If your current social media strategy is avoidance, it’s time we had a little talk. Social media is here to stay, and it’s time for you to get excited about its powerful ability to affect connection and business growth. Don’t be scared; I’m going to tell you exactly how the best in the biz do it.
After watching many of my industry peers exponentially enhance their businesses by utilizing social media, I decided to get serious and change my perspective of social media—from a place to connect with my friends and family to a place to grow my business. After all, none of us want our businesses to get left behind.
The timing was perfect to attend New York City’s Idealogue—a conference all about social media and the beauty industry—to hear from some of the top social influencers and learn the secret to rocking social media. If you ever get the chance to attend the yearly two-day conference hosted by Luxury Brand Partners, I highly recommend it. I could write a book with everything I learned from the top digital minds, including best-selling author and keynote speaker Seth Godin.
What are the most successful beauty influencers doing on social media to create such magnetic pages with cult-like followers? Surprisingly, it’s actually a simple “Why formula.”
Know Your Why
As with most things in life, you need to be committed if you want to maximize the potential of social media. You shouldn’t get on social media just to be on social media. You must have a purpose and set intentions for why you are getting involved. Some estheticians have a social media presence to help reinforce the client experience they provide, as well as to show themselves to potential clients. Other estheticians use social media to connect with other estheticians and reinforce their reputation as a go-to industry leader or burgeoning educator. Still others are on social media to get to know their clients better, increase their network of like-minded professionals, or share information about the products they believe in.
Beauty industry veteran Lupe Voss shared three questions you can ask yourself to help pinpoint what your “why” (the social currency you provide to attract a community) might be: What are you good at? What makes you happy? How do you make your money? For example, Voss is an educator at heart, and sharing her knowledge is what she’s good at. It makes her happy to share with others, saying, “The more you give out, the more you share, and the more room you have for new ideas.” By design, Voss has created a life she loves, and she also makes her money by educating. Voss’s why for being on social media is to share her expertise, and it has helped reinforce her position as a valuable educator.
Only Share Your Why
Most people on social media fall into two categories—they either don’t know what to share so they share very little, or they don’t know what to share so they share everything. Be a standout on social media by joining the third category—the group that knows exactly what to share. They share all things that speak to their why. When you create or find content you might like to share, ask yourself: Who is this for? What is this for? If the content speaks to the audience you want to speak to, and says what you want to say (your why), share it and quality pieces like it. Don’t muddle your social media presence with content that doesn’t serve your why.
Build an Audience That Appreciates Your Why
Garnering a huge following of random people is pointless; they will never fulfill your why. Having a following of any size that is your tribe (people who appreciate your why) is far more fruitful. Lucky for you, human beings have a natural tendency to join a tribe. We like doing what other humans like us are doing. Think about how easily and often an entire stadium of strangers can fall into the same clapping cadence with little or no guidance.
When you have a social media community of people who appreciate your why, these people are your tribe. To your tribe, your marketing can say, “People like us do things like this,” and they will understand that they are the “people like us,” so they will want to “do things like this”—a.k.a., the behaviors you want them to do, like booking an appointment, purchasing a product, signing up for your class, etc. Build this audience by continuously sharing only the content that supports your why, using strategic hashtags to represent that content so your tribe can find it. And don’t be afraid to reach out to your IRL (in real life) network to ask them to share your content and cross-promote. Don’t just wait for your social network to grow. Get in there and engage, look around, comment, and make your presence known.
Create a Strong Emotional Connection to Your Why
People on social media are seeking a trusted friend, not just a product or service. A connection must be made and a loyalty built before you can sell or ask for anything. This happens through being authentic, telling a remarkable story, and portraying the lifestyle your clients want. If your social media presence is nothing but smoke and mirrors, people will see through it, especially when they finally meet you at their first and, subsequently, last appointment.
Let people get to know the real you in order to establish a true connection. Many top social media influencers will keep their pages clean and professional, but share insights into their life through Instagram or Facebook stories. Stay true to yourself, but make sure you’re telling a remarkable story. That’s a story worth making a remark about, and it’s a story your clients will want to share. Dig deep; you have one! Consumers can get a facial anywhere, but what is the story behind you and yours? That is something your client will repeat and refer their friends to, especially when it coincides with the lifestyle they want to have.
Fulfill your Why
You are on social media for a reason, right? Always remember your why. Don’t get caught up in the likes and follower counts; that’s all for vanity. Hair stylist Lisa Hart-Walker told us at Idealogue, “Treat it like a hobby, and it will pay like a hobby. Treat it like a career, and it will pay like a career.”
Don’t forget to work in your sales pitch, but remember that some courtship is necessary before you can ask your social media network to do something like schedule an appointment or make a purchase. As Godin points out, you wouldn’t go on Tinder, swipe right to everyone, and immediately ask them to marry you. Only after you’ve established why you have a social media presence, posted content that supports that why, attracted your tribe, and built a genuine connection with them can you expect your social media following to give you their business. Just as the conversation should happen in person, begin by offering glimpses into what you bring to the table.
Too many of us think utilizing social media for our business must be difficult because only a select few are really excelling at it. I’m here to tell you—as those crushing the social media game told me at Idealogue—you can be among them. Don’t let this incredible, free business-building tool go to waste. With a focus on your authentic why and a lot of persistence, you can make social media work for you. —Ali Davidson
Ali Davidson is brand manager/director of membership for Associated Hair Professionals. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.