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Growing your social media audience to attract new clients

As part of our Time to Improve series, we wanted to look at the importance of social media in the hair, nails, beauty and barbering industries and how you can utilise it to attract new clients.


It’s estimated that about 45% of the world’s population use social media, which is a huge statistic on its own but even crazier when you consider only 60% of the world have regular internet access. In the UK, 66% of us use social media – that’s 2 out of 3. Crazier still, the average user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes browsing social media EVERY DAY. That’s 10% of our day, every day. Some quick maths tells us that’s over 40 billion hours of social media usage in the UK every year.


So, it goes without saying that social media an important tool for marketing your business and attracting new clients. However, it’s not always easy – so many platforms, so many businesses to compete with, short attention spans of users and a lot of time required posting and creating content – how do you know you’re doing the right thing?


That’s why we’ve done the research for you, to create this guide to successfully growing a social media audience and using that newfound influence to secure more bookings. In this guide we’ll cover the where, what and how of social media marketing for salons and freelancers:


  • Where to start – which platforms are right for you?
  • What do people want to see?
  • How can you maximise engagement and turn followers in to bookings?



Where to start?

With so many potential platforms to invest your time in, you’re never going to be covering them all so it’s important to focus on the right areas. That comes down to audience. There’s no point in investing all of your time in to TikTok if you’re looking to secure more bookings from the over 35’s. To help you decide where is the best place to start, first let’s look at the most popular overall platforms:


So, as you can see, Facebook and YouTube are way ahead of their next biggest competitor, Instagram. You’ve then got TikTok closing in on Instagram despite being around for far less time. Whilst we do expect TikTok number to overtake Instagram over the next year or two, it’s not all about the biggest numbers – it’s about who’s in those numbers. Over half of TikTok users are thought to be under 18, effectively halving the number of active users you want to attract.


For further advice on how to pick the right platforms, we spoke to hair & beauty marketing specialist Mick Tilley from Tried&True:

“Small companies don’t need to break the bank on expensive research or tools – common sense is often as good as any approach. We all use social media every day, so we all know what we use the platform for, who we see on there and what kind of content does well. Salon owners and freelancers in this industry are in a unique position to conduct their own, free research – talk to your customers next time they’re in the chair. Ask them what social media they use, what kind of content they find interesting.”

“You’re going to want to start with the broader options. Facebook is still the biggest player in social and Instagram is up there – the beauty of that is that they’re the same company and you can quickly share content across both platforms, saving time and effort. YouTube is a big one too – if you get it right, you’ll grow quicker there than anywhere else because new users who’ve never heard of you will come across you when searching for videos. The problem is that it needs a greater commitment to creating content.”


“TikTok, and Snapchat to a lesser degree, are a different game entirely. We band it all under social media, but in the same way that The Ivy and McDonalds are both restaurants. They’re not the same thing. If you have a really high number of clients under 30, or you want to have that, then you should be exploring these platforms. But be warned –the youngsters are savage and if your content isn’t on trend and good quality, you’ll do more damage than good.”


So, to summarise:

  • Facebook and Instagram are great starting places that will give you access to the biggest audiences with the lowest effort
  • YouTube can be an amazing platform to grow your following quickly, but you’ll need to be prepared to invest more time into your content
  • TikTok and Snapchat are the place to be if you have a younger target audience and they will grow in importance to you over time – it can be difficult to get good traction with your content, but if you get it right it’s the place you’re most likely to “go viral”.


What content do people want from their salon or stylist?

As a starting point, the content needs to do three things:

  1. It needs to be relevant to your business. Jumping on a trending topic or meme can be a great way to get wide exposure, but only when it’s a good fit. Shoehorning it in when it’s a bit of a stretch will come off as desperate – nobody wants that.
  2. It needs to be balanced. People will tune out if everything you post is about booking an appointment or deals and offers. Try and stick to a 80/20 split when you’re building your audience – for every 10 posts you put out, have 8 of them focussed on good, engaging content (your work, memes, competitions) and your audience will have no problem with the other 2 being more commercial. In fact, they’ll be more likely to engage positively with those 2 posts after seeing your great work in the other 8.
  3. It needs to hit one of the basic building blocks for engagement – humorous, entertaining, educational, informative, innovative – something that gives a user a reason to like, share or comment. Make it about them, not about you!


Keep those three points in mind with every post you create, like a checklist. Is this relevant to us? Tick. Have I got a good balance of content in this week’s plans? Tick. Are my followers going to find this post amusing, informative or entertaining? Will they want to share it with their friends and family? Tick.


Depending on the platforms you’re using, the format of your content could be very different. Across Facebook and Instagram, you’ll be using a mix of feed and story posts that bring together images, video and text, but with YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, video is the only thing worth concentrating on. You’ll notice a key trend in there though: everything is visual.


