Eric Taylor,  Riawna Capri, Nikki Lee,  Jamie Dana, and Alle Fister
Eric Taylor,  Riawna Capri, Nikki Lee,  Jamie Dana, and Alle FisterAnne Moratto

Things got interactive right away at the first panel discussion at Salon Digital Summit when Eric Taylor, founder and CEO of Salon Republic, taught everyone how to use the Nametag feature on Instagram.  Taylor, who is also the host of the popular podcast #TheHairGame, moderated a panel on personal branding called “Defining Your Voice, Your Reach, Your Passion.”

His group of hair influencers and beauty professionals included Nine Zero One salon and Beauty Coach co-owners Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee, educator and creator of Jamie Dana, and Alle Fister, founder of Bollare. He launched the discussion by reminding everyone that if they don’t brand themselves, they are missing an opportunity to tell their story.

People are going to brand you no matter what but if you think of it proactively you’ll have control of how people see you,” Taylor says. “For hairdressers, it is so, so important to market yourself.”  He kicked things off by asking...

How Should Someone Get Started on Social Media?

Lee: I always want people to feel good when they leave my page, to be inspired.  Know that change is going to happen as your life changes, too.  Now as a Mom,  I have all these Moms following me.

Capri: Just be you. Don’t be afraid to be personal.

Dana: I started to use the term hair blogger and that is one of the things that has helped me stand out is that I showed a lot more of who I was and posted photos of myself.  Maybe we feel vulnerable or even vain doing this but your audience wants to make emotional connections.

In your first nine photos on your feed, have a photo of yourself. That is your opportunity to capture someone when they land on your page and let them get an idea of your personality and lifestyle. Some of my favorite people that I follow on Instagram talk about themselves so my advice is to show up more on your page, show parts of your life. Your audience and potential clients want to get to know you.

Fister: If you think about any great brand, that’s how you should think about your business.  First, define the audience you want to attract and then be thoughtful about the hashtags and filters you use and make sure there is consistency. You can also look at your insights and see what kind of engagement you’re getting on the different images. 

Question from the Audience:  If you are looking to market a salon, in general, how would you market the salon as a whole?

Capri:  We are adamant about not just posting our work.  You need your staff to grow.  We’re always reposting our stylist’s work.  But we coach them how to take a beautiful picture and we came up with a wall (outside with no shadows in natural light). 

Lee:  Get everyone on the same page and set them up for success.  We have three different areas they can use and they know that if they want to be posted on the Nine Zero One Instagram, they have to be on board.

Capri:  Also, purchase great lighting.

Dana:  Pepper in some photos of the salon, too.  There are so many salons out there.  Maybe include some behind-the-scenes photos of your salon. This is a chance to add some personality to your Instagram.

Fister:  Nine Zero One has created a beautiful environment that clients want to post in front of because that is how you attract the next customer.

Creating a Selfie area

Lee: Our gray wall that you see so often in our pictures is actually the side of our building. But it has great lighting.

Capri: Look for the lighting first and figure out backdrop later.

Fister:  It’s very authentic in a salon when it’s genuinely part of your space and an extension of your experience.

Advice on Changing the Look of Your Instagram

Dana:  I don’t recommend that you just start fresh, I think you should gather your photos and be able to look back and see your journey.

How to Organize Your Time/Get it All Done

Lee:  I have someone else doing it for me, right now, because I’m a new Mom and I don’t want to be on my phone all the time.

Fister:  Define who you want your customer to be and also where they are—dedicate your resources on the platform that you think is the one your clients are using. 

Dana:  I am a big fan of a virtual assistant but there are also tools out there like PLAN and tools that help you organize your grid and plan out your posts ahead of time.  You can type out your caption and save yourself time from doing it in the moment.  If you are taking an hour on Monday , you can plan out your week of posts and that saves you a lot of time because you’re batching them all at once.  You can also use the Draft feature on Instagram.

Final Word

Capri: It doesn’t matter how many followers you have, it’s just about curating your page and saying, here’s what I have, do you like it?  F-the followers.  It’s not about the followers, the followers don’t get you paid.  It’s the clients in your chair that matter.

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Originally posted on Modern Salon