Many massage and spa businesses incorporate social media into their marketing strategy by creating Facebook pages, yelp accounts, twitter feeds, and LinkedIn profiles, among others.  They use these platforms to broadcast their message out to the masses, but how many businesses incorporate social listening into their media marketing strategy?

I recently had a conversation with Felicia Brown, well known author and marketing expert, during which I asked her what she thought was important regarding social listening.  She responded “I think it is important for therapists to realize that their clients are social listening.  The client may never post a comment, like a picture or share a post, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t listening.  Therapists are constantly making an impression, good or bad, so they should pay attention to all their social media communications, both on their business pages and personal pages.”  I asked Felicia if she could elaborate on that some. She replied “Sure, Customers and potential customers don’t separate the therapist as an individual from the therapist as a professional.  Massage is one of those businesses where the therapist themselves is part of the product.  Any post the therapist makes, on either their personal or business page, reflects back on the therapist themselves.  So highly charged political posts, client bashing posts, or ranting about life in general are all potential disasters to the therapist’s brand.  Many therapists may say that they don’t post charged comments on their business page and aren’t friends with clients on their personal page, but they are friends with potential clients and those potential clients may have friends they would consider referring.  Those potential clients may never make an appointment or refer a friend if they are turned off by something that makes them feel they can’t relate to or trust the therapist.”

There are a plethora of ways to “socially listen” to consumers.  Each one offers different bits of information, but they all help you learn about and respond to consumer’s attitudes, behaviors and perspectives.  

Here are a few social listening exercises to try out:

  • Identify 5 competitors that are in your geographic area that offer similar services to those you offer.
  • Go to YELP and read all the reviews about your business.  Are there any common complaints or praises?  Be sure to respond to those who have left feedback, whether positive or negative, so they know you are listening.
  • Visit a least 5 competitor’s YELP pages and read all their reviews.  This can help you recognize what your competitors are and are not doing in their business. This can give you an interesting perspective as you recognize practices you have that consumers rave about and others they rant about! Also look to see if these competitors are offering any special offers on YELP.
  • Go to Facebook and read all the comments others have posted to your business page. Respond to these if you have not already. Make sure your responses address any questions or concerns the poster references. Now go read any reviews that have been posted to that account.
  • Visit the same 5 competitor’s business Facebook pages.  Read their reviews and posts by consumers to their page.  What do the consumers complain about regarding the competitors business?  What do consumers love about your competitor’s business?  Read the posts on your competitor’s walls.  How often do they post?  What types of content do they post?  Which posts get the most likes and comments? How many “likes” does their page have?  How does the company respond to those who comment on their posts?  What types of promotions do they offer on their Facebook page?  Do they ask a “question of the day” or other daily post?
  • Use the Facebook search bar to search key words such as your business name, competitor business names or nearby destinations in combination with the word “massage.” Comment where appropriate.

Monitoring consumer and competitor conversations is only one part of the equation, you also need to respond when appropriate and do so in an appropriate manor.  It is important to consider:

  • Who is the person you are responding to?
  • What is the intention of your response? What are you really trying to say, who is it directed toward and what is your desired result?
  • What are the motives of the individual you are responding to?
  • How can you respond in an authentic manner and add value to the conversation?

Using these social listening exercises and strategies will give you an opportunity to strengthen relationships with existing customers while, simultaneously, building brand awareness with potential new customers.  Give them a try and let us know what you think!