This past Monday, I attended an interesting social media marketing presentation at the Cosmetologists Chicago Annual Business Meeting held in Oakbrook, Illinois. This customized workshop had a diverse turnout of professionals, from salon owners to stylists to newly licensed cosmetologists looking for work.  Upon entering the presentation, everyone received a remote which we used to do polls throughout the day. A panel of experts, including Michael Wilson, director of new media for Schedulicity (an online appointment booking managment system); Steve Cannon, director of digital marketing for Schedulicity; and Tiffany "Ms. Esthy" Taylor, a salon owner who built her own business through social media marketing, took the stage, ready to help us all make the most of social media.

So, to start off, what is social media? Well, it's the millions of conversations people are having everyday. Compared to marketing which has to do with paid ad placement and static messages that play over and over, social media is a phenomenon now where you can communicate directly with your consumers, create relationships, and also create a dynamic message of urgency.

In the workshop we primarily focused on Facebook, but we did also touch on Twitter at the end. As Michael Wilson put it, "Everyone that is your client or could be your client is here."

Here are some key points they went over:

Google Alerts: Did you know that you can get an alert to your mobile phone every time someone mentions you or your business online? All you have to do is set up a g-mail account, choose a "key" word or a few "key" words to follow, and you are good to go. It's a great way of being passively aware of what people are saying about you.

Set up a Facebook Business page: If you already have a personal Facebook and you are mixing it with work-related content, that's a big NO! Create separate Facebook accounts-one for your personal life, and the other for your business. It's more professional and organized this way. Besides, who wants to see tagged photos of you and your friends on "girl's night out?" when they are really looking for your business' information instead…? ;)


ENGAGEMENT: This involves what goes on your Facebook's Business page. Put your salon's logo, list of services, discounts, let people know about your involvement in the community, share tips your clients will find useful, share before and after photos, photos of your salon and team…etc. The great thing is when you post a discount on your business' Facebook page or another piece of useful content, it will have a ripple effect, and it will show up on ALL of your friend's Facebook accounts. So everyone will be aware! Get your clients engaged. Great way of free advertising.

PROMOTION: Let people know your specials. List your discounts early in the morning so when people wake up they will see your message. List seasonal specials, give feedback, let your clients know you are excited to see them.

CONVERSION: Once you get your client's to keep visiting your site, this is exactly what you want. You have to have a mixture of engagement and promotion in order to "convert" you clients to be regular visitors to your salon's Facebook page.

Here are some easy ways of getting your clients to comment and convert. Try putting these messages in your "status" box:

  • Looking for a NEW fall color? Book your look now!
  • Need a cut? There's still a couple spots left…
  • Been a great week, thanks to everyone who's been in my chair.
  • Don't forget every Monday is mani/pedi Monday!
  • What's the best/worst hair experience you've had?
  • Have you had hair envy recently? Tell us about it, we are here to help!

The final part of the workshop was devoted to Twitter, "the text messaging of the Internet." Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that is really quick and it's a good way to say something in 140 characters or less. On Twitter you can constantly see what people are saying about you, and you can follow them as well. It's also a good website to see who you are competing against. Take the time to make an account and play around with it. You will be surprised how much business it might bring you…

The best part was at the end of the workshop, the educators polled everyone in the class. They asked, "How many of you will use at least one of the tactics you learned in this workshop today?" Guess what, 100 percent of the class said they would! Go Social Media!

For more than eight decades, Cosmetologists Chicago has been a premiere beauty authority and presenter of America's Beauty Show. CLICK HERE for membership information regarding Cosmetologists Chicago or event information regarding America's Beauty Show, which will be held at the McCormick Place in Chicago, March 12-14, 2011.

To be come fans of Ms. Esthy or Schedulicity follow these links:!/msesthetician

Photos from the event:

Michael Wilson and Steve Cannon talk about strategies that can help you gain Facebook followers.
Steve Cannon and Tiffany Taylor educate the audience about effective Social Media Marketing.

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