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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Planoly and other stat based apps that tell you “best time to post”. 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.
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.