You are probably already on Facebook, and most of your friends and family know you are in school studying to be a massage therapist. Just as Facebook allows you to share, engage and build social relationships, it can do the same for your career, in terms of helping expand your professional community.
Marketing on Facebook can be powerful. According to social media experts Syncapse, people are 88 percent more likely to buy from brands they like on Facebook, and 91 percent more likely to continue using brands whose Facebook pages they follow.
This is why you need to think of your professional Facebook page as a platform for talking to and getting direct feedback from your audience-current and future clients. This is your opportunity to provide engaging and helpful information, and also learn, connect and collect useful information from your growing network.
These six steps will help you build your professional Facebook page when you have graduated from massage school:
Step 1: Fine-Tune Your Settings
Go to your Facebook settings and make sure you have the page set to publish; set for maximum visibility; and with comments enabled. Also, set country and age settings as appropriate, and consider adding a profanity filter. Include your business hours, services and specialties, physical location and contact information.
Importantly, have a Facebook page dedicated to your massage practice. This page is separate from any page that you use to network with nonclients such as friends, family and former college roommates. Your professional page must be professional in every way.
Step 2: Be Proactive
Once you have graduated and you have your professional Facebook page up, don't simply sit back and wait for comments and likes to pour in. Enlist friends, family and current clients to share your posts. Visit other pages in the massage community and like your favorites. Post on walls, share posts and add your voice to a number of topic threads, or start your own.
You will want to create an online presence and become recognizable as a leader and expert in the field, but don't be overly promotional. Instead, make your participation more about the community, and less about yourself. You can always mention your page in your personal posts, and send invitations to like your page.
Keep in mind you want visitors coming back to your page, so frequently update your Facebook status with educational information, research findings, dates of special events, charity events, promotions and new products for sale.
Step 3: Drive Traffic
Getting Facebook fans to your website-and onto your email list, if you have one-is your main goal. Therefore, post at least three times a week, and with each post create a call to action; for example, encourage fans to check out your website. You can do this by enticing them with constantly updated content, such as blog posts; coupons, two-for-one deals and limited-time discounts; printable gift certificates; and health news and tips related to massage.
A key advantage of online discussions is you can learn what people want and then give it to them. Feedback can be time-consuming and distracting, so it's important to stay focused on using what you learn to transform those fans into new clients.
Note: The general rule of thumb is to keep your personal Facebook account separate from your business Facebook page, but feel free to post a link to your professional website on your personal Facebook profile.
Step 4: Post Visually Dynamic Content
Photos and infographics are the best way to engage visitors, garner likes and get dialogue going. Post photos of yourself, your facility, colleagues, retail products and tools and equipment of your trade. (Don't post photos of clients without their written permission-and keep all photos squeaky clean.)
Step 5: Get Creative
Unless you're a major celebrity, you will have to work hard to get a lot of buzz on Facebook, amid thousands of brands clamoring for users' clicks. It's critical for your page's content to stand out, so this is one area where you can engage your fan base. Here are a few suggestions for content that will get people's attention:
* Ask questions. No one can resist expressing an opinion, so go ahead and start conversations that will get clients and potential clients thinking about massage. Conversation-starting questions include:
• What type of massage do you like better-Swedish or deep tissue?
• What's your favorite part of getting a massage?
• Do you like your massage therapist to talk or be quiet?
* Start a contest. Ask fans to post on a certain topic. The winner-whoever gets the most likes-gets a free one-hour massage. The topic could be: Describe the time a massage really helped you. Or you could ask fans to post about their most memorable massage, and choose winners based on categories: Most Moving, Funniest, Most Embarrassing and so on.
* Make a video. You can really kick your Facebook page-and website-up a notch by adding a fact-filled video in which you introduce yourself and showcase your business in whatever mood you want to capture. You could also feature testimonials from loyal clients.
Step 6: Check Your Analytics
Once you've amped up your page, keep track of how effective you've been by checking analytics. Once your page has at least 30 likes, Facebook's Insights tool provides information about your page's performance, lets you find demographic data about your audience, and shows the percentage of people who like your page for each age and gender bracket. You can also find out the number of people your post reached, who clicked your post, and the number of those who liked, commented on or shared your post.
Use this information to further develop your page and your approach to the online massage community, targeting posts toward whatever angle or strategy has proven most effective. Remember: You are your own best marketing tool, so put yourself out there, start building relationships-and make some noise.