In Social Media and Emerging Technology we are being asked to help a local small business develop a social media plan. This is our information on the owner and business: ‘A young woman living in a small town has opened up a Day Spa business offering a basic set of services (i.e. manicures, pedicures, massages, body treatments, and facials). She would like to target women/girls of all ages, and men. She has asked you to prepare a Social Media Plan which will help her to share/push communications (for example; promotions, marketing new services, and identify free time to book appointments). She is also interested in utilizing social media to gather feedback from clients as well she hopes that her clientele will use social media to help her to market her service offerings. ‘

A growing small business can build a strategic, cost-effective and impacting social media campaign that creates sales and opportunity. Information of services will reach more possible clients. The interaction with clients will allow them to feel like they are important to you and ensure that they go to your business oppose to others. There are about 12,000 spas in the U.S. and Canada and seven out of ten are day spas. Today, Spa Industry revenues total $12 billion annually, with Day Spas accounting for over $7 billion of this figure and growing at 25% per year – In order to compete with established businesses you need to make yourself standout and social media is the easiest and fastest way to self promote while keeping in contact with clients to find and meet their needs.

Before starting out make sure your company has a social media policy in place that offers guidelines to your employees on the appropriate way to engage in online conversations. Then you can begin with getting Skype. Skype is a social media tool that is used to reach customers, partners, and colleagues with ease and little to no cost to the business. For days when you’re over booked you can rely on your contacts to help you by either coming to your aid or suggesting possible solutions that they have used in the past.  On days when business is slow you can let people know through the means of social media that “walk-ins are welcome today.”  Then begin with a few Social Media tools such as Twitter and Facebook that are user friendly and popular to get more information about what clients want while self promoting. After you become accustom to using these tools you may broaden your range and begin blogging  (a frequently updated personal/business chronological  journal, intended for public viewing) about your business and issues related to it. One of the easiest ways to start a blog is on WordPress.  Each Staff member will devote a set amount of time to each tool (more as popularity and use grows) in order to keep people up to date on your business. Once you have familiarized yourself with these tools give pamphlets/flyers to your current customers, people and businesses in your community or friends and family to pass them on so that with your current services and the social media tools that they can use to contact you. With tools like Facebook and Twitter their friends can then become aware and interested in your business from seeing it appear on their profiles.

The spas mission statement is: a serene location offering customers a combination of massage, body treatments, facials, manicures and pedicures. The settings are beautiful and calming. We cater to women, girls and men and ensure each client’s comfort and satisfaction. We are mindful of the overall experience – using only the finest beauty treatments. The vision is to run a profitable business by providing therapeutic massage and aesthetician services in a caring, professional and relaxing environment. Special lighting, music and decor, are used throughout the spa to complete the comfortable, plush environment and enhance the client’s overall spa experience. Some goals are to tailor the client’s experience based on initial interview information, as well as feedback during the treatments and through social media, to ensure the client’s comfort and satisfaction, and to increase repeat business.

Key messages for the business to get across are that they are interested in utilizing social media to gather feedback from clients. The hope is that clientele will use social media to help her to market service offerings. Each Social Media tool must allow people to book and confirm appointments during set times while promoting current services and market new ones. The owner wishes to share and Communicate with current and prospective clients.

Target audiences for this small business are obviously women. Women are  getting involved with social media more and more every day.  Women often are giving and caring often share their likes and opinions with friends and are the most likely targeted group to recommend the business so the focus would be to attract them with savings on the pages and tools being used by the spa. Girls often start out by coming with their mothers so targeting women is the best option. However through using social media the younger generation is more likely to see the pages/likes/tweets etcetera that the spa will have.  An increasing number of men are becoming interested in pampering themselves. Being that some are not quite comfortable with being seen at larger more corporate spas they may prefer to go to a smaller spa. They may search things like health and fitness so tag those words in your blog or pages so that your spa will be seen by more men. Though running a small business is hard the best option is to strive to keep your prices lower than the larger spas and advertise your price list everywhere possible.

      The social media tools will be used by the company as part of its social media plan are SKYPE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK and WORDPRESS. Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional land line telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features which include instant messaging, file transfer, and videoconferencing. Skype has 663 million registered users as of September 2011. Twitter is an online social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as “tweets”. Twitter generates over 200 million tweets and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. This increases the odds that the spa will come up in searches. The Re-tweet option will allow your messages to travel far very quickly. Facebook has more than 800 million active users.Users may create a personal profile; add other users as friends, and exchange messages, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics. Once a small number of people “like” your business on Facebook and each of their friends will see that and it will continue to spread throughout users. In Word Press you can create a weekly/daily journal of events, sales and discussions in your posts. Post questions and add comments to a blogs relevant to your business that will lead people back to your blog and other social media tools from there. Ensure that all of the main words (e.g. massage, spa, health, relax) are tagged so that your blog can be found easier under a wide range of searches.

All social media tools will be managed and mainly used by the owner, being that it is a small business with a presumably small staff. Staff members will gradually become as volumes grow and the tools and business become more established.  As the business grows and more are hired the postings will become more spread out and less demand on the owner. Ask these questions before and after posting; did we learn something about our customers that we didn’t know before?, did our customers learn something about us?, were we able to engage our customers in new conversations?.

The factors such as content, tone, target audiences and posting frequency must be considered for each tool. Skype is used for instant messaging, file transfer, and videoconferencing can all be used for a small business to get a little help from people with small businesses in similar situations. Brainstorm and share ideas to help each other benefit. Small businesses need to help each other compete with larger more established companies. Twitter allows  your messages to travel far very quickly. Get your brand out there the faster the better, as not everyone will be close who hears of your business and people who regularly attend spas who are in your area tend to have a favorite and need a lot of persuasion through promotions and reminders in the twitter feeds of their friends. On Facebook once a small number of people (even if it’s only friends and family) “like” your business on Facebook and each of their friends will see that and it will continue to spread throughout users. Without you having to do more than create a page for your spa that is professional and somewhat calming to users (to make them feel like they want to go to the spa). WordPress allows you to set a schedule to create weekly/daily journal of events/sales/discussions. Post questions and add comments to a blogs relevant to your business that will lead people back to your blog and other social media tools from there. Ensure that all of the main words (e.g. massage, spa, health etc.) are tagged so that your blog can be found easier under a wide range of searches. The tone of each post, tweet and blog must be professional and not use slang or bad language. Be engaging, ask questions and keep people interested and up to date. A calm and educated tone reflects well on any business. The target audience of women, girls and men are involved in social media. Draw people in buy tagging, tweeting and posting frequently. Tag multiple words people anything that you think will be searched. Once you get people to your blog or twitter account use professional and eye-catching themes and designs to capture their attention on your pages to keep them there. Posting Frequency is crucial to success you must post, comment, question, reply and blog as often as clients require. If you do not reply to clients with questions or concerns with in 30minutes to an hour they will think that they are insignificant to your business. Have a consistent message that reflects your brand. It would be ideal to set up e-mail notifications for each social tool and if possible for them to be sent to your mobile device, in order to make it easier for you and give each person the fastest response possible. Providing free and open access to make a connection and always keep each tool up to date.

Social Media is a fast paced continuously changing world that creates opportunities for people and businesses every day.  The tools discussed; Skype, Twitter, Facebook and WordPress give everyday people the marketing tools and audience that are necessary for success in today’s world.  Once you begin to use them on a regular basis the benefits will soon follow as long as you continue to update and keep in touch with clients.  Social Media is the best way for small businesses to become well known and successful.

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