Social media is changing marketing and communications for every industry, hence it’s crucial that all businesses know how to use platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter in a way that will benefit them and also help them communicate with existing customers and reach new customers.
As a beauty salon or spa owner, the rise of social media is good news for the most part, as it can be a valuable branding tool, and, used skillfully, it can strengthen your business and offer a cost effective way to reach your current and prospective customers.
But, before you go a hundred posts deep into Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, let’s cover some of the basics. OR let’s cover some of the things you need to think about:
Find your audience
First things first, you need to identify which social media platforms are the best for your business; which one or two are your customers most likely to be on. It’s true that nowadays people are on everything – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter – but you’ll notice that in fact they favour one over the others, depending on what they are looking for and who they engage with. For example, they’ll use Facebook to connect with their families and friends and their local communities, and Instagram to reflect their interests and passions for celebrities, travel, food, beauty etc.
So, you need to be selective and devise your social media strategy around the networks that make the most sense for your business, and draft a content plan that takes into account the level of engagement on each network (likes, comments, re-posts etc) so you can keep up with the all the posts too. You can always expand and increase your posting if you notice any changes later on.
In our experience, we’re finding Instagram to be one of the most effective tools when it comes to promoting spa and beauty brands, so if you’re time and resource poor we’d suggest maybe you focus your time there and then add in other channels as, when and if you need to.
Optimise your social media profiles
Social media profiles always turn up in searches, so they should show your business in the best possible light. Make sure that your contact details, location of branches, treatment menu and prices are available and consistent across all different platforms, so that you don’t appear disorderly or unprofessional. Social media profiles are viewed as much, if not more than your website these days, so make sure they provide the best “virtual window” into your spa/salon.
Share relevant content
Your social media posts should be content related to your salon. No matter how big avocado toast and kittens are at the present, your posts should be about beauty and hair care advice, beauty hacks, styling tips, before-and-after pictures of delighted customers, latest trends in nail art and contouring make-up.
When posting consider the kind of brand image you would like to create. If your salon has a modern feel, and a clean, minimalist look, the tone of your posts should match this look. Equally, if your brand has a retro theme, your content should reflect it too.
Always take the time to interact with your customers and followers on social media as well. Thank them for following you, using your services, etc. Your loyalty to them will inspire their loyalty to you, making this an important part of your social media strategy. Most importantly, treat your followers with the same respect you would give a customer sitting in your beauty salon.
Promotions, Competitions and Giveaways
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Competitions where you offer giveaways or discounts of any kind, are great for customers because they can win a prize or get a good deal, but they’re also one of the easiest ways to get noticed by potential clients on social media. Promote giveaways that require users to “like,” “follow” or “share” your social media account, but be careful and minimise the complexity or number of steps/actions a person will need to complete to enter as the more complex an activity is, the harder it will be to get people to participate. This all said, in the UAE there have been a few law changes recently regarding running promotions and giveaways on social media, so always make sure you check all your activities are legal and compliant before starting to avoid any fines and unnecessary headaches.
Use Hashtags Effectively
Hashtags are such an important part of social media marketing these days. They allow you to connect with and engage with other social media users based on a common theme or interest and ultimately they can help you increased engagement on your social media channels. By simply incorporating #hashtags into your social content you can expand your reach and increase your audience. Knowing how to use a hashtag is fundamental to your success on social media. There are many articles online offering great advice here, but here’s just a couple of top tips from our side:
Don’t go hashtag crazy! The maximum number of hashtags allowed on each post is 30.
Aim to blend a mix of popular hashtags that people frequently browse for and some less popular ones that are specifically relevant to you.
If you want a cleaner look to your post put your hashtags in a comment underneath your main post.
Use hashtags with your territory at the end – for example #spanamelocation #nailbarpalmjumeirah
Make your life easier with the right tools!
No matter how experienced you are in this area, if you use the right social media tools you can gain traction online and achieve your goals much faster. Hootsuite is a really great tool for scheduling your posts and analysing them and you can add almost all platforms on here including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – this is what we use across all our clients in my agency. Buffer is a much simpler tool, which is sometimes a good place to start if you have no experience in this area. There are lots to choose from, so try a couple out (most have free basic packages ) and see what works for you!
Also remember to make use of the free tools built into the social media platforms. Instagram has a handy tool called ‘insights” located on the top right of your profile. It shows your top performing posts, engagement and simple analytics.
You will need a little budget
Facebook and Instagram are both commercial entities and changes to their algorithms and the way content is shared and seen means that gone are the days when a business could maximise these channels free of charge. So, you will need to allocate a little budget each month to boost some of your content to ensure it is seen. Some of our smaller clients are allocating AED 200-400 per month and are selecting 2 posts per week to boost, ideally those with a call to action such as a special offer/promo or competition and this ensures some content is seen and often prompts followers to visit the page and see other content too.
Most importantly – play and have fun!
Social media and the various channels available, offer very attractive marketing tools that no brand or business can overlook these days. This said, whilst you really cannot ignore social media for your business these days, it needs to be done in the right way and in a way that works for you. One size does not fit all and what may work for a blow dry bar may not work for a 5 star hotel spa, so consider your strategy and the different platforms carefully and have a play – experiment with different content, see if your audience responds better to photographs or video content, try different offers and incentives and just have some fun with it as you test, learn and refine.
By Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, founder of specialist beauty, health and wellness agency TishTash (www.tishtash.com / @TishTashTalks)