An online profile may be the first introduction many potential clients have to your business. A professional, creative and informative profile can be the difference between intriguing a new customer and losing a prospective customer's interest. As a wellness professional, it's important to master the art of creating a compelling online business profile.
Most massage therapists have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online business directories and other networking sites. The seemingly endless profile possibilities can be useful, yet overwhelming.
Online profiles usually include a traditional bio, but they also include additional information. They differ from regular bios in that they often allow users to post a profile picture, feature photo albums and fill out different profile sections to describe themselves and their business.
Tips for choosing a profile picture
• Use a professional photo. Don't give in to the temptation to choose a photo based solely on how physically flattering it is. Customers want to get sessions from someone who looks clean, approachable and responsible. Looking fashionable, fit or popular does not matter as much as whether you look like you would do your job well. Use a portrait, a picture of you working or even a picture of your business location.
• Don't look too serious. Avoid choosing a picture in which you look too serious, no matter how professional it looks. The idea is to seem welcoming, so smiling in a picture is ideal. You want to look like a warm person who clients will enjoy spending an hour with. You also want to look like someone with whom clients can comfortably discuss their health issues or reasons for seeking your services.
• Photo options for bigger practices. If your practice has multiple employees, also consider a picture of your logo or a group shot.
Tips for writing online profiles
• Promote your business while writing about yourself. When you talk about yourself, also talk about your business. An online profile might have a bio or "About Me" section, but don't get off topic and talk too much about your likes and dislikes, hobbies outside of work or home life. Instead, discuss yourself in terms of your passion for your services. Write in a style that allows you to inform new clients of the services you offer without sounding too much like a salesperson.
For example, explain how you long you've been practicing, the benefits of the specific types of massage you perform and your business motto or philosophy. Clients will learn a bit about your personal history, and they will also discover how much your service might help them.
• Include practical information. Include your business address and hours at the end of the bio section of an online profile. Use the online profile to make yourself as accessible to new clients as possible.
• Use consistent pronouns. Lately, I've seen online profiles where the business owner switches back and forth between describing himself (I) and describing the business (we). This switch between pronouns is confusing and also gives an impression that multiple authors handle the online profile. It seems unprofessional, and users might feel awkward corresponding through the profile if they feel like they are talking to different people each time. Even if you do have multiple people managing the account, have them use one voice for updates-or at least let customers know who is messaging them, if possible.
You made an online profile. Now what?
• Check it regularly. Too many business owners make online profiles and then ignore them. Check yours regularly and reply to comments and questions in a timely manner. If prospective clients ask you questions and don't get prompt responses, they are likely to think of you as inconsiderate or even wonder whether you're still in business.
• Update often, but not too often. Social media is a great way to inform clients of promotions, new products, remodeling, an occasional wellness tip and special holiday hours. However, I always end up unfollowing or de-friending businesses that take up too much of my Twitter or Facebook feed with frequent information that isn't relevant to my needs. Nine times out of 10, people are logging into Facebook to see what their friends are up to, so don't annoy them with too many updates about your business. Share just one valuable update each day.
Think of an online profile as a way to build a relationship with clients. Think of them as a free directory listing, online brochure and quick medium of communication all in one. They are incredibly convenient because most clients already use social media, and they allow you to provide information about your services without sounding overly promotional. The extra time it takes to obtain a professional picture, fill out an online profile and respond to client questions online will be more than worth it because of the clientele it will attract.