Creating Your Personal Brand
The internet has fooled us all! Think about it; social media in general makes it seem oh so easy to think that all it takes to have a successful brand is to post cute pictures and funny/ inspirational quotes on a regular basis – after all, that’s what the beauty gurus do – and they are successful..
But it’s far from that simple. Creating your personal brand means committing to finding a definition of who you are, and how you fit into this industry. Maybe it’s your business practices, your social media presence, or your work in the community – every angle you look at it, your brand has to create the same impact.
You need a consistent message or theme to present to your audience. Think of the big picture – don’t just focus on gaining likes, views, or followers – a personal brand is what you can deliver to your customer.
So where do you start when creating your personal brand? You start by creating your story.
Whats Your Story?
Your followers are far more likely to book with you if they feel like they know you. You need a decent bio/about me section. If potential clients feel like they know nothing about you as a human being, they are far less likely to reach out to you then if they feel like they can relate to you in some capacity. The people visiting your Instagram/Facebook/website are not just the women who have already visited your shop. They are going to be referrals, friends of clients, or random visits from a search engine or hashtags.
Potential clients need to connect with you on a personal level, your “story” to book with you, so make sure your own story is out there for consumption. There are a lot of other people out there trying, just like you, to gain their business, and the client knows it. Give them a good reason to decide on you.
So what does a good story entail?
Start with a strong, memorable opening statement. Almost like a cover letter of a resume. The point of the story is to sum up why you are a good, qualified choice for them. If you can add a short video or picture with you doing hair, all the better. Put your best foot forward by making sure the background is clean, bright, and clutter free, (don’t let potential clients focus on the wrong thing) dress nicely, wear makeup and as always…make sure you are in good lighting!
Add a testimonial to the end of your About Me section. Show new clients that your current clients stand by your work.
Be honest and authentic. Tell your audience who you are, what you do, and WHY you do it. Write the way you speak – i.e do not use fancy terminology that no one would ever hear come from your mouth in real life. If you use slang – example “Yassss” or abbreviations, just make sure they are easily understood. The last thing you want is for someone to wonder what “icymi” or “on fleek” means.
Keep it brief, and stick to the point. Like I mentioned early, think “cover letter.” The clients aren’t ready for the whole resume yet.. This is not the time to share that you come from a long line of hairdressers. Do not expect your customer to read about your grandmother braiding hair in the 60’s. Instead, tell them the “why’s” – let them know why they need you. Use your key selling points to keep them reading, and give them a call to action so that they know to book you.
Your Specialty: Extensions!
You specialize in a particular type of hair styling – extensions – and that’s a very good thing. It would be advantageous for you to make sure that your platform really emphasizes this. And don’t stop there…
For example, if you specialize in nanolinks, add videos that show how your method differs from other extensions and post it on your page. Do this, and you will set yourself apart from the competition because you are providing proof that you do what you say you can do.
Tell a story with photos
A lot of hair extensionists, and stylists, post before and after looks – which is great, but if you want to stand out even more, show the good in between stages as well – perfect sectioning, maybe even the progress of your clients hair from when they first started wearing the extensions to 6 months later (to advertise healthy hair growth) close up on beads, maybe photos of products you swear by using with extensions, add personality, but keep to the theme of your brand.
You can create short videos explaining the different types of hair you are selling. Tell them it’s 100% cuticle intact European Hair etc – explain what that is, and why that matters. Clients are not going to be educated like you – they need to know “what’s so special and why should I care” Add in why you choose that kind of hair rather than another, and emphasize the importance of adhering to proper maintenance. Get them excited! You want to show that you are knowledgeable about what you do, and that they are making the right decision.
Whether you work from a salon, or your own home suite, make sure your hair is done whenever you are present in your salon, or open for business.
Yes, I understand that you do hair for a living and your business/family life is hectic, so you have no interest in doing your hair, and just let your work speak for itself. But you cannot expect people to buy into your brand and book a service from you if look undone.
You want to make sure you are presentable at all times. You, your salon, and your products are all a representation of your personal brand. You might think, “well, I’m just working at home in a small town, does it really matter that much if my client sees my kids toys all over the place? I am not working at a high end salon, after all.” YES it matters! No matter where you work from you should make sure that everything is clean and organized. If you have high standards for the appearance of your home or slaon clients will think you have high standards in other aspects of your life.
In regards to wearing the extensions, I’m sure you have all at one time or another been asked during a consultation, or even when you’re out for the night, “are you wearing the extensions right now?” followed by, “can I see/feel them?” Suffice it to say, practice what you preach.
