ways to help business

6 Ways To Help Your Business And Your Clients During Hard Times

Hope you are all safe and well during this period of uncertainty. Dealing with a pandemic was probably not on your list of worries for your small business! in this blog post, we have come up with some ideas for ways to help both your business and your clients during this period.


Although the Corona virus, or COVID-19, is going to make things difficult for a lot of businesses over the next few months, with sheer strength and determination, you will come through it and become successful once again.
It’s important to remember you’re not alone. Many, many businesses are going through what you are (including us!) so don’t feel that you are being left behind.

Here are 6 ways that you can keep your business going, support your clients, and even strengthen your community during the Coronavirus outbreak.

1. Get Your Business Online

We, in the UK, are entering our 4th week of lockdown and some of you have already thought about ways to take your business online. It’s interesting to see how many employees have been told to work from home already or work remotely in order to keep face-to-face interaction to a minimum.


Even if that’s not the case, most people are preferring to stay home these days, so the best way to provide your services is to do it online. Of course it’s easier said than done. If you’re a business consultant, a bookkeeper, or a tutor, for example, you can move your sessions online. You might already use Skype or Zoom to run virtual meetings, sessions or consultations. If not, it’s time to learn how to use them. Google also just announced that they’re offering free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing platform until July 1, 2020, so take them up on the offer.


If you’re running a hair or beauty salon or you’re a personal trainer, things could be trickier, but you can get creative. People are looking for ways to keep fit and stay occupied at home, so try offering webinars and tutorials through webinar platforms, YouTube, or Facebook Live. They could be live, or recorded for on-demand access.

You could create video courses for simple exercises for the elderly and vulnerable people who will need to be shielded for a lot longer. You can also hold live virtual yoga classes for your clients to participate at home in real time.

Image Credit: Uscreen.TV

Beauticians could teach people how to carry out a home facial with ingredients they might have at home or do an intensive hair nourishing treatment, for example.

Look for ways that you can share your expertise and knowledge online instead of face-to-face. It’s up to you whether you want to offer your virtual sessions for free, to improve your business reputation and grab new leads, or place them behind a paywall so that only paying customers can access them.

2. Keep In Touch With Clients

Communication is still important. Email them and ask them how they are doing. If you keep in touch with your clients and remain a part of their lives, they’ll come back to you when the outbreak is over. You can provide valuable support and information during this difficult time. You can even offer some of your packages for free or at discounted prices depending on how comfortable you are financially.

Keep your communication channels open by sending email newsletters with updates about your business or suggestions for ways to cope during self-isolation.

ways to help business

It’s important to be open and clear about what changes you’re making in your business. If you’re replacing face-to-face sessions with virtual ones via Skype, let your clients know as soon as possible. If you have to reduce some of your services, cancel sessions, or make alternative arrangements, the sooner you tell your clients, the better.

3. Safeguard Your Employees

Keeping your business healthy and able to function during this pandemic also means keeping your employees healthy too. Ensure they work from home where possible, using online collaboration and communication platforms like Google Hangouts, Slack, Grow in Cloud and other tools.

ways to help business

Let your employees know that you’re there to support them, both emotionally and financially. Make sure they know you are in contact with your accountant about potentially furloughing employees, so they are reassured that they will be ok financially. If you are not sure of what is available for you by the government in the UK, check out this site.

It is really important that your employees know that they will not be penalised for staying at home to safeguard themselves and/or their family.

4. Use The Time To Evaluate Your Business Plan

If your business is slow, take the opportunity to work on business development plan. You can’t see your clients currently, so use this time to come up with improvements you can make to your business, for example adding online services or producing a business website. If you haven’t got a website set up yet, then check out Phase Three Goods who builds sites for “small businesses, sole traders, SMEs, charities and creative start-ups”.

You can also find ways where you can be more efficient in your business and streamline your business processes (see automating your business processes blog).

A quiet period is a time to improve your business marketing strategy, revamp your website and/or start including blogs (see why businesses should have a blog post). Also, use the time to update your social media channels or learn about other platforms that you haven’t used yet, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Think of it as an opportunity to work through your business to-do list of all those things you’ve always intended to do, but never had the time. You can use video conferencing tools to virtually meet up with your co-owners to discuss ideas.

ways to help business
Picture Credit: Getty Images

5. Find Ways To Help Your Community

Part of succeeding as a local business means becoming a vital part of your local community, so that people don’t just think of you as a faceless company, but as a caring neighbour. That’s even more true during times of crisis.

Look for ways to support local residents, like checking up on your elderly clients and ask if they need help getting their groceries. If you are a local gardener and can’t do their gardens yet, ask if you can help them with their shopping. The same can be said for domestic cleaners who can’t go inside clients’ homes. Volunteer for support groups in your local authority or district. Together we can do this!

ways to help business
Image Credit: Sky News

If you run a childcare business or tutoring business and you had to cancel sessions, try recording videos to keep children entertained at home with fun activities so parents can leave their children safely in front of the screen.

For tutorials you could video your lessons online so you can help your students who might want to use the time trying to understand fractions, “fronted adverbials” or even learn a new language!

6. Network with Other Business Owners for Tips & Support

Join others (who are going through it with you) into discussions on Facebook groups such as Small Business UK. Here you can connect with other small business owners and learn how to keep your company strong and safe as well as keep up to date with the latest government financial support.

The key thing we all need to remember is to stay safe and follow the guidelines set out by the government. We will get through this!

For further reading on this topic, do read this detailed guide with lots more tips and advice: COVID-19: The SOS guide to selling online (without coding know-how)

To start your free 30 day trial for Grow in Cloud, please sign up here.

FREE OFFER ALERT: We are currently offering our £30/month Business Lite subscription package for FREE for 6 months during this difficult time. All you need to do once you sign up is to email/message us to say you have just signed up and would like to take advantage of our Free offer. Limited time offer.

Virtual Data rooms

Learning About Virtual Data Rooms (VDR)

What are Virtual Data Rooms (VDR)?

