When we were young our parents were forever telling us not to talk to strangers. With the advent of social networking it seems that that's all youngsters ever do these days. We’re not talking about creepy chat rooms, we’re talking about the popularity of blogging and micro-blogging, which is (maybe?) a bit more acceptable. Of late, it’s mostly Tumblr that’s got the kids excited, with news half way through 2013 that they were abandoning Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Twitter in droves in favor of the blogging platform.
With social media becoming a major channel for client communications, it is important for salons to keep an eye on what’s on the up and what’s not, but that doesn’t mean a mass exodus from Facebook. The kids may be moving on, but Facebook and Twitter are still growing rapidly as the ‘grown-ups’ finally realize how easy and how much fun networking online can be. And, in fact, the kids are going some places at the moment that salon marketing doesn’t go (yet).
As you look at this list of social networks on an upswing, keep in mind that hedging your bets with one social network isn’t the best solution, even if it’s the only way you can cope as you get your digital strategy underway. Focus on where your clients are spending the most of their time, but always keep your eye out for your next best medium and have a plan in place to introduce another new social network.
On a one-to-ten value rating for salons, Tumblr, with its 130 million-plus bloggers, could be very useful, so we give it a seven, possibly even an eight. It’s a micro-blogging site where your posts are public and can be followed by like-minded users. If you are into fashion, hair, make-up, nails, shoes or anything to do with how we look (isn’t that all of us?) then you should be on here talking up your brand. It is a site that hosts it all – words, photos, video, links, reblogs, and from a multitude of platforms including mobile. Despite being picked up earlier this year by the not-so-cool Yahoo! for $1.1 billion, it still has a ‘cool’ image among social networking’s biggest fans – the ‘kids’. And the ‘grown-ups’ are getting hooked too, especially as more and more moms migrate to keep an eye on their offspring.
With an initial target demographic of teens and young adults and a system that automatically deletes all posts, especially the ones you wouldn’t want your mom to see, within 10 seconds, Snapchat was written off by many. But, surprise, surprise, it now hosts eight million adult users in the US, according to global information and measurement company Nielsen earlier this year. Analytics expert Onavo went even further, claiming its figures show Snapchat has five million daily users, and that 18.6 per cent of all iPhone owners in this country were using it. But is it time to sit up and take notice? This is a site that, ostensibly, bypasses any fears of Big Brother-style snooping by the authorities, which might be driving its popularity. But the time limit on posts would mean salons interested in cashing in on Snapchat would have to come up with some pretty engaging content if they were to make the most of any marketing opportunities.
LinkedIn is the sneaker social network of the decade. Originally only for those sporting a suit and tie, the classic social network has evolved into a meet-and-greet for professionals of all sorts, across all verticals, working for businesses of all sizes. The best thing about LinkedIn is the ability to join multiple groups where you can learn from other people similar to yourself and ask burning questions about issues like commission structures and choosing the right product distributor. Filling out a profile and connecting to peers can help you network and boost your credibility within the trade, yet it is still often an overlooked aspect of a well-rounded PR strategy.
The Shout Lounge
More social networks means more congestion to navigate your way to clients and, of course, less time to do so. Cue social management systems, your knight in shining armor. Okay, they are not social media per se, but they have become essential to keep on-top of your digital brand. There are a few options available, but Shout Lounge is the only one to date that is salon industry-specific, and will bring you together with your supplier and other bloggers and brands that are posting interesting stuff which you can use on your business page. It will save those hours of flicking through dozens of websites to find interesting, engaging content. All you need do is surf through Shout Lounge and schedule in a variety of posts that will appear on your Facebook when you are doing something completely different. It also crunches numbers for you, so you can see what works for you and your brand and what doesn’t.
Valorie Reavis is part of Linkup Marketing, an online and social media marketing specialist focusing on search engine marketing, salon email marketing programs and social media marketing for salons and spas. If you have any queries for the Linkup team, check out the website www.linkupmarketing.com, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter: @linkupmarketing
Email Valorie at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Image courtesy of Linkup Marketing]