One in every 13 people worldwide are active Facebook users, according to onlineschools.org. That’s 500,000,000 people who regularly rely on social media. These interactions based on profiles users create, allow you to find old friends, update your “status,” write on friends’ “walls” and more. A Facebook profile is a peephole into your life that others around you can view. Now let’s say a potential employer stumbles upon your profile. What will they find? Would they think you would be a good candidate based on your profile? If your answer is “no,” then the best choice for you is to create a separate profile dedicated to the professional you. In this public profile, you can make yourself and your work shine, by uploading photos, staying connected with industry events, monitoring other peer Facebook pages and, most importantly, networking with other beauty professionals.
“In today’s increasingly social society, I find that success in business and in life is becoming more and more about relationship building,” says Jody Bossert, co-owner and marketing manager at Elle Marie Hair Studio in Bothell, Washington. “In our business we start with the resume, but only as an initial indicator of where the candidate’s skill level may be. We then immediately turn to the web to learn more about the individual. Are they fun? Are they professional? Do they present well? Will they fit well with our culture?” Creating a business page that’s solely dedicated to your career can give a great first impression and be your stepping-stone to success.
Social media experts say even if you have a personal profile you wouldn’t mind an employer reviewing you should still consider creating a separate professional page. This way you can keep your professional life and business network separate from your personal life. Read on to learn how to create and use a business page on Facebook. If you use it effectively, you will reap the benefits.
When Lindsey Marie Venable, a recent graduate from Pivot Point International in Bloomingdale, Illinois, created a professional page on Facebook, she had a vision of how she wanted her profile to come across to viewers. “Aside from my recreational profile I decided to create a professional profile entirely focused on my career,” says Venable. “I did this in part because I can’t be in control of what other people post, and I wanted a way to showcase my work in a more separate, organized way.” Like Venable, approach your professional profile as if you were writing a resume. Fill out your basic information, education and work experience, and contact information. After covering the fundamentals, a large focus should be put on your photo and video galleries.
Photo Galleries: Your photo gallery is a visual representation of yourself and your work. “On my professional Facebook, I treat my photo albums like an electronic portfolio of my own work and content that has that ‘wow’ factor,” says Venable. “I try to keep it as professional as possible while also featuring other stylists’ work that motivates and inspires me simultaneously.” Naz Kupelian, Rusk International hair artist and salon owner of Naz Kupelian Salon in Lexington, Massachusetts, says, “One of the greatest things about Facebook is you can share a wide variety of information and media instantly with friends, colleagues and the world! I really enjoy sharing my work from shows and photo shoots on Facebook via real time with mobile uploads. It’s exciting to see what my colleagues are doing and vice versa.” Consider organizing your albums separately. For example, create a sculpting gallery, color and foils gallery or one on special occasion hair. Other examples of album themes include: your presence at beauty industry events, pictures of hair collections you have created, you pictured with celebrity hair stylists, images of you working on the salon floor, your “beauty inspirations” (interesting or unique photos that motivate you to generate new and compelling creations). Anna Martin Craig, owner and master stylist at Trashy Roots Salon & Spa in Round Rock, Texas, keeps a camera handy at all times, just in case she sees something inspirational or wants to capture a photo of a style she created in class. “If you attend any new or special training you should brag about it and let your clients or potential clients know how you are trying to continue to learn new skills,” she says. “I still post about classes I’m taking and clients are constantly asking me what new techniques or products I just learned about. It’s what keeps a stylist fresh and clients love that.”
Tagging: Facebook also offers a tagging option, so friends can “tag” you in a photo of theirs. “Scissor-Boy” (real name: Grant Romundt) and founder of scissorboy.com, an online TV series for stylists, says his page is a place to show off his work. He recommends taking pictures of your work and tagging the people you want to see it. “Tagging will help you take advantage of the viral aspect of Facebook,” he says. “Once you have posted good pictures of your work and quality wall posts then you are ready to start using Facebook to build up your presence in the beauty industry and build a more successful business for yourself.”
Make your Facebook page a social place! Stay updated on current trends in the beauty industry and post the ones you find interesting to your profile—it might generate conversation between your friends.
Your Wall: Stay updated with current beauty publications and their websites. If you find an article on hair, fashion or celebrities you find interesting, post it. Your wall is a great place to post hair tips and suggestions—this will show your expertise in different areas.
“What you post on your wall should be interesting and relevant to people you want to have reading your wall,” says ScissorBoy. “Don’t talk about celebrity gossip unless you are making it relevant and relating it back to the hair and beauty industry in a positive way rather than trashing them.” Your wall can be your biggest tool on Facebook. The more valuable content you post the more your friends will look to you as a reliable resource for new information.
Find Events: Facebook is your connection to industry events. Visit your favorite beauty manufacturer’s or distributor’s websites and see if they are holding any special seminars, conferences or classes. It can be good face-to-face business networking for you with other salons and stylists. Or you can use Facebook’s built-in events application, which allows you to see what events your friends may be attending.
Use Your Resources
School: Look to your cosmetology school as a resource—it is full of content you can share on your page. Everything you’re learning in school can be shared with your growing fan base who may be looking forward to experiencing those skills. Your school is also a resource for an immediate group of peers who will be reading and commenting on your Facebook page. “Always do your best to spotlight others on your Facebook business page,” says Michael Wilson, director of new media for Schedulicity, a web-based appointment scheduling program.
“Give lots of credit to your school, teachers, classmates and everyone who is helping you in any way. They will ‘like’ your page and share glowing reviews of you as a student and a friend. This will prove powerful with prospective employers.”
