Facebook alone has more than one billion active users per month. That’s a lot of people updating statuses, adding friends, and liking pages. That’s also a lot of people in need of a nice cut, color, and manicure — possibly from you.
Social Media Networking for Cosmetologists by Ogle School – An infographic by the team at Ogle School of Hair, Skin & Nails
For cosmetologists, social media platforms can serve as an invaluable tool for connecting with other beauty professionals, showcasing their work, and reaching out to customers. Here’s how you can give your client list a makeover while marketing yourself like never before — and send you rocketing up the ladder of the most beautiful industry in the world.
Decide How to Present Yourself
Before you upload so much as a single photo, consider how you wish to appear to your customers, colleagues, and employers. First impressions are important, and you want to make yours count — a whopping 83% of marketers say that social media is important for their business, so chances are that it will be for you, too. Your profile and updates should, of course, be professional, but that’s only the beginning.
To effectively create your own image, you’ll need to distinguish yourself from the crowd in one way or another. You don’t have to do anything drastic, you just have to choose a particular style and stick with it. If “bold,” “lively,” and “loud” are all adjectives you frequently use to describe your work, then try to work that aesthetic into your online persona. Make your bios short, punchy, and memorable, add splashes of color wherever you can, and be enthusiastically perky in your status updates, tweets, and comments.
The same principle applies no matter what your signature style is — if modern minimalism is your thing, keep your color scheme simple and your writing concise and friendly. If glamour and elegance float your boat, make sure it comes through in charming language and generous use of posh, old-fashioned phrases.
Whichever style you choose, though, just be sure to never, ever include anything on your profile that could be considered unprofessional, inappropriate, or crass.
Cultivate Your Online Portfolio
Any social media platform worth your time will allow you to upload and share photos. Fast-paced photo-sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram are great for getting a burst of short-term attention, while sites like Facebook and Flickr are ideal for building a permanent, well-thought-out gallery of your skills, along with an interactive relationship with supporters.
With Instagram alone boasting 100 million monthly active users, now is the time for you to jump on the photo-sharing bandwagon and get the exposure you deserve. Be sure to post with discretion — after all, you’re not just trying to attract clients, you’re also putting yourself on display for employers and colleagues to see. The goal is to generate hype about your talent while simultaneously displaying the best examples of what you can do. Whenever you perform a gorgeous haircut, an immaculate manicure, or a flawless facial, take a photo not only of the final result but also of you with your happy customer.
Practice your photography skills (no cell phone pictures allowed), and learn which types of lighting best complement your work. Before long you’ll have a veritable showroom of your finest achievements, accompanied by photographic proof of your clients’ satisfaction.
Associate Yourself With the Best
This doesn’t mean you have to pretend you went to high school with the beauty editor of Vogue; it’s just important to make yourself known as a legitimate member of the beauty community. On all your social media profiles, make sure to include the name of the cosmetology school you attended (Ogle, for instance) and list all of the certifications, licenses, and degrees you’ve obtained.
Link yourself to the establishment at which you’re currently employed, as well. This serves the double purpose of exposing your work through your employer’s reputation, and making yourself more accessible to potential customers. Also, make a concerted effort to reach out to your fellow beauty experts: one of the best ways to draw attention to your talent is to collaborate with a similarly-skilled colleague.
Even if you devote a minimal amount of time to networking, you still have a good chance of forming valuable connections — 56% of marketers who invested as little as 6-10 hours per week in social media were able to successfully build new business partnerships, and such partnerships can be beneficial on many levels.
One way to collaborate with colleagues is to host a giveaway or contest with one or more fellow cosmetologists. Invite readers and followers to enter the contest by sharing information about it within their social circles. You get to share the cost of the prize with your collaborators; and, in the end, all participating parties come away with more exposure, higher traffic, and at least a few new fans.
Don’t Forget to Mingle
When you’re caught up in fine-tuning your online image, it can be easy to forget that the main point of social media is, well, to socialize. Reaching out to your customers directly can be a huge benefit to both you and your reputation — 78% of small business owners say they’ve gained at least a quarter of their new customers through online networking.
To get started, encourage conversation with upbeat statuses, tweets, and comments, and engage readers by giving them a chance to voice their opinion. Post a Facebook status asking readers which celebrity haircut they’d most like to sport, or publish a tweet inviting your followers to reply with a photo of their favorite nail art trend.
Even better, experiment with offering related discounts or coupons. Try giving a discounted haircut to the twentieth person to comment on your status. This will get more people coming in for your services, and, if you can deliver, will increase the chance that they’ll mention their positive experience with you to their friends.
It isn’t all about luring clients with deals and mark-downs, though. It’s also about establishing a reputation as a respectful, kind, and talented professional. Consider everyone you interact with to be a potential customer, and treat them accordingly. Diligently answer their questions, accept compliments in a warm, graceful manner, and respond to criticisms with humility and a genuine willingness to listen, learn, and improve.
Let Your Hard Work Shine
While mastering your social media networking skills will certainly generate client interest and encourage loyalty, nothing will better convince new customers to come in than positive reviews from previous ones. A global survey of more than 28,000 people revealed that 70% of consumers trust online reviews. Create a page for yourself on Yelp! and openly encourage clients to share their experience with you and your services.
If you respond to every customer, demonstrate professionalism at all times, and never sacrifice quality, then it won’t be long before your page is filled with rave reviews. Even the best in the business can’t please everyone, though, so be prepared to handle any negative reviews you receive with grace and dignity. Personally responding and listening to your critics will not only help you learn how to better yourself, but will also show onlookers just how mature and pleasant to work with you are.
Turning yourself into a social media connoisseur can seem like a daunting task, but with a positive attitude and consistent attention, you may soon find yourself with an online presence brighter than the most daring shade of ruby red lipstick.