August 2011

LeAnne Velona

Strictly for Students| by LeAnne Velona

 

Students: Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

While social media is a great, low-cost tool for students and stylists to connect with new and existing clients, many students are unsure about the best ways to use social media to grow their business.

Even though every networking platform has its own set of tools and rules, using social media to maximize your business potential should not be confusing and complicated.

Here are the best tips for growing your business successfully using three common platforms Twitter, Facebook and StyleSeat:

Twitter

Twitter is an information network. Millions of people, organizations and businesses use it to discover and share new information. Twitter is a perfect place to connect with clients and build new relationships in 140 characters or less. Just be careful not to spam your followers with too many self-serving messages.

Your exchanges should be fun and interesting, not just a bunch of advertisements about your services. Position yourself as an expert by sharing tips, photos, promotions and links to interesting articles. To gain followers you must seek out people to follow.

Twitter also allows you to search for users who may be looking for beauty professionals in your area. You can contact these users and let them know what services you can offer them. For example, if you see on Twitter that someone has just gotten a terrible haircut, you can offer them makeover at a discounted price.

Facebook

Facebook has more daily visitors than Google, which means that it is an amazing tool for students to grow their clientele. Create a Facebook fan page to highlight the services you offer, share photos, new promotions and deals. Just like Twitter, it is important to share in a fun and authentic way with clients, and not just think of it as an advertising tool. After all, you would never go to a dinner party and just talk about yourself the whole night, right? Ask questions, listen and share information about yourself and services you offer in a fun and informative style.

StyleSeat

This is my new favorite social media platform for students and their customers. Think of it as OpenTable for the beauty industry. StyleSeat gives you the opportunity to create your own profile focusing on the services you offer and your areas of expertise. You can also set up online booking for clients and create a daily schedule of your appointments. You will receive automatic appointment confirmations and reminders so it is easy for you to stay organized. Spend some time creating your profile so it is the best representation of you and be sure to highlight all of your special skills so customers can easily find you.

When using any of the social media tools listed above to grow your business, keep these tips in mind:

Do not be too self-serving. Social media is all about engaging with customers and not just selling your services.

Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening.

Regularly monitor the comments about yourself and the beauty industry as a whole.

To keep people interested, share tweets and updates that are not all about you. Share stories about the beauty industry and beauty trends instead of just mentioning your services.

You can share photos and behind the scenes info. Even better, give fans and followers a glimpse of developing projects and events you are participating in or pulling together. Users rely on social media to get and share the latest, so give it to them.

Keep a close eye on your competitors. It is important for you to know what other students and stylists are up to so you can offer competitive services and pricing.

Reply publicly to great tweets or updates posted by your followers and customers.

Reference articles or news stories that relate to your business. Not every message needs to be about you. Be a part of the larger conversation.

Respond to complaints in a prompt manner. Customers want to be heard and will appreciate that you reached out to them to fix a problem. Finally, remember to have fun!

LeAnne Velona, director of esthetics and massage therapy education for Marinello Schools of Beauty, has been a certified licensed esthetician for over 18 years and is also a licensed holistic health practitioner. Marinello Schools of Beauty offer cosmetology and esthetics programs at campuses in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. For more information, visit www.marinello.com.