Monitor Other’s Pages: Stay up to speed by monitoring other peer Facebook pages, along with industry leaders’ Facebook pages to generate ideas for your own page. Not sure where to start? Begin by finding professional mentors and people who inspire you in the beauty industry. “Like” their fanpage or add them as a friend. Scan through their wall posts and comment on them. Do this periodically for a couple weeks and at some point try sending them a personal message and introduce yourself. “If you plan ahead you can find out what hair shows are coming up in your area and find out which top stylists are going to be there,” says ScissorBoy. “Send them a message on Facebook offering to help them backstage at an upcoming show. If they agree, this will get you some fantastic experience, great pictures for your profile and potentially a very important business contact.”
Facebook Friends: Craig recommends making friends with other salons all over the country. “I think as stylists we can definitely learn from each other,” she says. “Personally, it pushes me to be a better stylist by seeing what other amazing and talented stylists are doing. We shouldn’t be competitors; we should be friends and family.” However, be selective with whom you friend on Facebook. Facebook isn’t about “collecting” friends, says Judi Sohn, author of 12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally. “There’s no reward for quantity, and you can have a rich experience on the platform with only a handful of connections,” she says. “The quality of your Facebook experience will be based on the quality of the people in your network. Create a limited profile for those people that you are unsure about whether to include.”
What Employers Want
Your Online Presence: More and more employers today are checking out prospective candidates’ Facebook profiles to get a better idea of who they are. According to jobvite.com’s 2010 Social Recruiting Survey, 83 percent of employers plan to use social networks to recruit this year. If your Facebook is flourishing with photos, comments, engaging conversation and tips, and it is all neatly organized, they will have a better first impression of you. Since Facebook has added a whole new level of consideration for today’s job hunter, it’s important to determine what the general public can see on your Facebook page. According to Maribeth Kuzmeski, social media expert and author, “If you have any embarrassing or inappropriate material on your profile, it could be quite off-putting to your potential employer,” she says. “If you think that simply making your profiles private will solve the problem, beware,” she warns. “A twenty something job searcher recently told me about a new tactic that some employers are using. The interviewer asked the candidate to pull up his Facebook page—right there in the interview, leaving him no time to clean anything up! Yes, social media is a lot of fun, but make sure if you’re looking for a job that your social media sites help, not hurt, your cause.”
Monitor Your Reputation: Kuzmeski also advises to monitor closely what other people post about you. She says an easy way to monitor your reputation is by setting up Google Alerts that will inform you of anything that has appeared about you online (google.com/alerts). Whenever anything appears online that you or someone else has posted about you, an e-mail will be sent to you with a link to the online occurrence. “By monitoring these search results closely, you can get out in front of any problems that might arise from something negative someone else has said about you online,” says Kuzmeski. “That way, at least you’ll be prepared with an explanation. Bottom line, protect your most important assets—your personal brand and online reputation.”
Video Follow-up: According to Kuzmeski, after your interview instead of writing a personal “thank you” letter or e-mail to your interviewer, try recording a quick video. Script your response and record the quick message using a video camera, your phone or a webcam. Post your video to YouTube and send the employer a link. (In your video identify the job you interviewed for, tell them three things about your background that highlight you and, lastly, thank them for their time. The video should be no longer than two minutes.)
Branding Yourself —Cautiously
In Practice: In the interviewing process’ make sure prospective employers know your expanded presence on Facebook will mean you will be bringing clients with you to that new position, as well as valuable experience on how to help that business through Facebook. “By having a full portfolio of great pictures of your work, pictures of yourself working with and helping well-known beauty industry icons, and a professional Facebook presence, your chances of getting into the best salons will skyrocket,” says ScissorBoy. At Elle Marie Hair Studio in Bothell, Washington, staff members are encouraged to become active members in the Facebook community and interact with and share content from the Elle Marie Facebook page as often as possible. “During meetings I’ll offer a few words of advice to make sure our team members are using Facebook’s tools in the most effective way possible,” says Bossert. “My recent soap box has been to encourage our team members to hold off on posting their photos from industry shows and events directly to their personal profiles. Instead, a more strategic approach is to post those pictures to our business page and then they can share the post from there.” Bossert also says posting inappropriate or embarrassing photos is a definite turn-off for employers.
“Reveal too much on Facebook and you may frighten hiring managers. Reveal too little and you may get tossed aside as though you have submitted an incomplete resume.”
At The Root Salon in Phoenix, Arizona, salon owner Lauren Hart says her staff is required to present themselves professionally on Facebook. “At first I asked my stylists to have two separate Facebook pages. Now, I have loosened up a bit. I have found that their generation interacts more when the staff is not as ‘sales’ oriented and does socialize a bit. In our employee handbook they are strictly forbidden to talk negatively about work or one another and they are coached often about what our brand and cultural appearance needs to be online.”
Facebook “messages” are a good way of reaching out to your clients, friends and fans. Stay in touch by sending out messages with promotions or complimentary services you are doing. For example, send a message that prompts your clients to visit your page for a secret word or phrase (posted in your bio). Once they tell you the secret word/phrase at their next appointment, they get 15 percent off their service! Sending messages on Facebook are a good way to let clients know your appointment book fills up quickly, so they should rebook ASAP to ensure a spot with you. Send out confirmations at least 48 hours in advance. This will allow you to book another client if needed.
Time and Practice
It may seem intimidating at first, but after some dedicated time and practice you can make your business page into a successful social center for you and your friends, plus you can use it to showcase your work. With just a few clicks you can make a direct connection with virtually anyone in the professional beauty industry, and that kind of access has never been so easily available before. Remember; don’t add anything to your professional profile that you wouldn’t display to your co-workers or supervisors, and search for business opportunities out of shared interests. It can be a very useful tool to show potential employers down the line, so post as much information as you can to show you are actively involved. So what are you waiting for? Go start your professional page now!