Sal Cassara understands exactly how emotionally attached the younger generations are to their phones because his daughter Chelsea is 20. “They interrupt whatever they are doing, even if it is driving, to respond to a text,” says Sal, who owns Off 7th Salon in Centereach, New York. “We connect to our stylists by texting—imagine 28 people all connected in a conversation, any hour of the evening—I think they even sleep with their phones.”
So when it came to using mobility to connect with clients to the Long Island salon, Sal called for Chelsea’s help. The salon, which trends toward young, hip clients craving avant guard color, tapped into Instagram, amassing an impressive 9,000 followers over two years. “I really started off posting images of hair the salon was doing that I would enjoy seeing,” says Chelsea, who is a pediatric nurse by day, and the salon’s social media manager on her lunch breaks. “I also don’t post more than a picture or two a day, because you don’t want to overload it and annoy people or they will block you.”
Chelsea finds success in posting images of before and after client picture, and pictures of creative color. “I’m very particular about what I post,” she says. “The angle has to be just right and I don’t like anyone in the background, so the stylists always send me 10 or more pictures of the same hairstyle. Then I always credit the hairstylist, because new clients will come in and reference the stylists whose work they admire.”
Once a month or so, Off 7th Salon runs a contest on Instagram for a chance to win a $40 gift card. To win a chance, followers have to repost the salon’s image to their own Instagram accounts, exposing their own followers to the salons branding and message. “Each time, there are particular instructions that they need to hashtag a particular word, and one girl reposting it can expose it to another 200 people,” says Chelsea. “We’ll keep the contest live for about a week and we’ll have anywhere from 200 to 300 people repost the picture to their own Instagram accounts. I scroll down and pick the winners randomly, not necessarily based on the most likes and when they come to pick up their gift cards, I snap a picture of them with the certificate and post that so people know it’s not a scam.”
For Off 7th, the picture-based social community is a gold mine. Both Sal and Chelsea credit the medium with generating the 50-60 new clients the salon sees coming in per week. And, while the salon doesn’t survey what’s bringing those clients in, Chelsea’s pretty sure it’s the Instagram. “Most of them come in asking for a particular stylist by name or asking for a look they saw on Instagram.”
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