The Social Butterfly

EVERYONE was talking about social media at Joico’s Destination Education 2018 in the Dominican Republic – how it can make you, and sometimes break you with the pressure of constantly being “on it”.

With Instagram registering 4.2 billion likes a day, The Social Butterfly panel discussion at Joico’s Destination Education 2018 in the Dominican Republic was an opportunity to interact with a panel of icons of the internet – hair pros who’ve rocketed to fame by strategically promoting their talents on everything from Snapchat to Instagram. The insights came thick and fast…



Jenny Strebe

Phil Ring

Larisa Love

Ricardo Santiago

Olivia Smalley

Denis de Souza

Marissa Marino

How has social media changed our industry?

Ricardo Santiago: “It’s completely evolved our industry. I used to go to hair shows, and could only dream of being an onstage star one day. Social media has created a new platform for all of us, and we are all platform artists now. It’s powerful. Lots of today’s stars have been discovered through social media – without it, they could have remained invisible.”

Phil Ring: “It’s done a lot for the industry, and it’s done a lot for me personally. I now have access to images from creative people all around the world, instantly. It’s accelerated trends, and it’s also expanded my network of contacts immensely.”

Marissa Marino: “Social media has given us a portfolio and a reference book for clients. Back in the day, one of your clients might have recommended you to one of their friends who’d complimented them on their new hairstyle. Now clients can see EVERYTHING you do, and it’s been such a powerful tool for building a client base.”

Jenny Strebe: “It’s built an amazing hairdressing community. I’ve been talking on Instagram for five years with a stylist in Ireland, and tonight I met her face to face for the very first time, here at Destination Education. Part of the reason she’s here is because I’m here – it’s not called social media for nothing.”

Olivia Smalley: “I would say social media is 50% of my life at this point. Between going viral on my posts and now teaching social media, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Most importantly, social media has helped me meet some of the most incredible people and now those who I call friends. These new friends relate to me when it comes to work life and home life and help me create that balance.”

We all know social media can be a great marketing tool. But how much of your personal life should you share on social media?

Larisa Love: “When you’re starting out it’s important to focus on what you want to be successful at – which for most of us here is being a great hair artist – so you need to stick to images of your work. The more followers you get, the more people want to get to know the person behind the chair, so it’s fine to introduce some personal stuff. I stick to about 80% business and 20% personal.”

Ricardo Santiago: “Because Instagram is so saturated now with great hair images, it’s becoming increasingly important to create a point of difference. Instagram Stories [posts that disappear after 24 hours] is a great way of shedding a little light on yourself personally without impeding on the look of your main feed.”

Denis de Souza: “When I started on Instagram seven years ago, I had two accounts: one personal, one professional. To be honest, the personal account was successful, while the other plateaued. Eventually I integrated them both together – for example, documenting the travel and the people I met on jobs, along with the work I created on those jobs – and that’s when things really took off.”

What is the best social media channel to use?

All panellists agreed that Instagram is the best channel for hairstylists, however Jenny Strebe added: “I think we’re sleeping on YouTube. Kids watch YouTube the way we used to watch TV, and I think we need to harness that.”

How do you go about building a following?

Jenny Strebe: “If you go right to the bottom of my social media account, you’ll see pictures of my family alongside my hair pictures. What I noticed, was that people liked my hair pictures more than pictures of my family. You just have to put stuff out there and work out what people want to see – and act accordingly.”

Olivia Smalley: “When you post a photo, be sure to share you’ve posted in Instagram stories! When you do this, put it in black and white or block out the face, etc. Use stories as a teaser, then vertically on the right-hand side of the post put your @ handle. Naturally, they will want to click to the next post but will land on your page instead!”

How often should you post on social media?

Larisa Love: “You must post consistently – every day, at least. The first thing we do in the morning, and the last thing we do at night is check our phone, right? So, you need to have something new for people to see, to keep them engaged. I travel a lot, and when I’m not travelling I’m on the salon floor, but that doesn’t stop me posting every day. I often make time to create content in advance – video tutorials, mostly – so that I have something to post every day when I know I’m going to be busy. Social media is an integral part of my job – as integral as cutting hair.”

Olivia Smalley: “I spend about eight hours a day creating content – and then I go home and read about the latest apps in bed. I’m obsessed! There’s an app called UNUM that dissects your Instagram feed and tells you the best times to post. I swear by it!”

How do you deal with online haters?

Marissa Marino: “A lot of my followers are 13-year-old girls and they can be so mean! I am a sensitive person and I don’t want to read all this negativity – why are they on my page if they don’t like what I do? They’re my pictures, and if people don’t like what I do, I just delete their comments and block them from my feed.”

Phil Ring: “I remember when I doubled my prices at work – and lost half my clients as a result. That’s when I had lots of time on my hands and started experimenting with my Pixellated Colour technique and posting pictures online. I wasn’t very good at first, and I got lots of negative feedback from other colourists who mocked what I was doing. I just strategically deleted various comments so that the people who were encouraging me looked nice, and the ones who weren’t looked really bad!”

Olivia Smalley: “There is always negativity out there. To be honest, the people leaving nasty comments make themselves look bad. The best thing when you get haters is that your friends jump in to defend you. I love that!”

Should you ever pay people to follow you?

The panel was unanimous: No!

To follow more of the action from Joico’s Destination Education 2018, head to the hashtags #hairjoi and #destinationjoi2018 on Instagram.