Using Instagram to build your salon or spa business

If you are familiar with my salon and spa marketing cocktail, you know how I feel about the power of Social Media.  Today's consumer checks you out on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and Twitter before they even check out your website so having your social media package complete is crucial.  

One of my favorite social media platforms right now is Instagram.  I am torn between Facebook and Instagram when it comes to effectiveness.  I find that more females between the ages of 21-35 are on Instagram while more businesses and females between the ages of 30-50 are on Facebook.  Both have drawbacks and advantages.  For instance, Facebook allows for paid marketing opportunities which can allow for your advertisements to be seen by people who haven't met you yet. The downside is that paid means money and nothing beats free marketing.  This is where Instagram wins because you can get your message out to new clients for free using good hashtags and killer images.  More on Facebook later, but for now, let's focus on the magic of Instagram.

If you haven't created an Instagram for you spa or salon yet, run don't walk and set it up right now.  Visit or download the app on your phone or tablet to get started.  The program is free and you just need an email address and other basic information to start.  I have also found that many hairstylists have private accounts.  This is a waste of time!!! Your account must be public or your hashtags and any marketing potential won't do a thing.  

Essentially, Instagram allows you to post square photos that can be filtered and altered to create your desired look.  You can also add a description to each photo as well as hashtags which is what will help to expand your reach.  I see salons and hairstylists getting new appointment requests on their Instagram feeds all the time.  The overall goal is having a clean, uniform look with beautiful pictures and an consistent message.

My top 5 tips for using Instagram to build your clientele, spa or salon business are:

  1. Hashtags If you aren't hashtagging, you are wasting your time.  hashtags are essentially searchable terms and your potential new clients are searching for hashtags that interest them.  Some popular hair related tags right now are #balayage #blonde #hairsalon #hairextensions.  You can also hashtag the names of haircare brands or specific techniques to get great results.  Play around and search hashtags yourself a little bit to see what results you get to determine what will work best for your business.
  2. Stay on topic Your professional Instagram is just that, professional.  It is very okay to share an adorable picture of your puppy when she stops by the salon to visit or when your best friend comes in to get her hair done, but don't post a picture of the burger you had for lunch.  Selfies are okay, but keep those to a minimum too.  Your Instgram should show a sneak peek behind the scenes, but if you want to attract new clients it's really got to showcase your work.
  3. Choose your filters I've found that Instagrams with a consistent feel have a much stronger following than those who just post pictures without a plan.  Filters can be very helpful to bring consistency to your wall.  Play with the filters a little and choose 2-3 that you like best and stick with them.  I've also read studies that say cooler filters tend to get more likes than photos filtered to look warmer.  Something to think about.  
  4. Choose your style Decide how you want your feed to look and make sure that each picture you post is in line with that goal.  You might want to have all of your before and afters showcasing your guests wearing branded robes.  Maybe you want to get a secondary app that can create a split screen image showing the before and after in one square.  Maybe you want to show all profile shots or just the back of clients hair.  Whatever you decide, be consistent with every single image.  Feeds where the angle or style changes every time don't have as strong of a following.  
  5. Stay Consistent As I mentioned, Instagrams with a consistent feel draw a much larger crowd.  Decide when you are going to post and what your posts will look like and stick with that.  You should post a minimum of 3 times a week.  Once a day is ideal and more than twice per day is too much.  Guests also don't like their feed flooded with your posts so if you skip a few days, don't suddenly post 4 pictures to make up for lost time.  It doesn't work like that.  
  6. Pay attention to your likes Once you have 10-15 posts, start being very mindful of which photos have the most likes.  You may notice it is the before and afters.  Maybe it is the pictures of you working behind the scenes.  Whatever it is, make note and focus on posting more of those type of pictures.  One of my favorite Instagramers is @anothonythebarber916.  You'll notice that he doesn't get nearly as many likes when he posts pictures of his work as he does when he posts a picture of himself working or even at an SF Giants game grabbing a beer.  Instagram is a peek into your personal world so be sure you show that side of yourself.

If you want some Instagram inspiration, head to to see some individuals and salons who are doing it right!