This week Estee Lauder obtained Too Faced Cosmetics for a cool $1.45 billion. I can not help but think of the salons who have no social media strategy. The two are most certainly connected.  Too Faced Cosmetics is geared solely towards millennials in the beauty scape. They have 7.3 million followers. Mac Cosmetics, another millennial targeting brand has 12.4 million. In others words, millennial's business is worth billions to a rock solid conglomerate like Estee Lauder.  Can you now explain to me how come you do not mind having less than 100 Instagram followers? 

I have traveled the country meeting with the top salon owners in the industry. My heart breaks when a salon owner reveals the struggle of doing business in this day in age. More often than not, these struggling salon owners were wildly successful in the 80’s and 90’s. For the life of them they CAN NOT understand their modern day struggle in the beauty industry. Every time this conversation arises, I promise you they all have one thing in common: They do not have an established Yelp or Instagram persona. They have a pitiful social media presence across the board or are flat out using it wrong. These salon owners are JUST getting a Facebook account going, not realizing that is light years behind. Facebook mostly markets to existing customers! Each platform has a purpose. They are not created equally.

Recently in my consulting, I spoke with the owner’s of an app that brings beauty services to your door. If I owned a brick and mortar salon, I would be studying these mobile salon apps like crazy. I apologize if I sound harsh, but the truth is the stylists that source these apps are professionals who are fed up working for an old school salon owner. As hard as this is to hear, this will help you answer your own question. Any app that provides services on demand at your home or office has an established social media strategy. This social selling funnels new business in their lap.  It generates so much cash flow that they do not need a physical location saving tons on overhead. Genius. 

Salon owners, I am sorry to say we have created this problem ourselves. Every time an owner makes a “no cell phones on the floor policy” you are losing DOLLARS. You are losing CONTENT.  You are showing your dated and toxic relationship with technology. Embrace it. I know your old school business strategy tells you that it is rude for technicians to have their heads down in their phones. That is absolutely true. However I assure you clients won’t mind becoming a stylists content on Instagram. Clients are flattered when their hair looks so beautiful that the salon wants to share the results. The ego boost will help them forget to be offended everyone has their phone out. Restaurants do not ban cell phones even though patrons barely look up to order anymore or enjoy expensive ambiance because of their cell phones. Let go of what is shooting your social media in the foot. New business generated from your social media advertising will make your salon hum again and no stylist will have time to have their head in their phone! If your stylists can not have their phones, they can not take pictures and will not have any content for the salon to post and your social media will attract no one. Ahhh let’s take a breath and let it go!

The saddest part of this is the simple solution you have been ignoring this whole time. This solution is as elusive to you as the market Too Faced just bought.  MILLENNIALS! I know for a fact you at least one if not ten walking around your salon RIGHT NOW.  There is always a young hair stylist in a stagnant salon that has the answer. They are always ignored and even preached at by said stagnant salon owner rather then embraced. I have been said hair stylist listening to said stagnant salon owner preach out dated info at me and my coworkers.  I stopped arguing and left those salons long ago. I now use the ideas they wouldn't listen to and have done very well. The same owners are exactly where I left them. The last posts are the ones I tried to help with. I say this so you do not continue to lose valuable customers. If you continue to lose customers you lose valuable employees who will just go out and prove you wrong. 

The salon industry is a special kind of stubborn. I have done hair for 15 years full time and on the side. I started my career in one of the most affluent areas of the country in a salon that was an institution in the neighborhood. I had just gotten out of school and hearing all about the economy crashing. Yet in the salon, those blow dryers kept humming away. I was going home at night with hands full of cash. As my friends could not find jobs out of college, I was paying off my student loans blow dry after blow dry. I became comfortable in what I was doing and naively felt bullet proof. As things started to rebound for the economy, the salon industry experienced a delayed down turn of sorts. Like a rubber band finally smacking you in the face.  New salons opened around us with cheaper prices and trendy decor. People needed to save money and justify their spending to repair their households and as a result we slowly lost business. This was my first experience to understanding the constant need for new business. 

What if I told you now, that you have a tool in your hand that generates qualified leads in the palm of your hand? Would you brush it off?  Social Media equals QUALIFIED LEADS.  I know change is scary but that’s all it is.  They are following you because they are interested. In the 90’s salons and hairdressers paid for publicity. Thousands of dollars went to ads that generated new business that hopefully you could accommodate. When salon owners can not embrace social media strategy I am perplexed. They know they must constantly pursue new business but they can not water it down that followers are just business leads. 

We know human beings are not receptive to change. Historically, it takes some time to get people on board to new ideas. I am 31 years old. When I want to make a change, the first thing I do is check a business’ Yelp reviews. Then I go to Instagram and see what I can learn before I even waste my time walking in. Millennials want things fast. That includes a fast return for their time and effort. Like it or not, this is how they operate. You are simply not important enough to waste their time if your business does not meet their needs. This is how millennials think. I am an older millennial and see many problems with their mindset but in my opinion the customer is always right. Get them in your pipeline. 

Also this week, Nasty Gal announced the business would be declaring bankruptcy. If you are not familiar with Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso coined the phrase Girl Boss and that she is! If you don’t believe me read her book. After my own personal interest in what happened, many articles surfaced on what exactly crippled this company. It’s a very interesting story that is translatable to beauty. I will speed it up for you and give you “a quick return on your time”!  The brand was cool because nobody knew about it. Hard stop. How can you keep what makes the brand cool and also capitalize on it’s fame? This is a common theme in luxury as well. If you consider yourself a luxury salon, please think about my point here and research the other missteps that went wrong.

So now you are probably saying to yourself, “First you told me to get the word out and be cool and then you are telling me being cool is not profitable.” What I’m saying is, create your social media to reflect why people should visit your salon. Stay consistent and soon you will see a consistent flow of new business.  There is nothing new age about that.  Know who you are marketing to. Cough cough MILLENIALS. I promise this will get the new business leads flowing and you will be wildly successful once again! If you still don't trust me, I’ll leave you with this thought. My 17 year old cousin who doesn’t even need makeup buys way more of it regularly than my mother who may need it as a CEO. One of them gets ideas for their next shopping trip from Instagram and one of them rarely buys makeup. You be the judge but get the millennials in your pipeline!