All marketing is not created equal
I see so many stylists and salon owners spinning their wheels, saying “I spend so many hours a week, doing all these things to market my business.” But when I find most of them are passive marketing versus active marketing, my heart breaks a little bit.
Just because you are going through the motions on social media and feel like you’re putting yourself out there, if you are not actively marketing your business, all of those efforts are going to fall flat. You’ll end up frustrated with an empty chair, wondering where it all went wrong.
I don’t know about you, but I follow a ton of industry educators and everybody has got a different idea about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to growing a clientele. The real deal is that there is no one way to build. You’ve got a number of choices and it’s all about realizing which are most effective and finding the techniques that will work best for you.
Passive: Simply posting to social media
I see a vast majority of stylists on social media just checking the box. Take a picture of your client, post to Instagram, post to Facebook, and done! Right?
All you’re doing is going through the motions. Simply taking pictures of your guests and posting them on social media is a failing effort that will never work to grow your business.
Active: Posting engaging captions on social media and then commenting back
It’s easy enough to take a pretty picture. The hard part is coming up with something engaging to say after.
Think about the accounts on Instagram or Facebook that you follow. Generally speaking, you like the way their posts make you feel. It’s not just the visual: the posts take you through an experience on social media.
Pick 5 or 10 Instagram or Facebook accounts that you love the most, in any industry, and take a look at the way they write their captions. Make a note of what pulls you in and how they make you feel. Start incorporating those into your captions to spark conversation, and then have the conversation!
Passive: Hashtags and geo tagging
This one might surprise you, but hashtags and geotags are major passive marketing.
Hashtags are search terms, or what I call fishing. You’re throwing a hook into the ocean and you’re hoping that a fish is looking for that very specific fish hook with that very specific bait you’ve put on there and you’re hoping they’ll bite.
So when we hashtag balayage, the hope is a new prospective client is going to look up #balayage, find our feed, happen to live in our town, fall madly in love, and tomorrow end up in our chair. How often do you think that happens? Very rarely.
It’s the same with geotags. I still see photos with beautiful hair, but when I look at the location, it shows Sam’s Sandwich Shop. That stylist is hoping that when someone looks up Sam’s Sandwich Shop, sees the beautiful haircut they did, and immediately book an appointment.
Is it active marketing? Nope. It’s a hope and a prayer.
Active: Seeking out new potential clients in your community through local search
To grow your local client base, search for local hashtags and use those because they’re being used by the people in the area that you’re trying to get out in front of. So instead of “here I am, come and find me,” it’s “Hi, I’m here.”
No one is randomly going to stumble upon you; you need to put yourself out there. Spend some time researching local hashtags or geotags in your area and start thinking about how you can get out in front of those people.
Passive: Tagging brands
If you’re trying to attract clients, tagging brands is a failing strategy. You’re not going to find a lot of clients who are searching #brand or looking at photos tagged on that brand’s page. But if you’re looking to get industry credits, have more stylists follow you, or build your brand as an educator, it might be a working strategy for you.
I know what you’re going to say: “But wouldn’t it be so cool if I got reposted by such-and-such?” Totally. It makes us feel validated and gives us industry street cred. But if you’re trying to grow locally as a stylist, don’t bother.
Active: Asking your clients to leave you reviews
If you’re saying “I have a Yelp page, but I don’t know why my clients aren’t reviewing me,” are you asking them? Ask them. Why not? If you want more reviews, you need to be able to have that conversation with your guests. The worst that will happen is they don’t do it, and that’s not so bad.
Passive: Pinning flyers and cards to a pin board
Who in their right mind is going to be adding sugar to their latte at Starbucks, see your business card on the pin board and be like “Oh my gosh, yeah, I’ll go see her for color”?
That’s not an effective strategy. The woman who pulls your card off the board is not the person you want sitting in your chair. All you’re going to do is waste money and time pinning cards everywhere and it’s not going to make you look professional.
Active: Having an active referral program that you actually talk about
Having a referral program you don’t talk about isn’t a referral program; it’s just a good idea. If you’re not talking about it with every single guest, they aren’t thinking about it. Unless it’s set up properly and you’re regularly saying, “I’m looking to build my business, let me remind you about my referral program,” your clients will not send people to you.
Passive: Post and go
Imagine you went on a blind date with somebody and all they do the whole time is brag about themselves, then sit back and smirk like, “Yeah. Are you in love with me yet or what?”
Post and go is like you just threw content on social media, checked the boxes, and expected that to be entertaining enough for guests to immediately head for your chair. You have to be active on your social media platform if you expect it to work for you.
Active: Having a true social media strategy
Go into it with a plan. Decide what days you’re going to post, what your goals are for social media, how you’re going to use the tools properly. And make sure your strategy includes email marketing.
I heard the collective groan. Email marketing makes you feel two ways: Corporate America or overwhelmed, like “I possibly can’t take on one more thing.”
Do we all get too many emails? Yes. Does email marketing work? Yes. And that’s why every business you go to now tries to sign you up for a rewards program to get your email address. Why? They know that email marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry that works. If you do it properly, it can be one of the most powerful business building and retention tools you have.
If you are ready to level up and make the most out of our career, refine your marketing techniques to what actively gets you in front of the prospective clientele you hope to attract into your chair.
TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 39. CLICK HERE
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