August 2011

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske


What is Your Social I.Q.?

Social networking is here and can work for your business right now. Switch the way you deliver the message of who you are and watch your business grow.

As I logged into my Facebook account a few weeks ago I noticed some changes.

I have to say, most of the time I relish the opportunity to learn something new and hear the latest updates about this fascinating digital age we live in. However, I still let out a big sigh and thought, "What new thing do I have to learn or adjust to now?"

The same frustration I felt leads many business owners to throw up their hands and retreat to the same methods they used five, ten, or 15 years ago, with little results. It is time to re-invent the tried and true methods to meet the demands of consumers in the digital age.

We have all heard, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This scenario is no different. You would not dream of using products or techniques in your salon or spa that were decades old on a client, if you did, your reputation would surely suffer. So, why would you deliver the message of who you are and what makes your business special in the same old way?

Whether we like it or not, the facts point to technology speeding up even more. Either you are up for using this medium for growth in one form or another, or your business will become stagnant or begin declining.

You might not like to hear this, but the way in which your customers want to receive their information about you has changed. It is crucial to increase your social I.Q. by re-inventing the "tried and true" for the digital age. More importantly, you must understand why and how it will work for your business.

Listed below are two simple "Old vs. New" techniques. Right now is the time to pare down the old and enhance it with the new techniques to grow your business through social networking.

Telephone book advertising vs. completing your internet listing:

Reducing the amount of space you take up in the phone book and enhancing your internet listing is one of the fastest ways to save big bucks and attract new business.

Most American homes recycle their phone books immediately, and get the information they want on businesses by using the internet to search them. You are selling your image short if your internet listing does not include your web address, client reviews and photographs.

Your potential clients want to see what they will experience when they walk through the door. You can go the old route via the phone book with a grainy picture and quarter page advertisement that will easily cost you $2,000 to $3000 per year.

Alternatively, you can update your website content in a few minutes to reflect the services you provide so they show up in a Google search, as links to your Facebook or Twitter accounts and your Yelp page. Utilizing your cash to hire someone to help you get your internet image up to date will attract far more business than advertising in the phone book.

Word-of-mouth referrals vs. Facebook and Yelp pages:

You should still be handing out your business cards and referral cards at every opportunity. However, also ask your clients if it is okay if you send them a "like" request on Facebook.

Let them know they can receive updates and special offers reserved for those who "like" your business page. This way you know your clients will be seeing all the latest and greatest things that are happening in your business.

The business card may end up in the bottom of a purse or in the garbage can. However, you can see how many interactions and views your page items are receiving by viewing the insights area of your Facebook business page, where they are broken down into usable marketing demographic calculations.

By monitoring your Yelp page, you will see what people are saying about you. You can track this by asking new clients where they heard about you. I know one salon owner that asks clients that were referred by Yelp if there was a specific review that made them want to book an appointment.

Another salon owner takes pictures of clients who are happy with their before and after photos, posts them on their Facebook page (always with the client's written consent) and their clients share them with their friends on their personal pages. This has led to tons of new client referrals for her business and the clients have the opportunity to share their great experience with all of their friends immediately.

Charlene Abretske is an independent business advisor. To reach her email or call (760)453-1882.