The electronic age is here, and I must admit that it has taken some time for me to fully grasp its vast concepts and applications. This technology simply wasn’t around during my developmental years and college training.
I’m a member of Generation X,and am one of the many who didn’t grow up in the electronic age doing my high school—or even college—homework on a computer. There were no handheld electronic devices and certainly no cell phones on which to tweet, text or post my thoughts on Facebook. So for me, the past decade in particular has been a continuous growth cycle of learning, educating myself and finding out what I need to know—and how to apply it—to stay on top of today’s fast-paced technological environment.
Technology certainly has its place in the spa world. In my early days with Skin Inc. magazine, few of our readers had e-mail addresses or Internet access. Today, the vast majority have beautiful websites that are helping profits roll in by touting special online promotions and loyalty discounts. Our April “Vocal Point” online survey asked viewers “What social media outlet is your favorite, and how do you use it to connect to current and potential clients?”
Many of those who responded—including Dayna Slater, an esthetician at Beyond Brows in Denver—love social networking sites. “One great way to market is to use social networking sites. My favorite media outlet for my small waxing business is Facebook,” says Slater. “In this economy, it is expensive to market if you are just starting your business. I have gained quite a few clients through building an account on Facebook for my business. Using this source of marketing has helped in many different ways: It’s free, easy to use and generates business. Through Facebook, I’m able to join groups and from there it can become word-of-mouth; this is a great way to get started! I also connect with my clients through this social networking site and keep current discounts and packages posted for them to view. They are able to reach me through e-mail or by phone. It has proven to be the best media outlet for me and my business.”
Handheld mobile devices also top the list. “My favorite tool is my BlackBerry,” states Brenda Goebel Denesowicz, owner of The Bee Hive in Wilmington, DE. “I opened up my own spot called The Bee Hive. At first, I was concerned to be communicating through my phone and e-mail. Within weeks, I was certain I had the best social media connection possible. Texting and e-mail have been the No. 1 way to stay connected to my clients and give them the immediate response they are looking for with skin care questions or simply booking their appointments.”
NuU Medspa loves Twitter, according to Gina Virgilio, public relations director for NuU Medspa in Oak Brook, IL. “Using Twitter, we are able to pass on pertinent information from other surgical/medical professionals, as well as provide firsthand experiences with other surgeons and medical staff.”
And, for many, traditional word-of-mouth still prevails. “To me there has been no better way to connect with new clients than word-of-mouth,” says Annmarie Cerundolo, an esthetician at Vintage Salon and Day Spa in Rowley, MA. “The Internet via e-mail and our website have also been invaluable tools in keeping clients aware of any promotions, or just to send a ‘we miss you’ or ‘welcome back’ promo. Word-of-mouth has sent many new clients to our website and ultimately to our day spa.”
No doubt about it, social media is the “it” marketing tool. If you need help getting started at your spa, seek out additional training and courses, such as the Advanced Education session about social media presented by John Miller of ConnectMedia Ventures at Face & Body Midwest on March 12, 2011. To read more responses from your peers about social media and how they are using it in the spa, visit www.SkinInc.com/survey/?question=24.