BTC’s 12 Instagram Tips for Beginners
If you haven’t already started using Instagram to showcase your work and build your clientele—the perfect time to start is now! BTC just reached over 1 million followers—so how do we celebrate? We’ve rounded up the top 12 Instagram tips for beginners—from some of the most successful stylists on social media—to get you started on gaining followers and growing your business!
1. Make yourself easy to find.
“You MUST put your contact information in your Instagram description,” shares BTC Founder and Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable. “Include your city, state and salon name.” This is essential for creating your online brand.
2. Use hashtags wisely.
It’s always good to tag #BehindtheChair to get your work featured, but be sure to use hashtags specific to your area. Tiffany Hight—a stylist at A Robert Cromeans Salon in San Diego—uses tags like #unlimitedcalifornia so people browsing that tag will come across her work. Jason Reyes—an international trainer for Paul Mitchell with more than 52k Insta followers—says he keeps a couple different sets of hashtags in his Notes app that he can quickly copy and paste depending on the photo. (For example, a bob may use different tags than a men’s fade.) And FYI: Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post.
3. Your bio IS searchable!
Your bio can only be 150 characters and it’s a way potential clients can find you, so choose your words carefully. Don Godfrey—creator of some of the most popular hair-related pages and expert of converting Instagram engagement to revenue in the salon—recommends using the Notes app in your iPhone to make a bulleted list of keywords that you can copy and paste into Instagram. (For example, Tiffany’s bio says “San Diego Hairstylist, Gaslamp District” so someone Googling those terms can find her.) And use emojis to break up the text—the colors will draw people’s eyes to your info!
4. Find what’s engaging.
Instagram uses an algorithm to determine what people see on their feeds—and the higher your engagement (likes and comments), the more likely you are to show up. Take a look at Instagram and see what people are liking, what they are inspired by and what they are truly engaging with. Then take a look at your page and find out where you are getting the most likes. Is it metallics that people love seeing? Or is it rainbow hair or balayage? Find what the people in your area are interested in most and go from there.
5. Pick your niche.
After you’ve decided on a few things that are getting a lot of engagement, then it’s time to pick your Instagram niche. It may sound obvious, but you need to pick something you’re really good at and something you want to focus on. “And if you’re really good at a lot of different things,” says Mary, “then choose the one thing that is going to make you really different from the rest of your market.” Your followers admire you for a reason. Linh Phan (@bescene) has built an impressive following by posting a single category of color—smoky, metallic tones. “If I post a natural look on my page,” he shares, “it bombs—no one cares. So I try to stick with the ‘@bescene’ look.”
6. Post what you want to create.
If you want to do more balayage in the salon, post only balayage. If you dislike doing men’s cuts, do it when someone comes in asking for one, but don’t post that online. If people see you as a balayage artist on Instagram, guess what? They’ll come in and ask for balayage. Simple as that.
7. Have a call to action.
If your goal is to gain more followers, you can increase engagement by including a simple call to action in your posts, like posting a side-by-side photo of two looks and asking which your followers like better. Don says sometimes he’ll simply asks followers to leave a comment with their city, and it’s amazing how many people will do it—which leads to better engagement and posts showing up more often.
8. Check your DMs and follow up on comments.
If someone comments on your work, always respond! “They have extended the branch, and I’m a fool if I don’t grab it,” Tiffany shares. And she recommends checking your inbox even if you don’t have a notification, because sometimes you won’t get one. Many of Tiffany’s clients message her on Instagram and it’s an easy way to do a digital consultation and fill your chair.
9. Experiment with geotagging.
You might be used to setting your salon as the geotag for your work, but think outside the box. Once, Tiffany accidentally tagged the convention center nearby. Someone attending a conference at the convention center was browsing that geotag, came across Tiffany’s work and booked a spot that opened up from a cancellation that same day.
10. Show your personality in the right way.
Social media allows you to display your work, but to also show your followers who you are and your personality. Keep the majority of your posts about your work, but every once in awhile, share with your followers a personal post so they know who you are. This will make your following even more loyal. Updo expert Stephanie Brinkerhoff (@hairandmakeupbysteph) uses the 90/10 rule. Keep posts 90 percent about work and 10 percent positive, fun, inspiring and personal.
11. Do some strategic creeping.
When browsing Instagram, check out hashtags that are important in your community. Tiffany browses #sandiegofitness because it’s wildly popular in her area. She checks out some of the top posts and leaves a quick comment. The user sees her comment, gets interested and checks out her page—and more often than not, she gets a new client.
12. Learn from the best.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance. “I go and see what the most successful people are doing and then I make it my own,” shares Sam Daly, aka @bottleblonde76. “I think sharing information is good because we all want each other to succeed at this.” From there, you can learn which hashtags work and which don’t work for you.
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