What do you meme? Knowing your audience as a hair pro on social

by | 30 Nov 2021

In a world of TikTok trends and viral memes, knowing what social media content is right for your audience is key. Take control of your content creation with advice on audience awareness from five hair pros 

The way we work is changing. No longer confined to a quick snap of a hair transformation in the salon chair, content creation for social media has become a vital aspect of many hairdressers’ working week. Whether dedicating a day to capturing new work or editing a video in-between clients, the shift to TikTok and Reels has meant more time than ever is spent creating, editing and posting carefully crafted content. The good news? Being active online can help build a community across social channels, attract new clients and keep existing ones engaged. The bad news? Deciding what content is right for you and your audience can feel like an impossible task when met with a new trend every time you open an app. 

When you see a new trending audio, a popular meme or a particular editing style going viral, it can be tempting to try the trend for yourself – especially if it’s specific to the hairdressing community. Sure, it’s great to engage with other hair pros as well as your client base, but how exactly do you keep both parties interested in what you share? It’s a discussion more and more hairdressers are having following the rise of hairdresser memes and reaction videos. 

Sherri Belanger, a San Diego salon owner, recently shared an Instagram post with the message “stop client shaming, start client praising,” in response to some posts she’d seen.

Sherri Belanger in the salon with a client
Sherri Belanger

“There is an ’empowered hairstylist’ movement that seems to be happening which I think is incredible, however we have to be mindful of how we use that confidence and power when it comes to social media,” she explains. “Though many of our audiences are both stylists and clients, it’s the clients that allow us the opportunity to do what we love while making a living.” 

“Before you post anything you should put yourself in your clients, or potential new clients’ shoes, and review through their lenses,” she adds. Sherri notes that it is important to consider the purpose of the post – would it inspire the client, or encourage them to book an appointment? “It really goes back to who the audience is that you’re serving too. For me, I’m a salon owner and stylist who coaches other salon owners, so my posts often speak about salon business because that’s the audience I’m primarily speaking to.” 

Are you B2B to B2C? 

Similarly, Most Wanted Legend Sophia Hilton reiterates the importance of considering who your business is for before sharing content on social media. Having a personal account and a separate one for the salon has allowed Sophia to share differing messaging which appeals to either clients, or other hair pros through her education offering. Like many, Sophia works as an educator, as well being a salon owner, so appreciates the need for industry-focused content. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of content and I actually find it really engaging. Put in the right place it has great value to increase your following via Reels,” she says.

“The only thing that isn’t being spoken about is which audience it’s being seen by, and who is producing it for what reason. My business is B2B. I make the majority of my money through hairdressers. Therefore, me producing this sort of content would make sense, as it would connect me to other hairdressers, enabling us to have a deeper sense of connection with each other because we share the same problems,” Sophia explains. “Therefore, the best person to produce this sort of content should be someone who is either an educator, or a hairdresser who is looking to move into education and isn’t building a client base.” 

“For stylists or salons, I don’t believe it’s the best content to put out. The engagement you’re going to be getting is from hairdressers, not clients, and you need to question what is the purpose of your page.Sophia Hilton

Keep it professional but personal

Known for his engaging, shareable social posts, PAINTER Casey Coleman has hit the sweet-spot when it comes to creating trending content which is appreciated by both clients and fellow pros. “My clients absolutely love [my TikToks and Reels]. They come in laughing and requesting me to do different types of videos,” he says. “My clients and I have a great relationship because they all get my humour. The same goes for my online audience. They follow me because they find me relatable.” Speaking from his own experience, Casey has found that putting a humorous spin on real situations can help when approaching awkward situations and subjects with clients.

However, Casey also believes that you shouldn’t create content that simultaneously tries to appeal to two different audiences, as this can complicate your messaging. “Your page should be geared toward either clients or hairstylists, not both,” he states. “Let’s not forget that first and foremost we are hairdressers, so delivering content that speaks to other hairdressers is a great way to attract potential ‘students.’ If it’s clients you want to attract, maybe think about educating clients and helping them manage their hair at home.” 

Aware of the growing influence of video content, Casey is also an advocate for adapting the style of content produced in order remain current to the target audience, especially when selling education. “Currently, personality-driven content is key. It doesn’t have to be ‘piss-takes’, it can be putting a funny spin on an educational topic.”

Black and white headshot of Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman

Similarly, Casey also stresses the importance of creating relatable content for your followers. “People follow me because they find me open and honest. They like that I share everything about myself, my mental health struggles and the fact that I talk on behalf of my audience. The amount of messages I get daily from people who thank me for putting a smile on their face is priceless.”

“A healthy balance of education, inspiration and entertainment is all you need when planning your social media posts. Also, ask yourself who your audience is. Clients? Hairdressers? Students? And from there, you’ll be able to determine what the majority of your content should look like.” Casey Coleman

Find the balance

As reigning Most Wanted Colour Expert, Ashleigh Hodges also knows a thing or two about getting her work seen on social media. Her role as a director of the Hairdotcom Art Team means she is also heavily involved with education, so is continually having to keep hairdressers and clients engaged with her posts. “If you’re showcasing styles or colour breakdowns, a hairdresser will feel engaged by this, and a client will see you as a leader in your field,” she says. “If you want to share content for both [clients and peers], think about your professional voice and how much you want to share in each area,” she explains. “If clients are your main source of income but you want to start being educational, then start doing two educational posts within your grid of nine. If you earn from both clients and education, then balance your grid of nine to showcase both.”

Similarly, Ashleigh also emphasises the importance of balancing your social media output with regards to mental health. While showcasing personality is a key element of building a following, keeping some personal details private is crucial for setting boundaries. “I think ‘close friends lists’ are a great way to do this, and it’s better for your mental health to be able to share things on a more personal level, rather than with the whole world,” she adds. Of course, this also provides some much-needed time away from your phone, as it removes the need to continuously post updates for all your followers. 

“It depends on your personal brand, but people buy into people, especially in this industry. You need to showcase your personality, but not over-share.” Ashleigh Hodges

Ashleigh Hodges working colour client's hair
Ashleigh Hodges

Don’t focus on the numbers 

Alongside the heightened demand for trends, there’s also greater pressure for posts to perform well. It’s easy to focus on numbers and track engagement, then become despondent when your post doesn’t get the response you’d hoped for. However, you and your audience is unique, so don’t be afraid to find your voice and take ownership of your own little area of the internet. “My audience and everyone’s audience is different,” says global educator and colourist, Jack Howard. “Find your voice and don’t be afraid of the numbers by turning off the likes if you want.” 

Similarly, it’s good to build a relationship with your followers, and also those you follow. Jack suggests that starting conversations with other people who do what you do is a great way to get involved with the industry. “Don’t be afraid to comment on other peoples’ pages, as well as using all the features on Instagram; go live and get used to being on camera. There is so much positive stuff you can do and enjoy – clients love seeing you as the expert you are.” 

Jack Howard colouring hair
Jack Howard

If you’re looking to post educational content, remember that sometimes less is more. “People want bite size pieces of information, and some personality too,” Jack says. “I used to try and put so much information into one post, but actually a quick tip on how I hold my brush resonates better, so I keep it simple.”

“Instagram is part of my business – for my education, for my brand endorsements and also for prospective clients. I’ve worked on my tone of voice and refined my message. My page is for all of these things. The big question for a hair page is who are you talking to and what do you want from your audience?”Jack Howard

Feeling inspired and ready to refocus your feed? Here are some tops tips on how to nail imagery for Instagram from Sophia Hilton >

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