Q&A: How Instagram Can Boost Your Revenue

Four salon owners share how Instagram has boosted their salon’s revenue by up to 150 percent.

As the owner of four salons—three in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn, New York— Redken Ambassador Rodney Cutler Rodney Cutler, knew that he needed to create a specific strategy to build and manage his brand’s social following. He shares how he created a cohesive content plan that increased each salon’s revenue.

American Salon: How did you bring all of your salons together for Instagram?

Rodney Cutler: The proof was in the pudding. When new clients started to show up saying I found so and so from Instagram, and word of mouth started spreading into the salons that our Instagram page was bringing in customers, it organically created a buzz with the stylists who were hesitant. 

AS: How many new clients do you receive as a result of Instagram?

RC: Four out of five new clients are coming from Instagram.

AS: What is your approach to posting content?

RC: We post one to two times a day and we space out the content submissions we receive from our stylists at each location. We have a team, consisting of two, who edit the images by selecting which ones best fit the aesthetic of the salon’s brand. That way the stylists feed off of each other; it’s been a great opportunity for growth.

In just four short years, Sashanie Gray has gone from new nail technician to lead educator for Essie and owner of Cloud 9 Spa Lounge in south Florida. These are all successes she attributes to her presence on Instagram. Here’s how she used the platform to make pointed moves.

American Salon: How has Instagram influenced your business?

Sashanie Gray: In the past, I received 80 percent personal referrals for new business and 20 percent from Instagram. Within the past year, it’s grown to 30 percent new business from Instagram. My business has grown now to the point that I am expanding to a new space and have hired two more manicurists.

AS: What was the turning point?

SG: When I started using more of the right hashtags instead of a ton of them, then more people discovered me organically.

When Debbie McGinley (aka DJ) started using social media three years ago she had no clue what the fruits of her labor would deliver. A stylist and colorist for 25 years at her family-run salon, McGinley had a dream: to specialize only in color. Instagram made that dream come true.

American Salon: How has Instagram affected your business?

DJ McGinley: My clientele and income have doubled over the past three years and now I only do color, which was my goal.

AS: What types of posts resonate most with your followers?

DJ: I wanted to educate the consumer about balayage, so I began posting "before, "during," and "after" images. They liked the during best.

AS: What did the salon do before to gain clients?

DJ: We did magazines and radio, and got maybe three new clients a month. Now I get three to five new clients a week.

Najah Aziz finds it hard to believe how much Instagram has propelled her eight-year-old business. In 2008, when she opened her salon in Atlanta, she was slightly concerned about attracting new clients—especially since the economy was in a downturn. Then, a client, who happened to be a respected blogger, advised her to consider social media. Here's what happened next.

American Salon: How long did it take to get your first 1,000 followers?

Najah Aziz: In about two to three weeks. I would post five times a day. We get at least 20 calls a day based on the images we post.

AS: How much has your revenue increased?

NA: We’ve seen significant growth, like 150 percent per month since we started. We were earning $40k per month when we started and now we’re at $100k per month and our staff grew from three to nine stylists. All of that can be traced to what we’ve been doing on Instagram.

Follow this three tips for organic growth:

  1. Engage Follow your cosmetology peers and be an active participant. What you like will show up on your followers’ feed, and help you to gain more followers.

  2. Curate When a big event occurs—think New York Fashion Week or the Oscars—where style is the main topic, repost the looks you love on your page and credit the creative persons responsible. 

  3. Tag To help followers find your posts, use the right hashtags—but no more than four. Create one with your salon/spa’s name in it, your city, and two others that reflect the post. 

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.

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