As one of the owners and a lead educator/coach of the Summit Salon Business Center, Michael Cole is in a unique position to observe how some of the best salons leverage social media to grow their businesses.
“Right now, the way most salons use social media is really all over the board—but we’ve learned how to systematize it, creating a blueprint for success,” Cole says. “We’ve developed a litmus test to see if salons are using it to its full potential, and there are four orbits of touchpoints we believe all salons need to master.”
“Google deﬁnes an experience as an emotional reaction inside moments of time—and these social media touchpoints are creating experiences between the client and the salon—with each representing a clickpath to engagement,” Cole continues. “In today’s world, many of these experiential chances to connect with a potential new client happen before they ever enter the salon.”
- The Google Experience: “The ﬁrst litmus test for any salon is where they appear on Google when a prospect is searching for a new salon in a certain area. Will I ﬁnd you at the top of the search list? On the ﬁrst page? If your salon is on the second page, you don’t really exist in the digital world,” Cole says.
- The Website Experience: “When I click on your salon from the search page, how quickly do you engage me as a website visitor?” Cole continues. “Do your social media links show up on mobile? Is there a Book Now button on your home page that invites me to book online? Is there a clear and easy route to your Instagram feed?”
- The Social Media Experience: “When it comes to social media, Instagram is the modern-day look book,” Cole says. “I shouldn’t have to work too hard to ﬁnd your Instagram feed on your site. I should be able to click on any piece of content to see whose work it is. From the salon’s website I should be able to connect to individual hairdresser pages that represent the kind of work I’m looking for. Don’t get hung up on the number of followers you have—if you have 200 that are guests of the salon, that’s far more valuable than having 20,000 followers who are not.”
- The Social-Digital Experience: “Finally, I’m a new client in the salon. How do you engage with me digitally once I’m in your chair? During the consultation, do you hand me your phone or an iPad, take me to your Instagram or Pinterest and show me examples of your work?” Cole says. “While the client is processing, it’s better to engage them with video tutorials than having them use the phone to surf or text. Toward the end of the appointment, break out a tripod, have an assistant ﬁlm you as you ﬁnish the hair, offering the guest personalized styling tips—later you can email or text her the customized video so she can remember what you told her.
“Finally, don’t let the new client leave the salon without inviting her to have her own mini photoshoot—another social-digital experience. When you text or email her a thank you, include the best two or three shots and encourage her to tag you when she posts them because you want to be the ﬁrst to comment.”