Stylists who rent a chair or booth know that they need to brand themselves and promote their work in order to be successful—that’s how they get business. But the truth is that all stylists, whether they work in a commission-based or rental-based relationship, should be taking steps to self-promote.
Self-promotion and personal branding are important for a number of reasons.
First, let’s say that you work in a salon that is known for a number of general services, such as balayage and foilyage, but you specialize in creative coloring or blonding. Your ideal client will be a person who wants and values your ability. You want to attract those clients to your chair.
By branding yourself and showing potential clients that you are skilled in that particular area, you will have more ability to actually do the kind of work you want to do.
Beyond this, relying solely on your salon to bring in clients for you to work on puts your livelihood in the hands of someone else. You have no control. Stylists simply shouldn’t rely solely on their salon in order to attract clients. Taking steps to develop your own personal brand, build a following (on social media, etc.) and promote your worth will help you keep a steady flow of clients to fill your chair.
Not only does this give you more power over your flow of work; it also gives you the agency to leave the salon you work for and branch out on your own (or go to a new salon) and take your client base with you, should you ever choose to do so.
Admittedly, getting off on the right foot with self-promotion is often easier said than done. Below are some tips and strategies that you can use to start building your personal brand as an independent stylist.
Personal Branding Tips for Stylists
1. Identify your ideal client.
Your ideal client is the person who you wish you could work with every single day of the year. They get your style, they love your work, they mesh with your personality, and they value the kinds of services that you perform. If you plan to use your marketing to attract your ideal client, you need to understand as much about who she is as possible.
Download Our Free Worksheet to Learn How To Identify Your Salon's Target Market
Ask yourself: What services does your ideal client want? Where does she shop? What’s her personal style? How much is she willing to spend on her hair for a given service?
2. Tailor your marketing and messaging to that target audience.
Once you have identified your ideal client, you can use that information to tailor your marketing materials directly to her. This means that you’re using the language she uses in your social media posts; you’re using the hashtags that she is searching for; you’re posting photos of women who have the same style as her.
By reflecting your ideal client in your marketing materials, you are sending subtle, often subconscious signals to her in order to draw her to your services.
3. Determine a “purpose” for your branding & marketing efforts.
When you think about self-branding, what is the goal that you are trying to reach? Do you want to make sure that you’re always 100% booked so that you’re not leaving any money on the table? Do you want to attract a better-fit client? Do you want to sell more retail in order to bring in some extra money?
Understanding the marketing goal that you’re working towards will make it easier to ensure that each post you push live will get you closer to that goal.
4. Visualize your brand and culture.
You and your profiles are your brand. Think about the image that you’re trying to portray and make sure that you are taking the steps you need to take in order to achieve that image. Without a clear image of how you want to be perceived, it’s all too possible that you will create a confused image that doesn’t really look the way you want it to.
5. Create your own social media accounts (separate from your salon).
You might be used to submitting posts directly to the Instagram or Facebook account run by the salon employs you. While it’s fine—and encouraged!—to do that, you also need to have your own social media accounts.
This will give you more control about how you communicate with potential clients and will enable you to make a name for yourself that is separate from the salon. It’ll also make it easier to leave the salon in the future if you want to do that.
6. Make sure your social accounts are public and a business account.
These two steps are incredibly important! In order for people to find your accounts, they must be publicly accessible. If it’s private, people won’t be able to find or search for you, and that kind of defeats the purpose of social media!
Similarly, by using a business account you gain access to a number of powerful tools, like the ability to run ads and the ability to analyze your marketing efforts. These can be game-changers as you begin to expand your brand awareness and grow your following.
7. Don’t just post hair pictures.
Sure, you’re going to post a lot of pictures of hair on your Instagram and Facebook accounts. That’s what you do; it only makes sense! But hair shouldn’t be the only thing that you post.
Your potential clients want to be able to see what it would be like to go to you for a service. This means that you need to post pictures of happy—and beautiful—people like them. Doing so will help you build a connection and let your audience picture themselves sitting in your chair, which is incredibly powerful.
Want to learn more about how to improve your Instagram marketing game? Consider signing up for the Social Media & Powerful Brand Design in-class workshop, which will be taught by Jamie Sea and Evan Maguire on Monday, April 6th. In it, you’ll learn how to brand yourself, how to hire a graphic designer, how to observe the market and look for inspiration, design fundamentals, and so much more!