What Type of Facebook Post Is Best?

When it comes to getting the truth about what works and what doesn’t in social media, I turn to Dan Zarella (http://danzarrella.com). He analyzes huge data sets to get an accurate picture of what’s happening in social marketing.

His latest project involves the geeky analysis of 11.4 million Facebook posts published by over 24,000 of the most liked Facebook pages, dating back to 2010. The aim was to take a historical look at what type of Facebook post gets the most engagement.

The findings are interesting, but not incredibly surprising…


In short:

  • Image posts have always been the most engaging type of post and so pictures should be considered your “go to” post type.
  • Text posts have been showing a downward trend over time, but are still as popular as posts with video and links.
  • Both video and link posts have been showing an upward trend in engagement over the past year and a half, so be sure to use these occasionally.

When should you post to Facebook for most engagement. Check out this blog post: Best Time for a Facebook Post?





The Secret to Getting Referrals


The number one secret to getting referrals from your massage clients is not a secret. How do you do it?

You ask for them.

Over the past 25 years in business I’ve seen a number of studies looking at the willingness of customers to give referrals and the results are always similar.

A Dale Carnegie study several years ago found that 91% of customers would be happy to give referrals, but only 11% of sales reps ask. 

A more recent study by Bain & Co. found that that while 87% of satisfied customers are happy to pass leads to sales reps, only 7% of sales reps actually ask.

Do you need more clients? Do you ask every client to refer their friends and family? Are you ready to start?

I Can’t Put an Expiry Date on My Gift Certificates

Massage Gift Certificates and Gift CardsOne of my favorite ways to build a practice is through gift certificates. Gift certificates are referrals… that are paid! It was the number one way I’ve used to bring new clients through the door.

If you want some fantastic ideas for selling gift certificates through the holiday season (or anytime really), you can read a recent article I wrote for Massage & Bodywork Magazine here:

My $18,000 Mistake: How I Learned to Love Gift Certificates

Every time I write about gift certificates I invariably get a number of emails from therapists who inform me that I should have told my readers that you can’t put an expiry date on them. What I normally say is be aware of regulations around the sale of gift certificates because regulations are not consistent from country to country or State to State.

In some places an expiry date is okay and some places not. And then there are all sort of other rules that exist in various places around the sale of gift certificates.

I don’t have the time to outline the current laws for all 50 states in the USA or the 13 provinces and territories in Canada, but my friend Laura Allen has written an excellent article on the topic a couple of years ago and I’ll defer to her expertise:

Gift Certificates and Gift Cards By Laura Allen

For more specific details, here is a table showing regulations by state for the USA for gift certificates and gift cards. Use as a reference to determine the statutes around gift certificate expiration in your jurisdiction:

Massage Gift Certificate Laws by State

And if this information is helpful to you, please share this post on one of your social media sites. I’m sure others will find it helpful too. Just use one of the buttons on the right hand side of this page.

As well, if you are looking for some great looking gift certificates to have on hand for customers this Christmas, check out what’s available at BodyworkBiz:



Click here for details or to order now

Note: Because we’re getting very close to the holiday season, for fastest delivery I’d suggest that you go with the default template instead of using custom printing. We will likely be able to get them to your doorstep in a week, but at this busy holiday time we can’t guarantee delivery times.

Will Facebook Hashtags Help Your Massage Business?

This might be a little obscure information for most massage therapists, but some of the big news on Facebook earlier this summer was the introduction of hashtags for Facebook  posts.

If you are a big Twitter user you know what hashtags are. The are a keyword that is proceeded by a number or pound sign, ex. #spa, #massagetherapy, #whatever. On Twitter they look like this…


Using a hashtag is kind of like using the index in a book. You look up the word in the index and it gives you references to all the places its used in the book.

When you click on a hashtag or use it in the search box in Twitter and now Facebook, you get a list of posts that have used that tag.

hashtag results

Companies were very excited about Facebook introducing the feature because it would allow users to find their posts in a completely new way.

