UNFORTUNATELY MANY SALON OWNERS view social media as just another chore, instead of a fabulous opportunity to engage with clients and prospect for new ones. Kelly Ehlers, president of Evoke Brand Strategies, opens the door to the money-making possibilities.
ST: How can social media enhance the traditional marketing budget?
Ehlers: “Unfortunately some salons are still treating social media like just another marketing channel, when in reality, it’s so much more! Investing in social media can actually save you money. Think of it this way, social media spans all facets of your salon—from customer service to client retention and referrals, advertising, PR, events and most importantly service and product promotions. It’s the perfect cost-effective medium to connect with your clients on a personal level, expand awareness and drive bottom-line results.
“The word ‘social media’ doesn’t really explain the power of the medium and what you can do with it. Social media is not really media – I think of it as a channel, more like a telephone than a TV commercial. With social media, you have a direct line to your customers to ask for feedback, share trends and tips and promote exclusive deals they can only get access to on your social platforms.
“Social media shouldn’t replace your traditional marketing outreach, rather enhance it, using all of the great (free!) platforms to communicate and build your salon brand. Here are a few examples:
• Facebook: Capture your clients while they are in the chair by asking them to ‘like’ your page. (Chances are, they are already surfing the web on their smartphones.) Make it part of the conversation by talking about the exclusive discounts, promotions and how-tos your salon is posting.
• Twitter: Engage your followers! The Mark Garrison Salon in New York holds a monthly ‘Tweet Your Tresses’ contest for followers to tweet their hair dilemmas for a chance to win a free cut and color.
• Pinterest: Check out the Honeycomb Salon in Minnesota, they use Pinterest as a virtual ‘look book’ showcasing styles and trends for inspiration. Encourage your clients to pin their new hairdo to begin creating an online portfolio for your salon.
• Foursquare: Are you incentivizing your clients to ‘check in’and share it with their social networks? Claim your location, then set up specials for those who write reviews or tips about the salon.”
ST: With all of the social media platforms out there, how do you recommend our readers stay on top of it all?
Ehlers: “There are really two options. The first is to hire a consultant or an outside agency, like Evoke Brand Strategies, to handle your social outreach. The second option is to handle social media internally. If you have a particular stylist that is entrenched in social media, perhaps they could spearhead the initiative. Make sure to make it a “team sport” by including everyone. For example, integrate social media into your weekly staff meetings, asking each stylist to contribute one post per week. The biggest rule of thumb is to make sure you are consistent and active—stay connected with your clients once you’ve captured their attention.”
For more about Evoke Brand Strategies, go to: evokebrands. com. For more social media tips and tricks, check out their education blog, StyleSync at: stylesync.me.