A few months ago, Patrick McIvor, the artistic and techniculture director of Goldwell & KMS, alerted the SALON TODAY staff to a growing salon management trend—Digital Directors—a new staff position being created in leading salons of all sizes.

“In the 1960s and 70s, it was in vogue for salons to have artistic directors. Then as color services grew, salons were rushing to employ color directors in the 80s and 90s,” McIvor told us. “But to grow in today’s social media-driven world, today’s salons need digital directors.”

Without a digital director, it’s going to become harder to compete in today’s world, McIvor stressed. “You need someone on your team who can remove a blemish from a photo, edit a simple video for YouTube and help you find your digital voice.”

The SALON TODAY team started digging and found McIvor was correct. Salons of all sizes are carving out roles for digital directors and filling them with everything from full-time staff members to part-time hired guns to professional social-media consultants. What makes these digital directors different than the social media-savvy staff member who also posts on the salon’s site, is these are job titles that are purposefully carved out and supported by an overall marketing strategy. And, the people who fill them have specific marketing, graphic design or social media educational backgrounds supported by specific on-the-job training.

“Today’s salon owners are realizing that social media is more than a trend, and that it’s not going away. They are also seeing its potential as an effective marketing strategy for reaching their target market,” says Kelly Ehlers, founder of Evoke Brand Strategies. “For many though, the impulse is to hire a social-savvy intern to man their brand’s communication vehicles. In training sessions, I ask those owners, “ If their local news station was doing a story on your salon, would you hand that intern a microphone and put them in front of the camera?’ And they’ll respond, ‘Of course not.’ Well, it’s the same thing with social media—you want someone who is capable of identifying your brand’s voice, building a proper campaign, developing a hashtag strategy, and running and evaluating the analytics.”

So who are these digital directors? Where do salon owners find them, and how are they trained? And, once on staff, what does a digital director actually do? In this special feature, we’re profiling six salons and their digital directors, revealing how each are trained on their salon’s overall brand strategy and illustrating exactly how each they’re adding a punch to their salon’s overall marketing strategy:

Andrew Arrojo at Arrojo Studio

Rachel Speed at Intrigue Salon

Sam Charboneau and Robyn Healy at Schardein's-The Ultimate Salon Experience

Marcus Jackson at Salon Greco-The European Day Spa

Ronit Enos with Lacey Richardson at Maxime Beauty

Megan Bueschel and Kelly Ehlers at Mario Tricoci