To learn more, check out my Instagram tips on Youtube here!
As hairstylists, Instagram has become an essential tool in our industry. Social media and online marketing is truly the difference between struggle and success in our industry today. When used correctly, you can truly build an entire clientele through a gorgeous website, beautiful email marketing and social media. This is a blessing and a curse as we are now obligated to master social media and play by each apps ever-changing rules.
In March of 2016 Instagram changed the rules on us and our go-to app no longer guarantees any exposure for our posts at all. Here are the 4 changes that have turned our platform upside down:
New rule #1-Followers will now only see the posts from accounts they’ve just recently started following or accounts they generally like, comment and tag on. You can’t just post any old picture now and hope that your audience likes it. Content is key here and if you start posting bad pictures, Instagram will force you out of the feed.
New rule #2-Posts won’t appear in any sort of chronological order. Similar to your Facebook feed, you’ll notice that the most popular posts show at the top, followed by posts of those you generally engage with, but time of post is irrelevant. Don’t bother using apps like iconosqure to track post trends based on time. Time of day will make no difference, quality of post is everything.
New rule #3-If your posts that do make it to the feed don’t receive plenty of likes and comments, you’ll make it out into the feed much less often. If your followers aren’t interacting on your Instagram posts, they won’t be seeing your pictures in their feed any longer.
New rule #4-Want guaranteed newsfeed exposure? Feel free to pay for it through promoted posts. You’re probably seeing way more ads now than ever before. Big business is now paying to force their posts into the feed similar to what Facebook has been doing for years. Anybody can pay to play so if you want to get your posts out into the feed, paid posts will guarantee visibility.
So how the heck are we supposed to make Instagram work for us, here are 10 tips to making Instagram work for you:
1. You now must be business minded as you post. If you continue to post both a mix of personal and professional through the same account, I guarantee you will get forced out of the feed.
2. Develop and brand and post only what appeals to your target market This is a topic that 95% of hairstylists will never do and those that do often try and brand themselves as a corporation would and it doesn’t work for our industry. Learn, know and understand how to brand yourself within our industry to see major results.
3. Create a call to action The point of Instagram isn’t to post pretty pictures of your work. The purpose of Instagram is to get clients over to your perfectly designed website. This is how Instagram followers become referrals.
4. Tags are compliments. When a follower tags you and shares your name with his or her world, now you are on to something. The beauty of social media is the power for it to explode your reach and performance with very little effort on your part.
5. Post with purpose and a plan You’ll now need to think a little harder each time you post. Was the lighting perfect? Does my target market like it when I show this kind of work? Is this something that my market will enjoy or do I just enjoy it? You’ll now need to consider all of these questions before you post.
6. Don’t rely on Iconosquare and other stats Instagram will no longer be adding to the feed based on time at all and will only build each users feed based on engagement with content.
7. Ask your clients to engage, but that still isn’t enough Most stylists will react to this change by encouraging clients to interact with their posts. That is good but realize that every single business will be doing that so you’ll continue to compete with whatever body else is doing making it again hard to break into the feed.
arch 19, 2016
8. Quality is key It has never been good enough to just post a decent picture to Instagram but never has it been so important. Lighting, backdrops, subjects, descriptions and tags must be right on.
9. Hash tagging doesn't build a clientele Don’t get me wrong, hash-tagging is crucial and it is something I coach on in Thrivers Society, however 90% of stylists don’t hash tag correctly. Just know that hash-tagging to increase your exposure is great, but it won’t increase your placement in the feed and that is really where you’ll build.
10. Don’t give up on Instagram This can actually be a GREAT thing for hairstylists. Those who post great high quality content that their audience enjoys will enjoy preferred placement in their followers feeds. For years over 70% of content on Instagram was missed due to it being posted at the wrong time of day. Now, your most engaged followers will see each and every post every single time and you’ll continue to enjoy the benefit of free Instagram marketing if you can embrace these changes and use them to grow.
Want to learn more about Instagram and Insta-Stories for hairstylists? Click here to check out my Youtube videos all about Instagram!