Top Industry Leaders Share the Power of Social Media

Like balayage and beach waves, social media and salon business can work beautifully together. But deciding to create a Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Instagram account is the easy part. Being able to create original (or curated) content, and listen to social discourse while keeping track of likes, follows, hashtags and the ever-changing algorithm updates is what distinguishes a great social media footprint from a mediocre one. Read on to learn from legends and next-generation beauty pros who openly share the secrets to their success. 

American Salon: When did you first start using social media?

SAM VILLA: We started with Facebook and immediately hairdressers were engaging with us. So, we added a YouTube channel for sharing educational videos.

AS: What do you do on social media to take your brand to another level?

SV: We interact with stylists from all over the world, sharing tips and tricks and techniques on cutting, braiding and finishing hair—and we do it on a weekly basis. The first time we did a video on “Twist Cutting” it was a huge turning point for our brand. We discovered that giving this education away for free, stylists have returned the favor by not only following us, but also by using our tools everyday behind the chair.

AS: Which platforms are you tackling next?

SV: We’re exploring how we can maximize Snapchat, Periscope and the ‘Live’ feature on Facebook for educational content.

AMERICAN SALON: How has the social movement affected your career?

HARRY JOSH: It’s helped me be able to help others. I want my social media accounts to showcase more than just my work with hair—I use them as a place to spread awareness for issues that are important to me. 

AS: In what way?

HJ: It’s helped me reach more people than ever before. Social media all of a sudden makes you accessible to people all over the country—all over the world [and when they are in my town, they seek me out]. These are people I would have never been able to interact with before and now it’s so easy.

AMERICAN SALON: What has been the biggest benefit to joining social media?

TED GIBSON: It has kept me relevant and current, which is essential in the business of beauty.

AS: What surprises you most about how clients interact with your salon?

TG: Guests are looking at our hairdressers' Instagrams before they decide to book an appointment. We even have guests calling the salon and asking for stylists’ and colorists’ Instagram handles.    

AS: What did you do to “break the Internet”?

TG: I put together a campaign on Instagram with my team called #StarringMyHair. We emailed it to our Ted Gibson fans, put a really cool call to action to post a selfie with that hashtag and also tag their hairdresser. Over 200 people did it and we gave six prizes to select winners that consisted of a gift card to Ted Gibson for a deep-conditioning treatment and cosmetics.

AMERICAN SALON: Describe what it was like starting your YouTube channel.

Jenny Strebe: In the beginning it wasn’t easy at all. YouTube is a tough market through which to grow an audience. What worked for me was really being authentic to the type of content I created; I didn’t deliver what was already out there. I hired a professional videographer and editor because I wanted to set the bar really high to reflect my professionalism.

AS: How do you manage all of your accounts, travel to educate and still see clients in the salon?

JS: It’s all about balance. But there is a sacrifice. A few years ago, I began easing myself out of the salon and referring my clients to other stylists in the salon. I am now there 12 days a month. Thankfully, my clients are my number-one fans. They’ve seen my drive since I was 18 or 19 years old and they are really supportive and proud of me. 

AS: What advice would you give salon owners who want to grow their presence on social?

JS: First figure out what they want to use it for. Do you want to get new clients or simply to show off your work? I also suggest being “street smart.” By that I mean learning when it’s best to post based on the reactions you get. If no one responds when you post at 6 a.m., then don’t post then. There’s a lot of trial and error, so they should commit to learning as they go. [AS note: Instagram will roll out analytics for its platform, a service already found on all other social media platforms].

AMERICAN SALON: When did you first start using social media?

JASON BACKE: I started using social media with Facebook when it first became accessible to the general public. As social evolved, I quickly realized its potential for business and shifted my focus.

AS: What’s your approach to a great social page?

JB: While posting, make sure content falls into varying categories. For me it’s hair color, selfies, married life and my dog. I know there are “InstaFamous” people who swear by posting only hair pics, but my fans and followers appreciate some lifestyle content with personality. 

AS: Do any new social media platforms interest you?

JB: Snapchat is the platform I am trying to really build an audience on. If I want Millennials and Post-Millennials to spend money at my business, I need to be speaking their language.

AMERICAN SALON: What made you join social media?

ASHLEY CROWE:  I was just getting out of high school and since it was already a big part of my culture, I thought it would be a great way to show nail design as an art form because people typically view it as a service. 

AS: How has social media enhanced your career?

AC: It first connected me to other nail artists. When I first started out, there wasn’t a community, and at the time we were excited to find others doing the same thing. So we would share tips and techniques. 

AS: How have your efforts affected your revenue?

AC: About 25 percent of the new clients I get per month are coming from Instagram. 

AMERICAN SALON: Social networking has been around since 2002. When did you first start using social media? 

CÉSAR RÄMIRÊZ: I was on social media as early as MySpace. It was the first time you were able to discover music, people and images online, and network with people that were in the same industry. 

AS: Wow—Myspace is a blast from the past! How has joining the social movement affected your career?

CR: I grew up in my family’s salon, but I didn’t want to do hair. Instead, I wanted to pursue fashion. I decided to attend beauty school as a way to pay for college. As a result, I ended up falling in love with hair. I began working in a salon and worked my way up from assistant to stylist. Social media has really been my business card and a modern-day portfolio.

AS: What’s the social media tip you wish you’d known about sooner?

CR: Establish early on what you want to do with your pages. For example, I decided that I always wanted to be positive and inspirational, with a branded aesthetic in line with my taste.

Many thanks to our program sponsors Matrix, Redken, Pureology, L'Oréal Professionnel, Baxter, Decleor, Essie, Mizani and SalonCentric for making this Digital Supplement possible.