The world is in the path of a technology avalanche. We can ride the avalanche or get buried by it. I say, “Let’s ride it!” Invite technology in—embrace it—look for creative ways to integrate digital experiences into your salon.
Social networking is still what consumers do online the most—so, aside from the obvious (having a decent website), your first step in embracing technology should be to look for creative ways to leverage social media. Social media is a great tool for keeping your clients engaged, and social media is really a natural fit for salons.
Here's why I like social sites as a first step towards a fruitful relationship with technology:
- “Downtime” in the salon provides your personnel with opportunities to participate in online conversations on behalf of your salon.
- Social sites offer a way to reach a large constituency.
- Social sites are dominated by salon's primary audience, women.
- Salons have an inherently visual story to tell.
- Salons are by nature social environments (the neighborhood beauty parlor is the Facebook newsfeed of yesteryear).
In addition to the typical postings and client interactions you can have on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, don't neglect to view these sites as possible points of sale. For example, your Facebook page can easily become your booking engine—not to mention a great site for incentives and introductory offers. To keep current clients engaged, offer exclusive deals and last minute bookings to those who follow you on Facebook. Have a last minute cancellation? Fill the hole left in your schedule through social. (Your salon software should be able to help with this.)
And don't forget to actually engage with people online, don't just announce things—interact. When people post nice things about you on your sites:
- Respond with a Comment
- Reply with an @Mention
- Retweet it
- Follow or friend them
- Amplify your buzzzzzz
One of the biggest barriers to true engagement on social media that I hear from salons is the concern that clients will post unflattering things about them online. When people say nasty things about you:
- Take a moment to calm down
- Determine the correct response (may be none)
- If possible, respond in a considerate, disarming way—even if you can’t win
Social media is just one of the many tools you have to market your business, and its value comes in its real-time nature. No other marketing tool gives you the ability to truly engage back-and-forth with your clients when they are away from the salon.