With nearly 2 billion people using social media, your marketing plan cannot ignore such a powerful medium of communication to your current and potential clients. With social media, you get to see your target market up close and personal. By reaching out to your followers, you can solve problems, recommend products and services, find more customers, and beat the competition.
With social media being the hottest topic for every salon professional, we reached out to Nick Mirabella, Founder of Brick and Mirror Beauty Bar, to examine his thoughts and specific approach.
1. What does your salon aim to achieve with social media?
“There are multiple things I want to achieve with social media. First and foremost, to be a leader in the salon industry using social media. To use it as a tool to offer content… not just for potential clients who could walk in the door, but for clients that I can’t even reach geographically.
I sell retail products on my website, so my goal is to offer my expertise and my knowledge to a client maybe in Indiana, who reads my blog and watches my videos. From there, they trust as a hairdresser and purchase my products through my website. This will help to increase my retail sales.
I want to get the general population away from retailers like CVS and Shop Rite, and away from Amazon. I want them to come to a professional. Either a professional’s website or a salon to buy their products.
I feel that by being an expert and authority on the subject, and use social media as that tool, that’s going to help us bridge that gap. And not diversion, because we’re never going to end it (take over the entire market share), but kind of bring the salon professionals back to the fight.”
2. What social media platforms do you find to be the most successful and why?
“I would say Facebook and Instagram. Both of them are neck in neck. Instagram is good to show your work, and I feel that the demographic of females that are on there are looking for more creative colors and more creative hair styles. It is more searchable. I’d add SnapChat there as well.
Facebook, you can target your market. So for example… I could target women between the ages of 18-24 and hammer it with ombres and crazy colors. Show them nice haircuts and styles and maybe throw in some beauty tips. Something like tips on their bangs. I could do this on Facebook, where I can’t do it on Instagram. That’s why it’s important to be everywhere.
As for SnapChat… I have 100% user engagement. When they look, not so much at my story line, but when I send them a direct snap. So, if I’m doing like a hair cut or a tip or reviewing a product, I send that to my followers and they watch it because it’s going to disappear.
If I’m doing a 24-hour sale on SnapChat, I can put that on my story line, and then in 24 hours it’s gone. So it’s legit a 24-hour sale.
Twitter is big, too. I can search for something like girls who say ‘I don’t like my hair’ and located around Parsippany, NJ. And then I can message them and say… ‘why do you hate your hair?’ Not even to say come to my salon. Just give them tips, and eventually they’ll think, WOW he’s not trying to be a salesman, I’m gonna try to go to him.
You need to be at every branch of social media and use it for what it does.”
3. Are you seeing an increase in your following? What strategies do you use?
“Yes, I see an increase. Really, just giving free content. Valuable content. Whether it be makeup tips or something else. And not just link them to a product, but give them something they need like a shampoo that can make their highlights stand out. That’s where I really see the following come through.
If I’m just doing a sale, like a $200 Brazilian Blow-Out or whatever product or service I’m trying to sell, I’m just saying give me-give me-give me. Then they are not going to come in or even unfollow me on social media because that’s not what they want.”
4. About what percentage of your business comes from social media? Any plans to increase this number?
“I’ll give you my example. Well, here’s a little background on me. I did hair after high school, you know, my sister did it, too, and she made great money. I was doing okay; then 9/11 happened, and I joined the Marine Corps. Then, I jumped in and out of hair for a little bit. I started to go back full-time about two years ago, and I can literally say it’s almost all social media.
If I had to put a number on it, I’d say 85% or more. I mean some can go to word of mouth and referrals, but originally, most of my current clients found me through social media. This one original client I got was from a Facebook post. Or there’s this client that I did hair for 10 years ago, that found me through social media. Now I got her mom and sister back again as clients.
My business grew leaps and bounds because of social media. And I’m not even where I want to be with social media. I have a plan I’ll tell you about next. Pinterest, for example, is something I’m neglecting right now. Pinterest has a big field of demographics, where you can add good content from people and repinning my stuff.
Also, the way I list my products online. My hair products are all about needs… it’s like a dating website. So when you read a product description, it’s speaking in first person. Like… ‘Hi, I’m Sebastian Shaper Hair Spray. I’m great for this.’ You know, the whole idea is having the product talk about itself. I make it fun and playful for them to read. I give them a slight entertainment factor on how I pitch products to clients on the retail side.”
