Using Social Media to Grow Your Business
When you own a commission salon, attracting new clients is usually pretty simple—if your salon is located along a busy street, that is. But when you work in a salon studio, such as Sola Salon Studios (the largest salon studio concept in the country, home to nearly 5,000 providing salon professionals!) you have to focus on specific marketing tactics to successfully gain and sustain your client base. So how do Sola Salon stylists thrive and continue to grow their businesses? Easy, they turn to social media. And while people tend to believe that only a seasoned professional with 250+ clients can make it as Sola Salon Studios stylist, it is simply not the case! There are a myriad of tech savvy stylists who have taken the plunge while growing their business, who continue to build a steady book through social media.
“In a salon studio there is no personal storefront, so instead I use technology and social media to draw in potential clients,” notes Ayla Davis from Sola Salon Studios, Willow Glen. In today’s digital age, it’s a safe bet that the majority of your clients or soon-to-be clients are active on social media. And since creating pages is completely free, this is the best, most cost-effective avenue for tech-savvy stylists to attract new clients and showcase what they have to offer.
“Being in a salon studio, I have found social media to be the most effective form of marketing,” says Heidi Christensen from Sola Salon Studios, Cinco Ranch West. “It’s free, it doesn’t take a lot of time and it gives you the ability to reach a large amount of people. On a weekly basis, I will have anywhere from one to 10 inquiries from social media, and many of those end up booking, which has resulted in higher retail sales as well.”
So what’s the perfect recipe for social success? We reached out to six salon owners at Sola Salon Studios who share their tips and tricks for utilizing social media to grow your business and thrive in salon studio environment.
Heidi Christensen asserts that social media is the most effective form of marketing.
Know Your Audience
“I live in the San Francisco Bay area, so I try to appeal to the tech-savvy Silicon Valley demographic,” notes Ayla. One way she does this is through automated text, phone and email confirmation services as well as online appointment scheduling from her website. “I am also accessible through Facebook, email, phone and text message, which my clients utilize when they need to get ahold of me.”
By far, Facebook offers the widest reach compared to other social media sites. So always be sure to post everything to your business page. “Most people have a Facebook account and access it daily, so I want to make sure that the majority of information about my business is on there,” notes Traci Garcia from Sola Salon Studios, Park Ridge, IL. “The age range on Facebook is also broad, so posting more in-depth information works on this site.”
Instagram is geared toward a younger audience, so try to keep things short, sweet and to the point. “I post images of my room, before and after photos, products that I use, makeup that I’ve done, etc,” says Traci. The trick with Instagram is to post, post, post!
Post photos of your work to Instagram and Facebook like Lauren and Kanani of LoCK’s Studio.
What to Post
Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter tend to offer a more personalized feel, so it’s perfectly fine to include elements of yourself in these pages. Just remember that you want to sell your talents more than anything else. “Posts about your life keep people feeling connected to you on a deeper level rather than just a business,” suggests Ayla. “Just keep all your posts positive. Don’t be negative and never post about religion or politics.” It’s also a good idea to refrain from posting drunken photos, for obvious reasons. After all, you are selling your services, so keep it classy. You can also create buzz by posting about a new product or service you are offering. If it sounds interesting, people will be more prone to come in and inquire about it, notes Kris Kiss from Sola Salon Studios, Port Jefferson. Before and after photos of a great cut and color are always big hits, as well as color corrections. “At my studio, I often find that when I post a picture, within the next couple of weeks I will have multiple requests (both from new and existing clients),” shares Lauren and Kanani of LoCK’s Studio, Arvada, CO.
“Try to post at least three to five times a day,” suggests Traci. “Facebook is not as business-friendly as it used to be. Now you have to be really active on your page, with likes and shares in order to be seen on people’s feeds. I try to spend an hour a week just scheduling posts for the week, that way I don’t have to think about it while I’m working.”
Ayla Davis uses Facebook as a way to stay in touch with clients in addition to her website.
The Social Impact
The potential impact of using social media is limitless due to the number of people that can be reached. When you are using Facebook to advertise, you will mostly reach friends and friends-of-friends. However, with Pinterest and Instagram, you have the ability to reach someone you have never met just by posting a photo and adding a hashtag. “Never before have hairstylists been so well renowned for their work because people can look them up on their smart phones, plop down in their stylists chair and request that specific cut or color that has gone viral from the artist’s Instagram page,” notes Lauren. ”It’s also a great way to pump up your audience about new products and tools.”
Shaila Paredes from Sola Salon Studios, Brentwood, CA, says because social is free, how much you get back directly links to how much effort you put into it. For Traci, social media has allowed her to gain brand identity. “This used to be very hard to do unless you were a big company and had a big budget for advertising,” she says. “Yelp has really helped me. At least 50 to 60 percent of new clients that came in to my previous business heard about us through Yelp.”
Getting Clients in Your Door—and Keeping Them
When used properly, social media can market your talents and services better than any other form of advertising. Try utilizing social media with promotions to get new clients in the door. As simple as it sounds, your photos can do the trick, too. “I admit that I am one of those people who will add just about anyone to my Facebook page because in our industry, anyone can be a potential client,” notes Ayla. “I have had old high school buddies contact me for haircuts.” The trick to success? Offering regular discounts and deals on products and services. You can also attract clients through fun contests. “I would love to get my clients to start using my hashtag on their photos and posts to win discounts on services and free retail products,” says Ayla. “Through their posts, my hope is that their friends will take interest in coming into my salon either for services or retail.”
Post photos of your studio in addition to your work so potential clients can get a feel for your style.
Having a personal Facebook or Twitter page is one thing, but knowing how to utilize these tools in the most effective, business-savvy way to gain new clients is entirely different. Here, are seven tips for starting out on social media—the right way!
1. It’s important to keep a large presence on several social media sites such as Yelp, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Heidi suggests starting with a Facebook page and an Instagram account for your salon. “The most important thing to do when it comes to social media is to establish your brand and online presence. Without these two essential steps, you will not get the results you are looking for,” she notes. Yelp is a must for Shaila. “Make sure to start a page and encourage your clients to provide reviews.”
2. Make your username something that is easy to recall and keep it constant across all platforms. To get them from one social page to the next, remember to link all of your pages together. This will also make it easier for you to keep track of all your pages.
3. Make sure any and all photos you post are watermarked with either your name or your salon name so that wherever the image is shared, your name will always be on it. “People are always on their phones checking for inspiration for a new look, so getting your photos out there is crucial,” says Kris.
4. No matter what you post, always include important key words and hashtags. “This makes it easier for potential clients to stumble upon your work,” says Ayla. “Pick your hashtags and keywords carefully,” suggests Heidi. “Use hashtags that are specific to your location, services and current trends—also be sure to keep them brief!”
5. Always respond to any comments or questions in a timely fashion, suggests Kris. Not responding or taking too long can cost you a potential new client.
6. Quick pictures of new goodies or quick-clip tutorials with a brand new tool can translate into sales every time, shares Lauren.
7. Traci posts about special events on her social sites. “I posted about my grand opening, ladies’ glam nights or promotions for new treatments. Social media gets the information out to thousands of people at one time, in a convenient way.”
8. Encourage your clients to share photos using your salon hashtag or invite them to engage with your social media pages for product discounts, prizes and more.
Find out what Sola stylists have to say!
For more tips on social media, keep up with the Sola Salon Studios Blog! For more information on opening your own salon studio, please visit, www.solasalons.com.