Health and Beauty: Going Social to Gain Customers

Use geolocation platforms, ratings and review sites, and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to attract new customers.

Smart health and beauty entrepreneurs know that social media is one of the hottest marketing tools today. Here’s how social media can help you attract and retain customers.

Geolocation platforms


Geolocation lets customers use the GPS feature in their smartphones to “check in” at your business. Customers can check in on Facebook or Foursquare, a geolocation app that links with their Twitter and Facebook accounts. When your customers’ friends see that they’re at your store, spa or salon, they might be motivated to come by as well. Encourage customers to check in by offering promotions and discounts such as a free upgrade from a regular to a spa pedicure, a discount off their treatment, or a small gift from your store. Since customers like to share information about health and beauty, look for check-in rewards that are likely to get shared. Visit Facebook and Foursquare for more on marketing your health and beauty business with check-ins.

Ratings and review sites


Once you’ve claimed and optimized your health and beauty business’s listing on local search, ratings and review sites (see our article on online marketing), you need to monitor your reviews. Check the sites daily, since even setting up a Google alert on your company name won’t show you all the reviews. Respond quickly to negative reviews, but don’t get defensive. Thank the reviewer for their feedback and try to remedy the situation. If necessary, ask to contact the person privately via email or phone to discuss the issue.

 

It’s important to thank people for good reviews as well—remember the point of social media is to engage with your customers. And personalize your comments whenever possible. If someone comments on how great your facials are, instead of just saying “Thanks,” say “Thanks, glad you loved our special Winter Moisturizing Facial.” Ask if you can feature positive reviews on your website or in your marketing materials as testimonials. Consider all reviews a (free) opportunity to learn what your health and beauty business needs to improve.

Social media sites


Facebook and Twitter are the best-known social media sites, but up-and-comer Pinterest, where users “pin” photos to virtual “pinboards,” is attracting attention with its visually oriented focus. All three can work well for a health and beauty business.

Twitter is a great way to share timely information—for instance, you can tweet about a Mother’s Day relaxation massage a few days before, when panicky husbands are starting to think about buying gifts, or send a Friday afternoon tweet with a code good for a discount on a pre-party blowout that evening. Pinterest is more branding-focused; use it for inspiring photos of hairstyles or makeup looks, or create theme boards (“Prettiest Pink Lipsticks” or “Things That Make Us Relax”). Facebook is a happy medium of both—you can use it for timely posts and deals, while also featuring pretty visuals.

Best practices:

 

  • Get visual. Even on Facebook and Twitter, photos often get more response than text-only posts. Try posting photos of a customer’s stylish new haircut, a pretty nail polish color your salon just added, or your new massaging pedicure chairs.
  • Engage. Social media isn’t a one-way street. Engage with customers by asking questions (“What’s your favorite pedicure color for summer?”), conducting surveys (“What hairstyle do you struggle to do yourself?”), or getting quick feedback (“What shampoo don’t we carry that you wish we did?”).
  • Have fun. Social media isn’t supposed to be corporate, so make sure your pins, posts and tweets reflect your and your business’s personality—whether that’s a ritzy spa; an earnest, organic-only beauty supply store, or a men’s hairstylist with retro, ‘50s feel.
  • Track results. Facebook and Twitter offer free analytics tools you can use to measure the results of your social media activity; use them. Note what types of posts and what times of day or night get the most responses. More important, note which social media promotions actually drive traffic into your store, spa or salon.
  • Cross-promote. Include links to your social media accounts on your store, spa or salon’s website. Put signage in your windows, at your stylists’ stations or on business cards encouraging users to follow you on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

Third-party apps:
Managing social media can get overwhelming. Here are some tools to simplify things.

  • NutshellMail monitors your business’s Facebook and Twitter activity related to your business and emails you a summary.
  • Mediafeedia, for Facebook, lets you schedule posts, manage multiple Facebook pages, get email notifications about activity on your pages and more.
  • Tweetdeck (owned by Twitter) helps you sort all your incoming Twitter data, schedule tweets and manage multiple Twitter accounts.
     
Pros Cons
Social media tools are free to use, and tap into the fact that customers like to share health and beauty information. Although they are free, social media tools do require time and effort to succeed.

 
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By Rieva Lesonsky