If you are interested in using Virtual Data Rooms (VDR), here is what you should know. A VDR is an online repository of information that can be safely stored and distributed. In many cases, VDRs can be used for loan syndication, venture capital transactions and to facilitate the due diligence during a merger and acquisition and virtually to conduct entire deals.

Because of security, costs and efficiencies, physical rooms have been replaced with VDRs. It would be very difficult to retrieve, gather and sort thousands of pages of highly confidential information of events like tenders, mergers and acquisitions and fundraising with physical rooms. VDRs are used as a secure location to store and share information with third parties. VDRs can control who gets to see what and when and this can minimize risks, and it can expose unauthorized usage.

How Can VDRS Improve Business?

Today, businesses have turned to VDRs because they have revolutionized transaction processes. VDRs provides 24/7/365 access from any device and any location with internet, data management and storage thereby saving the company time and money. Major deals can be made expeditiously without risks or pitfalls. VDRs provide a secure area, whether it is in an office or conference room. They can provide online due diligence process, which is simply cooperation between parties, with VDRs you can conduct the entire deal in one setting. 

How Can VDRs Help Small Business?

VDRs are not just for large companies. Providers can offer a vast number of instruments to fulfil the requirements of small businesses. Running a successful small business means that you’re likely to get proprietary information and trade secrets which you will want to protect to stay competitive.

Firmex is a great option for small businesses because they simplify the process. VDRs can be intimidating and complex. To put it simply, a VDR is an intranet. Many companies utilize the intranet to give employees access to the company shared information. The extranet is a website whereby the user can use a secure log-in to access data, and they can be accessed through the internet. The data usually is confidential, and the company can put restriction on the data. Virtual Data Rooms enables the interested parties to confidentiality view information in a controlled environment. The advantages of Virtual Data Rooms are security, the distribution and storing of secure data and controlling access to copying, viewing and printing. 

VDRs Ultimate Security

Security is the ultimate feature of Virtual Online Rooms. The provider you choose should have accredited certifications or credentials that are trustworthy. They should have rights management, which means you decide who has the right to view documents, make changes and print documents. With the enhancement, you will know who accessed information, when, at what location and for how long. This information is vital if there is a data leak. You also should be cognizant of employees who exited the company, whether it is a willing on not. Secure log-in must be kept secure.

Tips in Choosing a VDR Provider

There are lots of VDR providers available, and it can be rather tricky for you to decide which one is right for your company. Below are tips that should help you choose the one that fits your business needs.

  • First, decide which features are required for your project.
  • Decide what information is required from VDR.
  • Read reviews from each provider. You need to know if they are reliable and are they a fit for your business. 
  • Take advantage of the trial offer. Most VDR providers offer a 30-day free membership, and they offer a 60-day trial or a 90-day trial.
  • Choose only the VDR provider that offers 24/7/365 support.
  • Select a provider who has experience in facilitating complex financial transactions, such as IPOs.
  • Research to find a provider who does the work in-house. For security purposes, outsourcing management processes and data hosting to a third party is not recommended.

Take advantage of the below features offered by most providers. 

1. Document Security: This feature includes automatic backup, Data encryption, dynamic watermarks, Print Screen, button disable function and restriction on time and IP. 
2. Access Security: This feature offers log-in authentication for multiple users, management for your mobile devices and account theft preventions. 
3. Functionality: This feature provides questions and answers (Q&A), activity tracking and MS Office Integration. The activity tracking provides audit log and bulk uploads.
4. Usability: This platform is suitable for beginners and professional. It has features that are important to the end user, and they are an intuitive interface, advanced search option and easy to understand functions. 
5. Real-time reporting capabilities: This feature offer audit logs and tracking.

In addition, you should find a provider that can customize the VDR to your company needs. Finally, do not forget to ask the provider what bandwidth the platforms are offering.

5 Great Summer Promotional Offers for Your Salon

People would have already booked and planned their summer breaks away by now. So, now is the perfect time for your salon (whether it’s hair, health or beauty) to advertise some great summer promotional offers!

Competition is already tough with so many salons close to each other on any given high street. As a small business owner, what you need to do is have great offers that will make you stand out from the rest.

Many salon businesses offer discounted services and the reason that discounts are appealing to a salon owner (as well as the customer) is that they are simple to manage and apply. But think about it-you have worked hard to offer the high quality services at a reasonable price, so why would you want to lose out? Remember, you would be getting less for delivering the same thing. This is also just a short term fix. This often doesn’t help create business in the long term.

What you want to do is give your clients a great offer that doesn’t directly involve giving a discount. Your salon business can create great, promotional offers, which actually make your clients spend MORE money, rather than less!

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Here are 5 great summer promotional offer for you salon, which should make your business more money, but still give your clients a better deal! Plus, these ideas are not just specific for summer but can be adapted for other seasons.

1. Provide Buy 3 for 2 Deals

Boots has been doing this offer for a while now-and it is easy to see why. It works! People love the idea of being able to pick up products knowing that they will be getting something free.

summer promotional offers salon

Image Credit: Boots

As a salon business, a great way to put this great, summer promotional offer into practice is to make sure that only the cheapest of the 3 items is given for free.

Examples:

1.

In a beauty salon, a male client comes in and is only interested in a upper body wax. He then sees the 3 for 2 offer and decides to takes up the 3 for 2 deal:

  • a full chest and abdomen wax (£25),
  • upper back wax (£15) and
  • full arms wax (£18).

The upper back wax would be the cheapest service, meaning that you would still make a decent profit. You still give your client the feeling that he has been treated well and had a good deal out of it. Remember, he only came for the one service!

2.

In a hair salon, a client comes in wanting her hair coloured and cut short, ready for an easy, carefree style! She knows about the deal and is interested in the following:

  • hair colour (£55),
  • cut (£30) and
  • blow-dry (£20).

The blow-dry service would be the cheapest, so again why not offer that for free? She gets to walk out of your salon, advertising your services (by mentioning it to her friends and family!) and again comes out with a sense of getting a great deal.

3.

If this is too costly for your start-up business, you could provide a 3 for 2 deal on hair care products instead.

While the hairstylist is working on the client’s hair, they would subtly bring into conversation the shampoo they are using, which is best suited for coloured hair. Also, they could mention the serum or frizz free product they have used. The idea is that when the clients go to pay, the products “happen” to be available on the front desk, along with the 3 for 2 offer.

