It’s 2011 and definitely time to ‘join the conversation’! A cliché, I know but I had to say something to get your attention!
Social networks have opened up a whole new world for your business, giving you freedom to engage with customers and forge relationships that were never before possible. The instant nature of this communication means you can personalise your brand messages – perfect for an industry that is centred on the individual. You do not want to miss out on this!
I like to think of Facebook as a social extension to your web site – plus it’s a great help in directing traffic to your website. The first thing to note is that you don’t have to be a guru on the web to set one up. You can quickly get to the point where you’re engaging and interacting with your customers – and the great thing is you can be as creative as you like.
When setting up your Facebook make sure you opt for creating a business ‘page’. This type of account has all the functions you will need; it’s basically a profile for businesses, brands and products -keeping everything within Facebook’s rules and regulations. Avoid, setting up a ‘profile’ for anything other than a human being – Facebook will remove you.
Get your customers to ‘like’ what they see!
Once you have filled in your business standard information (which Facebook will take you through). The next stage is to make your page interactive and attractive to your customers and potentials. Picking out a good profile picture is a great start with the added option of installing various applications that enable you to customise the tabs on your page, for a variety of different uses. There are tabs available for competitions, pictures, discussion boards, customer focuses and much more – just have fun with it!
The next stage is to attract a crowd! The best way to do this is to continually remind your customers that you have gone social. Post messages in related groups; email the page URL to the mailing lists and include a Facebook icon on all your promotional material; including your website. By ‘liking’ your page they are giving permission for your status up-dates to keep popping up in their news feeds, serving as a reminder. Be careful not to abuse this though and annoy your ‘fans’
To creativity and beyond!
Now you’re up and running there is no limit to your creativity and plenty of promotional activities you can engage your clients and fans with. Filling your page with content that will stimulate and draw attention to you and your brand is just what you need; here are few ideas;
- Communicate new products and updates with before and after shots.
- Create a facebook event which invites people to your salon or to raise awareness of a new product launch or service offering.
- Post updates on staff news and company milestones not to mention any charity involvements you may have.
- Create fun engaging competitions; for example, “guess the top selling product of January to win a free treatment/gift voucher.” Or “Like this to be entered into a free prize draw.” Or “Tell us about your favourite…to win”
- Advertise last minute appointment availability – a great solution to ‘no-shows’
- Add personality to sales and promotions: “get ready for our superbly amazing fantastical offer”
- Host Q&A sessions where fans can post questions to get your expertise and opinion.
- Pay attention to your customers – if they’re willing, you can document their news or milestones (weddings/new job/fundraisers/new customers/new baby) and reasons they love to visit you.
And this is just the beginning. You can also publish salon newsletters, blogs, marketing brochures and treatment menus – there are no rules here!
Transparency: the good, the bad and the ugly!
There are plenty of benefits that you can tap into here but also a few things to avoid. Such an open stage of communication is great but your message needs thought, you’re putting it out there and bearing all for your customers and the world to see. Transparency, if taken too lightly could be potentially damaging to your brand. The trickiest scenario is handling any complaints you come across. If someone puts a negative response on your wall, simply respond with an apology and offer a solution. Other people who see the message will be impressed by your level of service.
You are entering your business into a new world so don’t forget to adjust your tone! Facebook is all about inviting conversation on a personal level. You’ve got to keep your mouse on the pulse to avoid boring your fans with irrelevant, out of fashion information. There’s no harm in including the odd promotional message however these should be diluted with two-way chatter. Something you should definitely include is those great testimonials from your clients, so invite them to share their experience and reviews about your salon.
Let your software assist!
This is where your software comes in (well I just had to mention it); with premier’s new web-booking system a great idea would be to post a link on your facebook so your customers can easily book appointments online. Which not only takes the pressure off both your telephones and salon staff but it can also prevent customer frustration. Also – by keeping an accurate track record of customer history and purchasing habits you can personalise the whole Facebook experience even further.
*When you are socially up and running – don’t forget to ‘like’ us (premier) on Facebook! The least I can do is let you know when I write another blog!