For many of today’s hairstylists, social media is a game changer. It offers us the tools that we need to connect with other like-minded artists, share and find inspiration, communicate with current and potential clients, and begin building a personal brand—virtually for free.
What started at its earliest days with Facebook only amplified and spread like wildfire as other, more visually-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest entered the scene. And that only makes sense: Our industry is a uniquely visual one.
But building a real, dedicated social media following and successfully leveraging it in order to attract your ideal clientele, book sessions, and grow your business is about more than just taking and posting killer photos. (Although, that is, of course, important too!) It’s about more than just finding and using the right hashtags. It’s about more than just recycling the same posts week after week or month after month.
Simply put, social media success for stylists requires you to follow a dedicated and proven process.
While there is no one “right” way of doing social media, here at Salt Society we have found a formula that works for us, and which we’ve found works for many other artists in the industry, regardless of whether they specialize in balayage, foilyage, coloring, cutting, or another treatment altogether. It’s called the C.O.P.E. Method, which was created by Jamie and used to build Salt’s social media following from the ground up.
What is the C.O.P.E. Method?
The C.O.P.E. Method is a social media system that stylists and hair artists can use to find their ideal clientele, attract a greater following and exposure, and book more business. It allows for artists to showcase their individuality, their speciality, and to reach the unique goals of their Instagram page (or other social media channel)—whether that is to work with a larger brand, build their clientele, sell product, or become an educator.
The four key pieces of the C.O.P.E. Method are: Consistency, Originality, Personality, and Education.
In order to be successful, your social media strategy must be consistent. Consistent in timing (when you publish content to your channels), consistent in tone and voice (the words you use and how you speak to your audience), consistent in style (the visual aspects of your images), consistent in intent (each post is working towards the same general goal), and consistent in quality (of everything taken together).
Without consistency, your channel risks simply being a messy hodgepodge of different voices and styles which you cannot use effectively to communicate with your audience.
At the same time, you should use your social channels to showcase what makes you and your work original and unique.
Your originality is what makes you different. It’s the reason that a person will come to you for a service or treatment instead of someone else; it’s the reason that a big brand will want to work with you over a competitor. It’s what helps your channel stand out from the noise of all of the other channels and influencers out there.
Determine what makes you and your work unique, and be sure to showcase it in your channels. Each post should reinforce that originality, helping you to build a strong and powerful brand over time.
Personality is similar to originality, but on a more, well, personal level. Originality speaks to what makes your services, business, and social media content unique; but personality is what makes you unique. It’s your voice, your sense of humor, your style.
Simply put, it’s the biggest reason that people will turn to you over a competitor. Understand your unique personality and highlight it in your photos and captions so that your audience knows what makes you so valuable.
When many stylists think about Instagram, they think about how they can use it to showcase their work. After all, people who are considering turning to you for a service will want to see an example (or 100) of your work before they let you touch their hair, so it only makes sense.
That being said, it’s possible to use your social channels to offer your audience even more value by educating them through your posts.
For example, you might post about why and how you chose a color for your guest’s skin complexion. Or you might explain why you chose a more modern coloring technique. Maybe you offer advice and tips that your audience can use in choosing a service or a salon, even if that doesn’t end up being you.
In answering your audience’s questions, offering unbiased advice, and educating them on the various processes, you start to build a relationship with your audience that goes beyond them simply enjoying your photos. They start to trust you. They understand on a deeper level that you are truly an expert. Your ideal client sees this and thinks, “This hair artist gets me. I need to book with her."
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