The client would then want to continue the hair care at home and instead of just buying the one product, they would buy 3 knowing they are getting one (the cheapest product) free.

Remember, these are limited summer promotional offers to entice your clients, who want to look and feel good in the summer sun. You still have a business to run and may not be able to afford to do this all year round. But short seasonal offer sprints would work!

2. Offer Referral Cards

The best complement a salon can get is a referral. It is great when a client comes in to your salon telling you they were referred to you by a friend/family member!

However, you can also help the process along, if you aren’t getting many new clients. This is done by simply asking your current clients to recommend you to one of their friends or family.

You can create referral cards than you give to your clients to pass onto their friends and family. You can leave a space for your client to write in their friend’s name so it really is a personalised referral.

To add an incentive for your client, you could combine the referral card with an offer.

For example, a free add on treatment (e.g. free spray tan to boost their summer glow) for the referrer when they bring in a friend or family member.

summer promotional offers salon

3. Add Value To The Service

We all like to get a little more for our money. In fact, you will find that customers are far more motivated by receiving rewards than by a saving on a service, they would have paid for anyway. So rather than simply offering discounts, why not give your clients a little extra as a summer promotional offer!

A small bonus treatment or an upgrade is valued far more highly. The idea of course is that you offer the add-on treatment or upgrade for nothing this time. It then makes the client feel truly valued! Because they enjoyed the add-on so much, the next time they come to your salon, they will book and pay for the add-on treatment!

This is a great promotional idea for the summer, especially when your clients are probably looking to get multiple treatments done before they go away on holiday.

For example, a client comes in to get a pedicure, ready to show off her toes during the flip-flop season! The beauty therapist offers them a complimentary 20 minute foot massage, rather than the usual 5 minutes. Who wouldn’t be up for an offer like that?

summer promotional offers salon

Next time, the client comes in for a pedicure, they ask for a 20 minute foot massage, which they will happily pay for this time!

Another example perhaps, is a complimentary 10 minute Indian head massage which could be offered when a client comes in for a facial. Again, because they enjoyed the massage so much, they will come in and ask for it, if they are in need of a de-stress!

4. Have Summer Accessory Giveaways

Do you have links with a company that sells summer accessories, such as beach towels, water bottles, sun hats, sunscreen, sunglasses and flip-flops? If so, have them on sale at your salon. Get the company to promote your salon at the same time.

summer promotional offers salon

But more importantly, attract customers to your salon by using these summer promotional items as giveaways if clients come in and pay for high priced services.

For example, free pair of glamorous flip flops, when the client pays for 60 minute reflexology/gel pedicure.

5. Offer A Free Mini Gift

Hopefully, your clients have been treated well by the hairstylist, massage therapist or beauty/nail technician.

Why not allow your clients to continue their salon experience at home by taking away a free gift. This could be small bottles of a luxurious hair conditioning product, a small tub of bath scrub, moisturising cream or nail polish colour of their choice.

summer promotional offers salon

By giving your clients a free gift to take and use at home, they will be reminded of their salon visit. That reminder will hopefully remind them that they must book their next appointment with you!

Again, this is a temporary summer promotional offer, so you don’t need to break the bank, when buying these sample mini gifts. It’s a nice gesture, which will reward you in paying customers!

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Providing great summer promotional ideas will energise your staff (who may be feeling the summer slump).  It will also help your salon business with the transition into a busy autumn rush.

Related Posts:

How To Successfully Market Your Salon For Mature Clients

6 Ways To Market Your Massage Therapy Business

4 Blog Topics To Drive Traffic To Your Spa And Beauty Salon Website

How To Manage And Grow Your Hair And Beauty Salon!

For further blogs on the health/hair/beauty industry go to our Blog section of our website.

Social Media for Hair and Beauty Salons

The Ultimate Social Media Guide For Hair and Beauty Salons

Whether you are a start-up or a well-established salon, all successful hair and beauty salons have to stay on top of trends. This means embracing the social media world too. Social media is a great branding tool for small business owners, so using it properly can give you an advantage over your competitors.

Many of your clients will be members of various social media platforms, so you shouldn’t doubt the effectiveness of marketing this way, in order to target and engage as many new potential clients as possible.

This detailed blog post will focus on specific social media sites that are suitable for your hair and beauty salon business. It will explain why and how to make the best use of the features they have to offer.

According to Digital Information World (January 2019) the top social media platforms are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. It is highly likely that your customers are on at least one of these sites, making them a great place to start. Pinterest is a search engine so although not seen as a social media platform, it is still a useful site for hair and beauty salons. This infographic gives you demographics for each channel.

These top sites are also the best platforms to use for hair and beauty salons. If you are just starting out, then it would be best to set up a business profile on one or two sites. Focus on this in detail. You can always expand to other platforms later. You don’t want to to spreading yourself too thin!

Most social media platforms do have some similarity in the way you need to post updates or share images. But, there are also some that have a different way of interacting with people. You need to learn how to communicate with each “platform’s language.” Effective communication looks different on Facebook than it does on Twitter than it does on Instagram and so on… Don’t worry… all will be explained below!

What you don’t want to do is create a profile on lots of social media sites as part of your marketing strategy and then find that you are overwhelmed with all the new “language” and can’t keep up with all your posts and updates.

So with this in mind, the first two to start off with your hair and beauty salon is:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

One has the most users out of all of them and the other is the most popular social media platform currently on trend.

Facebook

Worldwide there are over 2 billion active monthly Facebook users. With this statistic it makes absolute sense that your business should be on this social media platform. Not only does it help stay in touch with your current customers and improve retention rates, but the fact that practically everyone is on it also helps you gain more exposure for your business.

Setting up Facebook Business page

Just like you separate your personal life to your business one, you need to do the same and distinguish between your personal accounts from your business one. Use Facebook Business Manager which will keep everything organised and secure, especially if you have more than one salon or have a team that need to access the social media account.

