Claire Morris is a writer for Harveys of Oldham, who specialise in providing work wear and uniforms to the beauty industry.
When you’re running a small salon or spa, it can often be easy to focus on increasing customer footfall by focussing attention on advertising across offline channels such as local newspapers, print magazines and word of mouth, for example. Small businesses will often overlook the importance of an online presence for their brand, and while most will have existing social channels like Facebook and Twitter, many find they’re not sure of the best way to optimise these channels to benefit their business.
The truth of the matter is, social’s a massive deal these days and if you’re not doing it right, you could be missing out on tapping into a whole new customer base. The good news is, social media marketing can be as quick and simple a task as you need it to be. No matter what size your team, with a carefully thought out and executed social strategy for your salon, you can increase the loyalty of your existing customers and work on reaching new ones with the buzz you generate across these channels.
If you’re looking to run a social media campaign for your small salon but you’re not sure of the best place to start, we’ve put together a list of five key steps to making the most of your social media presence and ensuring success for your business.
- Know the outcome you want to achieve
Before you start out on any social campaign, it’s worth taking the time to set some realistic, attainable goals.
Consider what you want to achieve with your campaign. Are you looking to increase likes or follows across your social channels? Then creating sharable, engaging content with clear calls to action would be a great place to start.
- Ask questions that will encourage your audience to join a conversation, like ‘Tag a friend or family member and tell us why you think they deserve a good pamper session’. By encouraging followers to tag each other, you’re creating a chain effect that will attract the interest of others and increase your following as a result.
Do you want to grow your customer base or increase footfall through your salon?
- Create flash offers that will incentivise followers to visit or call your salon, such as ‘Get 10 per cent off your next treatment if you call the salon to book before 5pm today!’ By creating a call to action with a clear deadline, you’re conveying a sense of urgency that is more likely to encourage your audience to engage immediately, rather than wait and perhaps forget later down the line.
Whatever your aim, setting goals before you start will enable you to shape your campaign and gear it towards your desired final result.
- Make it personal to your brand
Customers should recognise key characteristics of your brand in your approach to social. If you’re a friendly local salon, using a formal tone will mean that your followers don’t associate your social media channels with your business. Similarly, the content published as part of your social campaign should reflect what your brand means to customers.
- If you’re a small city centre salon, use the idea of quick, convenient mid-week appointments to attract footfall, e.g. ‘Why not stop by the salon on your lunch hour? We offer a number of 30-minute treatments including manicures and massages, so you can take a few minutes refuge from the madness and still be back at the office in time for that afternoon meeting!’
- On the flip side, if you run a spa or wellness retreat, you should be emphasising the relaxation and luxury you can offer by emphasising services such as your midweek overnight stays, encouraging your customers to escape the stresses of work and everyday life.
- Encourage engagement across your social channels by establishing a series of regular, episodic content that your audience will come to expect and can engage with. Host a weekly Q&A on Twitter or Facebook that will encourage conversation with your audience, and allow them to establish trust in the expertise of your brand and staff.
Perhaps most importantly, you should use your social presence as an extension of your salon. Talk to your customers as you would if you were face-to-face with your regulars in the salon.
- Crowdsourcing – using your customers to create unique content
If you interact with your customers online, you need never be stuck for creative social ideas. Whether you’re sharing their glowing reviews or encouraging them to get involved in conversations about their favourite products, utilise your audience so that finding content to publish wont be a struggle.
- Take photos of the work your staff have done in the salon – a pretty manicure, an amazing bridal up-do. Upload the images to your social channels (with the permission of the customer, of course) and where you can tag them in the image. As well as showing existing followers the great work your salon does, publishing content of this sort will also encourage shares, which will in turn attract a larger following to your page.
- If customers are particularly complimentary of their experience with you, politely direct them to your Google+ or Facebook page and ask if they’d like to leave a review there. This makes for positive, shareable content for your business.
- Giveaways are perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the book, but customers still love a freebie. Whether you’re looking for customers to sign up to your mailing list or increase likes by sharing your page, encourage your customers to get involved by promising a free gift or sample for completing certain tasks.
- Support in-salon sales by offering online tutorials across your social channels using the products you sell. Ask customers to submit pictures of them using certain products, or ‘before and after’ images of the effect the product has had on them. Seeing great results and happy customers can entice other users into using your services.
- Know your audience
You might have a great social media strategy, but executing it when most of your customers are offline means that some of your best content is going to go to waste.
There are a number of ways to analyse your audience to see when they’re online, and by taking the time to find this out, you’ll be ensuring you’re making the most out of your campaign and resources.
- Use Facebook Insights to determine when your fans are online (go to ‘insights’ on the left sidebar, click ‘posts’, then select ‘when your fans are online’). This will give you the best idea of when your audience engages most, and you can schedule your Facebook activity accordingly.
- There are a few free tools you can use to get a top-level insight of your business’ success on the Twitter. Twitter Analytics, for example, will give you an idea of profile visits, post engagement, mentions and your best performing posts.
- Consider your audience’s previous behaviour. Which posts have performed well in the past? What kind of content gets your audience hitting the share button every time? Monitor engagement for the first few months of your campaign to get an idea of the behaviour of your audience, then base your on-going content plans on that, monitoring any changes as your audience expands.
- Remember your audience will have jobs and commitments that mean they only use their social channels on evenings and weekends – outside of usual working hours. Make sure you remember to schedule some posts to go live at these times to account for this.
- General Housekeeping
No matter what your strategy, there are a few general rules to remember when approaching any social media campaign.
- Deal with any complaints or negativity quickly and efficiently. Address concerns politely and ensure your customer is satisfied with the response to avoid problems escalating. Never simply ignore or delete customer complaints.
- Show your users the people behind the brand. Remove facelessness and talk with real passion about your business, staff and customers. If there are any particular products or treatments that you and your staff really believe in, show it. Tell your customers what the products will do for them and why they’re so great and your enthusiasm will shine through.