Posts in Branding
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 www.instagram.com 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 www.brittseva.com/instagram to see some individuals and salons who are doing it right!

The Hairstylists Social Media & Marketing Cocktail

The question I have gotten the most over the years is "how can we get more clients".  You can build the most beautiful spa or salon and hire the top technicians with the best personality, but without marketing nobody will ever know you exist.  Marketing has also changed tremendously in the last 5 years and I've noticed that a lot of salons and spas have been left behind somewhere in 2007 with their marketing. 

Before the economic crash of 2008 high end salons and spas were bustling with tons of walk-ins and clients with money to burn. Salons could just put a sandwich board on the street and get plenty of foot traffic.  Referrals were flooding in like crazy and a newly licensed professional could build a clientele fairly easily.  Then it all changed.   2009 was brutal and 2010 wasn't much better.  All facets of the beauty industry became more luxury than necessity and clients starting cutting corners by stretching out the length of time between visits and doing more DIY services at home.  It took years for the industry to turn around but now we are back to a great place.  We are fortunate to be a necessity and not a luxury again, however we have to work a little harder to make it happen.

 A solid marketing strategy is crucial to building business.  Do you know that when you hire a new employee on to your team, the industry standard is now that you provide 15% of that person's clientele?  It's true!  You can't expect your employees to do it all on their own and if you do, your team will head right on down the street to a place where their business does provide them with that clientele.  It is our job to help them along their way and the way that we do it is through strategic marketing.

I think that the perfect marketing cocktail is 1oz social media, 1oz website that actually drives traffic, a large splash of referral rewards garnished with a gorgeous paper marketing presentation.  This is served shaken, not stirred and poured into a gorgeous glass that fits with your business culture.  If you haven't determined what your culture, vibe, image or whatever you like to call it is, that is where you need to start check out my post on building your salon or spa culture.  That is step one in a huge, gigantic way so tackle that before you go any further.

Once you have determined your culture, you can start stocking your marketing cocktail bar with:

  • A website (A REALLY great website)
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Gorgeous marketing pieces (visit my shop for more information)
  • Referral rewards programs
  • Annual community give back events
  • Networking opportunities

I think all 8 of these pieces are crucial to stay relevant in this industry today.  Seems like a lot of work?  Well, it is, but with a plan you can absolutely make it happen.  If you just spend 1 hour every day on marketing using my strategies your business will grow in a beautiful, organic way.  Stay tuned for my marketing calendar to help you get your cocktail organized. xoxo

The Art of Becoming a Brand

Before you can even think about improving your marketing, one of the most important things a spa or salon needs to do is figure out who they are.  I've asked this question many times before to spa and salon owners and managers and the answer is usually something like "well, we are really talented and nobody offers customer service like we do and our place is really clean and we carry top brands".  That is all so nice, but that is what you do and not who you are.  If you don't for sure know who you are, then how are your clients going to figure it out?  If you are going to be shabby chic, then when I walk in I want floral prints and light peach touches and tiny chandelier light fixtures.  If you are going to be modern then I want clean lines, minimalist decor, super modern art on the walls.  Go all in to whoever you are going to be.

My pet peeve is when I walk into a spa with mismatched decor and a million retail lines and jewelry for sale on the counter.  My brain screams out "who the heck are you and why are you selling weird necklaces?".  Walking into a disorganized and cluttered space makes your clients feel overwhelmed and confused.  I've also had the experience of walking into a gorgeous salon with great customer service and all the right retail, but a horrible website and terrible print marketing.  Again, if you don't have all the pieces in order and a well branded images, your clients won't understand you and it becomes very difficult to send new business your way.  

On the flip side, you can be an incredibly well marketed salon or spa with decent staff and a great attitude and your business will spread like wildfire.  The most successful makeup artist probably isn't the most talented makeup artist on the planet, but her branding is solid and people know exactly what they are going to get when they see her.  

The picture featured here is from my new obsession; a salon in North Carolina called Local Honey.  This salon is branded perfectly and their efforts have proven to be flawless.  They were the fastest growing salon in the Carolinas in 2014 and named one of the best salons in the south.   Their culture shines through in everything they do.  If you are at the salon, you're in the hive.  Want to know the latest? That's called the buzz.  They use the same beautiful, warm browns, beige and orange tones throughout all of their marketing so that as soon as you see their imagery, you know it's got to be Local Honey.  Being a client at this salon would feel like being a part of the cool kids club and, let's face it, who doesn't want to get their hair done where the cool kids go? I can't wait to go visit and buy my Local Honey trucker hat and tee!  Until then, check them out at www.localhoneysalon.com

Image source http://www.osmosis.com

Image source http://www.osmosis.com

The above picture is from the website of my all time favorite spa.  It is a little hidden treasure tucked away in California wine country called Osmosis.  As soon as you check out their website, you have a full understanding of exactly what you're going to get when you go there.  All of their marketing is green, lush, natural but also chic and that is exactly what it felt like being there.  All of the furniture is reclaimed wood and the lobby is filled with gorgeous plants.  I felt like I got exactly what I expected. They also have a signature treatment called a cedar enzyme bath which is fabulous.  More on this later, but if you've got a specialty service, be sure to put it front and center.

The key to a great website and brochure is not using stock images.  Stock images make you look like 98% of spas and salons on the planet and it's the 2% that use their own images that are uber successful.  All of your marketing needs to showcase your brand and your brand is your environment.  Start by evaluating your environment, hire a photographer to take some great pictures for you and then go piece by piece through your website and paper marketing and make sure your brand is consistent.  This process doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to be organized.  Changing a few pieces of artwork, clearing out some of the clutter, adding in some side tables or lamps can completely change the feel of your space.

I realize this is like opening a can of worms and can seem daunting.  Stay tuned for my upcoming webinar for your roadmap to developing your brand.

XOXO   Britt