How much of an impact have the tags had in Facebook and should you start using them consistently?

The short answer: No.

Rather than helping engagement with Facebook users, a recent study strongly indicates that it does exactly the opposite. Using hashtags on Facebook actually harms your business more than it helps.


Using hashtags in Twitter is another story. It does significantly increase the number of retweets. However the bigger question when it comes to Twitter is does Twitter help you get more massage clients. I haven’t had anyone give me any proof of this, so until I see even a handful of therapists showing me some evidence to the contrary I’d have to say that Twitter is not a useful client generation tool.

The hashtag findings are just another example of something I point out all the time. Oftentimes what the things we think work, really don’t. Many massage business experts are well meaning, but they often teach what they think works and not what actually works in the real world.

I am a big proponent of testing and tracking. You’ll see this reflected in the courses I offer all the time. I don’t like testing and analytics, but the numbers don’t lie. So I share the results of my tests as well as those of other therapists who are kind enough to share with me, so you can spend your time doing more fun things, like massage. I’ll take some time to share some examples of counter intuitive marketing advice throughout this month. If you are not subscribed to this blog or the massage marketing tips newsletter, sign up now for notifications.

Are You Violating a “Massage Therapy” Trademark?

Shiny Trademark SymbolDo you use the words “massage therapy” in any of your advertising? If so, you may possibly be violating trademark law. Read on to find out more…

This is the second in a series of posts looking at some broader issues in the massage profession, perhaps even bringing to light some little known facts about massage in the process. In the first post, I looked at the question of who owns massage by looking at two types of regulation that are commonly used to govern massage and bodywork. Now let’s look at who owns the words “massage therapy”.

Side note: I’m not a lawyer, so I’m just communicating my understanding of the matter. Feel free to correct me in the comments section if there are any inaccuracies in my reporting.

Ownership of a word or phrase is usually obtained by registering it as a trademark.

“A trademark is a word (or words), a design, or a combination of these, used to identify the goods or services of one person or organization and to distinguish these goods or services from those of others in the marketplace.”

Trademarks are usually specific to each country, except for countries that have set up arrangements otherwise, as exists in some European countries. So a registered trademark in the USA is not applicable in Mexico, for example.

A search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office database shows no trademark for the term “massage therapy”. The term is used as part of the trademark of longer company names however. For example, “massage therapy journal” is a registered trademark of the American Massage Therapy Association (which is also a trademarked name).

However, a search through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office database shows that “massage therapy” is in fact a registered trademark. Most people don’t know that the term “massage therapy” has been trademarked in Canada by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO), the regulatory body for massage therapy in Ontario, Canada and has been an actively protected trademark since 1999.

Personally, it seems shocking that any organization would try to maintain control over a term like “massage therapy”. One of the key characteristics of a trademark is its distinctiveness and the term massage therapy would be considered a generic phrase that is commonly used by both professionals and the public, both in Canada and internationally, to describe professional massage services.

I haven’t seen an reported instance of the CMTO launching a court case to defend it’s trademark and it seems difficult to imagine that a court of law would enforce the rights to such a generic term. Why would the CMTO trademark the phrase? Surely they would never enforce their ownership of the trademark. Or would they?

I was contacted by a holistic practitioner a number of years ago and she was issued what amounted to a cease and desist order from the CMTO for using the term massage therapy on her brochure. She never claimed to offer massage therapy, but was contrasting her services from massage therapy, basically saying that what she offered was different from massage therapy.

This was the first time I had ever heard of the CMTO actively enforcing their trademark. It appeared that some massage therapist didn’t like this bodyworker and had lodged a complaint to the College. The practitioner was in a bit of a panic, as anyone who receives these kinds of letters would be, and didn’t know what to do. I wrote to her massage association on her behalf, the largest Canadian massage association at the time, and the association responded to say that they would put their full weight behind the effort to defend her right to use the term. I don’t know how it all ended, but I never heard of the issue escalating, so my assumption is that the CMTO backed off on its position.