Before exploring further features, let’s start with the basics. For many online users, your social media page is their first point of contact with your business – so be sure all the important information about your business is there:

1) Name, Address, Phone (NAP)

You need these three on your profile page to help potential clients know about your business straight away when searching salons through Facebook. Apart from that, Google crawls these pieces of information to verify your business website, so make sure your social media NAP is consistent with your salon’s website and Google My Business page.

2) About

The About section is the window into your social media page. It’s often the first thing visitors will check to see if your salon is worth their business and meets their needs.

3) Photos

Photos provide a face to your business, so it’s important that you’re making a positive impression. Upload a professional photo of your salon and a cover picture to add more personality to your page.

4) Website URL

Don’t forget to add your salon website on the Facebook page! It helps boost your site’s ranking and verifies your business on Google. Take advantage of the grey verification badge (shown in above picture) offered by Facebook for businesses as well. This helps users discover your page easily in search results.

What next?

Once the basics are all set up, it’s now about reaching out to your clients and potential customers. When customers visit your salon, direct them to your Facebook page and ask them to “Like” and “Follow” your page.

This will be seen by their contacts on their list. This will hopefully gain the interest of their friends and family who will go onto your page and if they like what they see, they will follow you too.

What to post?

You now need to develop your Facebook page (just like you would in your personal account) in order to promote you salon. This is done by adding:

  • photos
  • posts
  • videos

You are operating in a creative industry and the best way to showcase your talent is through photos that illustrate your creative side. Remember, your Facebook page is an extension of your portfolio.

Share before and after pictures and videos to show potential clients what you and your team can do for their hair.

Photo posts tend to generate more likes and link clinks then average text posts.

Building relationships with your clients and potential clients is really important and one of the best ways of doing this on Facebook is to post consistent and daily updates. This tells them that you are always available and accessible; you are up to date with the current trends and willing to interact with your clients.

Example posts could include:

 

  • informing your customers if you have opened another branch
  • any new services or treatments you have available
  • if you have changed your opening hours for specific days or periods of time (i.e. Christmas or Valentine’s Day…)
  • promotional or referral offers for clients
  • limited time only offers
  • relevant articles that relate to your industry

How to increase exposure?

If you want to reach out to a wider audience you can use Facebook Ads Manager to target a specific audience using a demographic criterion of your choice (e.g. age, gender, location…) and this can be done by setting a marketing budget as little as £5 a day.

The good thing is Facebook promotes the business for you but doesn’t charge you unless somebody clicks on the page.

Facebook’s soft rollout of its “Book Now” button allows clients to book hair appointments directly from the platform.

For salons that use online scheduling software such as Grow in Cloud, making the most of this action button will be an essential factor in keeping up with your competition.

Instagram

Moving on to the next social media platform to use. You have heard of the phrase; “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In the case of Instagram and what it can do for your hair and beauty salon – this couldn’t be more true!

Given the visual nature of Instagram and its potential to reach so many customers, it’s ideal for hair and beauty salons

As mentioned before. Instagram is the most popular platform being used at the moment, with 1 billion monthly active users (June 2018). 64% of users are 18-29 year old. So, if this is the demographic you want to target for you hair or beauty salon, then it’s definitely worth using, to engage with your customers and convert interests to sales.

Setting up Instagram account

Just like other sites, you need to set up a business account. Once you’ve created a profile, all you need to do is upload your images. Insta-experts recommend keeping the photos and videos fun, fresh and quirky.

Just like Facebook, set up a separate account by downloading the app. Sign up with a new business account.

Just like your personal account, you will be asked to create a username and password, as well as setting up your profile image.

These are two of the most important steps because they secure your hair and beauty salon’s name and will make it easy for people to find and follow you.

Profile Basics

Once you have added your profile picture (of you or business logo) and cover photo, showing your brand, you’ll be asked to enter your full business name and phone number.

If you you’re the face of your business then use your own name. Add a phone number you want clients to use to contact you for bookings-Remember, it needs to match the number on your website.

Social Media for Hair and Beauty Salons

Be sure to fill out the website and bio fields. This is the ONLY place on Instagram that allows you to use a URL. If you were to post a URL in the text of a photo you’re sharing, people who see it won’t be able to click it, so they have to go to your bio.

It’s best to upload a few pictures before following/requesting followers as you want to give them a reason to want to follow you. A blank profile won’t be very inviting!

What to post?

Photos

As mentioned under the Facebook section, use before and after photos. When a customer is going for a new nail colour or a dramatic cut, it’s a chance to take photos and share your talents on your Instagram account. Remember, to get permission first when sharing your clients before and after photos.

Instagram is all about the visuals! So, you have to post high resolution and clearly focused photos on your Instagram page. Take time to get the best shot before posting the picture.

Share latest wedding hairstyles you have recently done or nail colours or designs that are on trend at the moment, to inspire customers to try for themselves.

Social Media for Hair and Beauty Salons

Offering a promotion?

Share it on Instagram. Take a picture of the in-store poster that you are using to advertise the promotion or event and use that image for Instagram.

Endorsing a product

When a new styling product or tool comes in to your salon, take a photo and share it on Instagram. You don’t want to advertise products too often, but once in a while is fine.

Here you will see the use of hashtags which will be explained later.

Be fun and quirky

Instagram users tend to be young and on trend so try posting quirky posts in addition to just product or service-related posts. Once in a while a feel good post can engage and inspire your customers.

When to post?

Again, as with all the other social media sites, post regularly! The best times to post on Instagram is Monday from 2-3pm and 8-9pm. More importantly stick to a schedule that suits your business and keep to it. Most people tend to check their social media accounts first thing, in the morning, during lunch break and then evenings-so play around until you notice when you are getting more “likes” on your posts.

Hashtags

Hashtags are an important part of Instagram. Just like Google uses keywords for SEO, Instagram uses hashtags as their version of this. They use the symbol # in front of keywords. Hashtags are a major way of getting found on Instagram. When someone searches Instagram for something, it scans hashtags to come up with results.

It’s a good idea to use a handful of hashtags. Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post but that’s too much.  Four or five hashtags can improve your visibility.

