Over the past decade, social media has made an astonishing impact on the beauty industry, both widening the marketplace and amplifying the availability of ideas, plus the ability to share them. This ever-changing landscape has created a digital arms race among craft hairdressers – and for our up-and-coming peers – this process is organic; it’s helped to define their generation.
But there’s a large populace that didn’t grow up fashioning clever hash tags and developing personal digital brands. And while social media doesn’t always come naturally to that demographic, many have made noteworthy contributions to these emerging platforms. Here, veteran hairdressers Charlie Price and Lupe Voss discuss their personal take on social media. Learn how they’re remaining relevant in the digital sphere – and discover how you can make social media work for your business.
Lupe Voss: In your opinion, how has social media impacted the craft hairdressing industry – and do you consider it to be an integral part of a successful career?
A. The beauty industry has benefited in a big way from social media. Through social media platforms, we’ve seen an explosion in community connections. Also, platforms such as Hairbrained have made sourcing inspirational – and sometimes educational – images and videos much simpler.
I definitely believe that artists can (and should) use social media to elevate their careers. The digital opportunities are endless: building a solid clientele, using posted work to apply for your ‘perfect job,’ or building a following to launch your own educational brand. If you’re not using social media, you’re missing important opportunities – no matter what generation you’re from.
Charlie Price: Though you didn’t grow up using social media, you seem to have mastered its intricacies. In your opinion, what’s the perfect ‘digital equation?’
A. The trick to social media is to be authentic and unique – but also accessible. People need to able to quickly and easily attach to you and your brand. If you’re a hairstylist, you must feature hair. People need to know who you are and what you’re about; it helps them to feel engaged by you. ‘Selfies’ are ok, but make sure they’re not constant. Unless you’re a model or a porn star, no one needs to see endless versions of ‘your best angle.’ Try to unveil yourself – who you are and what your brand stands for – in other ways.
Treat your social media pages like your own personal brand magazine. Be bold, be unique, be interesting – but above all, just be you.
Lupe Voss: You’re the talent behind Hair Color Magic, a successful education brand. How have you used social media to promote – as well as spread awareness about – classes?
A. Hair Color Magic is made up of a team of talented artists, and they’re all really great about posting their work and using social media to raise awareness about upcoming classes and events. We create images for each class, and brand them accordingly (including the date and location). Each of my trainers posts on their network, and I share those posts out over my own personal network. I can definitely confirm that it ‘takes a village,’ to spread the word.
Charlie Price: Touting over 100,000 Instagram followers – you maintain an impressive social media presence. Describe your philosophies pertaining to the digital world.
A. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers. But I do know that I want my pages to feature my work in the best possible light. So, I spend a lot of time making collages of my work (making sure to brand everything with my logo). I consistently use a specific set of hash tags, such as #hairdresserrealness or #declareindependence. I’m relentlessly me – and unapologetically so. I have very strong points of view – some might say that I’m irreverent and opinionated – which is not palatable to everyone. However, I think that this quality helps me to stand out in a sea of rainbow mermaid hair, lived in lobs, boring braids and predictable up-dos. If you’re doing the exact same thing in the exact same way as everyone else, what’s the point?
Lupe Voss: Social media platforms have helped to make industry icons more accessible. Do you find that using this medium has helped you to connect with past, present and future students?
A. I’ve always been keen on staying connected with students that have attended HCM courses, and I do find that social media has simplified that process. In particular, I find that social media has helped me to bridge the gap when it comes to answering questions regarding formulas and specific techniques. When questions appear on posts I’ve made, future attendees can get a sense for what HCM is all about, and I think that’s advantageous. At my core, I love to share and give back to the craft. Social media has helped me to do this on a larger scale – and I love that.
Charlie Price: If you could share one piece of advice with artists struggling to build a following – or those that have yet to become a part of the digital world – what would it be, and why?
A. Sit down with a piece of paper and flesh out what you (and by extension your brand) stand for. Interview yourself; a blueprint will emerge and the story will tell itself.
Ask yourself: What’s my message? What’s my point of view? What are my specialties? Once you’ve zeroed in on these themes, make sure you showcase your work under those directives. Carve out an identity that plays to your strengths and bolsters your brand. Lastly, it is vital to establish your own language. Relentlessly edit yourself. Pepper your pages with brief but intimate glimpses into your world and personality: Your life, your pets, your kids, your significant other, your workout routines. These interests can keep people coming back – but never reveal too much. Social media exhibitionists are legion, and are a dreadful bore. Don’t become one of them! Be consistent, clear, focused, insightful, plus find your singular voice – and never stop using it.
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