How to Make Your Social Media Efforts Work for Your Spa

In this day and age, where word-of-mouth is spread primarily through screens and thumbs, using social media to promote your spa isn’t an option. 
If you want to connect with more prospective clients, maintain relationships with your current clientele, and continuously increase the exposure of your brand, you need to have a social media presence. 
But don’t take that to mean that you need to be on every platform.

Nope, when it comes to social media, you’re far better off working smarter and not harder, or in other words, strategically. 
Here’s where to start when creating a strategic social media plan to market your spa:

Narrow Down and Choose Your Platforms

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat…and those are just the main platforms; new ones are popping up every day. 
If you were to try to maintain a social media presence on all those platforms, you wouldn’t see the payoff or experience a successful return on your time investment because you’ll spread yourself too thin. 
Not to mention, you don’t need to be on all those platforms. Your ideal audience most likely only spends time on two to three of them. 
So, that means you need to do some research and find out the top two platforms your audience spends time on, then invest the majority of your online time and energy there. 

By focusing on those two leading platforms, you can maintain a consistent effort to grow your online community, drive traffic to your website, and convert those followers and web visitors into paying clients. 
Then you can move into a third or fourth platform once you’ve gotten a grasp on the first two, but no need to rush it. 

Create a System

One of the biggest missteps a business can make on social media is keeping up with their social media channels day-to-day, which usually leads to inconsistent posting frequency and mediocre content at best. 
When it comes to consistently creating and sharing quality content whether that be images, blog posts, videos, or a combination of those pieces, you need a system. And one of the best systems to follow is batching. 
Batching is when you dedicate a particular time to one task. So, for example, you might decide to batch your content creation so that you spend four hours once per month creating the content you need for your social media in the next month. 
Batching your content creation also requires having a mapped out plan of how many posts you need for each platform per week and what text and images you need so you know precisely how much material you need to create. 
Finally, one of the last pieces of your system is a scheduling tool, some to look into are Buffer, Hootsuite, or Edgar. 
Once you've batch created your content, you can then batch upload and schedule your posts so that once you set it, you can forget it! Well, not quite…

Engage, Engage, Engage 

While social media schedulers and automation is a beautiful thing for saving time in the day-to-day, having a system for creating and sharing content shouldn’t extend to engaging with your audience. 
Too many businesses follow the advice of batch creating and scheduling their content, but then they never check in to respond to comments or engage with other people in their audience. 
Remember, social media needs to be social. It’s about creating relationships, not just megaphoning your information out to the world hoping someone, and anyone will hear it and instantaneously buy from you. 

That’s not how it works, people need to build their relationship with you first, and they do that through engagement. 
Encourage engagement by asking questions in your posts, commenting on and liking other people’s posts, and staying on top of messaging people back promptly. 

Nowadays, your social media channels act as an extension of your customer service team, so you need to make sure that you’re thanking people for taking the time out of their day to connect with you and not letting what they have to say fall on deaf ears. 

The main thing to keep in mind as you set forth with your plan on social media is that growing your presence and cultivating your online community is a marathon, not a sprint. 
Your posts are not likely to go viral overnight, and you won’t gain hundreds of followers in a day or even a month, but by providing quality content on a consistent basis and participating in authentic engagement, your efforts will certainly pay off with time. 
Do you currently have a social media strategy in place? How often do you create content and check in on your audience for active engagement? 

If you don’t have a strategy in place, how do you plan to start creating one moving forward? Drop your answers in the comments! 

Until next time, keep making the world a more beautiful place inside and out! 

The Importance of Networking in the Spa Industry and How to Cultivate Connections

Does the word “networking” make your face pucker up like you just bit into a lemon? 

You’re not alone in that feeling, but the good news is, if you learn to network the fun way, not only will you look forward and anticipate networking opportunities, but you’ll actually see beneficial results. 

Now, if your idea of networking is going to boring events and passing out business card after business card, this is exactly the kind of networking I won’t be discussing today. Instead, I’m going to cover how to network in a way that is both fun, worth your time and energy, and actually helps you further your aesthetic career. 
And if you thinking I’m just blowing steam, I’ll let you in on my this aspect of my business: I actually consider my network to be my greatest asset.  
I started building and maintaining a strong network of industry professionals from the time I graduated aesthetics school, and I can trace back new clients, job offers, speaking opportunities, and even the success of my consulting business to connections that I made through my network.  
Those relationships that have been created, developed, and nourished over the years have been so valuable to me which is why I feel so strongly and passionately about the importance of building your network.  

So, how can you start developing your own network and expand your professional opportunities? Let’s start with the why. 

Why Networking Within the Spa Industry is So Important

Regardless of whether you’re a spa owner, solo aesthetician, or you work for a spa, the one thing that is universal among every aesthetic expert is that we need a strong network to truly thrive in our careers.
Now something I want to distinguish is that, I’m referring specifically to face-to-face networking because while networking through online communities and platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can also be very beneficial, nothing beats getting to know someone in person and gaining a clear understanding of how they can fit into your network. 
For example, when you’re talking with someone online, your conversation is likely to only go so far, but when you meet someone in a small, personalized setting, you’re better able to forge a true professional relationship where you can get a feel for how your connection with this person will better serve your clients, grow your business, and vice versa.  
Also, by attending in-person events you’ll not only get your name on the map, but your company’s as well, and you’ll be making lasting impressions on individuals, which helps others remember who you are, what you do, and how you can be of service to those that they work with.  
By putting your business, and yourself out there, you are attaching a face to the name. However, there’s one important consideration you have to keep in mind when it comes to successful networking, which is carefully selecting which networking opportunities to take part in to maximize your time.

