April 2016

Fred Jones

The Beauty Professional | by Fred Jones


The Social Aspects of Online Marketing

Whenever I know someone with particular expertise on the monthly theme of this magazine, I pick their brains for the benefit of Stylist readers.

This month I am pleased to bring you an interview with Sharon Esche and Alexander Irving, the principals of Esche & Alexander (www.beauty-pr.com), a national beauty PR firm specializing in the professional and retail beauty industry with almost three decades of service to some of the most respected names and companies in the industry. Originally located in New York City, Alex and Sharon now live and work in San Diego, Calif. They also post helpful information on their blog, www.beautyprpro.com A Salon/Spa Professional’s Guide to Getting Press.

What is the initial advice you give to someone contemplating the use of social media to market themselves or their products?

First and foremost is their mindset … to never forget the essence of social media is being social, not selling. Sounds simple, no? So how come so many individuals and companies don’t get that?  What we do when we are being social is to tell stories, share helpful information, entertain, inspire, motivate, make people feel good, make ‘em laugh, etc.

One of our favorite social media gurus, Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Marketers ruin everything” … and he’s right. No one goes on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to read up on your selling pitches. Being successful using social media and attracting your desired target follower means you need to be a storyteller. Your stories need to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you eventually ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse. There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup. Understand storytelling and you are halfway home.

One more important first thought. In any social situation, nobody enjoys listening to someone always talking about themselves. People like conversation and participation on topics they are interested in.  In social media lingo, it’s called “engagement.” Want to be a great conversationalist? Write about things of interest to others and always ask questions; open the door for them; encourage their participation. Remember, it’s not all about you, it’s about them. They are the guests in your home. These are the elements that make people want to follow you or your brand.

What kind of things should marketers avoid doing with social media? Here’s a short list. There are more, but these are the biggies:

Don’t post the same thing on all your social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) -- We all know what you are doing and it’s annoying.

Don’t use profanity – I shouldn’t need to tell you this, but I will. It’s important.

Don’t tag people on a photo on Facebook without their permission – Talk about annoying and assumptive.

Avoid misspellings and bad grammar. – It hurts your credibility and authority.

Don’t become argumentative -- Arguments turn people off. Keep your cool and handle the situation.

Don’t leave comments or questions unanswered, or be tardy in replying – It leaves the impression you are not paying attention.

Don’t be negative – People are more likely to read and respond to positive posts on social media. Share content that is inspirational, uplifting, informational and/or fun. This type of content is more likely to be viewed and shared.

Don’t plagiarize. Not only is it wrong, it can end up being downright embarrassing when you are caught at it. Bye-Bye credibility.

Don’t ignore negative comments. If you are wrong, fess up. People will respect you for it. If they are wrong, sharing your point of view further may be helpful, but avoid becoming argumentative (see above).

How do you recommend someone get started using social media? The shortest answer is to start and continue reading up on the topic. Real social media marketing involves a working understanding of the primary social media platforms someone plans to use, some real planning, strategy development, and a dedication to the task. Random Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts do not a social media campaign make.

A helpful referral we often provide to someone starting out, or even someone struggling along the way is to one of the best blogs on the subject of social media we know of: www.copyblogger.com (Brian Clarke).

This website is the front door to a ton of excellent information on this subject, all written clearly and for non-tech types. The starting place is www.copyblogger.com/social-media-marketing.  As they read through the many posts and links provided by Brian, they will also discover how he sells things and not mind it happening a bit because they are getting so much out of the information provided.

Thank you so much for your insights on this important medium for marketing one’s beauty services or products.

Fred Jones serves as Legal Counsel to the Professional Beauty Federation of California, a trade association singularly dedicated to raising the professionalism of the beauty industry. To learn more about the PBFC and receive further details about the subjects contained in his column, go to www.beautyfederation.org.

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