What Hairstylists Can Teach You About Effective Social Media Marketing

by Tom Ewer 5 Minutes

hairstylistNew marketing techniques always intrigue me.

When I see something brilliant, I want to see how I can implement it in my own business or if it’s not a good fit for me, help someone I know to. Regardless, I think we should all stay open to new marketing ideas – especially when it comes to social media.

Social media marketers have long known (and shown in their social media proposals) that this type of marketing can convert.

Before and Afters

There’s nothing more impactful than a good before and after photo. Whether it’s a makeover, a weight loss success story or both, before and after pictures are gold. To me, it’s the true definition of a picture is worth a thousand words.

One of the greatest ways I’ve seen this being used lately is by hairstylists. Since I keep my hair fairly short (and haven’t used any hair products in years), I’ve recruited a friend to provide me with an example:


What do you think? Pretty impactful, huh? But how would a hairstylist use this as a marketing technique to get new clients? And why would you care? Read on to find out – you may just learn a thing or two that you could apply to your own business.

The Process

Pretend you’re a hairstylist for a moment. You set up a Facebook fan page for your business and friend all of your clients. You ask their permission (and maybe get a photo release) to take a before and after picture for today’s services – odds are your client is going to post an after selfie anyhow.

Some will agree, some won’t – no worries. You don’t need to bat 100% with any marketing strategy to see a lift in your business. All you need is a portion of your client base to agree. The rest should take care of itself.

After taking the before and after (and getting client permission to post), you use a website such as PicMonkey to make a side-by-side collage – like the one above. You then post it to your FB fan page and tag your client in the photo. Hopefully they’ll share it on their page as well.

Bam! You have instant exposure and personalized marketing for your business. It’s like a referral, but with a broader reach – and the photo will speak for itself. Your skills are on full display.

An Extra Incentive

It’s probably going to work best if your client shares the photo on their page, so their friends that may not know you yet get an introduction to your work. Hopefully they have plenty of friends in their neighborhood that were just thinking about scheduling an appointment to get their hair done. You just gave them a prompt and an indirect opportunity to contact you.

One way you could prompt your client to share on your behalf, is to offer an incentive for any business that comes your way. If DirectTV can do it, you can too! Whether it’s a free product or a percentage off their next service, offering an incentive will probably increase your odds of success.

You could go the extra mile and email the photo to your client with a thank you as well. Included would be the terms of your referral bonus and by including the photo, you take away virtually every excuse for them not to share it. Most people wouldn’t expect this kind of follow-up from their hairstylist, so you’ll earn brownie points for pro-activeness as well. Not everyone is going to share it, but again you don’t need everyone to.

Other Perks

Besides broadening your reach and marketing to the friends and family of your client, there are some additional benefits to this strategy as well. Now you have a file full of before and afters that you can rotate between on your fan page, print and display in your salon or use for numerous other opportunities.

Heck you could use Shutterfly and create some of your own salon style books. That’d be a fun idea! These photos will be real time and real life examples of your skills and the way you can carry out current trends/styles. It’s like a walking talking billboard, but one that has the potential to go viral.

Using Pinterest to Further Your Reach

You wouldn’t have to stop at Facebook with this strategy. You could also use other social media outlets like Pinterest or Twitter even. You could start a Pinterest board for each of the different styles or types of clients (i.e. men, women, kids, perms, cuts, colors, etc).

With Pinterest your photos can get pinned by others and repinned by even more. It might not be as personal of an introduction (referral by your client to their friend or family), but it does give the world at large the opportunity to see your work. That can’t be a bad thing! Plus Pinterest is known for having pretty high conversion rates.

But You’re Not a Hairstylist

If you’ve been wondering this point as you’ve been reading along, I don’t blame you. Any hairstylists reading Bidsketch today? No? That’s okay.

I wanted to share this marketing technique with you in hopes that you’ll take a few moments to brainstorm about your current marketing techniques. Can you take anything from the above and apply it to further your reach? Take some time and try to think outside the box – I’ll wait!

Keeping Social Media Time in Check

Social media is powerful – it can also be a huge time suck. You need to be intentional about the time and purpose of using social media for your business. If you’re not, it can be a black hole of time that disappears from each of your workdays. You need to control your time. If you don’t, it can get lost too easily.

You’re probably not freelancing so that you have more time to spend on social media. You’re probably trying to build your business, make more money or work less hours to do something else fun or spend more time with your family. Have a purpose when you log on to Facebook or Twitter to network for your business. Or schedule a specific block of time to wander and meander through guilt-free. Either option is planned and is okay!

Take Action

Be creative – what can your hairstylists or _________ (fill in the blank service professional) teach you about marketing your current business using social media or another platform. What are they doing that’s getting results?

What are you doing that’s not? If you’ve spent time and money on a marketing strategy that’s run it’s course and is not likely to start producing leads, maybe you should dump it and try out something new.

Can you do a before and after using some of your current work to illustrate your skill-set or effectiveness? Screen shots of a website redesign, rewrite or logo are ideas just off the top of my head. What else can you think of?

photo credit: bobbi vie via photopin cc

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by Tom Ewer
Tom Ewer and the WordCandy team have clocked some serious mileage as freelancers, agency employees and even agency owners over the years, and they love sharing their combined expertise here on the Bidsketch blog.