“The days of word-of-mouth exclusivity are gone,” says Suttles. “Now everything is researched on the Internet and you’ve got to be present. A satisfied client may recommend you to that friend, but that friend will also check out your website and blog before she books and appointment.” When that client does reach out to you through technology, if all they discover is a strong-handed sales pitch, they may run the other way.
While your website communicates facts about your salon, your blog creates your online personality. Successful blogs tone down the sales, in an effort to keep communication real and very human. Suttles recommends using appropriate humor, sharing usable beauty and fashion tips and showcasing staff talents through before and after images. “We also like to take pictures of people showcasing good and bad fashion, similar to Glamour magazine’s DOs and DON’Ts—it’s fun but a little bit goes a long way.”
That doesn’t mean a little friendly promotion isn’t appropriate. Amid your blog’s chatter, feel free to share a product special or announce a new service.
While a daily blog entry might be the optimum communication, it’s not always possible for busy salon owners. “But the more you can do it the better,” says Butera. “To really get your return on your efforts, you should blog at least two or three times a week.”
Mae has found an easier way to post multiple entries per week. “I’ve started writing them on my day off because that’s when I have time, then I can scatter them to hit the blog on different days throughout the week,” she says.
If you worry that you don’t have enough to say to support several blog entries each week, remember that a blog’s not just for speaking, it’s for sharing.
Mae uses her blog to communicate the same tidbits she would share with a client sitting in her chair. She pulls information from the variety of online news services to which she subscribes, always crediting or linking to the source. For example, Mae’s blog recently featured the results of a quiz asking women what celebrity perk they’d most desire; images from the NAHA finalists; a recipe for sparkling sangria; a comparison of Jenna Bush’s informal wedding updo with Grace Kelly’s ever-classic style; and the images showing the results of foot-binding. To make it her own, she simply writes a paragraph or two of personal thoughts on the subject as an introduction.