Example hashtags to use to get noticed:

#Hair #Hairstyle #Hairoftheday #Haircut #Hairstylist #Haircolour #Hairdresser #Hairfashion #Hairextensions #Instahaircolour #Hairup #Hairideas #Hairsalon #Haircare

But remember to use geographically targeted hashtags as well as the name of your hair salon, so followers can see you on location search:

#Londonsalon #NYsalon #MyHairSalon

By monitoring keywords you can find out who is searching what and where and tailor your posts accordingly.

If you post a shot of a wedding hair do, using #WeddingUpdo is a good idea. However, the hashtag is very generic, so it could get a lot of search results for followers and your picture could get lost in the crowd.

In addition to general hashtags, use specific words too like #FrenchBraidWeddingUpdo, or use both, by including #FrenchBraid and #WeddingUpdo. Help potential customers find your salon by tagging your photos with your business name and its city.

How to increase exposure?

Strategic use of #hashtags is one of the best ways of boosting exposure and expanding your reach, because it allows you access to people searching for their interests who aren’t already following you. Increasing the number of users you are following is a way to reach out.

If you post a link to your website on your Instagram bio page, you can also drive traffic towards it.

Add Action Buttons to your profile. In addition to important insights like profile views and link clicks, you’ll also have the ability to post multiple “action buttons.” These are buttons at the bottom of your bio that allows clients to do things like call you, email you and book you from the app.

Instagram Book Button

Social Media for Hair and Beauty Salons

You’ll need an Instagram business account to get the Instagram Book button. It’s free to add.

Adding a Book action button allows clients to schedule appointments from your Instagram business profile using the Instagram app on their mobile phones.

It is important to note that at the moment, the “Book” button is only available for use within the Instagram mobile app. The button will not appear on your business profile on the web (e.g. if a client is using a computer or tablet to view your Instagram profile).

Adding a Book button

(1) Start the Instagram app on your phone

(2) Make sure you are on your Instagram business profile

(3) Tap on your profile icon

(4) Tap the Edit Profile button

(5) On the Contact Options page, tap Add an action button

(6) Add the URL (“link”) for your scheduling page, including https://

Insta Stories

In August 2016, Instagram launched Instagram stories. This feature allows users to take photos or videos which disappear after 24-hours. After launching this feature, people started sharing more on Instagram. 500 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories every day (Instagram, 2018). Not just that but 1/3 of the most viewed Insta Stories are from businesses.

Before Instagram stories, people were sharing their important moments, which wasn’t usually on a daily basis. Insta Stories gives people a better reason to share their everyday moments without actually having to keep the content on their profile.

This is also a great opportunity for hair and beauty salons to increase your visibility. You can add behind the scene shots for an open day or special event taking place in your salon. You could also share “shoutouts” from customers (with their permission) to your salon. Before and after shots can also be shown in Insta Stories especially if you don’t want to overload your profile page with before and after posts.

Social Media for Hair and Beauty Salons

Feeling confident to use more social media platforms?

If you are feeling confident or you have employed someone to manage your social media accounts then here are the next two social media sites to consider when marketing your hair salon.

Twitter

Twitter is a great way for your hair and beauty salon business to provide information, share interesting related articles or hold contests. It has over 310 million active users worldwide.

84% of shoppers use Twitter for deals, gift ideas but more importantly for product/service reviews so having a strong and positive presence on Twitter is important for successful campaigning.

Setting up Twitter account

Here’s an overview of the five different parts of a Twitter profile and practices to keep in mind if you plan to advertise on Twitter.

1) Your Twitter @name

Your @name is your unique identifier on Twitter. It should help people easily find your salon business. Your name (which you can change as you please) appears above your @name (which is permanent and should be the business name).

2) Your profile photo

Choose a profile photo that visually represents your business or brand and fits well in a small space (For consistency, use the same picture you are using on Facebook and Instagram to avoid confusion for customers who find you). This image isn’t just on your profile page; it is the icon in every “tweet” you post.

3) Your bio

You have to let people know what makes your account special and why they should follow and go to you over any other salon. Include useful information, such as your location or business hours and a link to your website.

4) Your header image

Consider this your billboard. It is similar to the cover profile picture on Facebook. You can use photo of your salon, photo of your team, share latest event photos or highlight your salon brand. You can change this image regularly to highlight promotions, events or product news.

5) Your “pinned tweet”

Keep an important tweet at the top of your timeline by pinning it there. Click on the “more” option on the tweet you want to “pin” and select “Pin to your profile page.” This feature allows visitors to make sure they don’t miss key information about your salon, latest news which could be a change of location or a new branch that you have opened up.

What to tweet?

A tweet is similar to a post on Facebook or Instagram. Twitter is no different from any other social media platform; use your specific keywords to help push your salon up the Google page rankings.

For salons here are some keywords to think about:

Hair salon, beauty salon, make up artist, beautician, therapist, hairdressers, your town name, hair offers, specific hairstyle, seasonal promotion

Latest trends

Avoid just tweeting about what is happening in your salon. Instead, try including useful information about the latest trend in hairstyles and links, for example, seasonal hair and beauty care tips or hair styling ideas (link back to your Facebook or website).

Promotional offers or discounts

You can link the offers you are advertising on Facebook or Instagram to ensure your promotion reaches a wide as audience as possible.

Share industry related articles- e.g. “How to look after dry hair…”, “How often should you have a facial…”

Promote other Twitter users – Just like other social media platforms; engage with your followers and other businesses, who in turn can help promote your salon.

Try to promote your hair and beauty salon no more than 20% of the time and the rest sharing blogs, other user’s articles, retweeting other user’s tweets (same as sharing other people’s posts on Facebook).

Using Hashtags

Twitter was the first platform to introduce hashtags. Twitter hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, without spaces, with the # in front of it (just like Instagram). A hashtag links all Twitter users (who are not otherwise connected) who are interested or researching the same topic. It pulls them into one easy list for you when trying to find a salon in a particular location, for example.

Twitter Direct Messages (DM):

Using the Twitter settings on your business account, make sure you are able to receive an email when someone sends you a direct message. If someone asks you a genuine question about your salon services via DM then you want to get back to them.

