Every Monday, I focus on a person or company doing something cool to promote themselves online. Know a rockin internet marketing campaign? Let me know about it!
A couple weeks ago, I decided to start my own business Facebook page. The same day, my friend Sherry (who happened to attend a talk I did about social media and who I went to high school with) decided to do the same thing for her massage business.
By the end of the day, I had some serious jealousy issues. I had 25 fans and she had… over 100. I figured I could be petty and sulky, or I could ask her what she did and how she’s planning on using it. Here’s our interview, appropriately over Facebook:
What are your certifications/training and how long have you been giving massages? When did you establish your business?
What certifications? Just kidding!
I went to massage school at the Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro, Maine for 2 years full-time with courses in the first year consisting of all book work (anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, etc.) and the second year, hands on, fun stuff. (I highly recommend this school by the way.)
I have to also keep my continuing education units up in any massage related areas I choose (like hot lava stone massage, oncology massage, reiki, shiatsu, there are so many).
I graduated in 2002 and have been practicing since, at first working at a day spa in Topsham before moving back to Fort Kent (Maine) when we decided to have a family. I have been doing massage in Fort Kent since 2004.
How were you getting a majority of your clients in the beginning (word of mouth, referrals from other therapist, newspaper ad, etc.)?
At first, I had to supplement my income with a part-time job as a secretary in the public (which was intentional so I could spread the word to everyone I came in contact with). I’m a very social person and love to talk about myself (hehe) and what I do.
Because i live in a small town, which is alternative choice deprived, minds are not easily open to complimentary therapies, so my first years were spent educating and giving free sessions. I spent alot of money in Saint John Valley Times ads. I also printed brochures at home and plastered them all over town (in stores, resturaunts, church, salons, schools, etc.). and soon people got to see that I was back in town and had something to offer.
Then it was more of a word of mouth, which has flourished into something huge. I am currently booked for two weeks and have over 100 gift certificates out in circulation, with close to 1000 sold to date. Gift certificates are a HUGE chunk of my business, and I donate many to good causes – it creates more of a buzz if “Sherry Stedt donated this massage, want to buy a ticket for $5 for a chance to win?”, instead of paying $60!!!
What made you decide to create a business Facebook page? It is ridiculously popular. How have you gotten so many fans?
Once it was up and running, I sent out the link to all my email contacts and posted it on facebook, that’s it! It was sent to approximately 200 people. I have found some fans whom I don’t even know (which is a little creepy, so I’ll be careful what to post, like too many pictures of my daughter and/ or personal information – but it’s also flattering to have other fans).
I actually set up a personal Facebook account for my business, but then got carried away finding so many friends there that I lost track of that.
My decision to focus back into making my business page was when I ran into a buddy in town who is hip with the college crowd and he said “A friend of mine asked about a good massage therapist the other day and I gave her your name, but when she looked you up on Facebook and saw you only had a private page, she felt weird asking for your friendship just to ask questions about massage, especially since you don’t know her…”
I felt a dagger in my chest – that was $60 I would never get because she went to another therapist who was easier to find. That’s one thing I love about Facebook, it was so quick and easy to finally get my page going! I was impressed and found myself wishing I had done it sooner.
What is one expected benefit you’ve gotten from Facebook (increased bookings, suggestions for services you haven’t thought of, etc.)?
I’ll tell you what, and I have learned this about ANY service type business where our income is at the mercy of the public, people who are interested, will not always directly ask you for your information. They are afraid to be sold or suckered into paying for something they don’t really want, because they are not good with confrontation and give in.
With my Facebook page, people can become a fan without my persmission and seek out the information, like my services & rates, without having to speak to me. No strings attached, and that’s the key!
How do you plan on using the internet (Facebook, etc.) to grow your business in the future?
I plan on using my Facebook page for my monthly specials, changes of hours, discounted products, events where I will be offering massage, etc.
In the first month of the new year, I want to go through my client list (from day one) and find as many as I can on Facebook. I know this will take some time, but I really want to do this. Then I’ll invite them to become fans… then i will have attained my ultimate online advertising goal!
I love what I do and Facebook has allowed me to love it even more!
Here is Sherry’s Facebook page if you want to check it out (you know, or book a massage if you happen to be in Fort Kent, Maine).
Breaking Even Communications makes Facebook pages for individuals and businesses. Already have one? Let BEC help you leverage it. Just contact Nicole, she’ll hook you up.