That brief lull following the holiday rush should be utilized to get your salon brimming with business in the new year. Here’s how to get rolling before the ball drops. 

Social Media is King

According to Michael Cole, a Minnesota-based global educator for 30 years and co-founder of Summit Salon Business Center, a key name in North American salon management, “salon owners absolutely need to master social media to fill in their hours,” he says. “It’s the single most important aspect of managing a salon right now. I can’t, in good conscience, tell people to do anything else with their downtime because the rules have completely changed in the past five years.”

By implementing proven social media marketing tactics, Cole says you don’t need to upsell your clients behind the chair, “because they already know what you’re great at, and are sold on what they will get from you. Basically, that’s the reason they’re there.”

Exponential Exposure

Focusing on social media multiplies your chances of getting referrals
in an exponential way. “Handing out business cards from person to person is actually a really old practice, whereas a simple before-and-
after picture will get you 15 referrals at once,” says Cole. “So instead of communicating with just one person at a time, posting ‘I have an opening for a cut, colour, retouch, or foils’ on your social media account where you already have traction will get those clients coming in, and consistently boost your referrals month after month.” 


Mastering Social Media Marketing According to Michael Cole

  • Š  Think like a marketer. “The goal is to fill the empty spots so you don’t need to worry about upselling every client who comes in.”

  • Š  Look at your bookings three weeks in advance to fill every available hour in your calendar.

  • Š  Follow up with clients that have liked your work on social media, and create posts with incentives to fill your available hours.

  • Š  Make sure at least 80 per cent of your followers are clients, and not just friends or family. “It’s what will make them come back to you.”

  • Š  Instagram is the lookbook you’re using behind the chair, so make sure you’re posting photos that make your brand look appealing. 

Building an Education Calendar for the Upcoming Year

All big manufacturers have education managers that will come to your salon and create a customized program for your specific needs.

  • Š  Build an annual education budget for the year. A one-day class is approximately $200 per person, and Ritcey says a good average is to take a three classes a year, which puts stylists at a $600 investment.

  • Š  Should a stylist have concerns over covering class costs, you can help them attain that budget by offering to put money aside from each client transaction to chip away at the goal.

  • Š  Take a day-long retreat out of the salon to promote team building, and bring an expert with a fresh set of eyes to help put the focus on what needs to be accomplished for business growth. “For example, shooting better  Instagram photos would be a great goal to have, since that social media platform is the biggest online business driver at the moment,” says Ritcey. 

Education is Key

The best way to utilize downtime efficiently is to focus on education. “January is the perfect time to really take stock and collectively look at your business. For salon owners, it’s an amazing time to build an education plan for the business and stylists, while clearly identifying what needs to be assessed in terms of education throughout the coming year,” shares Terry Ritcey, national education director for Redken Canada.

Next, he says to take a look at four basic elements of the hair business: cut, colour, finishing, and barbering. “Look at your year ahead and focus on where you want to grow and develop.”

Think Digital

One you’ve set the tools in place to create a great salon experience, it’s time to focus on your digital presence and create effective digital campaigns. “The whole digital footprint is your currency in today’s business,” says Ritcey. “It’s how you master your presence and online image, but it’s also about obtaining as much information as you can from your clients. Newsletters are very important to get your message across, as is using social media to be recognized at large as the colour, cut or balayage expert you are.” And for that you need to start posting content that will make your name known. 


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