Sydney Ann Lopez (@sydneyannlopezhair) demonstrates proper posing for KMS artists at the KAO Academy in Toronto.
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Sydney Ann Lopez (@sydneyannlopezhair) demonstrates proper posing for KMS artists at the KAO Academy in Toronto.

MODERN was invited to the KAO Academies in NYC (for 45 Goldwell artists) and Toronto (for 15 KMS artists) to guide the North American National Artistic Team on ways to drive more engagement on their own Instagram pages. With the goal to arm them with the information needed to build their own followings by creating the best content possible, the artists can share that information with the stylists they work with throughout the United States and Canada.

The “Elevate the Artist Social Program” is an intensive exploration into Instagram success. MODERN editors, along with influencer and salon owner Sydney Ann Lopez, offered a two-hour seminar that focused on best practices in photography and lighting, posing, writing compelling captions, hashtagging, creating engaging content and more.

This on-site training included a presentation showcasing social media musts and digestible takeaways. While MODERN editors Maggie Mulhern and Alison Alhamed shared their insight into how they built @modernsalon to more than 1.1 million followers, Lopez (@sydneyannlopezhair) talked about the hours and devotion needed to build her following to more than 114K. “Instagram is no longer an option in the professional hair world,” Lopez says. "It’s a necessity.” Because of her success, Lopez has been invited to become a member of MODERN’s Artist Connective program and is now doing programs for extension brands, tool brands, styling brands and Goldwell itself.

Through the insightful questions, Lopez and the MODERN editors learned more about the greatest needs from the KAO educators. “The biggest challenge seems to be finding the time required to build a good following,” Lopez says, who admits she spends hours each day on her own Instagram page. “That conversation is always a surprise. These are already busy and successful artists. They are trying to see how to get the greatest return for their investment.”

“Moving forward, the new generation of hairstylists will be purchasing tickets to classes and are most interested in the educators with a strong presence on social media,” Mulhern adds. “It’s the reality.”

Lopez looked over some of the pages of the attendees and said there are some exciting opportunities for many of them. “People are leaving comments or questions on their posts. That first hour is vital and it’s important to respond to keep the conversation going.” Lopez also notes that some of the artists are taking advantage of Instagram Stories and video posts that offer great instructional opportunities. “My top posts are all color education,” Lopez says. “Videos give you a chance to show placement, application, technique and formulation. It’s amazing how much of a story you can tell in just 30 seconds.”

 For those in the audience who said they want to tweak their pages to get the right audience, Lopez offered this advice. “Post your passion. Post what you want to do. If you are known for being great at color, you should just be posting great color shots – photos or videos that are on brand for where you want to take your audience. For me, for example, my goal was to get on the education-side. I post formulas and how-to’s to increase my following with professionals to open up educational opportunities for me.”

Two professionals from each group were selected for an intense three-month mentorship from Lopez to help build their individual brands. In that time period, Lopez will regularly evaluate the posts of Goldwell artists Mark Holloway (@markhollowayhair) and Frank Cini (@frank.cini), and KMS artists Sonna Brado (@sonnabrado) and Edwin Johnston (@edwinjohnston_hairdresser), sharing her insight on theory and application. “This will be an advanced version of the seminar,” Lopez says. “A master’s program! We will get very individual and they can ask direct questions about everything Instagram.” The artists will be given content challenges where each will be tasked with creating certain looks that require a level of technical expertise, and then post that content across their platforms with the Kao brand at heart.

Keep your eyes on @modernsalon where we will be sharing that content as well.