Build your brand and attract more business with cohesive social media content.

 

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When Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest burst onto the social media scene, savvy spas quickly understood the value of these platforms as marketing tools and jumped aboard. Then, Instagram (IG) joined the fray and changed the game again. According to recent data from social media management platform Hootsuite, one billion people use IG every month, 71 percent of U.S. businesses use it, more than 200 million people visit at least one business profile daily, and 75 percent of them take action after looking at a brand’s post. Another IG survey reports that 60 percent of users discover new products through the platform. If you haven’t yet created an account—or even if you have—it’s crucial that you properly plan and manage your posts.

Content is King
First things first: What are you going to post? Mary Zavell, junior designer at marketing and branding strategy company No Limit Agency advocates for variety. Use testimonials to showcase the experience that your spa offers (and to add third-party credibility), as well as inspirational quotes and details about special deals, services or products. “Try to alternate between engagement-centric content and promotions—this helps strike a balance between keeping customers interested and ensuring that they stay up to date on your latest offers,” she explains.

Engagement-centric posts can be anything that prompts someone to like, comment or tag a friend—for instance, Jess LaBarbera, who runs the IG account for Ciel Spa at SLS Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, strives to capture the luxurious spa experience for followers and inspire them to visit. “When someone looks at our profile, I want them to see what products and services we offer and instantly pick up the phone to schedule a spa day,” she says. More specifically, she wants to educate existing and potential clients about the spa’s exclusive skincare line, so she posts plenty of product images with an explanation of what they do and who would benefit from using them. LaBarbera takes most of the photos herself, but she also saves shots that clients share on their own accounts while they’re at the spa or enjoying Ciel’s products at home.

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Promotions should have a strong visual component, adds Zavell. She suggests a photo with a graphic overlay to grab the user’s eye as they scroll through their feed—text that says something like, “Limited Time Offer,” “Summer Special!” or “10 Percent Off,” while any images behind that would relate to the promotion. “If you’re highlighting a specific product or service, make sure to showcase it with strong photography that can be easily seen behind the graphic or text. A good rule of thumb is to stick with Facebook’s 20 percent guideline,” continues Zavell, referring to the idea that an image should be no more than 20 percent text. Because the overlay will likely compel the viewer to stop scrolling and seek more details, the most important or enticing part of the deal should be detailed in the caption (e.g., “Come in this week and receive a free sunscreen product with any service on our summer menu!”).

Zavell points out that video content is also huge right now. “Look for opportunities to add short videos or animated GIFs that catch users’ attention as they scroll through their feeds,” she says. Videos could feature a client testimonial or an employee explaining a new product or service to help potential guests better understand your offerings. “People love FAQs, so you might create a GIF that scrolls through common client questions and offers answers,” says Zavell.

Visual Appeal
Once you’ve identified what to post, it’s time to make your images and stories (slideshows with added text and graphics that only live on the feed for 24 hours) look as streamlined and stunning as possible. Because your profile is laid out as a grid of everything you’ve posted organized in rows of three, it’s important to think about how they’ll all look when viewed together. “To create a unified aesthetic, many businesses post content in a specific order of three, six or nine images that complement one another,” says Zavell. “It helps create a consistent appearance and generates visual interest when a new user visits the profile.”

This is where social media management tools, image editors and design apps can be hugely beneficial. To create a cohesive look, LaBarbera uses photo editing mobile app VSCO. “I apply a preset filter to all of our images before I post so our grid looks beautiful,” she explains. “It makes everything whiter and brighter for a luxurious, relaxing feel.” She also sticks with square images or those with a slightly larger height. “They take up more room and stand out more to our followers,” she notes.

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For stories, LaBarbera relies on the drag-and-drop graphic design tool Canva, which offers stock imagery, photo filters, icons, fonts and more. “I try to create stories that complement our posts so that there’s a lot of content about a specific product or service on any given day,” she says. For instance, she might share an image of a client receiving a facial, along with a story that highlights the benefits of that particular treatment. “I always end the story with a call to action—in this example it would be to book that facial and experience it for yourself,” says LaBarbera.

According to Zavell, Sprout Social tops the list when it comes to organizing images. “It lets you schedule the content and the first comment for the post,” she says. “It also offers reporting so that you can effectively see what content is performing best.”
LaBarbera likes Planoly, too, as it allows her to schedule posts and add links to every image, so that shopping for the spa’s products is easy. “Planoly has a great analytics tool built into the platform,” she adds. This is similar to IG’s analytics, but with the added benefit of showing how many times people are clicking on a company’s link in bio. It lets her track posts and zero in on which ones are really grabbing her audience’s attention.

Hashtag Heavy
Finally, hashtags are a crucial part of any post. Social media management platform Social Report finds that using them increases views by more than 12 percent. But remember: Hashtags must enhance your feed with a clear, consistent message that drives more traffic your way, rather than overwhelm your audience with unnecessary information.

Denise Dubois, owner of Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York, uses 10 to 15 hashtags per post that are specific to her business, and always includes #complexionsspa, #spa, #albanyny and #saratogasprings. “These core hashtags let clients easily see any post about my business, in addition to helping people in the area find me,” she explains. This is where management tools can come in handy once again. “Planoly allows you to store hashtag groupings, which saves a ton of time,” notes Dubois.

From there, call out information based on the image itself. “I use hashtags for the products being used (#naturopathica, #wella), the type of service being done (#dermaplaning, #balayage) or popular industry-specific hashtags, like #estheticianlife,” says Dubois. To avoid sloppy-looking copy, Dubois also suggests separating photo captions from hashtags with periods and spacing, or putting the hashtags in the comments section below the post. “This is more visually appealing and less distracting to the eye,” she says. At the end of the day (and the end of the post), IG is all about visual appeal, right down to the very last detail.

—by Phyllis Hanlon

This story first appeared in the July issue of DAYSPA Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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