How to market your small hair salon

Here, Rob Straathof looks at the ways in which to generate interest online in a local salon.

Hair salons have historically been very ‘local’ businesses, in the way that they rely on word of mouth from their loyal clients to build business. Nowadays, businesses have the opportunity to branch out past the town border and access a wider range of potential clients using a range of online tactics. Here’s what you could try in 2016 to get more bookings.

1. Vlogging

When you hear the word YouTube does your mind automatically jump to images of cute kittens or stupid pranks? If so, remove this image straight away. YouTube has become a powerful business tool that needs to be utilised.

A 2015 study by Usurv found that consumers are more likely to share (39 per cent), comment (36 per cent) and ‘like’ (56 per cent) an online video than they are a text article.

Unlike many businesses, hair salons have access to fresh content on a daily basis, just by doing their job. How-to videos are one of the most popular types of media on the internet, with more and more people looking to ‘DIY’ from the comfort of their homes.

Simply upload a ‘How to recreate this hairstyle’ video and use the description to add a link to your company’s website or alternatively embed the video on your website’s blog. Videos will increase brand awareness and give you fantastic social content.

2. Blogging

Although videos receive more engagement than text articles, it is still vital for brands to have an up-to-date blog on their website. Partially because of SEO, particularly local listings, but also to use as an outlet to promote business services, share news and increase website traffic.

A blog gives visitors that are already aware of your brand the opportunity to explore the website past the numbers and engage with the brand’s material, perhaps even learn something or book; those that don’t already know the brand are more likely to find you through the blog posts you or your clients share on social media and those that appear in search results.

3. Social media

Social media, although having been around for quite a few years now, is still a relatively new, and somewhat scary, concept for SMEs. It can be difficult for brands to successfully engage on social media, being that it is a more personal than commercial platform; however it is an essential tool that brand’s must get behind in 2016 if they haven’t already.

Hair salons have heaps of fresh, engaging content they can share on social, it just takes a little work and routine to get it right. Introduce before and after images into every client’s booking.

They will appreciate being able to visually see the change and you have a fantastic set of images ready for social (just make sure you ask their permission before posting them!).

It is also an additional platform for you to share news, blog posts and videos.

Why not try Instagram? Many businesses, being less visual, struggle to successfully run an Instagram account (nobody wants to see another Costa cup in a commute post!). Hair salons have access to an abundance of visual content, such as; the before and after images, event and product images, to name a few, that would engage when used alongside popular hashtags.

You could also mention (@) hair brands, such as @Olaplex and @Redkenuk to gain more interaction.

Where? Put the terms and conditions on your salon’s blog, together with a description of the competition and the prize on offer. Each social post from the brand’s account that is about the competition should have a link to the blog post (terms and conditions).

The results? The competition will gain traction on social with every entrant having to share the post. Once a winner is chosen they will then come into the salon and get their hair done, social activity will support this event (before and after images, a picture of the winner with the stylist etc.) which the winner will want to share. Before they leave they will have the two cards which hopefully will be given to two new people bringing them in. The salon gains three new clients and a ton of new social followers.

This is the best case scenario, worst case you only get regular clients who like your social accounts sharing the competition, but even this activity is increasing brand awareness, so what have you got to lose?

If you’re struggling to keep track of entries, use competition software such as WooBox. It is relatively cheap and will make the process stress free.

5. Guest posting

Guest posting is still a relevant tactic to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site and social channels and potentially more customers. Hair stylists have a broad range of knowledge that they can turn into articles and share with several outlets, for example:

Beauty/hair bloggers: Beauty bloggers will often include posts about hair in their blog, usually product reviews etc. If you can offer them something interesting and factual, from an expert point of view, it would benefit them as much as it would you. Posts such as ‘why professional colour is better than box dyes’ and ‘the real reason you shouldn’t use generic shampoo’.

Hair magazines: Both trade and commercial can be approached. Online trade publications could potentially be offered articles that contain salon design tips, business tips and other salon business related articles. Commercial hair publications can be offered how-to articles and expert advice (perhaps offer yourself as an online expert columnist)

Further reading on setting up a company

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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