How To Participate in Networking Events and Expand Your Professional Opportunities

Yes, networking is a time and money investment - totally worth it - but you just want to make sure that you’re choosing events that are a good fit.  

Events where you can provide value to the others there and, of course, they can provide value to you.  
When you’re looking for networking opportunities, a few things to factor into your decision in attending include the potential for building referral relationships, if there will be a learning component to the meeting, and whether you’ll have the opportunity to make connections with leaders in your industry or local community. 
For example, attending an event with other professionals who are not necessarily aestheticians, but involved in other aspects of the industry, such as hair stylists, nail technicians, plastic surgeons, and cosmetic nurses can provide a plethora of referral or partnership opportunities for your business. 
In these types of referral or preferred partnerships, each of you brings your own customers to the table, which allows for an expanded client base, and it makes you more valuable to the clients you currently serve because they know they can turn to you for a reliable and high-quality references on other aesthetic services they might be interested in. It’s a win-win. 
And when it comes to attending networking events with a learning component, this factor helps with staying informed on larger-scope industry trends as well as gleaning insights on other niche fields within the aesthetic industry that you may be able to cater to your own business. 
In addition to staying up-to-date with the teachings of your own industry, you’ll also have the chance to meet and create relationships with industry leaders, who are most likely leading the teaching portions of these events, and who have their own vast network. 
Not sure where to even begin to find an event to attend?  
I would start off with a simple google search of networking events in your area. Sites like MeetUp and Eventbrite will allow you to search for events in your area, too. And don’t forget about your local chamber of commerce or business networking groups like BNI.  

How to Handle a Case of Networking Nerves

So, now that you know how to go about finding networking events that are a good fit for you and your business goals, it’s time to focus on making sure you’re putting your best foot forward, which may seem impossible if you suffer from networking nerves. 
Listen, unless you’re a total extrovert and love networking, chances are networking isn’t something you get super excited about, so here’s a few tips to help keep your nerves in check:

  • Put your best foot forward by dressing in something that’s both comfortable and flattering. 

No need to get overly business-y. Most of us in the aesthetic industry aren’t pant suits or pencil skirt wearers, so no need to dress like that at a networking event. The more uncomfortable you feel, the more uncomfortable you’ll look. 

  • Come to the event with a colleague or someone else you think the event would pertain to. 

Just remember not to stick to them like glue all night, this can simply be a way to reduce nerves when you know you have someone to enter the event with and sit next to, but don’t forget to talk to other people, that’s what you’re there for. 

  • Have some business cards in an easy-to-reach place in your bag. 

Don’t feel like you have to hand them out, but someone might ask for your card and it’s nice to not have to fumble around trying to frantically find one. 

  • Keep a drink on hand, not necessarily an alcoholic one, water works best actually. 

This helps with giving your hands something to do, it naturally creates a more casual and inviting body language, and you don’t have to worry about getting dry mouth from nerves.  

  • Find events that fit a setting you’ll feel comfortable in. 

Does being in a huge conference-style room freak you out? Don’t go to events like that yet. Find events at smaller settings, like maybe at a local restaurant or a cool, intimate event space. (And if you can’t find events you think you would be interested in, this might be a good chance to explore hosting a networking event of your own.)

  • And of course, take some deep breaths and remind yourself that you’re interesting to talk to and that this is just getting to know people. 

No big deal and no pressure for anything to come out of it, just see how it goes.  Everyone is there for the same reason - to get to know others in the industry so they can expand their network too. 

Now let’s talk about how you turn a networking event into a success after the fact:

  • You’ll want to connect with the organization or person who hosted the event and thank them for a wonderful opportunity to learn and meet others in the field. A thank you note goes a long way and after all the time and effort that went into planning an event, your note will absolutely be appreciated.  
  • Send a follow-up note to anyone you had a meaningful interaction with. Let them know you enjoyed getting to meet them, add in an anecdote about your conversation, or arrange a follow up to a potential opportunity you discussed.  This can be done via email and be sure to connect with them via LinkedIn as well so you have a face to go with the name.  
  • For anyone you may have only briefly connected with, link up with them on social media and send them a message, tweet, or comment mentioning how it was great to meet them. Even if you didn’t get a chance to talk in-depth at the event, you now have common ground and a place to start with striking up a conversation with them later.

Remember, the networking you do now is laying the foundation for future success, just like any non-business friendship or relationship, you have to foster it in order for it to grow, so don’t let your connections die at the networking event, continue to cultivate those relationships with time. 
Alright, now that you have a roadmap for networking done right, how do you feel about it? Let me know in the comments! 
I think it’s exciting that you never know who you might encounter or how the people you meet might provide unique opportunities for your business. 
So even though putting yourself and your company out on a limb might seem nerve-wracking at first, there’s no doubting that networking is worth the time and energy spent.