helps you find your perfect match. Social media thrives on the blind-date philosophy. Your business will have a group of loyal followers that pay attention to your Facebook page or Twitter account. This is a great way of building loyalty and keeping current clients informed of your efforts, but how do you reach new clients? Partner and cross-promote with other businesses that may serve a similar demographic. For example, a local hair salon may not provide spa services or a local gym may target a demographic similar to yours. Mention them in your tweets and posts, and ask them to do the same to cross-promote services. Share each other’s blog posts. This will help you generate visibility for both their business and yours.
Know the hot spots. Know that there’s no one-size-fits-all list of platforms for every skin care facility. Based on the creative assets and manpower of a typical spa, following are the top seven recommended platforms on which you should participate (in order).
- Google+. Google search is one of the primary ways people will find your facility. Google+ accounts can now be merged with your local listing to create a more engaging, competitive listing that allows you upload video testimonials, pictures and fliers of your most recent promotions.
- Facebook. Facebook is ranked No. 1 as the most popular website globally.1 Eighty percent of Facebook users use the platform to connect with brands.2
- YouTube. Did you know this is the second largest search engine after Google?3 YouTube allows you to post video tours of your spa, interviews with your team and video testimonials. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth 1 million words. Help your clients get more comfortable with your spa before the first treatment.
- Twitter. Not only is this one of the most popular platforms, but also half of its United States’ users check their accounts from their mobile phone, which makes it easier for you to deliver your message to busy clients during vacation seasons.4
- Pinterest. This platform is quickly growing in popularity among American women, but requires a significant amount of original material from your team.
- Instagram. Similar to Pinterest, make sure someone on your team is equipped with an Android or iPhone to update this platform. It is not yet compatible with Blackberry phones, and content cannot be uploaded from a desktop computer.
- LinkedIn. This platform is typically for B2B connections, not to connect with clients. Use Linkedin to connect with potential partners with whom you can cross-promote.
Don’t leave your clients waiting by the phone. Leaving someone who is excited about you waiting by the phone will not only make them lose interest—it may make them angry. In an internal investigation conducted by IF Marketing, 100 medical practices were contacted via their online contact form. Out of the 100, more than half did not respond. In fact, after 48 hours, the complete lack of a response created ill will from the consumer toward the practice. If you can’t be trusted with returning a message, why should a client trust you with her skin?
This also means it is important to post consistently. Although a suitor who calls too often may be a turn-off, one that seldom calls makes you feel as if they don’t care about you. When determining how frequently your facility should post, take into account the shelf-life of a post. Every platform will vary. For example, posting on Facebook at least three times weekly is typically ideal. Posting daily on Twitter is suggested, but you could post 10 times every day on Twitter because of the how quickly the feed is updated. Post on platforms around lunch time and between 6 pm–8 pm. Take into account when people will most likely have time to casually use their social media platforms.