Just when you thought you were getting the hang of social media promotion on sites like Twitter and Facebook, along comes Pinterest.
The online scrapbooking and organization site has taken a community of share-all-be-all, internet-savvy consumers by storm and gathered them in one place to share their wants, aspirations and inspirations.
But what is Pinterest, and how is it different from the social media sites you’re already using to promote yourself and your salon? With a community largely made up of young, stylish, creative women with pocket cash to burn, Pinterest has become the fastest-growing social media site ever.
Every month, more than 10 million users actively seek out images to “pin” to their personal pages, which are made up of “pinboards”—themed groups of image pins. The pinboards can be categorized as anything from home decor and pets to food and photography, and can be custom labeled as “Places to Visit,” “Recipes to Try,” “Dream Home” or anything the user wishes. The most prominent categories of pins on the site, however, are noticeably fashion- and beauty-related. This is where you come in.
Major fashion retailers and brands—including Kate Spade, Anthropologie and Gap—have jumped on the Pinterest board (pun intended) to expose their goods and services to Pinterest users—consumers they’re actively looking to recruit. Because hair and beauty are some of the most common types of pinned images you’ll find on the site, you and your salon have a unique opportunity to share your work and your services with a community of hair consumers on the hunt for the perfect bridal style, the exact shade of red hair or a fishtail braid.
One pinned image of your recent hair chalking success with a client could catapult you and your salon into must-follow, internet fame, in turn creating more tangible business for you in your chair—and maybe even catching the eye of a MODERN SALON editor, leading to future editorial opportunities! And aside from the potential to expose your business to larger audience, you now have a simple, streamlined process for fi ling away images from photoshoots and beauty websites that inspire you to continue doing great work.
FIRST CHAIR has some tips and ideas to get you started on Pinterest and help you brand yourself and your salon, and put more clients in your chair.
First things first—you’ll need an invite. Though it’s not nearly as exclusive as it sounds, Pinterest is still an invite-only community. Before you choose the “Request an invite” option on Pinterest’s homepage, ask around. Every new member is given a handful of invites to send to friends, and someone you know may have a few available for you and your salon. If you come up short, the Pinterest team seems to respond fairly quickly to invite requests through the website.
Once you’re in, set up the basics of your profile: a brief description of yourself and the salon you work in, a link to your professional website and an image of a fabulous hair style you created to catch the attention of new followers.
The next step before you begin creating boards and pinning images is to follow other pinners. Before you can build a following for your salon, you’ll need to follow other Pinterest pages sharing beauty and hair images. “Like” or “Repin” these for your followers, including others in your industry who are already active on Pinterest. Encourage your fellow stylists to ask their clients if they are on Pinterest and follow them as well. Once clients begin to steadily follow you, follow them back to show that you’re engaged and just as loyal to them as they are to you. Now, it’s time to start pinning!
Do you have an “inspiration folder” tucked away at home or filed on your computer? You can do that with Pinterest by creating “Pinspiration” boards. These boards not only organize the styles and trends you and your salon are following, but they also help show off your creativity and dedication.
Some of the most popular hair and beauty boards created by pinners are related to special events, like weddings, proms, birthday parties and more. For example, start by creating a Pinspiration board of wedding styles you’ve found on beauty websites that inspire you or that you’d like to recreate.
Marlo Stuef, a beauty blogger and stylist at Eleven West Salon in Ypsilanti, Michigan, has had a Pinterest page since fall 2011. She says using inspiration boards helped her streamline and organize the style images she is inspired by. Now she can share them with her website readers and her clients.
“I see Pinterest as a tool to connect with current and potential clients to see what trends they’re embracing,” she says. “Being in the Midwest, trends don’t really hit here as quickly. Trends are slower to take hold—Pinterest is changing that.”
Consider creating inspiration boards for creative colors, short cuts, longer styles, textured hair, updos, braids and celebrity looks. Start simple and as you become more comfortable with the pinning process, you can create boards targeted to more specific styles and trends.
The more variety on the inspiration boards, the more you can offer clients when they have a general idea of the style they’re looking to achieve. Let’s say you have a client who is hoping to make a change but isn’t sure where to start. Boards and images will help you give more direction during the consultation. Stuef says she often asks clients to create their own Pinterest boards for a style they’re looking to achieve at an upcoming appointment.
“I’ve always encouraged my clients to e-mail me pictures, but since more people have been on Pinterest I have a lot of my clients, especially those doing a big seasonal change, e-mail me or print out a board of images,” she says.
How many clients still bring in images torn out from magazines? If clients are making the switch to bringing in images on their smartphones or iPads to show you what looks they’re going for, start a conversation with them about embracing Pinterest—encourage them to create a board of styles to share at their next appointment.
Now show off your work! For your salon’s Pinterest page, team up with coworkers to create a board for you to each upload images of your best creations, from colors to cuts to updos and more. When pinners discover the pinned images in the hair and beauty section of Pinterest and want to seek out your salon to recreate the look, they’ll know exactly who to request and have an image in hand to reference.
When a client wants a big change, make an effort to take before and after photos, then pin these images to your board. Stuef has a special board on her Pinterest page, “Makeovers by Marlo Does Hair,” that shows images her clients have brought for inspiration alongside the final product. Take this one step further by adding information in the description about how you achieved the look, additional notes about at-home maintenance and retail products, and prices for a similar service.
Meet the Staff
There’s little room for humility on Pinterest. Be prepared to show off your work, as well as who you and your co-workers are! Just as you might have headshots of the stylists at your salon or a staff photo on your salon’s website, create a board to upload staff images in your work environment. Want to go the whole mile? Continue to update this board by posting photos as your own style and hair color changes. How many times has a client pointed at you or a coworker and demanded to have “that style?” Clients are often influenced by how their stylists wear their hair.
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