Social Media Marketing Best Practices for Salons

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Expert Career AdviceBuilding a Client Base ➜ Social Media Marketing Best Practices for Salons

We don't have to tell you how important social media is to the beauty industry. You're likely already active on places like Instagram and TikTok.

The goal of this article is to discuss best practices when it comes to social media marketing for salons. Below, we're going to cover the following:

  • Why you need a social media presence

  • Why you also need a social media marketing strategy 

  • How to develop a sustainable strategy

  • Why it's smart to use business accounts rather than personal

  • What to include in your social media bio/profile

  • How to create compelling calls-to-action

  • How to find the right hashtags

  • How to measure success/ROI

  • BONUS: A must-watch webinar to up your social media game

Why do salons and beauty pros need a social media presence anyway?

The answer is simple: Social media is the go-to destination for beauty consumers.  

Consider the following . . .

  • Beauty Instagrammers are active on the platform every day of the month, taking part in 33 sessions a day on average. [SourceInstagram]

  • 42% of 18- to 24-year-olds are inspired by social media when it comes to makeup [SourceForbes]

  • 90% of consumers turn to social media to learn about beauty products [SourceFashion Network]

And that's just a small sampling of compelling statistics. 

Bottom line: Your target audience is on social media, and they expect the brands they do business with to be on social media.

Why do you need a social media marketing strategy?

Think of social media like a road trip. Let's say you're driving from New York to LA and must get there by a specific date. What would your approach be? 

You likely wouldn't get in your car and drive without planning your route. If you drove aimlessly, you'd occasionally get lost or sidetracked. Plus, you'd spend more money on the extra pit stops and backtracking. With a lot of luck, you might end up at your destination on time. But in all likelihood, you'd miss your deadline—and quite possibly by a lot. 

A better approach would be to map out your journey so you reach your destination on time—and with as little fuss or extra expense as possible.

Apply this analogy to your approach to social media. What's your destination? (Your objective or objectives?) To grow your audience? To become an influencer? To get paying clients? All of the above? When are you hoping to accomplish these objectives?

Knowing your destination and deadline can help guide what you must do to get where you want to go. Remember, it's hard (if not downright impossible) to be successful in such a competitive industry without a plan. 

Sure, you might be the unicorn who does things their way and enjoys impressive success. But most salons and beauty pros would benefit from having a strategy.

How can you develop a sustainable social media marketing strategy?

The most effective strategy is one that you can stick to. If that means keeping it simple until you build your social media marketing muscle, that's OK.

When training for a half-marathon after a winter of not running, you start with the first mile and build from there. The same is true in social media marketing for salons and beauty pros.

But if you're in a place where you're ready to deploy a robust strategy, here are questions to ask yourself.

Which social media platforms do you enjoy using?

One of the biggest mistakes beauty pros make is trying to do too much at once. Having an active and engaging presence on multiple social media platforms can be challenging, especially if you're a solopreneur or a smaller salon with only a handful of employees to help out.

Instead, focus on one or two platforms that you like best. (You're much more likely to stick with your social media marketing plan if you enjoy using the platform.)

So if you love TikTok and YouTube because you're all about creating videos, maybe you focus more on those channels rather than Instagram—at least, at first. You can always add a plan for Instagram once you get into a rhythm with the others. 

On the flip side, if you love Insta but haven't embraced TikTok—that's OK! Focus on a strategy for Instagram first.

Here's the thing to remember: If you're active on social media, even if it’s only one platform, beauty consumers will find you since they tend to be on multiple platforms.

What are your objectives?

Be specific! Saying you want "to get new clients" is vague. Instead, give yourself goals.

Here are some examples:

  • I want to grow my followers by 10% by next year.

  • I want to get five clients directly from social media each quarter.

  • I want to sell $5000 worth of retail products by this time next year.

  • I want to land two paid sponsorships by the end of the year.