Think about how you consume social media – nobody wants to read long posts, audio is often not turned on and you’ll more than likely have a split second to catch attention as people scroll their feeds or furiously swipe through stories. If you’ve written a text-only post, you often won’t even register with the user – you need to give them a reason to scroll back, something that makes their brain think “that looked interesting, let’s go back and look properly”. Images and video are the best way to do that.


So, what do we put in those images and videos? We follow A LOT of salons, stylists and influencers in our industry – so to get you started on dreaming up content, we thought we’d pull together a list of the things we know work:


  • Your work. This should be the first thing on your plans each week. Ultimately, the goal is to attract customers, and showing off your very best work is the easiest way to achieve that. Lots of images, lots of videos.


  • Reviews. Whether it’s creating posts from things people have said about you and your business or reposting direct from their profiles, reviews go hand in hand with your work in driving interest in booking with you. It’s one thing for you to say how amazing you are, it’s a totally different thing for someone else to say it.


  • Questions, polls and competitions. If you want to grow your following, getting people to engage with your content is key. The more they like and comment, the more their friends and family will see the content, and hopefully follow you. So, ask questions in your content, create polls, or have giveaways that require people to comment.


  • Memes. There’s no getting past it, memes run the internet and you should get involved. Just remember our earlier point – only where you can make a relevant link to your business, products and services. Less is more, sometimes. Don’t be desperate.


f you want some more inspiration for creating content, we recently compiled a list of the best hair, nails and beauty influencers to follow that would be a great place to start.



How do I maximise engagement and turn followers in to bookings?


Maximising engagement is the most important thing if you want to grow your followers and reach. By “engagement” we mean getting your followers to interact with your content in some way – liking, sharing, commenting, etc. Once you have an established following, it’s then about how you convert those new fans into bookings for your business.

Both of those things come down to a really key element: the call to action.

Every post you put out, whether it’s designed to engage or designed to convert, need to have a call to action, or a “next step”. You never want to let your follower finish a post without something for them to do that moves them in the right direction for you.


When trying to drive engagement, that could be:


  • Questions. The best way to drive an engagement is to ask a question, for users to answer in your comments. “What do you want to see from us next?” is a great one, because not only are you driving engagement, you’re sourcing advice on what content you could be creating.
  • The “read more” approach. If you have a website, you can use your social media platforms as teasers to longer content on your website. Giving them a taster of the content on social media with a link to articles on your blog, for example, gives them a reason to continue their journey with you. (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that’s what we’ve done here – but it worked, right?)


When your content is focussed directly on making bookings (remember the 80/20 rule), you can be more direct with it:


  • Contact details. Leave your phone number or email address in the post to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you for bookings.
  • Contact forms. If you have a website, make sure it has a quick and easy form to fill in to request a call back (and add an option to sign up for emails from you so that you can send them offers).



Further advice


Our top tips for success:


  1. Remember the objectives. There are two things you’re looking to achieve from your social media strategy – to grow your audience so you can reach more people and to turn those followers in to bookings. Write those two things down and have it visible to you when you’re working on your social media – everything you do, ask yourself will it achieve one of those two things?


  2. Know your audience and listen to them. Your social media is not about you, it’s about your audience. Content they want to see. In order to do that you need to really think about who you’re speaking to. You can’t please everybody, so think carefully about who your clients are and make sure they’re always satisfied first.


  3. Be patient. You aren’t going to get a million followers overnight, and you aren’t going to fill your diaries in week 1 just because you’ve started posting on Instagram. It takes time to grow and nurture an audience, but it will be worth it in the end.


Some great resources for getting started:

Some great resources for getting started:


Later is an easy to use, affordable (from about £7 a month) social media marketing platform that lets you plan and schedule your Instagram, Facebook and other channels with a drag and drop calendar. You can even preview what your feeds will look like after the posts go out and track things like the best time of day for you to post and the best hashtags to use. There’s even a free version if you don’t need all of the features.


Canva is an amazing graphic design website where you can create custom graphics for your social media accounts. The website has dozens of templates - everything from Facebook banners to Instagram stories to Twitter posts – so there’s always plenty of inspiration and it can save you loads of time. There’s a free version of this one too!


Unfold is our favourite and is great for when you want to make content on-the-go. It’s a totally free app for iPhone or Android that has stunning Instagram story templates that you can drop your images and text in to. This should be the first thing you download if you want to grow your Instagram following and look like an absolute pro in the process.


You may have to pay for this one, but for £24 a month you’ll be able to create amazing, branded videos for your social media profiles without any editing experience at all. You also get access to over 3,000 music tracks to add to your videos included. The general rule on social media is that if it can be a video, make it a video. This is a great option to make that happen.

Keep an eye out on our blog for more content in our Time to Improve series, or tag us on social @capitalhair with your questions and content suggestions!  < engagement driving ;)