21st Century Ninjas

It’s the quiet ones you need to watch, especially when it comes to making a killing on social media. As exciting as it is to rack up big numbers in the likes and followers columns, there’s something to be said for a strategy that emphasizes quality over quantity and targeted posts over a carpet-bombing ploy.

Consider ROCA Salon & Spa in Kansas City. Last year, recognizing their need for a more focused approach to their social media, owners Ron and Rhonda Cavner created the position of director of social media marketing and handed over the role to their trusted director of guest experience, Michael Raftery. In a few short months, ROCA’s Facebook page was weighing in at about 3,500 likes and its newly created Instagram page had accumulated close to 400 followers.

Record-breaking numbers? Maybe not. But as Raftery explains, that was never the goal. “The strategy is to brand us via consistency,” he says. “That includes everything about the post: font, spacing, everything. Our colors are light, bright, airy and fun. They’re a reference point for our portfolio.” ROCA’s staff all learns the same techniques for taking pictures with regard to lighting and angles. And even then, before a photo makes it onto a social media page, Raftery makes sure it’s edited just right. “I’m kind of obsessive about it,” he admits. “But there’s never a blurry face or feature. I just feel that you have to take the time.” 

The payoff for that painstaking attention to detail is the salon’s ever-strengthening brand, contends Raftery. “Our number one rule is consistency, both in frequency and quality,” he says. “It’s better to hold back and present your best work that’s consistent with your standards. We think Instagram should look like a glimpse into our world.”

Amanda Maddox, owner of Amanda Maddox Salon in Knoxville, Tennessee, has directed her ninja-like social media tactics toward a simple, business-building goal. “Our social media posts are helping us improve our bottom line by gaining us new referrals,” Maddox says. “We post about our two-month service and retail promotions; our repeat guests and potential new guests see these and come in to take advantage of them. When we have a last-minute opening we post about the availability. We just find that we’re able to reach a much larger audience by posting about it rather than waiting and hoping for someone to call so we can tell them there’s an opening.”

Maddox has made social media posting a priority for all staff; she encourages them to take photos of every guests and to post pictures of their work at least two or three times a day. “When they do that, I’m then able to share photos of their work to our salon page, which reaches a larger audience,” she says. “It’s also important to interact with the audience by acknowledging them when they comment on our posts.” As for post content, the salon owner likes to mix it up. “We post hair transformations, video tutorials for quick and easy styles, product knowledge and funny quotes,” she notes. “We like to keep people engaged at all times and not bore them by posting the same type of content all the time.”

L’Oréal Professionnel National Artist Phillip Rosado started his career back in 1992, when the phrase “social media” would have prompted nothing more than confused head tilts. However, Rosado has enthusiastically jumped onboard the posting train. “It’s all about social media!” declares the owner of Eudce Salon in Orlando, Florida. “I believe that how you build trust as an artist and business owner is by being 100 percent authentic and open to sharing your work on all social media platforms.” 

Rosado is scrupulous about taking before-and-after pictures of clients. “I airdrop the photos directly to them before they leave my salon,” he explains. “The ensures that I control the images they share on their social media platforms, and I always have them tag me—that information is shared with all of their friends and followers. Doing this has shifted and surged my client base to new heights.”

For Rosado, adjusting to the social media habit was just a matter of resolve, and understanding the importance of changing with the times. “If the hairdressers of my generation do not evolve with this movement and take their social media seriously, they will be left behind and, eventually, irrelevant. And the best part about all of this social media is, it’s free!”


“Insta-fame has stroked the ego of many stylists,” says Amber O’Hara, Co-founder of the Business of Balayage (@thebusinessofbalayage), a collective of independent educators whose business-building blogs can be found on americansalon.com. “But the reality is, those repost pages with thousands of followers aren’t making money.” Popular opinion to the contrary, “followers” does not equate to “income.” So ask yourself, “How do I turn my social media energy into my clientele?” In other words, your focus shouldn’t be on your following, it should be on your potential client follow-through. Read on for their expert advice.

Take it upon yourself to educate your future clientele. Teach them the terms they need to know so they get what they want from their hair service, and tell them what you do to help create the looks they want while keeping their hair healthy. “The more your client feels they are coming to you for your expertise and the more confident they feel about what they want, the more likely it is they will convert from curious to client,” she says.

“When it comes to converting your following, engagement is the most important thing you can do!” they exclaim. Create a conversation in your social media content, ask questions, play games, be authentic. “You’re not just putting things out into the universe, you’re creating connections.” 

Don’t overthink posts to the point where they get robotic—“share your brand personality, your humanness and your voice,” she says. “Make sure the voice they hear on your social media is the same as the voice they will find when they sit in your chair.” Trust and stay true to your brand, but don’t be afraid to get playful if that’s your style. But if playful posts don’t fit in your feed, take advantage of Insta Stories or go live to share your more playful and authentic side without it affecting your visual game plan.

Build Trust
Take the time and care to build trust, and begin with your social media. Be delicate with your sales pitch and any product promotion because, while getting freebies and reposts on manufacturer’s product pages is fun, there’s a good chance your clients aren’t finding you from manufacturer pages. “This isn’t to say you shouldn’t talk about the products and brands you love,” say the experts, “just choose wisely and make sure those posts are focused on introducing your clientele to your community.”

Many thanks to our sponsors Redken, Pureology, Matrix, L’Oreal Professionnel, Baxter of California, Level Loyalty and Salon Centric for making this Digital Supplement possible.

Click here to view our digital edition.