Using Social Media Wisely in Your Massage Business
Social media is a bit of a minefield for both new and long-time business owners. It can be super helpful in getting the word out about your business, it’s like word of mouth on steroids. It can also be aggravating, confusing, and cause you to anger a client and your Aunt Joan at the same time. That’s bad for business and also for Thanksgiving dinner conversation.
First know this: You don’t have to put your business on a social media platform. It feels like everyone says “You should have a facebook page/TikTok/Instagram!” But ‘everyone’ is wrong. If you are averse to social media it’s okay to just not use it, personally or professionally.
In fact, it’s probably best to not put your business on social until you’ve built an otherwise strong foundation for attracting new clients. It can take sometime to figure out how to best present your business to the world. Figure that out first.
Also, it’s far too easy to get distracted by the dopamine hits of social interaction and neglect your other more important business tasks.
Social media should only come after you’ve got all your basic business information together, built a website and set up your business practices to be ready for new clients.
Clean it Up & Lock it Down
If you have personal profiles on social media, they probably need some tending. Even if you decide to keep your business off social media, the personal stuff can be relevant.
How much do you want clients and potential clients to see and know about you? We are all real people with lives outside work, this is just reality. At the same time, we can usually choose what we put out into the world. Make those choices wisely, so you are presenting your best self.
You probably don’t want clients to see the picture from 2003 when you were drinking after your high school graduation and wrapped around the similarly tipsy head cheerleader. Maybe it’s not great for everyone to be able to see where you go for coffee and bagels every Thursday at 9am. And we don’t want clients (or anyone we don’t know, really) to see pictures of our kids with their school t-shirts on.
Dive into your social media presence and decide what should be deleted and what settings you can use to keep your personal information just that. Untag yourself from any questionable pictures that friends may have posted. Google your name and see what comes up, and whenever possible, remove anything less than flattering or seemingly unprofessional.
It’s hard to predict how people will behave, especially online (← understatement of the century). Creating a separate business presence on social media, instead of using your personal accounts can be wise if you are concerned about boundaries and overlap. Side note: you should absolutely be concerned about boundaries and overlap.
Make decisions about if and how you want to interact on social media and be mindful of unintentional crossover.
Family & friends
If you share business info via your personal accounts, do you want clients and potential clients to see weird Aunt Sue’s comments? Can your tolerate your high school friends making dumb happy ending jokes when you announce you passed the test and have your license?
Should you accept FB friend requests from clients? On Facebook you can get savvy with friend list features and limit the audience on any particular post. Most other platforms don’t offer that same level of control, so you’ve got to make clear decisions about how you’ll use those accounts.
It’s important to think about how you’ll feel about a client if you see them post something in opposition to your own values and belief system. Can you still create a safe and non-judgmental space for a client who you know is a racist? How will you feel if a client cancels last minute due to illness, but then posts a picture of being out at a party that night?
If you’re not sure about how you’ll feel or are confident you’ll feel resentful (that’s me!) then you absolutely should not accept friend requests from clients or follow them back on social platforms.
We don’t just interact with clients and potential clients online, we also build relationships with colleagues. Social media can be a great way to find community support and mentorship from our colleagues. But again, online conversations can be volatile.
Can you be civil when others are not? Can you be okay with people being wrong and absolutely not coming around to your way of thinking? Even when it sounds dangerous to you? If your answer is no to these (mine is!) interacting with colleagues online will bring you more aggravation than reward. It may be better to build a strong local in-person network instead of arguing online with anti-vaxxer colleagues who brag about not getting flu shots.
Your business presence
If you’ve decided to put your business on social media, you can make some decisions about how you’ll interact.
Do you want to accept direct messages or would you rather people visit your website to reach out? You can turn off messaging on most platforms. If you feel like clients are contacting you all over the place and you’re struggling to stay organized, turn it off.
Be sure that your profile and cover images have the same look and feel as your website, with your logo prominent. Complete all the information fields so it's easy for a potential client to visit your website to learn more about you and find your contact information.
What to post
Some businesses only share their own unique content. Others share content from a variety of places and resources that may resonate with their client base. Before you dive into a presence for your business, consider what you post and how you will screen that info for accuracy and truthfulness.
If you use your presence to sell retail products, be sure those products are within your scope of practice. It makes sense for a massage therapist to sell or recommend self-massage tools. It could be crossing a line for a massage therapist to sell or suggest nutritional supplements or share posts about the curative power of essential oils. Be sure that what you share and your original posts are mindful of your scope and your followers’ safety.
It’s not all gloom and doom
Yes, you should approach social media for your business with intention and boundaries. That’s work (running a massage business is work). But it can also be a really fun way to share and interact with your clients, potential clients, and colleagues.