by Kelly Ehlers, Guest Contributor

In my last PBA Progress article, I talked about the importance of managing your salon (or personal) brand online…so, how have you been doing? Did you take that quick social audit and ‘Googled’ yourself to see what popped up? (And, were you surprised?)

Now that you know what is out there about your brand, it’s time to craft a defined strategy, and determine your purpose to be online. As you know, it’s not enough to simply be participating on social channels, rather you must look at social media as a way to drive business, create opportunities for your salon – and most importantly, connect with your clients in an authentic way. I often tell clients that social media is the “real-time personalization” of your brand.

Here at Evoke Brand Strategies, we’ve found that in the social world, our clients that have a well defined, engagement social presence are staying leaps and bounds ahead of the curve at both engaging current clients – and attracting new.

Your “social brand” is really all about who you are, combined with what you want to be known for. Sounds easy enough, right? But how do you transfer these ideas, who you are and what you want your reputation to be into a social strategy?

Here’s how we break down the 3-part equation:

Emotional

The emotional appeal of your brand is defined by answering a simple question: “Why do people love you?” What is your x-factor?

To determine yours, write down a list of words that describe yourself and you salon that is BEYOND what your craft. And talk to those loyal clients, they often have a perspective that you may not have thought about!

Technical

Once you have determined your salon’s ‘X’ factor, you need to take a look at the technical aspects of your business. What services do you offer? Is there one service that you specialize in?

For example: Is your salon known for your master colorists? How about men’s cuts or even wedding styles? On social media, it’s important to focus on those technical services that you really excel at, and set yourself apart from your competition. This is where it’s important to determine what you want to be known for.

Promotional

Now that you have the two pieces of your social brands puzzle identified, it’s time to promote them through social media. Now, as we all know, this is where social media can get confusing – where do you start?

In the complicated social landscape, with new platforms popping up almost daily, we encourage clients to really focus on the channels that highlight your emotional characteristics and technical expertise.

So, back to the question of ‘where do you begin?’ To simplify the process, we’ve narrowed the social media platforms down to four main categories: Network, Visual, Broadcast and Local. Here’s a quick breakdown>

Network: The go-to platform is Facebook, focusing on listening, engaging and participating in your social and local community. Facebook, as we know, is a great way to expand your online community.

Visual: In our industry, we all know a photo is worth a thousand words. If your goal is to ‘let your work do the talking for you’ perhaps you need to invest your time in the visually-focused social platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Broadcast: Twitter and blogs are most like a news station, where you have the ability to broadcast your message in a concise or expanded format. On these platforms you ‘talk’ more than you ‘listen’ and engage. If your focus is to showcase your insight on particular topics, I would recommend giving these two platforms a try.

Local: If you currently have zero social presence – guess what’s defining you? It’s the local platforms in the form of review sites. At Evoke Brands, we work with a variety of salons that (before working with us) have never paid any attention to their review sites. They should not be ignored!

And there you have it. A simple three-part strategy to make sure your social media outreach is aligned with your salon’s strengths. From here, you can let your social personality shine through in a unique, fun way.

Look for Kelly’s next article in the December issue of PBA Progress. And, be sure to join the Evoke Brand Strategies Facebook page or send her a tweet @kellyehlers to let her know how your salon has joined the social conversation.

About the Author

Kelly Ehlers is a recognized leader and expert in social and mobile media for the salon and beauty industry. Her firm, Evoke Brand Strategies, specializes in providing innovative digital solutions for salons, stylists and brands looking to connect with their customers in today’s technology-driven society. Having literally grown up in the industry (her mother was a successful salon owner for 40 years), Kelly’s unique perspective combines years of PR, marketing and social media knowledge with real-world salon experience. She is also the co-founder of the Style Sync, an online social media training, personal branding, and business education platform designed specifically for beauty professionals looking to magnify their image and multiply their results. For more, go to evokebrands.com and stylesync.me.