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"Post It, Tweet that, Friend Me"

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If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wondering, “What’s all this fuss about Twitter and Facebook? I do not get it. Why would anyone care about what I’m thinking or doing?” Well, I finally took the leap and journeyed into this cyberworld to find out what all this fuss was about and how I could become involved. I am pleased to report that it has been quite painless and actually enjoyable.
Now, unless you have had your head buried in the sand, it is evident that Facebook and Twitter have a captive and growing audience that is increasing exponentially as you read.


two-girlsThey are now part of the social media lexicon. “Oh, just Facebook me,” “I think I’ll tweet that,” “that will be my next blog post,” and on it goes.
If you are a business owner or a spa professional, you cannot afford to ignore these powerful tools. Just like with any other form of marketing, you need to be creative in finding ways to provide value and engage your audience. Everyone uses the Internet differently. We all have our preferred platforms and our own particular way of accessing information. But one thing we all have in common is the tool we use to find information online, whether it is a laptop computer or a handheld device.

It goes without saying that in today’s economy the challenges are many. Budgets are tight and layoffs are plenty. Therefore, we are forced to shift to implement new and more creative strategies in order to continue or begin growing our businesses. Today’s customer can no longer be reached solely via traditional marketing methods. To get found by customers today, a company must be visible on blogs, social media platforms, and in search engine results.
There are lots of mixed messages as to the best way to successfully use any one of the various social media tools. The reason there is so much confusion is that it is not a one size fits all. We all have different needs and capacities. However, the golden rule I’ve come to understand to be the key to success is that these social media tools are about sharing, not selling. In addition, these online tools should only be part of your toolkit, not your one and only tool.
Begin with a format you are comfortable with and build from there. This will allow you to become more effective using your online tool of choice to build your business and brand.

old-ladyAs the demographics indicate, when it comes to the beauty and wellness industry, the majority of spa goers are women. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the best way to target this audience. According to Brian Solis, a digital analyst and sociologist, over 56 million women are using Facebook in the U.S. Basically, if you have a business, product, or service that targets women, Facebook is one of the places you want to be.

Facebook
Are you on Facebook yet? If not, why are you waiting? Stop procrastinating and making excuses as to why it is not necessary. Facebook is here to stay and you can use it to build your business. Heck, I’ll even be your first Facebook friend!
Facebook offers a great marketing tool through its Fan Pages product. However, unless you’re a popular brand or spa destination that every one knows and loves then just being on Facebook is not enough. You must develop a fan base. But wait, there is more good news. You can now have your own URL Facebook page name (e.g. http://www.Facebook.com/yourname). This way it’s easier to remember and share.
You’re probably wondering how to develop a fan base? One way is to offer incentives to your customers for becoming a fan by letting them know that you post Facebook-only promotions. Another way is by providing a “Become a Fan” link on your website.
As you begin building your base of followers, it is equally important
to understand the most successful ways to “market” to them. Here are six effective ways I have found to be useful in engaging with my predominately female audience:

old-lady-21. Quality matters – Post content worth reading, interesting, inspiring, noteworthy, and educational.
2. Connect – Create content that women can relate to. Something that prompts a response like “wow, that’s me.” This will encourage women to not only respond to but remember it. Making an emotional connection is one of the best ways to motivate women to use your brand or service.
3. Give them a glimpse into your world – The first thing we do when we visit someone’s Facebook is look at their photos. It’s quick and easy and as we all understand, a picture can be worth a thousand words. Post images of your spa facility or events you attend or treatments you offer.
4. Keep them coming back – By providing useful information to your fans, it helps build a relationship with them. Create a series of posts that your fans can look forward to on a daily or weekly basis… something they will feel a real connection to and will learn something they can use. If you offer spa services, suggest an at home beauty tip that they can try on their own.
5. Give your fans the microphone – Engage in two-way conversations, by doing so you are engaging your fans by personalizing your brand and making it one that can be trusted. One way is by posting discussion topics.
6. Keep it simple – If you’re running a contest, promoting a new service, or launching a new product, it is important to keep the process simple. Do not over think your promotions. This will keep your fans looking forward to the next time your brand has something new and exciting to share – as long as taking advantage of the offer is not complicated.


tweetThe Art of Tweeting

There are many days when I engage social media with the intention to interact productively that enriches my life both personally and professionally. I find useful content and have good communication with people whom I have never met in person, while also attending to the daily operations of my business. I have other days, however, when I get highly distracted, overwhelmed, and lost on social media, and find myself at the end of the day usually with more stress, and wondering where the day went. So here are my suggestions for getting the most out of your tweeting.

1. Focus on sharing, not on selling. Remember as little kids we were always told to share. The same rule applies here. If you want to find more customers for your business on Twitter or Facebook, help others find customers for their business. Do you feel like you deserve more praise online? Praise others more. Want more people responding to your tweets? Respond to their tweets more. Tired of reading meaningless tweets? Make the effort to post meaningful ones yourself.
2. If we approach social media with the primary thought process being “what’s in it for me” or “what can I gain,” Seth Gordhamer, author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Contantly Connected, says, “we set up a division in our relationships, one that often ends up preventing us from receiving the very thing we seek. When we give what we want to receive, it changes the dynamic such that, ironically, we are more likely to get what we seek.”
3. Keep the content useful – There is this myth that we should tweet throughout the day about what we are thinking and doing at every waking moment – do you really want to know what someone had for lunch? Content is just as important as the frequency. Post to add value not simply to fill up space.
4. Be authentic – Stay true to who you are. Do not try to keep up with the Jones’… or in this case, the Ashton Kutcher’s of the world. Do not be a celebrity stalker.
As the online communities grow, they reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another. The unintentional outcome is that advertisers and marketers are forced to quickly adjust to how they compete for our attention. As a business owner who is vying for the attention of new and regular customers, you too must evolve and adapt to the new climate of online community networking in order for your business to thrive and succeed.


3-girlsTwitter and Facebook are incredible social networking tools. When we engage with a positive attitude to share and give helpful and inspiring content, you can bet you will reap the benefits of bringing attention to your brand, product, or service.
There is no finish line, so you do not have to worry about how fast you are going. Do not be scared, it doesn’t bite. Go at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you are ready to start building an online presence and embrace the technology in order to move past the learning curve, then you’re ready to welcome more customers through social media channels. Find the joy in it and make it fun.

Lake Louise, M.Ed., received her master’s degree from Stanford University. As a visiting professor at the University of Costa Rica she taught sustainability and eco-responsibility in the Ecological Tourism Department. Lake combined her passion for beauty and wellness with her vast research skills to develop Lotus Moon, an advanced eco-friendly skin care line that is safe for the body and the planet. twitter.com/lotusmoon or facebook.com/LotusMoonFan

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