Our industry’s love affair with Instagram is far from exclusive. We are not the only ones to embrace its power to communicate and engage, or exploit its flawless perfection for showcasing our genius. During 2015, the beauty industry’s most useful social media channel picked up a further 100 million new users, a 25 per cent increase, helping it overtake Twitter in the popularity stakes. It might be dragging its heels behind Facebook’s 1.55 billion or YouTube’s 1 billion users, but Instagram, with 400 million devotees, outperforms every other social site in terms of engagement.

Consumers are 58 times more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram compared to Facebook and 120 times more likely compared to Twitter. And now, with its latest update enabling users to switch between personal and business accounts on their cell-phone, it’s even easy to post engaging content. So what can we expect from this channel in 2016 and how can salons capitalize on its popularity?

Enough already: Those not in hashtag rehab yet and still saturating their posts with the ubiquitous mark will lose out in 2016 as hashtag fatigue sets in for good. Remember #justintimberlakejimmyfallon? It’s not just that everyone is over the trend for putting in more hashtags than content; users tend to ignore the entire message if you add more than the reasonable two to three. When trimming your hashtags down, think: Who are you targeting? If it is other hairdressers then by all means add in #balayage. But what does that mean to the consumer? 2016 will be all about using the mark sparingly and making it count.

Ad it up: Instagram is part of the Facebook empire and following in its wake, Instagram is rolling out an extended advertising program. Advertising will be opening up through the Facebook Ads interface, bringing with it some serious eCommerce opportunities, and there will be additional social selling features – like the ‘Buy Now’ button.  Being such a beauty-friendly app – all those in-salon makeovers? – it promises much for this industry. It won’t be long until we see that ‘Book Now’ button.

Getting Giffy with it: 2016 will be the year of moving photos. If you are an Apple lover, you are already obsessed with Live Photos, and the emergence of apps for finding gifs will make this moving photo trend an even bigger movement. Instead of a series of static pics showing your latest creation from different angles, you can showcase it through 360 degrees. Even better? Sharing your own short videos.

Direct messaging: Didn’t know you could do that? Most people didn’t, but this feature has actually been available for more than two years. But watch out 2016, when this feature gets an upgrade. Experts are confident this will add depth to the way users share content, including group messages, and reach out to their potential clients.

Valorie Reavis is part of Linkup Marketing, an online and social media marketing specialist focusing on search engine marketing, salon email marketing programs and social media marketing for salons and spas. If you have any queries for the Linkup team check out the website www.linkupmarketing.com, email info@linkupmarketing.com, find them on facebook.com/linkupmarketing or follow them on Twitter @linkupmarketing


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