This is crucial if you’ve tweeted a limited time offer offer such as ‘ Only 4 blow-dry appointments available today’. Your followers/clients may well want more information or request a booking and more than likely message you via Twitter so will be looking for their DM to be answered in return.

YouTube

YouTube is the world’s second most popular website (with Google being the first) and the second most popular search engine, that people use when finding out how to do something. 1.9 billion logged-in users visit YouTube every month.

From an online marketing point of view, YouTube can offer huge rewards for your hair and beauty salon business. However, what you want to aim for is getting your salon business to upload content that viewers will want to watch. With 400 hours of videos uploaded every minute, you want to avoid yours getting buried amongst them all.

Setting up YouTube account

1. Go to youtube.com.

2. Click “Sign-in” in the top right corner of the page.

3. Select “Create account.”

4. Fill out the fields required to create your Google account.

Once you’ve created your Google account, you’ll be taken to the YouTube homepage.

From there:

1. Click on “My Channel” from the menu on the left side.

2. Click on “Use a business or other name” on the pop-up that appears.

3. Choose a name for your channel and the category that best describes your business. Note that a Google+ page will automatically be created under this name as well.

Now you have created your account, it’s all about creating an exciting and inviting profile page just like any other social media site! Like any profile you create on a social network platform, the appearance of your YouTube account is a direct reflection of your business. As before, use the same profile pictures if you want customers to instantly recognise your business.

What to post/upload?

Salon Promo

One idea for your YouTube Salon Channel is to upload a video that actually promotes your salon. It is a way of telling your potential clients who you are, what you may specialise in and why you should be their choice.

Product Reviews

When clients come in to the salon, you occasionally try and upsell your products especially if you feel it would benefit your clients hair or beauty care regime.

The products can be reviewed online by creating a simple video about your product range. You can use this video to discuss the benefits of each product, just as you would if the client was sitting in the salon with you.

Client Testimonials

Another great way to use your “Salon Channel” is to post videos of client testimonials. This doesn’t have to have big production value either-just something they might record using their smartphones.

What you get here is an excellent form of marketing! Your customers are your ambassadors for your brand and they can help promote your business and entice other potential clients.

Tips/How to Guides

You could also create some skin care tips for clients to do at home. You could even create a “How-To…” series on creating new and unique looks. This would not only help your clients understand the importance of continual hair and skin care, but also help advertise your brand to future clients as well!

The possibilities of what videos to post are endless! In today’s world, creating videos is not as difficult as it used to be. If you have a smartphone, then you already have a camera. That is good enough to start recording a video straight away!

Below are some steps on how to make the best use of YouTube and more importantly, how to transform those viewers into customers.

Three steps to making effective use of YouTube:

1) Build a following by producing interesting, relevant content-i.e. keeping it simple, fun and relevant to your target audience.

2) Write strong calls to action in description -e.g. call this number to book an appointment today, click on my website to find out all the services we provide, follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with promotional offers…

3) Use analytics to effectively monitor traffic- YouTube gives you an insight into the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, telling you whether the campaigns are driving traffic to your website. YouTube also provides analytics on adverts, giving you an understanding of your audience’s likes and dislikes.

Pinterest

As mentioned above, Pinterest is a visual search engine and NOT a social media platform. It has revolutionized online shopping on their platform. With 250 million monthly active users and over 175 billion items pinned. It’s created an entirely new way to shop for products. In fact, 61% of pinners have made a purchase after seeing a product or idea on Pinterest.

So how can Pinterest help your hair and salon business? Here you can add pictures of your hair, nail, beauty styles for people to see. If they like what they see, then they click on your pin. It will then can take them to your website to make an appointment.

Social Media for Hair and Beauty Salons

Pinterest is also great to add blog posts about your hair and beauty industry or links to your YouTube channel. This helps with driving traffic to your website.

Conclusion

Social media users don’t want to be overloaded by options and certainly don’t want to be directed to a phone number (too often!) in order to make a booking. They want to see a salon they like which suit their needs. Then they want to book straightaway, with a click of a few buttons,

Features like Facebook’s and Instagram’s “Book Now” button remove the steps in your client’s journey. Already you’ll find call-to-action buttons like Facebook’s are becoming common across all the most popular social media sites- so you need to make sure your salon is up there with the competitors who have already created an online presence.

For appointment setting for businesses like hair and beauty salons, this process is even more critical. If clients can’t book an appointment immediately, then more often than not they will get too busy or forget to do it later.

Connect social media booking requests to cloud scheduling technology such as Grow in Cloud that uses an integrated automation platform. This pushes requests to staff schedules in real time, maximizing booking while minimizing administrative work.

After the client books, the automated system takes care of the confirmation and setup by sending an email or SMS confirmation and reminder, making it easy to reschedule or cancel.

As social media platforms are fast becoming the preferred method to book, hair and beauty salons that fail to adapt and have this in place will be left behind.

To start your 30 day free trial of all the features Grow in Cloud has to offer your hair and beauty salon, please click here.

Some Related Hair and Beauty Blog Posts

Why Hair and Beauty Salons Need To Embrace The Digital World

6 Ways To Market Your Massage Therapy Business

4 Blog Topics To Drive Traffic To Your Spa And Beauty Salon Website

How To Manage And Grow Your Hair And Beauty Salon  

7 Ways To Maximise Your Social Media Presence As A Makeup Artist

Why Hair And Beauty Salons Should Embrace The Digital World

Digital technology has revolutionised nearly every part of our lives. Whether it is to do online shopping, book a holiday or pay a bill. All major companies are rushing to become digital.

“Digital is a new way of engaging with customers”

The UK government is always transforming the economy and envisages becoming a country which communicates and interacts digitally, which will mean reducing the use of paper for communication. There is also an expectation from hair and beauty businesses to offer digital/online services to clients. There are some grants available to help businesses go online.

The Hair and Beauty Industry

Hair and beauty online digital

The hair and beauty industry is growing and has become mainstream now, rather than a luxury for clients. These industries across Europe is around €100 (£87) billion. The emergence of Groupon, Treatwell and other platforms with a large marketing budget are pushing clients to book services from their websites. Treadwell CEO, Lopo Champalimaud, said “20% of online salon bookings in UK are being made on his platform.”