Charge what your brand is worth
If you sincerely believe that your product and/or services are priced reasonably, feel free to ignore this.
A lot of times businesses that are just starting out feel the pressure to offer lower than fair prices to gain a clientele.
Or there are those who take their city or neighbourhoods into account, and price their products and services lower than what they really should be. Stop that! Just because you have a shop in a specific part of the country that may have a low cost of living doesn’t mean you should undercut the price. Likewise if you’re new. Be confident and sell your brand. You worked damn hard to get your certification, and know you are great at what you do. Trust me – it may sound appealing at first to drop your profit and get bodies through the door – but clients who are interested in low cost before all else are not the type of long term clients you are going to want.
Think of it like this; new clients could correlate pricing with quality. Some girls do not care at all about their natural hair nor the hair extensions quality or may think “it’s fine.” We know our hair is superior, but you don’t want to get sucked into dealing with those types of girls. They won’t be loyal, they will bounce around to whomever gives them the best deal, never mind their work, and may blame you if something goes wrong demanding their money back, leaving bad reviews, and generally making your life miserable.
Offer Top Knotch Service
To build return clients, (and not one time customers) you need to serve whoever is in your chair and keep that thought process first.
Don’t think about how much you’re getting paid. Don’t think about the tip you may get. Build your personal brand by delivering quality and going above and beyond to service your customer. That is what they will remember.
A great example of this would be to ask them if they would like their hair straightened or curled after the install. If you notice some grey hairs, spray it with some root touch up spray. Cut and blend the extensions before they leave. It shows that you care about their hair, its health, and their look as a whole.
It also shows that you’re not just focused on money. That will get you a client who continues to come back to you because they know that you care about them and they know that you care about their hair. This client is completely different than a one-time customer who may be coming to you because they want long hair for two seconds for a night out – a spur of the moment want and nothing more.
Relationship Building & Reputation
Make sure to invest in your relationship with both previous clients, and new ones…even if you perform a simple service for a presumed “one-time client” like a removal of someone else’s work, they come back to you for a more expensive service like a full new head install, and their future maintenance.
It’s a win/win because it not only means more money, but you’ve earned a client who becomes a repeat customer that you can bank on.
Clients will come back to for two main reasons – You did your job so well the first time, and you keep in touch. If your customer is satisfied with their service, they will come back, but you can speed that up keeping in touch with confirmation texts/emails for upcoming appointments, (we use; app.shedul.com, it’s awesome, and its free!) fun, engaging, social media account (you should definitely have all of your clients following you. If you don’t want to straight up ask them, take a good photo of them and tag them as a little nudge, or have a cute little chalk board sign in your studio with the wifi password along with a “don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @hair_flair_extensions or something along those lines) and even newsletters.
Tools like mailchimp are a great way to create newsletters, look super professional, and keep in touch with your client database. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – you could send a newsletter once a month featuring, i.e. your favourite shampoo/ conditioner combo to use with extensions – add a couple of good photos and a paragraph about why you like it. Go above and beyond as mentioned before but build the relationship with them via communication because with that relationship, and that repeat customer, could surely mean referrals.
So because you’ve spent time sourcing a high-quality product, you invested in a relationship with your future customer. You wanted them to come back, and now you keep up a correspondence with them through emails, texts, social media and newsletters. At the end of the day, they will become a repeat customer who buys into your brand, as well as helps to grow your reputation of having a high-quality extension line, are knowledgeable, and professional.
Quick question, what are you currently doing to better your relationship with your current clientele?
Invest in your brand
Merriam Webster defines the word optimize as, “to make as perfect, effective, or functional as possible.”
Branding your business needs to optimize all of its features. If you have a website (which please tell me you do!) it should have great photos (you can purchase awesome photos on websites like shutterstock.com) an easy to navigate flow, and should be user friendly.
You need to invest in your brand and be willing to spend the money that your brand needs to put its best foot forward. Even little things like good lighting in the studio, candles to give a soft, welcoming ambiance, fresh cut flowers, even coffee or donuts for early morning clients. Do these little things to set yourself apart from other extensionists. Remember, getting extensions, for most people, is a big chunk of money to be spending on themselves. Make it a really nice, relaxing experience for them. Whenever they want to get their hair done, you want to be the first place they think to go, even if you cost a little more, or aren’t as fast as someone else.