Different objectives will require different amounts of work. For example, suppose you're a beauty pro who wants to become an influencer that brands flock to with paid sponsorship opportunities. In that case, you'll have to do much more work than a hair salon that is looking to grow its audience organically over time.

Remember, if there were one formula for achieving social media success, everyone would follow the formula, many more salons and beauty pros would be successful, and we wouldn't have to write this blog post. :)

Unfortunately, a magic formula doesn't exist. Instead, once you have your objective, you'll want to study how other beauty pros and salons with similar objectives reached their goals. 

For example, a salon owner who wants to sell more retail products  through social media might want to watch this YouTube video on how one salon successfully sells products through Instagram.

What content do you need to develop to achieve these objectives? 

No matter your objective, you'll need excellent content, meaning images and videos. And you'll need a plan for how and when to use the content you capture. (Consider creating an editorial calendar to keep track and stay organized.)

If you're already a regular Instagram or TikTok user, you're likely in the habit of taking a pic or doing a quick recording and posting it immediately. While you should still regularly take photos and record videos, instead of posting them on the fly, take a step back and consider how the images and videos can support your goals.

  • What sort of call-to-action should you use?

  • What are the best hashtags?

  • Are there any product tie-ins?

The more strategic you get with how you use your content, the better your results will be. 

This doesn't mean you must always follow your content calendar. Sometimes posting on the fly is fine. But taking a moment to think through how that awesome pic or video can work even harder on your behalf will be the way to go most of the time. 

You should also have a strategy for reusing content. For example, the fabulous photos you posted last August of a bridal party's up-dos  can be reposted next May to remind people to book their wedding hair and makeup appointments.

Why should you use a business account instead of a personal account?

Business accounts offer several advantages over personal accounts.

The ability to run ads. The nice thing about social media advertising is that you can get a big bang for short money. Here’s a great guide to social media advertising.

Robust analytics. Since business accounts cater to businesses that often spend money on advertising, the analytics package needs to be stronger than the insights personal users get. Analytics are essential to understanding which social media marketing tactics are working.

Business-specific features baked right in. Business accounts offer more tools to help organizations find and engage with followers and fans. The tools include things like advertising capabilities and more prominent CTAs.

A better balance between your personal and business worlds.  Having a business account puts you in a business mindset. Yes, you can still have fun and develop engaging content. But at the end of the day, this is your business, not your life. Your personal account is the place for personal stuff and connections with friends and family rather than clients and prospects. Having boundaries between work and personal is essential to your mental health.

What should you include in your bio/profile?

You want to make it easy for people to reach your salon, so your social media profile should focus on "just the facts, ma'am."

At a minimum, your bio/profile should Include the following information:

  • Your location/service area (don't assume it's obvious)

  • Website URL or link to an appointment app/scheduler

  • Business phone number (if it's a cell, you might want to add "Call or text . . .")

The number of characters will limit how much you can put in your bio. But play around with the text and try to maximize every single character. URL limitations are also something to be aware of. For example, Instagram allows only one clickable link in your bio.

A workaround that you've likely seen is Linktree.

With Linktree, which has free and paid versions, you get a link for your bio to a Linktree landing page where you can include multiple links to other places, like your salon's website, scheduling app, and other social media accounts. 

There are pros and cons to using Linktree. The biggest pro is that you can give multiple online destinations to people who click on the Linktree URL in your profile. (The robust paid plans can do many other things, like collect email addresses.)

The biggest con is that you're making people take an extra step. For example, let’s say someone is engaging with your Instagram post. They click over to your bio, hoping to find your salon’s website URL. But all they see is a Linktree URL. They have to click on that before finding and clicking on your website’s URL. 

This might seem minor in the grand scheme of things, but you are  adding friction to the process.

If you have a lot of links you want to promote, Linktree could make sense. If you only have links to your website and other social media profiles, you might want to forgo Linktree and simply put your website URL in your bio. 

And if you ARE including your website link, think about where you're sending people. 

You might think the home page is the best option. But another option is creating a special welcome page for IG visitors, another one for FB visitors, and so forth. (This will also help you track results—more on this in a moment.)

On this welcome page, you could include . . . 

  • A brief, warm welcome

  • Social proof (testimonials)

  • Popular services

  • Location or locations

  • Hours of operation

  • Relevant phone numbers

  • How to book/link to the scheduling app (if applicable)

How do you create effective CTAs (calls to action)?

When you post a pic or video, ask yourself what you want the person viewing the content to do. Give it a like? Share it? Book an appointment? Buy a product? 

You need to tell people what you want them to do. This is known as a call to action, or CTA. You're literally asking people to take a specific action.

So, how do you create compelling CTAs? 

Be clear and concise.  No one should have to think twice about what you're asking them to do. It's OK to make your CTA cute or clever, just as long as it's clear. 

Use action-packed verbs.  Action verbs encourage just that: ACTION. 

  • Book Now

  • Get Our Free Guide

  • Shop Now

  • Learn More

  • Get Your Beauty On (this is an example of cute CTA; it could work well for a product-related post)

Create a sense of urgency.  Saying something like, "Spots are filling up fast! Book soon!" will motivate people to take immediate action. 

Use visual cues.  Including visual cues, like finger-pointing emojis, can draw people's attention to your CTA and boost click-through rate (CTR). 

Offer incentives. People love discounts, sales, BOGOs, and the like. Saying, "Get 10% off when you book now," is a great way to get people to act. 

Be strategic with where you put your CTAs. Place them in a prominent location, like the end of your post, in your Instagram bio, or in your IG Stories.

How do you find relevant hashtags?

Hashtags are vital for getting your content seen, shared, and engaged with, especially on Instagram and TikTok.

Taking the time to research relevant hashtags is time well spent. But where should you go to do this?

Check out what other people are using by reviewing  . . .

  • Beauty publications and blogs

  • Social media influencers in the beauty space

  • Hashtagify  and All Hashtag

You can also turn to the platform itself.

  • On IG, you can use the "Explore" page to discover trending and popular hashtags. Type a relevant keyword or phrase in the search bar and click the "Tags" tab to see a list of related hashtags.

  • On TikTok, use the "Discover" page to find trending hashtags related to beauty. Search for a relevant keyword or phrase and click on the "Hashtags" tab to see a list of related hashtags.

How do you measure success/ROI?

Don't waste time creating a sound strategy and digital marketing plan  if you haven't determined how to measure success. 

Set up tracking links. Use tracking links (or URL builders, as Google calls them) in your posts or profiles to track clicks and conversions. You can use Google Analytics to set up custom tracking links and monitor traffic and conversions. (And Google Analytics is free!)  Here's Google's tutorial on how URL builders work.

Use promo codes. Create unique promo codes for your followers to use when booking appointments or buying products. The codes will help you track how many clients are coming from a specific promotion (and which promotions bring in the most clients or sales).

Dig into the platform's analytics. Most social media platforms provide analytics to see how your content performs. The analytics usually include things like reach, engagement, and clicks. 

Ask clients how they heard about you. You should already be doing this! (If you have a receptionist, ensure they do this when booking client visits.) If the client says they found you via social media, ask about the specifics—which platform and if they remember what content excited them enough to call.

Bonus: How to post a TikTok & Reel

Want to up your Instagram and TikTok game quickly? This free webinar on how to post a TikTok & Reel from Milady Training will help you do exactly that. Did we mention it's free?

Whatever you do with your social media marketing, remember to have fun.

Social media marketing for salons takes work, but you should also have fun. After all, you're sharing pics and videos of beautiful things, like gorgeous hair, artistic nails, and happy, smiling faces. Make sure you're smiling, too, as you unlock the power of social media marketing. You got this, beauty pro!

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