Hairdressers traditionally have been growing through word of mouth recommendations. Their clients have been, and still are, a walking advertisement of their work. But it still comes as a surprise that around 90% of these businesses, which still tend to be independent operators, use paper appointment booking and phone system to receive, make and edit appointments.

The rules for client engagement are changing and these businesses need to offer services online to compete with the big players mentioned above. Some salons have begun to embrace the digital world.

Case for offering online services

This move towards the digital world has been fuelled by just how quickly clients expect to interact with a business. Nowadays nobody waits until lunchtime to make a quick call to a salon to book a hair or massage appointment.

Clients are too busy to be waiting around for receptionists to pick up the phone, only to be asked if they could hold while they speak to a customer at the desk. They want to be able to book their services there and then and do everything on their laptop, tablet or smartphone. Almost everyone has a smartphone now and they should be able to find you online, book a treatment, find your address, and pay for the service, all from their mobile. 

Website

Hair and beauty online digital

It is important that a salon is seen to have an online presence. This means having a professional looking website. If you have a hair and beauty business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on great opportunities for your business. A website itself can be used to accomplish many different marketing strategies to help your business grow.

By having an online presence you allow for the sale of your services 24/7, whenever and with hardly any limitations.

To improve the visibility of your website and your business on search engines, such as Google, it is also a good idea to think about blogging. Here is a detailed post explaining why it is important for all businesses to blog, especially those in the hair and beauty industry.

Regular online engagement makes the company appear approachable and well connected with its clients. It also promotes the idea that the salon is in touch with the digital age, is forward thinking and accessible. This can be done not only through the website, but through social media.

Social Media

Social media, such as Facebook Pinterest and Instagram are also becoming crucial for every salon business and can be used alongside your website to promote your business. Through social media, your online business is open 24/7. People are searching all the time to find good quality service providers. You’ll find that ‘Millennials’, and even the newly-termed ‘Xennials’ (those born between 1977 and 1983), use it daily. This is how they connect to the world around them.

You can create a Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram accounts and add posts/pins to promote your salon and interact with clients. Hair/Beauty salons can encourage friends, family and clients to ‘like’ “save” and ‘share’ their services and leave comments of endorsement.

Hair and beauty online digital            Hair and beauty online digital

These social media sites also allow photos to be uploaded showcasing talents/skillset with lots of images of different styles, colours and services on offer. Once potential new clients are enticed, they can then be directed to salon websites or even make bookings directly.

According to a report by Statista, in the first quarter of 2018, consumers spent approximately 1.9 billion British pounds on salon services.

This ever growing industry relies heavily on customer retention. One way of retaining customers is to allow them greater flexibility when it comes to being able to book services. Giving them an option to book 24/7 during a time that’s convenient to them is becoming increasingly desirable in this day and age.

Multiple sources show that 35% of clients prefer booking appointments during after office hours. Not only that, but 25% of millennials (those under 35 years old) only book appointments online.

How can Grow in Cloud help hair and beauty salons?

ONLINE BOOKING:

A salon appointment booking software such as Grow in Cloud offers both clients and salon owners the choice of scheduling an appointment online. So even if the client still books over the phone, salon staff can enter the appointment details into the online booking system and send automated bookings via SMS/Email.

For customers, they can go on to the free client site (which can be integrated and customised to go with your salon website).

Hair and beauty online digital

They can then book an appointment and choose a date and time that suits them. The clients can even select their preferred stylist or make-up artist.

Hair and beauty online digital

TEXT MESSAGING:

Grow in Cloud allows you to improve client retention by sending automated skin test reminders, loyalty point notifications and personalised appointment reminders. By giving clients personalised notices, results in fewer no-shows. Appointment reminders can dramatically reduce no-shows (by 60% on average) and our automated templates allow you to set it up and then forget it, so you can concentrate on being with the customers.

Hair and beauty online digital

EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS:

Keep your clients coming back for more with Email Marketing Campaigns that promote customer loyalty and repeat business, especially during seasonal holidays.

You can combine email marketing campaigns with SMS messages and your salon will have a more comprehensive marketing strategy.

Hair and beauty online digital

DOCUMENT SHARING:

Do you need to provide clients with handouts of upcoming events/specials or recommended hair products? How about needing to store documents for certification requirements and business operations?

Then the Document Management feature in Grow in Cloud helps you manage those documents in one user-friendly interface and ensures your documents will be kept safe and secure.

Hair and beauty online digital

BUSINESS REPORTS:

Grow in Cloud Reports feature allows you to take control of your business, increase profit and make better decisions by understanding what’s working and what isn’t. You can track every aspect of your team members’ performance, from products and services. This is all shown in a user friendly, visually comprehensible dashboard.

Hair and beauty online digital

ACCESS AND USE ANYWHERE:

Grow in Cloud features are available using cloud technology so can be accessed anywhere, with an internet connection.

Whether you’re working from home or travelling, or simply need to access one salon from another, Grow in Cloud allows you to manage your salon from a laptop, tablet or a phone 24/7.

Check out Grow in Cloud – the easy to use salon and spa software used by professionals in the hair & beauty industry. To start a free 30 day trial, click here.

Related Hair and Beauty Blog Posts:

6 Ways To Market Your Massage Therapy Business

4 Blog Topics To Drive Traffic To Your Spa And Beauty Salon Website

How To Manage And Grow Your Hair And Beauty Salon

7 Ways To Maximise Your Social Media Presence As A Makeup Artist

The Ultimate Social Media Guide For Hair Salons

For further blogs on the health/hair/beauty industry, go to our Blog section of our website.

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feature-img-accounting

Why Accountants Need An Online Appointment And Invoicing Software

In this digital age, where clients need to have their requirements met straight away, it is time to embrace the cloud and use an online appointment scheduling and invoicing software.

Online Appointment Scheduling:

Appointment Scheduling Feature in Grow in Cloud

People go to accountants to get their finances on order and organised. With end of the month online tax returns due, accountants can be inundated with requests from other small businesses. Yet it can be a challenge scheduling appointments with an accountant out of office hours at a time that is convenient.

