by Kelly Ehlers, Guest Contributor

Let’s talk social media. In today’s socially connected society, you not only have the ability, but the need to manage your reputation both online and in real life. This applies to you if you’re an independent contractor, salon owner, stylist, platform artists – even a beauty school student.

Let’s face it. Your clients, employer, perhaps even the school you are applying to, will seek you out online before they meet you in person. In fact, albeit a simple task, the results of a simple Google search can be quite shocking. Try it! I’m sure you will find that the conversations are happening, whether or not you’re participating. (Or even paying attention!)

Search for your salon in other places, too. You may find that your clients are checking in at your salon on Facebook, snapping a quick Instagram photo of their new look or most importantly, sharing their experience with their social networks in the form of reviews and recommendations. All of these online interactions are a lasting reflection of your personal brand and your salon brand. (Side note: did you know that Tweets are stored in the Library of Congress? See, I told you they were lasting impressions!)

And it makes sense, right? Why, after years of perfecting your craft, would you leave something as valuable as you reputation up to chance? Social media allows us the opportunity to extend the salon conversation from a monthly visit to a daily conversation.

Key points to properly build and leverage your social brand

  • Social media is not a popularity contest. Followers don’t equal influence. It’s far better to have 100 highly engaged clients than to have thousands of fans who never interact with your social platforms. Remember to focus on delivering the type of content when, where and how your clients want it. Put yourselves in their shoes. Are they looking for exclusive deals or promotions on your social platforms? Do they look to your salon as being the trendsetter in areas of beauty and fashion? When you are giving them content they love, they will ‘share’ the love in return!
  • Have a defined strategy; a purpose to be online. I often notice salons or brands participating on social media platforms just because everybody’s doing it (minus the strategy!). Although valid, I think it’s important to re-frame that discussion and 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.

To look at social media as a business solution, it’s vital to map out a simple strategy for your social platform. This strategy will help you to tailor your content and outreach around your business goals. With my agency Evoke Brand Strategies and online social platform, StyleSync.me, we have developed a simple three-step process to get you started that involves looking at your Emotional and Technical skills, then pairing it with a proper Promotional tool (or social platform). (Learn about the specific process in the September issue of PBA Progress!)

  • Involve your creative teams. It’s essential for your staff and stylists to join the social conversation. It’s likely they are connected on social platforms in their free time. Allowing them to provide content is important for the success of your social strategy. For example, consider adding social media skills as a requirement in your hiring process or create a social media team of stylists who are in charge of collecting stories and images from the salon on a daily basis. Regardless of the technique, it’s imperative to make social media part of your salon’s DNA on a daily basis.

We all know that your brand is no longer just your logo or the sign above your salon door. Social media is one of the most effective and least costly brand building solutions available and with a bit of training and guidance, can be incredibly effective and fun! If you use these three tips you are well ahead of the curve and believe me, you’re clients will notice!

Look for Kelly’s next article in the September 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.