Salon owners: how to create a social media plan you actually have time for
Running a successful business and keeping up an active social media presence can feel like taking on two full-time jobs at once. However, these two roles are becoming more and more inseparable – a standout Instagram post can gain you countless new clients, and your regulars will love it if you’re interacting and answering their questions regularly on Facebook, for example.
But, what’s the key to this necessary balancing act? Debbie Lewis, Salon Socials founder and social media consultant, says it’s all in forward planning. Here’s how to get ahead while keeping your salon’s content tailored and fresh.
“Regardless of where your business is, you always need a sketch of where it’s going, especially socially. This is why I always have a strategy day each November to think about the upcoming year,” says Lewis. “We consider the important events of each month and the type of social content that would work around those times. “The planning you do in November for the rest of the year is a rough draft, then every month you should take an hour or so to narrow it down, scheduling at least a month ahead to ensure everything is ready in time. You could do this as a 90-day plan with an equivalent of three-hour planning instead if this suits you better. On top of the annual and monthly planning, I then hold a morning marketing meet-up every Monday to discuss the upcoming week.”
Six key focuses for strategy days
- Where? Posting on all social platforms can be time-consuming and unnecessary. Work out which sites work best for your audience and your brand image.
- When? Think about the best ways to reach your audience in terms of the timing. For example, we found that posting during advert breaks of popular shows saw a huge spike in engagement.
- What? Be laser-focused when choosing what to post and speak directly to specific customers as opposed to all of them. We used to cover so much ground it became confusing to post about them all.
- How? Consider whether you are going to post manually or use a scheduling system such as Hootsuite or Plannerly. Note, these pre- scheduling tools can inhibit your natural reach and engagement.
- Who? Are you using a design team for your graphics or can you handle it manually through a programme such as Canva? I would often work with a team for things such as Stories and Reels.
- Why? Question exactly why you’re doing this and your salon’s core message, otherwise you’ll end up with a confusing mash-up of imagery and wording.
Batch your information
Batching is collecting all necessary information and imagery for your posts together in one place, including sign-up details and hashtags. I use a simple template on Canva that includes my branding, so you can tell at first glance who the post belongs to,” says Lewis. “Then, I’ll tweak the content slightly for each post, as the algorithms on social media platforms don’t like duplicates. If you’re going to use a template, switch up at least 20–25% of the wording to make it fresh each time. Other great apps that have templates include Dazzle and InShot.
Use "social rocks"
Rocks are replicable pieces of content with a twist that can be posted regularly. The ‘customer buy-in’ journey has three stages: awareness, overcoming objections, and the sale. We spend a lot of time in the ‘sale’ portion when we’re trying to get people to book, but we only need around 20% of our content to reflect this. Instead, balance this with lighter content that is interactive with the audience, rather than just ‘buy this’ messages.
For example, we used to do ‘Manicure Monday’ and each week switch up between aftercare, gallery images, quotes and ‘Meet the Nail Techs’ pieces – so, lots of angles, but all under the same title. Once you decide a themed day that suits your business, it’s easy to batch, replicate and put it in your plan every Monday as a ‘rock’.
Repetion isn't a deal-breaker
Repeating content isn’t ideal but, let’s face it, if you’re a solo entrepreneur, it’s better to have content out there than radio silence. The latest statistics show that less than 20% of your content is seen by your followers on Facebook, for example, so you’re pretty safe to repeat it every three or four months,” advises Lewis.
“However, remember that social platforms hate repetitive behaviour such as pre-scheduling and copying hashtags because it’s not true social behaviour. So, make sure you act like a human and not a business or they will try and monetise what you do through ads and boosted content.
Debbie Lewis is founder of digital consultancy Salon Socials and a regional ecosystem manager for NatWest.