Multiple sources show that 35% of clients prefer booking appointments during after office hours. Not only that, but 25% of millennials (those under 35 years old) only book appointments online.

By having a cloud based online appointment software such as Grow in Cloud; you are able to offer a streamlined booking process to make scheduling an appointment a breeze. You also reduce the administrated tasks involved; taking calls, checking appointment dates with accountants then getting back to clients to confirm appointments.

As an accountant, you work hard to grow and develop your tax services company, as well as build a reputation in the tax and accountancy industry. So, having a software, that can automate this task for you, would make things a lot easier!

Online Invoicing:

Invoicing Feature in Grow in Cloud

Late payment is a common problem faced by small businesses in the UK. Currently there is £55 billion in unpaid or outstanding invoices in the UK, which is an average of “£12,000” per business. Furthermore, 41% of B2B invoices miss the payment due date.

Any unpaid due amount has an impact on business. Cash flow is really important and many small business owners believe it is the most important metric for your business. A sole trader and small businesses will say that if they are not paid on time by a client, it leads to financial difficulties because the cash flow is essential for the business to survive.

By April 2019, businesses above the VAT threshold will need to keep digital records and provide quarterly updates to HMRC for their VAT.

From 2020, this should apply to all other businesses who will need to provide quarterly updates to HMRC for their VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax and National Insurance obligations digitally.

It is a significant change and means the end of the annual tax return to be replaced by an online tax account with all your information in one place.

This change means that you may need to move from your existing desktop or manual record keeping and onto an online accounting software, such as Grow in Cloud.

Here you can produce customised invoices to generate e-invoices and allow your clients to be able to pay online quickly.

Here are 9 benefits of having a cloud based online booking and invoicing system for accountants.

1. Accessibility

A cloud based online appointment software can be accessed anywhere any time and from any device such as laptop, tablet and smart phone. This results in making your business available 24/7 for customers to book an appointment, rather than traditional method of calling the receptionist, between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Appointment Scheduling Summary on Grow in Cloud

A 10to8 study found the most popular time for booking appointments is between 4pm and 8pm on Sunday. By not offering an online booking option, your accountant business could lose out.

2. Saves time

Online invoicing allows you to create and distribute multiple invoices very quickly and in one go. The automated functions such as data filing, price of units/ services and VAT is calculated for you.

3. Clients can self-schedule appointments

Most clients, in particular those that are known as Generation X and Millennials, prefer to use digital methods to book a service. They also like to have an option to book it at their convenience.

A study by Yodle showed more than 25% of customers want businesses to give choice of booking an appointment and making payments online. You can list your services on a client site such as “Tax Planning”, “VAT Returns”, which will be linked to your calendar availability.

Customised Client Site

By allowing clients to self-book online, will give your company the opportunity to sell your services 24/7 and not have them only rely on calling you during working hours. This reduces a lot of your precious time, consumed on telephone and email to book and confirm appointments.

4. Reduces no-shows and late payments

An online appointment booking systems reduce no show ups. Grow in Cloud gives you an option to send SMS/Email reminders to clients prior to the appointment as well as offering to take “down payments” from clients.

You can customise reminder settings according to your business need; be it one day or 4 hours before the appointment. These have been known to dramatically reduce missed appointments as clients then have the option to reschedule if they cannot make the appointment. This allows the slot to be free for other clients.

You can get notifications when your clients have read your invoices online. So you don’t have to worry about those “lost in the post” or “I didn’t receive the invoice” moments.

This software has a “late reminder” feature which sends a payment reminder to customer, once the due date is passed and payment had not been made.

cloud law firms
Online Payment Feature in Grow in Cloud

Allowing clients to be able to pay online also reduces the risks of late payments. Like you, your clients are busy people too. So make things easier for them and let them pay online.

5. Staff scheduling

If you are running a busy accountancy practice, you would have assigned an account manager/accountant for your clients.

An online appointment system enables you to manage your staff calendars. You can customise times for each service and the hours and days around the availability of different staff members.

On the client site you can list services offered by each staff member, which clients can book directly during the time/day of their preference. It also keeps a log of all bookings so you can track what services are more popular or if you need to rearrange staff timings.    

6. Multi-Time Zone and Multi-Currency payments

If you work with international clients or have offices in other parts of the world, having an appointment booking system that allows you to choose the correct time zone makes life a lot easier and more efficient.

You can also send invoices in multiple currencies and use different languages for your invoices/documents online.

7. Marketing and Social Media

An online booking system can become a great asset in your marketing campaign. If you are sending out a promotional Email or SMS campaign, you can add “Book Buttons” to it. This can help in converting interests to leads by enabling a client to book an appointment with you straight away. It can help you build your email list and nurture leads.

Social Media is now becoming an important part of people’s lives. Facebook is the most used social media channel; it has more than 2 billion active users.

Facebook Business Manager can help market your accountancy business. It allows you to control and custom your audience, based on their interest, demographics, income and buyer trends. By having a ‘book me’ button on your Facebook Business page, you allow more ways for potential clients to reach you.

Grow in Cloud enables you to embed a booking button and take bookings directly from Facebook, as well as take bookings from Twitter and Instagram by sharing the Client Site URL.

8. Organisation

You can manage and search your appointments/ invoices online rather than flicking through order books, paper files-and needing space in your office for large chunky filing cabinets!

Action history of clients using Grow in Cloud

Grow in Cloud also has a contact management feature which allows you to access all your clients’ data and history in one easy-to-use platform.

9. A quick overview of your finances

Online invoicing feature of Grow in Cloud also allows you to get reports on financial aspects of your company straight away. Don’t lose out by not having the option for clients to book or pay online!

To start a free 30 day trial and see how other features can help your accountancy business, sign up here and see just how easy Grow in Cloud is to use.

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10 Ways To Grow Your Small Business in 2019

Why Your Small Business Needs A Contact Management Software

14 Productivity Tools To Help Small Businesses

Discover An Easier Way To Manage Your Entire Business

Why Businesses Should Blog

Free Invoice Templates For Self Employed

Online Invoicing-is it really a cost effective move?