Posted on September 28, 2016
By now, you’ve heard that your business should be on social media. But it’s not as simple as just signing up. If there’s one constant in the world of social media, it’s change. The social media landscape is constantly evolving with new apps gaining popularity and old standbys launching fresh evolutions. It’s almost impossible to be equally active on every platform, though. You have to pick and choose your battles. The key to winning at social media as a small business owner is to go where your clients are. So, how do you find out where your clients are? You ask them!
Sometimes the easiest solution is also the best one. As a Sola business owner, you have the advantage of getting regular face-time with your clients. It’s the perfect focus group. Ask your clients which social media platforms they like best, and the kind of content they prefer. Ask pointed questions about how they would like to engage with your business online, and be open to new ideas and suggestions. Keep notes, and soon enough you’ll start to see trends. Once you know where your customers are, you can decide how you will represent your business on those platforms.
Remember that what you talk about on social media should be appeal and be about your clients, not necessarily about you. For example, if your clients want to see tutorial videos or learn about upcoming promotions, that’s the type of content you should share. Don’t waste your time on content that your audience isn’t interested in. If you listen to your audience, and give them the type of content and communication they want, you’ll see your social media influence increase, and eventually your business will grow, too.
To help you get started on your social media quest, here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular platforms around.
Facebook is the biggest social media platform out there. For a lot of businesses, a Facebook page acts as a second website – or sometimes the only website! Facebook is a great place to put general communication, contact information, and promotions and events.
Instagram is a photo-sharing app with easy-to-use filters that allows salon owners to tell their story one photo or short video at a time. Instagram is popular and super relevant in the fashion, travel, food, and most importantly, the beauty industry! Instagram allows you to use hashtags to connect with your local (or national) communities, and is a great tool for reaching new audiences.
Recently, Instagram launched Instagram Stories: temporary videos and photos that are used to create a story that is automatically deleted after 24 hours. Instagram Stories are a great way to document the day-to-day life of your salon studio without adding too many photos or videos to your main feed.
Snapchat is a photo and video-sharing platform that features temporary content. Your viewers have only a few seconds to watch the content you share before it disappears. Snapchat’s audience skews younger than a lot of the other platforms. Snapchat also has a story building feature, which you can use similar to Instagram stories to share photos and videos to the stories section of your Snapchat feed. When you share a story, people who are friends with you on Snapchat will see it in your stories feed.
Twitter has more than 320 million active monthly users, and it’s a great place to see trending news and topics. Twitter limits each post to only 140 characters, which can be challenging, but it is a good place to build your community and to start establishing yourself and your business as a leader in your industry. It’s also a great place for customer service! You can use Twitter to answer customer questions, share relevant news, and even buy targeted ads.
While Periscope may not be a staple in the mass world of social media, it’s become pretty popular in the beauty industry! Periscope is Twitter’s version of a live video streaming site. It’s been used increasingly to share live tutorials, education and sneak peeks inside salons and…salon studios! Videos on Periscope are available to watch live, and within 24 hours of the video being shot, and after that, it disappears from your page. During a live stream, people can send messages and engage with the person sharing the live clips.
Pinterest is a go-to site for hair and makeup inspiration, and is particularly popular among women! Post your work on this site with relevant hashtags (and be sure to link back to your business’s website), and you’ll see an uptick in site traffic before you know it. Another great way to use Pinterest is to create different pin boards that showcase different types of looks you specialize in. When a client is preparing for their next visit, or if they show up without a specific look in mind, you can pull up your Pinterest boards to get inspiration.
YouTube has over one BILLION visitors per month. That’s a lot of eyeballs on your content. YouTube is great for gaining exposure if you are comfortable with putting together regular, engaging videos. YouTube hair and beauty tutorials are especially popular.
This platform is incredibly popular for professional networking, but it may not be the best place to engage with your customers. Most of LinkedIn’s content is job search or human resources related, but you might find it helpful for networking with local business owners.