Promoting through social media is nothing new at Neroli Salon and Spa. The five locations in the Milwaukee area, plus the two locations of sister business Skn Bar RX, each have their own marketing director. It’s a big effort that’s been delivering big results for roughly ten years.
Still, as the pandemic tended to do in salons, it brought changes to the marketing routine at Edgeless Beauty Group, the parent company to Neroli, Skn Bar and two Aveda Schools—one in Milwaukee and the other in Madison. The company has a total of nearly 300 team members, and they all were getting paid their full wages throughout the seven-week lockdown with help from Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding. But they earned their money. For one thing, they didn’t let their color clients down.
“The pandemic was a highly unique situation,” owner Susan Haise recalls. “We did curbside hair color and showed fun images of surgeons putting hair color in their wives’ hair and saying, ‘I never want to do this again’ while she’s drinking wine and saying, ‘This is awesome!’”
Classes and Postings
Through Microsoft Teams, the company held education, which included training on social media.
“Our marketing immediately clicked in,” Haise says. “We updated our training programs and trained on how to do content on Instagram—with homework!”
Staffers were required to do only one thing each day of those seven weeks at home. They could attend a class, create a post for Instagram or other social media, or write a blog.
“They were happy to have to do one thing a day,” Haise notes, “but it was the power of one. Maybe it was just a 45-minute makeup class or one blog. And we had fabulous guest speakers teaching online twice a week. By the end of lockdown, our technical team had attended more than 140 online classes and written nearly 500 blogs.”
The central office staff edited the blogs and even checked for plagiarism to make sure the content was original. Experts say it takes three weeks to form a habit. The lockdown was more than twice that, so when the salon opened, the whole team was accustomed to blogging, posting, and capturing video of before-and-afters. They were salon and spa pros but also social media pros.
“It’s the culture of the company now,” Haise says. “If you have a no-show, you can grab another team member and do a video of how to create a smoky eye.”
Rewards for Effort
Although it’s considered part of the workday, all of this posting does get rewarded. Haise says her admin team reviews engagement and other analytics to determine, for example, the top Instagram post. That may earn the team member who posted it a mention at a team meeting, but there also are more tangible rewards.
“I love concerts and travel, and most of my team members do, too,” Haise says. “We put together a trip to Coachella, and sent some of the team as an award for their social engagement.” Rewards are appropriate, Haise says, because “it’s an enormous amount of work.” And the return on that time investment doesn’t happen instantly. Although Neroli has more than 6,000 Instagram followers, Haise says she hoped for more considering how much time they put into this.
“I don’t know that people appreciate the amount of work being done behind the scenes to put new clients in the chair and to keep the salon relevant,” Haise says. “You have to have some presence on social, or your business will slow down because there’s always attrition.”
It’s all about building and nurturing the brand. Says Haise, “Everything is organic.”
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