5. How often do you post on social media a week? Do you post at a certain time of the day?
“It depends on how much time I have. Right now I am behind the chair, so with working long hours I try to post in between appointments. When I post, I don’t think about the number of times. It’s never too much. When I feel the need to post, I post. The reason why is because you’re giving them content. If you’re posting irrelevant content, then one post is too many. But, if you’re posting value… then one million posts is not enough.
As far as posting at a certain time of the day, I try to look at the numbers and see how many likes it got. I once posted a makeup tutorial at 7:48pm and it got 78 likes in under 15 seconds. The next day I tried the same thing and it got about 14 likes. Just put it up there and people find it useful eventually.
As long as you’re consistent and original, post away. It gets to the point where people may get annoyed, but if you’re giving them valuable content they probably won’t and eventually will go to your salon. It’s like, I say all the hair styles they’re doing, I’m just gonna go there. And that’s usually what happens.
I get people coming in after taking a screen shot of my work, or message me on Facebook saying: I have to come see you. And not just me, each stylist at my salon, I’m trying to create them their own brand as well.
You need to get personal. For example, if you’re into horseback riding and you’re also a hairdresser, try to get that demographic. There might be a girl who needs to get her hair done who likes horseback riding. Post something like that on your social media pages. If you’re a mom, post the type of pictures to other moms who can relate.
You can post those specialized pictures in other related Facebook groups other than your main page. Post there every now and then, just to let these people know… hey, I do hair.”
7. What kind of content are you sharing on each social media platform?
“I post anything and everything that has to do with beauty and hair. My personal Instagram brand is success and motivation. I do a lot of positivity and then obviously my work. I might throw in a selfie here and there just so people see my face. And then my salon does beauty tips, shaving tips. Every now and then we’ll do a product, like 20% off using this code. I limit those posts as well because I don’t want to seem like a commercial.
In just a few months, I have over 1,000 Instagram followers. In a year, I want to be at 10,000 and eventually reach over 100,000 followers. I use hash tags a lot; I use different apps for likes. I use all the photo editing apps, but it’s really getting that team in there to post that’s going to help out.
I’d also like to touch on YouTube for a minute. If you’re not doing YouTube and you have some kind of a following, you’re doing something wrong. That’s how you keep a visual connection.
8. How do you see social media impacting your salon business in the future?
“You guys remember Sonic (the food restaurant)? When they first opened up, do you remember the long line on Route 46 (NJ)? Ridiculous, right? But for three or four years before Sonic came out here, what did you see? Sonic commercials. Ads non-stop, all day long. Everyone is like where’s Sonic?
So that’s what I’m looking to do, flood social media. YouTube with tutorials or tips. To the point that when I open a new salon up, some of the followers I educated may be close to my new location. Each new salon can have a following on social media, and I will have an influx of clientele walking through the door. Feeding staff members that I know are trained properly.
That way, I won’t have to worry about stylists sitting around and waiting for clients. Once I open up, the client is already there. That’s why I pay a lot of attention to my Google and Yelp reviews, those are huge too. Review websites, I feel, give people comfort in knowing that they don’t just do the work, they care about customer service. Outside of social media, reviews are huge and some of these platforms are gigantic.
Eventually down the line, when my stylists go on their own, they know everything that I do to be successful and use it at their salon. I can even help them with distributors. I don’t see it as competition. So now, if I’m booked at your salon and you want to get a hair cut, I can tell a client that Diane is free 2 miles down the road. Is that OK for you? I have your formula on my computer that I can send Diane. So instead of making nothing on that client, I can make a certain percentage for referring that client and keep them happy.”
Here’s my ultimate social media plan
Social media is literally the future for salons. How I’m going to change my social media process is starting January, I’m going to go to Montclair State University, Fairleigh Dickinson, and other universities and create an internship program. My goal is to get five kids from each school and maybe get a total of 20 interns from different majors like Journalism and PR.
My program will give them college credits by working for me in my salon. It will offset my labor cost and I will oversee them. Once they are studs, I will bring them on board as paid employees. In the six months I have them, I can make enough retail sales on my website and have them promote my social media.”
Is your salon taking advantage of social media? Hopefully Nick’s tips were enough motivation!