Social Media 101 with Blake Reed Evans

“I know I should be doing more on social media, but I’m SO busy already!”

If that sounds like you, know that you’re not alone! Social media is constantly evolving and it can be overwhelming to keep up with all the new features, tools, trends and platforms.

But as beauty professionals, it’s important that we stay up-to-date with the latest technology. Social media is non-negotiable in the beauty industry, says Blake Reed Evans, Sam Villa Ambassador, Redken Artist, Shear Art Salon owner and social coach.

This is because many younger people are scrolling social media all day long. If you don’t have an active online presence, it’s like you don’t exist to these potential clients. Plus, social media gives you the ability to attract your dream clientele by sharing exactly what you do best.

Mastering social media as a stylist takes some work, but it’s one of the best things you can do to grow your career. Here are a few tips from Blake to help you level UP your social game:

Learn the Landscape

While there are dozens of social media platforms to choose from, for most artists it makes sense to use Instagram as the “hub” of your online marketing. This is because Instagram is a visual platform that’s perfect for showing off photos of your work. It also integrates seamlessly with other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and now TikTok.

It may be helpful to set a goal for growing your business with social media. Do you want to build your client base, gain new partnership opportunities, or position yourself as the go-to stylist for a certain niche in your area? Once you have a goal in mind, you can begin to align your social media presence with this goal.

Next, make sure you have your Instagram account set to “Creator”. This allows you to view Instagram Insights to learn more about your audience, including where they’re from and what time they’re likely to be online, as well as which content from your page performed the best. Using this data, you can post the most engaging content at the best time of day for YOUR followers. Creator mode also allows you to create Reels with Instagram’s music library.

Set Up an Aesthetic and Effective Bio

Your Instagram bio is your chance to make a good first impression with potential clients. It’s important to create a bio that looks professional, shows a bit of your personality, and clearly communicates who you are and what you do.

Here are Blake’s recommendations for what to include in your bio:

Your name. Ideally, your name should be included in your social media handles and the first line of your bio. At a minimum, make sure to put your first name in the “name” field of your profile. When you’re messaging with a potential client, this allows them to see who they are talking to.

Your salon company. Tag your salon’s handle in your bio, or spell out the salon name.

Your location. Sharing your city helps local clients find you.

Your pronouns. Inclusivity matters, and sharing your pronouns ensures your guests and followers know how to properly address you.

Your specialities (at least 2). This is so important for attracting your desired clientele!

Keep in mind that many people will quickly skim over your bio, so try to avoid long chunks of text and make your bio short and fun to read. Break up the text with bolded words, ALL CAPS and relevant emojis.

A high-quality, smiling headshot is always a good option for your Instagram profile picture. This builds trust and helps potential guests get to know you. Don’t be afraid to choose a pic that shows off your creativity and personal style!

Create Stellar Content

Posting photos of your work onto social platforms is essentially your “social media credit score.” It builds credibility with clients and attracts people who want the specific services you offer. For this reason, you must get your guests used to having their photos taken for this purpose.

It doesn’t have to be awkward! Try these tips to get beautiful pictures of your finished styles:

  • Be respectful of your guest’s space. Once you take the cape off your client, you’ve essentially lost permission to touch your guest. So always ask for this permission before repositioning people for photos.
  • Work those angles! Experiment with different camera angles such as upward and downward. Also, photograph your guest straight on, from the back, and each side of their profiles. Demonstrate to your guest how you want them to pose.
  • Take plenty of pictures. Take around 20-25 photos of each guest and get a mix of photos and videos while they’re posing.
  • Vary your photo locations and backgrounds to add visual interest to your feed. Outdoor lighting is the easiest for beginners to work with, but you can also position guests in front of a window or ring light.
  • Ask for consent before posting. After taking your pictures, show the guest the photos and ask for their permission to share them. If they don’t want some of the photos posted just quickly delete those and favorite the ones they really like.
  • Avoid over-editing.Don’t change your guests’ facial features or over-do it with your editing software-- it’s not an ethical business practice, according to Blake.

Now that you have gorgeous photos and/or videos to post, what about hashtags? Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, which can be overwhelming!

Blake’s rule of thumb is to make at least 25 of the 30 hashtags local to your area, such as #yourcityhair or #yourcityblogger. It’s also helpful to save your usual hashtags in your phone’s Notes so you can quickly copy and paste them into a comment on your post.

Connect With New Clients

A potential new client has found her way to your feed, loves your work, and is interested in booking with you. What happens next? It’s important to make it easy for new guests to book an appointment by having a clear process in place.

Blake recommends creating a “How to Book” pinned Instagram Story highlight. This tells potential guests how to book with you and what they can expect when visiting your salon, without you having to type the same direct message (DM) over and over!

Blake used the Mojo mobile app to create his pinned highlight. Here are a few helpful pointers you may want to include in yours:

  • A consultation for new clients (in person or through Zoom) and a request that they DM you for a consult. If they’re uncomfortable with this, you can also ask the potential client to send you a current photo of their hair and their goal photo.
  • Your average cost for popular services. Don’t use your “starting at” number. The goal is to give clients a true estimate of what they can expect their services to cost.
  • An average response timethat the potential client can expect to hear back from you.
  • Any cancellation policy that you or your salon may have in place, along with any COVID-19 precautions.

What if you still receive those generic DMs? No problem! Prepare a response template in the Notes on your phone that you can copy and paste right into the chat box.

For example, “Hey thanks so much for messaging me, I'm so happy to work with you. To begin booking your appointment please refer to my "How to Book" pinned highlight.” This helps filter out clients whom you may not want to work with.

Engage Your Audience

Creating a virtual “lookbook” of your work is essential, but you also want to add variety to keep your feed fresh and exciting. Try to switch up the type of content you post on Instagram: video, carousels (multiple images), IGTV, Instagram Reels, and static or still images. (See the Tools and Resources section for helpful editing apps you can download.)

Want to boost engagement and build a following faster? Try going live on Instagram! A good time to do this is when you’re working on a mannequin in-between clients, or during other quiet moments in the salon. This tells the platform that you’re a real person (not a “bot”) and can help you reach more users. When you go live, try to say hi to the first few accounts that are viewing, interact with your audience, and go live for at least two minutes.

After you livestream, share the video to IGTV and download it directly to your phone. This lets you easily repurpose the content for Instagram Stories and Facebook. You can even edit down the video and post it to TikTok! Think about maximizing your reach with minimum effort.

TIP: Before you post your live, go into the Advanced Settings and turn on closed captions. This creates a more inclusive experience for viewers who may be deaf or hard of hearing. Also, it helps you reach the 85% of people who scroll their feed with the sound off. (Be sure to enunciate clearly when going live so the auto generated captions are correct.)

Find Your Voice

Success on Instagram comes down to a few factors: quality, frequency and consistency. Blake recommends posting a minimum of three times a week, plus twice a week on your Stories. More is better, but be sure to find a rhythm that you can stick with. Staying consistent with your posting schedule keeps your followers engaged and helps you grow faster.

Once you have a system for creating and posting content, it will feel WAY less stressful and more fun. Over time, your brand will naturally emerge as you create content for your followers. Don’t be afraid to experiment and figure out what works best for you! Remember, building a social media presence is an investment in your career as a stylist.

Tools and Resources

Editing Apps:

  • Splice (great for video editing)
  • Unfold (excellent for Instagram Stories or adding frames to your photos)
  • Captions (automatically adds captions to any of your videos)
  • Mojo (animated Instagram story editor)
  • Facetune (for photo-editing)

Instagram Handles to Follow: