Social Media marketing is in our books one of the most important marketing channels to communicate your services to your core target audience. It is also an excellent channel to create brand awareness and educate your potential customer of your services and your relevance in their lives.
More than ever, social media is playing a very important role in people’s decision-making and health care decisions and spiritual evolutionary decisions are no exception.
For those starting out – it’s easy to make mistake that could lead to a waste of time, money and effort and result in brand confusion and an agitated and discouraged audience. There are those who believe that social media is child’s play and that anyone can just get on and ‘do-it’. There are those who discount its value as a communications channel and those who want it to bring them in money yesterday – because they’ve run their business into the ground and looking for quick fixes.
For the past few years – I’ve worked with holistic, clinical and commercial entrepreneurs to strategize, plan, conceptualise, build and execute their social media and traditional media outreach programmes. The objective of this blog post is to provide my mindful entrepreneurs with some practical advice and direction with regards to starting and maintaining a solid and strategic social media presence in the media while advising and outlining a few critical mistakes to avoid.
- Define your goal.
Spend time by first defining your business goal – if you haven’t done so already – and then secondly defining your marketing objectives. Remember – increasing your patients or clients can be one of them – but please bear in mind that social media as a single media channel is not be an immediate fix to this goal. It is vital that you achieve clarity on your goals – otherwise I fear you’ll be heading down a road to no-where.
Questions that could help you get closer to your answers are:
- What is your differentiator – i.e. what sets you apart from your counterparts in your industry / neighbourhood / community? Do you have a core focus in your practice?
- Do you have a new product to announce that will set you apart from your compatriots?
- Do you have a service that will set you apart from the other therapists or holistic entrepreneurs?
- How many clients / patients are you currently seeing in a week or month? How many do you want to / need to see?
- Do you have any staff members? Are they working at full capacity? If not – what is the leading edge on the numbers required to make their salary a good return on investment for your practice?
- Who are your regular clients / patients? How do you currently connect with them outside of the practice or therapy rooms?
- What is your gift that you bring to this world? How can we educate your audience on this gift?
- Get clear on what a long term goal is and what a short term goal is. Please know and understand that social media will not answer to a short term goal – it is a long-term investment medium.
- Who are your patients / clients?
How old are they, where do they stay, what do they drive, what do they like doing in their spare time? What social media do they engage on (ask if you don’t know). This is so vital – really – I cannot stress this enough!
- Choose the right social media channels.
By this stage you should have had professional help – but if you haven’t – then it’s important that you look at the number of customers/patients that you have – where you’ve seen them (go and search for them) and then write up your ‘avatar client / patient and go and find them on the platforms you think they’ll be on.
When starting out by yourself – start off with one social media network – as you go along – you can grow your reach to alternative social channels – meantime get to grips with the one platform and know it well before moving forward.
If you’re doing this with a professional – they’ll select a set of social media platforms that they believe suits your core / bulls-eye target audience and they’ll start using their own formula to achieve engagement, likes and interest.
- Social Media is not a quick fix
It takes time, consistency and dedication and a strict adherence to the strategy – look and feel that you’ve created for your brand. Consistency in look, feel, style, voice, tone and language – these issues matter. Therapists and holistic entrepreneurs often underestimate the time it takes to plan, set-up, create, curate and converse on their social media channels. Many of them are at number 99 in their attempt to achieve traction in their business and are too quick to give up as a failure on social media. Social media requires at least 9-18 months to gain awareness and as strong following. Sooner if you’re lucky - but it’s not always the case – so give it time.
- Have a distinct voice.
Your voice on social media should be relatable to your audience and your brand. Having said that it should be professional but engaging – note – I didn’t say boring... Having said that – with your information needing to be technical or spiritual – it’s vital that you remain true to your audience and your brand – trust a professional to strike a happy balance in your tone, voice, style and language.
- Content is key.
You are the king of your domain. In other words – you’re the specialist at what you do. Social Media mangers are great at developing content – but when it comes to technical content –it’s always best to supply them with your key take outs / insights or stories. Content written from the heart is far better than from a text book. Personalise your content – touch the reader – and make them a part of the story you’re telling. Speak into their life / their issue or their concern they might have.
7. Rules, regulations and ethics in your industry.
Clinical therapists are governed by many rules and regulations in their industry – spiritual and holistic therapists are governed by their ethics, values and spiritual beliefs – ensure that you never over step these boundaries – everyone’s a critic out there and are ready to share something if they believe it’s transgressing anything resembling a rule or ethic. Use your judgement – and if unsure – consult with a colleague or your industry association.
8. Curated content.
Share content of people you value and associate with or admire. Strike a balance between curated content and custom-created content. Relying on one type of content will affect your interest and engagement in the posts.
9. Feel good posts.
Remember to include posts that inspire, motivate and are feel good. This gives your audience good reason to engage and is easy to produce and post. It’s all about posting topics that are relevant to you - your business and your ethos.
10. Get involved in your business.
Remember – you are the business – the patient / client is actually interested in you – you are the brand – you are the person behind the brand – so if you have a social media team handling your social media – you should be in there and commenting / engaging – sharing personal insights and personal stories – that are designed to show case your own personal brand – and to help you forge real relationships with your core target audience, fans and potential clients or patients.
What to avoid:
- Social media is not a silver bullet – I’ve been known to say this often – but really people think it is a miracle maker – it’s not – don’t use social media only to advertise – you might as well be the ‘smous’ on the corner shouting the odds over all the traffic passing on the pavement and on the busy main road… it’s going to get lost in the mass media that is social media.
- Don’t think that social media should be free – yes – there’s alot to be said about organic exposure – but quite frankly I’ve learnt the hard way – it’s the long way around. Strategically worded and placed adverts can go a long way to growing your exposure and your consumer engagement – depending on your offering and message.
- Don’t sit in your space and expect the social media manager to be able to do it all without you… you are your businesses best advocate – get involved.
- Don’t believe that just anyone can handle your social media – it’s not child play and its most definitely not something you can give your mom to do while she’s at home in the afternoons. It should be handled by a professional – while you take the reins of your business – working together with someone as a partnership you should be able to really make a positive impact in your market within 3 – 18 months.