It would be nice if merely joining a social network and sending a flurry of random posts pulled in loads of attention and clients, but unfortunately that’s not the reality. Engaging in social media is only worth the time, money and effort if you approach it as systematically and thoughtfully as you do other aspects of your business. “You can’t just create an account and hope current or potential clients will find it,” says Kathryn Moroz, president of spa consulting firm Spa Advisors. “If you want it to work, you must make an effort to post relevant content on a regular basis.” But where to start? Here, we’ve compiled seven strategies sure to pump up your spa’s social media success.
1) Create a Concrete Plan
A sound content strategy is key to mastering social media. Start by setting specific goals, such as increasing online chatter about your spa by 5 percent of your followers, or boosting your site’s web traffic by 10 percent. Then decide on and deliver the type of content most likely to achieve those goals, whether it’s video, photos or blog posts. “Every social media post you make must be valuable to your audience,” says Oklahoma City-based digital marketing specialist Anna Wickham. “That’s how they connect with your brand.”
2) Pick the Right Platform
Your chosen social media channels should align with your marketing goals and target demographic. For example, Wickham points out that although Facebook has over a billion daily users and enormous reach, it has recently declined in popularity among people ages 18 to 34. “You need to be where your audience hangs out. If you’re targeting a younger clientele, you’ll want to be on Instagram or Snapchat because that’s where they are,” she advises. Instagram can be especially valuable for day spas, as they can seduce potential clients with their spaces’ aesthetic appeal. On the other hand, LinkedIn would be a better option for businesses looking to attract a more corporate clientele. Testing different approaches on various platforms for at least three to six months is key to determining which ones are a good fit.
3) Study Your Stats
You can’t judge your social media success based solely on how many likes a particular post receives. Lindsay Houghton, social media director of THE Pearl Modern Spa and Boutique in Fulton, Maryland, is a fan of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram analytics for tracking engagement. “They send valuable reports and statistics about how your promotion went—what worked and what didn’t,” she says. “I use that information to give our followers more of what they want.” Analytical tools, such as Brand24 or Simply Measured, to name but two, can help you assess whether you’re meeting your goals.
4) Engage, Engage, Engage
Think of social media as an exceptional opportunity to converse with current and potential clients outside of the spa. Connect with them by asking their opinions about spa-related topics, or responding to questions and concerns. Rhonda Mordecai, owner of Sole’renity Spa in Sulphur, Oklahoma, reserves time in the morning and at the end of each day to interact with followers. “We try to reply to every comment as soon as we can,” she says. “People really appreciate that we take the time to listen and respond.”
5) Be Hands Off
The avalanche of information on social media can be overwhelming, but you don’t need to log in daily to be present. At On The Side Spa in Westfield, New Jersey, spa director Taryn Larsen opts to receive alerts on her phone whenever someone comments or reviews the spa online. “It helps me stay on top of how our audience engages without having to scroll through our feed for an hour,” she explains. In addition, sites like Hootsuite and Edgar enable you to schedule content up to months in advance.
6) Go With a Pro
If your budget allows, hiring a professional to manage your social networks or create a digital strategy can make a huge difference. Larsen employed New York City- based consulting firm Lexi Design to help refine On The Side Spa’s social media persona and create a more cohesive online promotional strategy. “They really showed us how to use social media as a tool to grow our business,” reports Larsen. “As a result, we saw a 10 percent increase in promotional packages sales.”
7) Commit Long Term
Social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency and patience pay off. Houghton reports that in the year since THE Pearl Modern Spa and Boutique revamped its social media strategy, “We’ve increased our website traffic, seen our followers more than double, and we’re getting noticed by industry publications. Our followers are liking, sharing, re-tweeting and pinning our message more than ever! We’re definitely hitting our goals—and even exceeding them!” she enthuses.
–by Barbara Diggs