I looked at the person next to me, we couldn’t believe what we just heard.
I did a full on palm slap to the face while shaking my head.
It was during a social media camp while a woman was doing a presentation on how to use twitter for your business. Apparently they didn’t screen the participants.
Someone put up her hand and asked “Is twitter a place I go to, like a coffee shop”?
But some good things did happen that day.
I was fortunate enough to have lunch with one of the presenters. He told stories over lunch about how using social media had benefited his business.
His marketing budget compared to the previous year was cut by ? which also increased their profit margins. And one big difference was they were actually getting more customers through the door. It was fascinating talking to him and seeing the passion he had for this relatively new marketing concept.
College had only ended six months before and I was looking for ways to promote myself, so figured I’d sign up for this social media camp.
The best marketing advice I’d been given in college was “just give each person, the best damn massage you can, because you never know who they’re going to tell”.
While that may be true…how you gonna get them in the door in the first place?
Why Massage Therapists Should Be Tweeting
Massage Therapy is more than than just giving good treatments.
It’s about building relationships.
Twitter is a great tool for doing this. It’s not just about promoting your business, it’s about getting people to interact with it.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality. If there’s one thing that’s true in this industry, there is a VAST array of personalities.
While we all want to project a professional image, people don’t come in to be treated by a robot. Show people what you’re interested in. Retweet what you’re interested in.
If someone is looking for a new Massage Therapist and you’re tweeting about some of their interests, who do you think they’re going to want to talk to while on the table for an hour? You, or the guy who refuses to show they actually have a sense of humor?
I have patients that come in regularly, just to hang out. One patient I’ve had in the past would regularly come in and when I asked why she was in today:
“was at work and thought, I’m gonna go hang out with Jamie for a bit”.
Don’t be afraid to have the personality that keeps them coming in, engaging with them outside of the clinic.
But there is a fine line here.
You don’t want to send out tweets thanking them for coming in today. There is still a professional boundary that should not be crossed. If they tweet out a thanks to you, it’s fine to favorite it or respond but remember that coming for a Massage is still something personal they may not want broadcast to the public.
Leave that communication in their hands.
Connect With Your Clients And Build A Massage Therapy Community On Twitter
Do a little research on twitter on your own and find out what your local community uses to connect.
I live in Victoria BC and the most common hashtag I see here is people using #yyj because it’s the code for the local airport. Each community will have their own thing they are using.
Just do a simple search of the name of your town/city and you will see some of the hashtags and commentary used to identify what’s going on.
If you can’t find one, start one. Develop something you think people in your community would connect with and promote it. You never know, it just might catch on.
Are there upcoming events that maybe you can contribute to or get involved in? Do you see opportunities where your knowledge would be an asset? For instance, if there were some local marathons, Run For The Cure, or other events where people could use Massage?
If you see things like this trending within your community, try and join the conversation and give some information to the people tweeting about it. As it is with any conversation, the more value you can add the more welcome you’ll be.
As I do a #yyj search writing this post, I see three tweets about coupons to a local gym, one about WWE wrestlers in town and one about our local football team carrying momentum. With each one of these, it would be easy to make up a quick comment about how Massage Therapy could help anyone involved.
Offer up some quality information about how Massage Therapy can help, not just a link to your website. The more information you can give back the better, it’s all a method of building trust in your community.
Building trust isn’t done by just providing great content.
It’s also in the mentions, the retweets, the favorites, the thank you’s. When others in your community see these interactions, you are starting to build yourself up as a trusted source.
Refer For Other Businesses
Remember that content has become currency.
As you scroll through your twitter feed, there are endless ways to have it be a benefit.
If you see people in your community asking questions, try to be an answer. Be a curator of information.
Know some great businesses out there? Promote them. Use them as an answer to people’s questions.
Someone asking where’s good to eat?, tell them about your favorite restaurant.
Need a good place to workout?, recommend your gym.
Someone looking for a chiropractor?, refer them to whoever you have a professional relationship with.
It doesn’t always have to be about marketing yourself. If you become that curator of information, you will build trust with present and potential customers. But you’ll also start being recognized by those other businesses and get the same in return.
You have an opportunity to add value, not only to your customers, but to other businesses in the area. You’re in the same boat as those other businesses, why not give a helping hand to each of them and support local?
Use Twitter To Gain Intel On Your Competition
There is a general theme among Massage Therapists where we don’t really talk about competing for business.
However, it’s the reality of what we do.
We are all usually pretty good about referring to each other when we can and generally getting along and making space for each other. The reality is we are all competing to have a busy practice and need to make a living.
Use twitter to find out what others are doing. Use it as a tool to learn.
Watch and see if people are griping about some of the other businesses in town.
What things are those patients complaining about? Customer service? Lack of direct billing? Difficult to get booked in at certain hours?
Use those complaints to see if it’s something your practice can offer.
If you can offer some of those things, send out some tweets to your followers about it.
Here’s a great example of a Massage clinic doing just that:
Anybody who follows them gets to see the great new service they are offering and it may get some people to book in since they know that it’s now less hassle to submit their insurance claims.
However (and I can’t stress this enough) DO NOT negatively call out other businesses or people on twitter, or any other social media for that matter.
If you see gripes about another business don’t respond to the gripe saying that you’ll offer a better service at your clinic.
It’s unprofessional and does not represent you well.
The bottom line is we all care about our patients. But shouldn’t we care just as much about getting more patients? Marketing is hard, especially when you don’t have a ton of money to spend on it. But the biggest thing you have to market is YOU. Make who you are known and connect with like minded patients. Engage with them, like them, thank them, refer them. The more you give, the more trust you will gain, the more trust you gain, the more you will be a fixture in your community.