By Kelly Ehlers, Guest Contributor

A new year means a new plan to build upon the success of your salon. And, in today’s tech-savvy, smartphone-obsessed culture that means getting on board with social media platforms as a means to market your salon and services. If you’re ready to (finally) dive in to your social strategy – or take it up a notch for 2014 – here are the three must-follow rules to ensure success:

Get With The Plan

As a salon owner or stylist you’re deeply in tune with your business struggles. Let social media help you solve those challenges. Are you hoping to increase referrals? How about amp up loyalty from your existing clientele? By defining those specific challenges, you can start to think of creative ways to leverage your social channels to promote and grow those facets of your business.

For example, if your main goal is to drive foot traffic, determine what social platform your clients are most active on and create specific offers for your fans to find and redeem in-salon. Keep in mind, you do need to talk about these promotions offline as well. Encourage your teams to discuss your latest social promotion with each and every client so you’re driving them to your channel – yes for the offer, but most importantly, to showcase and connect with you on a daily basis through your social sites. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your work and stay top-of-mind with your clients.

Social Starts With A Story

Social media demands a human voice – one that consists of a unique, non-promotional tone, and what better way to showcase that than to tell your story? Some of the most successful brands embrace a quirky, edgy and downright off-the-wall personality, and it works. After all, think about the content that provokes you to tap the “LIKE” button, or “Share” with your network. Odds are it strikes some type of emotional or relatable chord, hence why you feel compelled to respond. The same applies with the content your posting on your salon’s behalf. Content doesn’t always have to be solely about your salon’s services. Add in pop culture references, charitable topics and always ask your fans for their feedback!

You’ll Never Know Unless You Try

You know the saying try, try… and try again. The same applies to test the social media waters. Because of the relatively low investment social media poses, there’s no harm in experimenting with ideas here and there. If they work, great – if not, move on. Try crafting particular giveaways or trivia contests that tie in to your plan and see how your audience responds. For examples, if your salon is consistently slow on Wednesdays, create a promotion driving traffic on that particular day. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope when it comes to trying new things on social media.

And there you have it! Give these three quick-take steps a try in 2014 and let me know how they work for your salon. As always, if you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to connect with me on twitter (@kellyehlers) or on our Evoke Brand Strategies Facebook page!

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.