Five tips for making the most of social media

blob-decoration<

The following blog post has been written for us by Imogen Woodford from social media training company Social-i.
More than ever, clients want to get to know someone before they commit to work with them or seek treatment. Those potential clients will talk to other friends and people that have benefitted from the treatment you offer. However, social media gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to others in a more personable and friendly way, whilst still maintaining a level of credibility and knowledge.
That’s why social media has become an important part of the marketing mix for any practitioner. Here are my top five tips for making the most out of this platform.
Choose your network
The main social networks are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. It is not obligatory to join and have a presence on every social media network, as some experts would suggest, and it doesn’t always follow that the social network you like and use is the same as your potential and current clients.
It’s a really good idea to carry out some initial research before you choose the tool for your practice. Ask your current clients what networks they regularly login to, which tools they would use to communicate with you and where they go for inspiration.  Spend time on the different social networks searching for your keywords and see how many individuals are asking questions or responding to those key phrases.
Allocate time 
We can often set off with a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm for a new project, but the further down the track we get, the harder it becomes to find the time to manage and progress it. If you start out with realistic aims you are so much more likely to succeed.
If you know that you will have 10 minutes first thing in the morning then commit that time to your networks, and if you can add 10 minutes in the afternoon too even better! An abandoned and neglected social media account does not suggest a vibrant and organised practice.  Make sure you download the apps for each social network that you choose to engage with, onto your Smartphone. This means you can access your accounts from wherever you are very easily.
Plan ahead
When you run your own practice or business there are so many different areas you need to manage; finances, staff, time, premises and you will know that all of these areas  function so much more smoothly with a bit of planning. The same is true for social media. If you turn up at your keyboard unprepared, knowing that you have to think of a tweet or search for an interesting weblink, you are going to find that social media becomes just another pressure.
On the other hand, if you take a moment to sit down and think of a theme for the month or the week and from that create a list of top tips or interesting facts, you will begin to find a rhythm for your social media posts. This will also ensure that your followers receive more valuable content from you. If you want to schedule posts in advance there is a brilliant free tool called Hootsuite.
Let people know where to find you and what they will gain from following you
This might sound a bit obvious but never under estimate the number of times and ways in which you need to tell people where to find you online. Your clients will have the best intentions, but unless you tell them at the right time it will pass them by. If you have a permanent base you can put up stickers on the wall, in the windows or at the counter: “Find us on Facebook” etc .
Ensure you add your networks to your email signature, business cards and website. These act as a prompt and a reminder at the appropriate time for people to click through.  Also do tell your clients about key discussions or posts that are going on throughout your social media networks that may interest them or be relevant to their treatment. E.g “We have a brilliant Pinterest board dedicated to Gluten Free Recipes” or “Every Wednesday evening we share experiences and information about Maternity Reflexology using #maternityreflexology”
Join In
Your posts may be powerful, entertaining and insightful but if you don’t join in with others on social media you will not gain the maximum benefit from any of the networks. What does it mean to join in? Sharing other’s posts, responding and replying with your thoughts, using like and favourite options to align yourself with others content, mentioning other accounts to encourage and support their social media efforts.
Take a moment to think about how you behave when you are out at networking events: no one comes into the room and shouts from a corner about their website, blog or services. You take time to listen and respond to others – it is exactly the same online!
 
At its heart social media is all about building relationships and through gentle conversation and knowledge sharing you will find that you are drawing clients towards you very organically. Keep these five points in mind and you will be guaranteed a smooth and satisfying arrival with Social Media.