Would you want to pay for an hour long massage in a chaotic setting? Maybe some of you wouldn’t care, but I bet given the option between a calm, clean, atmosphere with snacks, fluffy white towels, and mineral water, versus a messy, loud, space, that you are not going to go for the latter.
Who is your ideal client? Have you ever thought about this?
It is understandable that you want to cast out a net and reel back in all the fish. However, with your hair extension business, you are catering to women with medical hair loss issues, thinning hair, girls who want you to do something “crazy and fun” as well as girls who just want to look like a Barbie doll. Or maybe you don’t like blondes because they are always saying the hair looks yellow. (love you blondes, btw) Which clients are your favourite to extension? The ones who never thought they would be able to have beautiful hair, and tear up and hug you? The ones who give you complete creative control to make a customized masterpiece? The ones who want them for that special occasion like their wedding or graduation? Or helping women while they struggle through chemotherapy?
It helps to know the types of women you want in your salon, so that you aren’t marketing to the ones you don’t want.
Client Reviews and Testimonials
Do you have yourself listed on Google Business? It’s a great way to have another platform on which to be discovered. Also a nice tool for your clients to quickly find something, like your address, if they’ve forgotten.
You can ask some clients to go ahead and leave a Google review. The same thing goes for Yelp. These are vast platforms that people go to when looking for a new service provider in their area. And if you have reviews on these platforms, potential customers don’t have to go hunt for your website to know about the services that you provide.
They act as the middleman between you and your potential client. If you ask a current customer to leave a 5-star review, you can almost guarantee that others take in that feedback and use that to seek you out and grow your business. Try to get them to not only leave the star rating but a brief review (ex. “Always a pleasure dealing with Melanie”, or “This girl really knows her stuff”) You can also have them add a selfie of them with their hair looking amazing. Always comment back when this happens, even if it’s a mere, “thank you so much” – it will increase your SEO ranking, and help you appear higher up on the page when someone googles “Hair extensions.”
All about Connections
When growing your personal brand within the beauty industry, it is a good idea to associate yourself with a couple of girls/businesses to refer each other clients too – who want information on your respective specialties.
You could send out a newsletter, or make a post about an exceptional colourist you know who is familiar with, and knows to work with the nano link (with a great photo of her work) if you do not colour hair or extensions. You could even keep her business cards in your salon to pass along. In return, she would do the same. This can really help to put your name out there, and help associate you with a brand that is reputable and trusted.
Let people know that you have some affiliation with other businesses that know how to treat people and are credible. You are what you eat.
At the end of the day, your work will always speak for itself. You must have quality images, and ideally video too, of what you do, online. Be honest, are your current photos a proper representation of your work, or do you feel the need to tell people “it looked so much better in person, I wish you could’ve seen it in real life!”
Whether you have everything compiled on one Instagram account, one Facebook account, a gallery on your website, on Pinterest, or “look books” printed in your waiting area, you need to show your quality of work.
With mobile platforms like Instagram, it’s never been easier. You can use a high-quality cell phone camera to take good images. Have your client or model against a clean solid coloured background. If you can do this in front of a window, let sunlight hit them – this should take the place of an expensive light. Also, take a lot of photos. Not just a couple that are “good enough.” If you are rushed and don’t have time, it would almost be advantageous of you to forgo taking a photo altogether. Instead, ask the client to take a good selfie in their car (usually car lighting is really good) and send it to you.
If you’re interacting with potential clients or current customers who have questions or concerns, try to answer them within 24 hours. There are ways to set up automatic responses on email and facebook so even if you can’t get back to them properly at that time, a message will be sent letting them know you will be in touch as soon as you get the chance. Let them know that they’re correspondence with you is important by appreciating their time and getting them the information they’re asking you for.
If you’re open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a customer comes in at 8:55 p.m. to ask about your services/ hair extensions, help them! Slightly annoying, yes, but you are open for another 5 minutes – you can do a quick consultation, book their install, and get them on their way. Even offer them a beverage so they don’t feel unwelcome or rushed. They aren’t coming last minute to be jerks – they are obviously very interested in your business and this was probably the only time they could see you.
Keep your word so that you can create dependability and consistency for your customer base.
Let your personality shine in how you operate your business. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but the ones who love your business, will love you too.
We hope you take these branding tips and find pieces that really resonate with you. Never think you have perfected the art of branding, or know everything there is to know about branding and marketing…in fact if you ever do, get out of business because you are no longer growing. Business is always growing and evolving, just as you are always going to grow and evolve. Look back at this blog often to mold your brand and hold yourself accountable if you slip up! You can do this!