Michelle Elsing Grows Salon Business with Social Media

Michelle Elsing, owner of Hair Excellence Salon & Spa in Sun Prairie, WI, has transformed her business by getting serious about using social media. Traditional look books have been replaced with Pinterest—clients can browse through hairstyles on iPads available in the salon, which also allows Elsing to edit the source of the photo and drive traffic to her website and the stylist’s bio. “The majority of our target audience is on Facebook,” says Elsing, who uses it to engage guests with pictures, posts and conversations. To attract the under-30 crowd, she resorts to Instagram. “Young people are Instagram’s largest audience, so this is an area that we’re building.” To teach guests tips and tricks, Elsing uses YouTube. “It’s also another opportunity to drive guests to your website,” she says. Since becoming active on social media platforms, Elsing has noticed an 18 percent increase in services booked and a 15 percent increase in retail sales. What’s more, new client visits now average 154 per month, while online booking has grown 60 percent. Elsing’s advice to anyone just getting started is to choose the platform you’re most comfortable with to start and build from there. “Don’t use social media as a selling tool; use it to engage people and build relationships,” says Elsing, who encourages everyone on her team to get involved on all of the salon’s platforms and not to waste downtime between clients by reminding them, “If you’re sitting, you could be pinning.”

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