The bottom line: If you are in Canada you need to be aware that the CMTO owns the trademark for “massage therapy”. Although their exclusive rights to the phrase has never been challenged in a court of law, if you use those words in your advertising it is possible that you could find yourself in a legal battle to test their claim.

The Incredible Shrinking Profession: What’s Going On?

Here are the number of graduates from massage schools in the United States from 1998 to 2012 courtesy of ABMP, which surveys every State approved school every two years. It’s easy to see that this profession is crashing: From a high of over 70,000 new therapists entering the profession in 2004 to less than 40,000 just eight years later.

Massage schools are definitely hurting. They are graduating the same number of students as they did in 1998, but at that point in time there were 700 fewer schools! So classroom sizes have shrunk dramatically and schools everywhere are being forced to close their doors.

Vendors, both product suppliers and CE providers, are finding themselves with a lot fewer therapists to sell to. No doubt associations are suffering too as their growth slows or even backslides.

What the heck is going on? Why have the number of therapists entering the profession dropped by almost half in eight years? Enrollment in all colleges and universities for all other programs continues to climb upwards. Why aren’t people choosing massage career option?

Please provide your thoughts in the comment section below…

How much should you pay to have a ____ designed?

Here’s a question that I often get asked and that I often ask myself: How much should I pay to have a ________ designed? You fill in the blank: business card, logo, website, graphic, etc.

I have someone that does design for me on staff full time now, but in the past I would go online when I need something done like a logo and look around for prices and would find just a crazy range to choose from. I would be paralyzed wondering what options to choose and wondering what I would get for my money… because it’s like a haircut: you don’t really know until the damage is done.

Just recently however I came across a great blog post on Graphic Design: What’s a Good Designer Worth These Days?.

There are no definitive answers, but the author, a designer, gives some good practical advice and some general price ranges so at least you know you are in the ballpark.

The average hourly fee for a graphic designer according to a national Canadian survey is $73/hr for general graphic design  $83/hr for brand strategy (logos, identity pieces), and  $76/hr for web design.

What’s that translate to in terms of various types of design jobs? Here’s a summary from the author:

Logo design
Good range:$900 to $3,000
Bare minimum: $300 to $800

Business card design
Good range: $350 to $1500
Bare Minimum: $100

Brochure design
Good range: $400 to $1800
Bare Minimum: $200

Book cover design
Good range: $500 to $2500
Bare Minimum: $200

Website design
Good range: $1000 to $10,000+
Bare Minimum: $400


My Facebook Page Sucks

Well, this is embarrassing!

I’m supposed to be the king (actually the Grand Massage Poobah) of massage marketing and an expert on social media. I hold the record for the most registrants for a massage webinar, which just happened to be about Facebook marketing.

But.. I’ve let things slide.

With all the changes that happened on Facebook this year, I stopped trying to keep up. And now… there’s no other way to say this… my Facebook Page sucks!

So the teacher is going to become the student. I’ve purchased Amy Porter’s Facebook Influence course and I’m going to go through it step-by-step in the new year. Why not pick up this course for yourself and go through it with me? It may be the best purchase you make this year:

http://bit.ly/QOzOG7 (affiliate link)

Why take this course?

Let me show you why. I attended Amy’s free webinar a couple weeks ago. Look at this report on activity on my Facebook Page. Can you tell when I attended the webinar?

This was from just one simple idea that I implemented from her free webinar and it probably took me easily less than 30 minutes. (By the way, she probably has a replay of the webinar available if you want to check it out.)

This is why I’ve been sending emails to the BodyworkBiz subscribers about the course and why I think you should buy it. It’s only $99 bucks and if you have a Facebook Page it may be the best investment you make all year.

Pick it up and join me in stepping up your Facebook game in the new year.