MODERN and SALON TODAY spoke with Tricia O'Malley, author of the 50 Online Marketing Ideas series. Here, she offers us online marketing tips for hairstylists - especially for those who are just getting started.
Online marketing can be overwhelming. You want to get your name out there, yet there are so many avenues – Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr – it is enough to make your head spin. Isn't it hard enough that you are trying to grow your business and now you have to figure out online marketing on top of it?
It's ok. Breathe.
This article is written with the assumption that you already have a website for your business, hopefully a blog, and (please say you do!) an email newsletter set up. If you are starting from scratch – these are the basics that your business needs:
You can add the other accounts as you get more comfortable (Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and so on).
Assuming you have the first four in place, let's talk about how you can begin to drive traffic to your website and grow your email list. Yes, I said your email list over your Facebook page. While I do want you to grow your Facebook page – Facebook also routinely changes just how much your page followers can see of your posts. What this means is that as they transition more and more to a paid advertising model, your followers will see less of your posts unless you pay to advertise them. However, what you do have total control over is your website, blog, and email list. These can be the cornerstones of your business.
I have those in place. Now what?
Let's start with newsletters – if you are just starting out, you may have the inclination to pack your newsletter full of every last thing that you can think of along with every promotion that you can think of. Don't do that. Don't be salesy. Offer one or two easy-to-read articles that offer tips, tricks, and insights. Offer one promotion per email. Include a video, a picture, or something funny to share as well. You have to think about your clientele – they want you to provide them with knowledge and value that they can use.
Your blog articles should provide the same. Do not be afraid to give away all of your tips, tricks, secrets and more. You are not giving all your information away for free. What you are doing is setting yourself up as an expert. The more value you provide on your blog, the more people will read it, and those same people will come to you when they need a service. And, please, please, please do not be afraid to have a personality. Let your voice shine. People want to know the real you.
But what the heck do I write about?
As a busy stylist that is growing your business, you may freeze when you see the blank computer screen. Don't. You are an expert! Think about all of the questions that people ask you on a daily basis – those are perfect blog topics.
How do I keep my hair from being frizzy?
Should I cut bangs?
Will layers make my face look thinner?
How do I cover my grey hair?
How do I wear my hair to work?
You can write blogs, take videos, post how-to's, and even do cross-promotions all based on one topic. I will break it down for you.
Blog/Newsletter topic: How do I style my hair for work?
Write a blog topic on different ways someone with varying lengths and types of hair can wear their hair to work. In your newsletter, provide a few pictures of the styles and link to the blog.
On Facebook/Twitter – ask your followers what their biggest struggle is with getting their hair ready for work. Post video or picture how-to's. Explain to your followers how to manage slept-on hair vs. fresh-out-of-the-shower-no-time-to-dry hair. Run a contest with people sending in pictures of their best "bed head" pictures and pick a round of winners that will get a discount at your salon. Then show the pictures and explain what you would do to make the bed head look great for work.
For a cross-promotion, team up with a makeup artist and a local clothing store for a business makeover. You can either offer a "business makeover" discount between all of your stores or you can even host a day on-site where customers can come to your salon and have you demonstrate hair styles, the makeup artist can demonstrate work makeup, and the clothing store can bring in some of the key mix-and-match pieces for making easy work outfits. Be sure to gather people's emails to sign up for the makeover day and then after they leave, send them a coupon that they must use within the month.
So, as you can see, a singular topic can easily become your theme for the month and you can make it into something much bigger than just a blog or a Facebook post. Instead of trying to come up with new article ideas constantly, take some time with the ideas you do have and really look at ways that you can write about them, host a contest, engage followers to send in pictures, host an on-site demonstration, and cross-promote with other local businesses.
If you do all this, you will begin to establish yourself as an expert and can easily grow your clientele. Best of luck!