The Client Connector: Ariel ShannonOwner, Bluebird Salon
San Luis Obispo, California

AT BLUEBIRD SALON, clients are affectionately called Bluebirdies, and the staff have dubbed themselves the happiest stylists in California. This small, but hip and young salon is led by owner Ariel Shannon, who decorates using recycled materials and taps into the latest technology to expand her client base.

The tech difference is apparent when clients check in and an iPad mounted to the front desk fl ashes promotional offerings and invites them to begin playing, and it’s apparent when they roam the salon’s website (bluebirdsalon.com) which immediately encourages visitors to “like” the salon on Facebook, book an appointment, shop for giftcards or dive into their beauty blog.

The salon has even dabbled with Vblogging, or video blogging. Staff members are encouraged to share a quick tip or how-to, and the resulting videos are featured under their profiles in the “Stylist” section of the site. For example, Danica shows Bluebirdies how to use a flatiron, while Jessi explains how to apply false eyelashes and Natalya offers a tutorial on creating a Fauxhawk.

“It’s all about staying connected in-between visits,” explains Shannon. “We’re offering them free beauty information that doesn’t interfere with the services we offer in the salon, and it’s a fun, form of marketing that elevates the image and the professionalism of the salon.”

In addition, Shannon encourages her stylists to maintain a gallery of work on the iPad to show clients during consultations. She uses Constant Contact which is integrated into her Mindbody management software to e-mail news and offers to clients, and she began experimenting with Pinterest.

“A great way to promote your stylists’ work is to format pictures into pretty collages—featuring a mixture of camera angles and different hair textures and styles—that are Pinterest friendly, then tag them with a ‘Pin it’ button. People who see them will want to re-pin them which will spread your image, and anyone who clicks on it will be led back to your website,” says Shannon.

Shannon likes to design promotions that cross-promote different social media channels. For example, because the salon has more e-mail addresses collected than it has Facebook friends, Shannon recently sent out an e-mail inviting clients to win a Spring eyeshadow set by Smashbox when they posted the winning idea for the salon’s next how-to video on its Facebook page. “Not only does this promote more interaction with the salon, it brings more awareness to our how-to videos and connects clients to our Facebook page,” she says. “Cross-promoting social media channels gets clients engaged on multiple levels with your business.”