Hope You are all well. This is a very different type of Blog post. It’s kinda business related. I guess the basic principles can apply to any small business really. My business is hairdressing and running a salon is my area of expertise. I have really utilised social media and embraced the trends of our time. I’ve been lucky over the last five or six years. Social media has really helped me to raise my profile as a hairdresser and a business lady. I was inspired to write this post after being to a few events lately. I heard some very strong inspiring women talking about their own journeys through social media channels. Joanne Sweeney Burke @tweetsbyJSB is one. So thought I’d give it a whirl and write my own piece on what has worked for me as a small business owner in recent years.
Now first let me tell You, I’m no digital expert. I have learned as I went along. Some was trial and error, some was through training courses, reading blogs etc. I learned more from research from building relationships with other digital divas. I watched and learned studying what was been done by social media experts. My lovely friend Jenny Brennan who runs virtual office Worx in Ballinrobe taught me many tricks on Facebook marketing. As did Inke Oates who works for Jenny. We Mayo ladies have to stick together in the digital world. Louise MC Donnell is Enniscrone based and runs 2Market I also picked up some great tips from Meeting with Louise in person and following her busy Facebook page. Another expert I like to follow is San Diego based Instagram specialist Jen Herman. I enjoy reading Jens blog posts for her Instagram hints and tips. I love Instagram it’s such a positive place full of beautiful images. My favourite Twitter lady has to be Samantha Kelly @tweetingodess Samantha is a social media expert based in Wexford and the founder of #irishbizparty. This is a great Twitter chat on Wednesday nights everyone can get involved by using the hashtag.
So where did my zest for social media marketing for my hair salon begin??? Well it all began back in 2009 I hadn’t really a clue what I was doing to be honest. I set up a Facebook profile for my salon, called Glam Divas and started adding friends. God I cringe now when I think of it. It wasn’t the polished professional business page I run today. I had a little Kodak camera and I started flying up photos of every upstyle I was doing in the salon. I photographed my products that were for sale. I took pictures of every head of highlights, colour etc You name it, I photographed and uploaded it. The funny thing is it worked a treat my phone was ringing and loads of local ladies were calling and messaging me for appointments. It was brilliant I loved running that profile I used it to show case my work and I got massive support from the ladies in my local town.
As time went on, I learned more and got better at my Facebook game. I upgraded to an official Business page Called PLATINUM Hairdressing Maria Conneely the same name as my salon. Now I was able to register with google maps and have the exact location saved on the page. You’d be surprised how handy this is for people visiting the area. It’s free to register and I would definitely recommend doing it. Making it easy for customers to find you is a simple step that they will really appreciate.
When You decide to put your work out there on the Internet, it’s like an invitation for customers to come into your business. Opening up your world and your skills to the general public can be scary but it’s so worth it. I have met some of the loveliest people through my salon page. I’ve gained loads of followers who have turned into customers and some have turned into friends. I love the relationship I have with the followers of my page. The ladies who follow me are very supportive and have been so kind to me over the years. They came with me on my wedding prep and weightloss journey last year. Congratulated us on our Marraige in March.Some wrote very kind words to me during my Mothers illness and sympathised sincerely when she passed away in August. Some even came to the funeral to show they cared. I really appreciated those kind gestures at a time of great sadness. I also have gotten huge support for my blog which kind of evolved really from my love of Facebook . I’m very thankful to everyone for this. It has been amazing.
The point I am making is building up a good relationship with customers and followers online can really benefit your business. People like to do business with people. Personal branding is important but the personal touch always wins in the end. People will forget what you did but they will always remember how you made them feel. In an age where digital is taking over, I feel as a salon owner We need to embrace this. It goes back to basics really, a kind word,a little bit of advice, good old fashioned craic and banter. Once it was in the local shop or the pub, now we’re doing it from our smartphones. It’s the age old social way just digital.
Running a Facebook page for a salon can be great fun. I always ask permission to take photos of the hairstyles. Most people don’t mind. If they do, I won’t take them. Some of the girls love to be featured on my page. If they love their hair and they feel great in it, I’m delighted to show off the work I’ve done. I always feel really proud showing the beautiful hair I’ve created for my clients online. Let’s face it, we all like pretty things. I’m a very visual gal, I like things to look pretty. I love nothing more than making things look beautiful. I love detail, I love to create, to perfect and to share my beautiful work online where it can be seen and appreciated.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the impact Facebook is having. Especially all the drama over whether to pay or not to pay. I’ve done both and to be honest I don’t think it matters whether you pay or you don’t. If your content is good you will get an impact. A little tool that has always worked for me is scheduling posts. I have always found this helps to boost my posts on the newsfeed. I tend to go with theme days, it can be colours, bridal, blondes, occasion hair or short cuts. Sticking to a theme can help hold the readers interest. I do a series of related posts with ideas on that theme. I like to post every hour over a 10 hour period. So that’s 10 posts related to one subject. If you get an average of 10 likes per post. That increases your reach on the newsfeed. Remember if you are running a local business like I am. Local people are all on Facebook.
Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat are all great platforms. Believe me I use and love them all. However the most common social media network is still Facebook. You need to know Your audience and the vast majority of people in Your locality are on Facebook. In the case of a hair salon where you are providing a service and customers need to physically come to your premises to purchase your service Facebook is your only man. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth and in my opinion Facebook is the 2015 version. Friends can tag to alert each other to an interesting post.
I loved how I could write a long post with photos and explain exactly what I had done and how to the readers. It was far more detailed and informative than a Facebook post. Of course it was leading readers to my website. Facebook is brilliant for sharing links as readers can click straight I and read the posts. This is not available on snapchat or Instagram as of yet anyway. Most of my traffic still comes from Facebook so never underestimate the power it has to reach your existing or potential customers.
So I was hooked on blogging and in July this year I set up MrsDillonsDiary, a lifestyle blog. These days I run two Facebook pages one for PLATINUMHAIRDRESSING one for my blog , I also run two Twitter accounts which I love for networking. Instagram which I adore for all the positive vibes, Pinterest I spend less time on. Snapchat where I share my days in real time.
Into the west blogger network is a great support network for Bloggers and Digital influencers.We have loads of meet ups and keep each other updated on all that’s happening in the digital world. I also attended Blogger Conference in Dublin recently. Attending these events really helps as I always come away with fresh ideas for my blog and online marketing.
Thank You all for reading this, I know it was a long one and it won’t interest everyone. If you know someone who is struggling with social media for their business please share this post. I’m hoping some of my tips might help others. I appreciate Your continued support without You none of this would be possible. Thanks again.
Love Maria xx