The new rules for decade 2010 demand
that you and your brand, not just your
service providers, engage your client and
your community audiences. While that may
seem like one more daunting task on the
management checklist, the information age
and the popularity of social media make it
easier than ever.

2010 Vision: Engage Your Social Media Networks
Jenny DeVaughn

Before social media expert Jenny
DeVaughn addresses the International
SalonSpa Business Network May 2 to
4 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, we
asked her to share some advice for salon
and spa owners wanting to reach their audiences
through social media. As director of
social media for the international recruiting
company Bernard Hodes Group, DeVaughn
helps companies of all sizes develop their
social media strategies, as well as establish
internal social media policies.

“Basically, where I think many small
business owners go wrong is they jump
on the opportunity and follow trends that
may not be applicable to their audiences,”
she says. “Before you rush to join a social
network, develop your social media strategy
first.” DeVaughn offers our readers the
following advice:

Find out where your clients play
While Facebook may have more
than 400 million users, that doesn’t necessarily
mean your client base uses it, says
DeVaughn. She suggests querying your
audience to determine what sites are most
important to them. “I think this works
best as part of the conversation a stylist
has one-on-one with the client. You can
also ask your reception staff to simply ask
guests who are checking in or out, ‘Where
do you spend your time online?’” she says.
“Ask them if they’d like to be notified
about special events or promotions, and if
yes, how? Do they use Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, Shoutlife?”

DeVaughn also warns owners not to
lose perspective on where social media fits
in the realm of their marketing outreach.
“Continue to strive to collect e-mail addresses
from your clients—to me, e-mail
is still King. When it comes to getting new
clients, word-of-mouth trumps all, so continue
to work the grapevine, either live or
online,” she advises.

Explore Advertising Opportunities.
While most business owners are attracted
to the ‘free’ publicity status of these sites,
don’t overlook the value of them for low cost
advertising for specifically targeting
the clients you want to attract. “For the majority
of businesses, I recommend trying a
Facebook ad—they are very, very cheap,
and you can specifically target any group
(age, location, marital status, interest) and
you can set up a daily limit on cost.

Facebook ads target users by the specific
information they list in their own profile,
as well as the comments they post. “For
example, I once posted about cold weather
in Minnesota, and ads for UGG boots and
other winter clothing appeared,” she says.
“These ads are easy to create, and can target
not only your fans, but the fans of your fans
or the fans of your competitors.”

Another benefit is you can turn your ad
on or off whenever you want or only run it
on certain days of the week. The ‘metrics
available from Facebook are mindblowing,’
says DeVaughn, who recommends
that salon owners choose the “Pay Per
Click” option and try to negotiate the lowest
rate possible.

Look for sites that build loyalty in
your brand.
The world of social media
is constantly changing. DeVaughn recommends
to continually research and seek new
sites that will help you build your brand.
One of the newer sites she really likes for
businesses is foursquare.com.

“It’s a social media game that is location-
based. When users walk into a
place of business, such as a post office or
a Starbucks, they go on the site via their
phone and check in. When you check in,
you can see which of your friends also is
checked in to that location or you can make
a comment, such as ‘Dulce Latte are the
feature today.’ When you have the most
check-in points for a particular site, you
can become the mayor.”

Through foursquare, business owners
can make special offers to users who check
into a location for the first time, or you can
make offers to people who check into other
locations. For example, if users checked
into a local gym, you could make an offer
to those users to follow-up their workout
with a great massage. You can create offers
just for mayors, because those are the
movers and shakers in a community. And,
you can give clients offers when they show
they’ve checked into your business. You
can host an event, have everyone check
into the event on foursquare, and pay to
have the analytics after.

“While Yelp! has become a site for
people to complain about businesses, foursquare
is more positive and is designed to
reward users loyalty to their favorite businesses,”
she says.

Use social media to communicate
your value or point of difference, not
to deliver the hard sell.
If you only
use your sites to promote your specials
or sales, then your audience will quickly
identify your messages as spam and will
start overlooking them. If the hard sell
doesn’t work in your chair, it’s not going
to work online.

“Instead, use social media to tell why
your salon or spa is different and make
sure it matches your brand. I’ve seen resorts
who are committed to maintaining
a level of luxury and elegance promote
coupons through social media that makes
them sound kind of desperate.”

DeVaughn advises you to ask yourself:
Who are you trying to reach? What do you
do that is different than everyone else?
What kind of value do you give to those
consumers to keep them engaged? For
example, use it to promote staff who’ve
attended extraordinary educational events,
or talk about your philanthropic efforts.
When clients give you positive feedback,
ask them for their permission and post it
online. “Most importantly, create content
that’s genuine,” says DeVaughn.

Focus on the visual. Salons and spas
are businesses that play on all the senses, so
don’t just focus on the written word in your
social media outreach—when possible, use
visuals and audio, too. DeVaughn recommends
posting videos of you or your staff
at shows or in classes learning new techniques
and posting images of great styles that have been created on clients. “For example,
if you do a bridal party, ask if you
can capture a bit of footage of the party
with their finished looks before they take
off for the ceremony. Capture the emotion,
the laughs and the tears and wish the bride
the best,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be
difficult, in fact it shouldn’t look overly
sleek and professional or it won’t seem

More articles in this series, 2010 Vision: The New Rules of

Vision: Engage New Business

Your Employees

Your Conscience

Through Marketing

Your Social Media Networks

Your Budget

Through Accountability

Without Compromise

Our Future