With almost 50k Instagram followers, industry-leading barber John Mosely has built an empire known as Popular Nobody. His work has been seen in GQ, Vogue, and you may know some of his clientele such as Kendrick Lamar and the Colorado Rockies. During our first new live video series, Coffee Talk, we sat down with John and discussed how to harness the power of social media.
Q: What is your favorite social media platform?
Instagram is my favorite because you can capitalize so much on just one platform. I use my Instagram in different ways. I show my personality through my story, then I show even more personality when I go live; Sometimes it may be business-related when I go behind-the-scenes, but other days, it may just be me clowning around. On my photos, you will find inspiration and education and you will see what I do – and that’s cutting hair.
Q: Did you make any mistakes when starting off on Instagram?
Early on, it was just a fun platform. I was posting silly stuff and jokes that probably weren’t funny to a lot of people, but it was funny to me, so I was expressing myself. I had to realize that my Instagram could be greater, than just being a joking platform.
Q: How can someone in the industry fix the mistakes they are making on Instagram?
It’s simple. Just go back and assess your Instagram. What gets the most likes? What doesn’t get the most likes? What’s getting the most comments? Those are key things that you must look to. Once you figure that out, you’ll understand what your following wants to see – and then you must build your content off of that. I think a lot of times, people don’t even analyze what they’re posting to see what’s engaging. Now, when I post something, I don’t take it down. I post for a purpose – and that’s part of being an artist. You paint your picture the way you want.
Q: Is there a specific reason your Instagram posts are black and white and sometimes a hint of gold?
Well, gold is royalty! Gold is a bold statement – it’s saying, “I’m solid and I’m comfortable with who I am.” The black and white are even bolder because it shows all the flaws. You can’t hide in black and white. From a marketing standpoint, when you post a picture in color, sometimes the image and the content gets washed out because of everything happening in the background. If you turn the picture black and white, you’re showing your flaws, but you’re also making the picture timeless because there’s no date to the colors behind you.
Q: What tools do you use to edit your photos?
The only thing I use to edit is Instagram. I use the “Inkwell” black and white filter. That’s it. People with Samsung and Apple phones already have a nice camera, you just need to learn to light and how to position yourself in the light.
Q: For anyone out there that’s looking to organically grow their social media, what’s one piece of advice that you would give them?
You have to talk to people. Engage. You can’t post a photo and run from the comments. I always want to connect back to my social media following. I answer questions. I’ll go live and talk to people — and you have to do that. You can’t just make a post and be cocky and assume your post is going to perform well. Engage with people. That’s how you build a support off of social media that puts bodies in your seat and also allows you to upgrade sales in the salon.
Q: What’s the secret to gaining more followers?
Along with your work, post inspiration. So many people in the world need inspiration, so they’re more likely to tag others in your post who are going through something. That person may follow you because their friend valued what you posted. That’s how you turn social into money because that person now is going to want to sit in your chair, to be around such an inspirational person.
Q: You’re so busy. When do you have the time to post things on social media?
Right after a class, when I’m on my way to my next location, I jump on Instagram. My hashtags #PopularNobody and #JohnMosley are how I find a lot of my content. I let other people help me build content for myself, and I have quality content of my own personal stuff.
Q: How does a salon or spa owner make time for social media?
It is an extra job. Everybody wants extra money but they don’t want to put the work in. For salon owners, I would recommend finding someone young, who is studying photography and hiring them to come shoot content for your staff. Another great way is teamwork. Inside your salon or barbershop, have your teammates build that content together.
Q: How can businesses turn social media followers into customers?
That client-to-stylist relationship is a must. Have fun with your clients. I think Apple has done a great job of creating a [device] that evokes one emotion. That phone is your best friend – and they know that. When I teach, I tell people, “don’t sell haircuts, sell the emotion that comes with sitting in that seat.” If somebody’s having a bad day, sell that. Let them have fun. Turning followers into clients doesn’t have to be a hard transition.
Q: What is the one thing that a business should focus on when it comes to social media?
Consistency. Give your page a theme and stay consistent with whatever you decide. Trust the process and trust the journey. Stay familiar and avoid changing your handle or else your audience may not recognize you and unfollow your account.
Q: Do you believe there are there best times to post?
All the time is the best time. Instagram doesn’t sleep. I like to post 3-4 times a day, but you have to build your content where you have the ability to do that.
Q: What have you found the most success with, hashtags, location tags, or tagging different Instagram users?
It depends. With hashtags, it’s important to add what’s important to your geographic location, because that’s where you’re going to get the money from. Tag accounts such as American Salon, Modern Salon, Speak Millennium, etc. You’re tagging all the businesses who you want to see your work, so hopefully, you can find attention on their platform.
Q: So you recommend tagging different companies in each picture?
Of course! You want them to see that you’re using their product.
Q: Would you suggest that clients do the same and tag your salon or spa?
If you know your client is “selfie-happy,” take the picture for them and then send it to them. The reason why you do that is so you when both of you post it, that photo is now circulating twice on the same platform, which increases visibility.
Q: So, just to recap, what are three things salon owners can take back with them to grow their social media?
- Stay consistent with your content. Have a theme to give yourself a little structure.
- Create your hashtag so you create a movement that people want to follow.
- Just be you. Once people find out you’re fake on social media, they’ll no longer believe in you.
Q: With almost 50k Instagram followers, you’re really into learning more about the platform. So, what’s next in social?
I think it’s going to take a company like [Millennium Systems International] to make the next platform. A platform that takes over. That’s why I think Instagram was so smart when buying all of their competitors so they can control the market. But, there’s somebody sitting at home right now designing something that’s going to be the next wave. I don’t know what that wave is going to be, but I hope when it happens, everybody is ready to jump onboard.
You can view John’s entire Coffee Talk interview here.