Perth Hair Salon Grows Business by 25% with Influencer Marketing
When a young woman walked into stylish Perth Hair Salon, Circles of Subiaco, and asked for free hair extensions in exchange for becoming an Influencer, salon owner of 26 years Sharlene (Sharlz) Lee laughed and quickly said no. It didn’t matter that the youth said she’d post pictures on Instagram and feature a video on YouTube.
Money is money. Sharlene thought nothing of it, and went back to work.
It wasn’t until later that day, that one of Sharlene’s team members approached her and reasoned that it might be an idea worth considering.
“The girl has gone to another salon,” her team member said. “So let’s track how many times she posts her photos and watch whether it has any influence over the exposure for that salon.”
It took only a couple of weeks to watch what happened.
- Girl got free hair.
- Posted picture and tagged the salon.
- The salon’s Instagram numbers went up.
- Sales began streaming in.
It was such a significant result that even an observer from afar could see that this influencer had influence.
Alright, thought Sharlene, let’s do this.
The rise and rise of the micro influencer
Today a brand has many faces. It’s no longer solely up to a brand to promote and sell their wares. With social platforms like Instagram, so pervasive with its 800 million users worldwide, there’s a willing group of individuals who can effortlessly promote their wares for them.
Meet the influencer.
In social media terms, an influencer is a person of influence who introduces a product or service to their followers in the context and use of everyday life. In place of sales or an advertisement, the person (the influencer) will use the product or service. Then, they take a picture (or video) of them using it, and this is shared on their social media platforms.
Who cares you say? Well their followers care.
The very association of that product with the person means that product has the warm glow affect and association with that well known person. It used to be all about the big name influencers, (can I get a Kardashian eyeroll please?) and today it’s just as much about the micro influencer.
A micro influencer may not have the millions, but their tribe of 3,000 to 30,000 to 300,000 are very engaged and, at times, hold even more sway than the big name celebrities.
And the best bit for the brands?
It can cost very little. It avoids the mega bucks of a TV commercial or print ad, and allows for a more flexible arrangement. Some influencers are paid in cash with celebrities commanding up to $100,000 for one post (or $1 million if you’re Kylie Jenner), or a micro influencer may receive in the tens of thousands for an exclusive promotion.
Often there is an exchange from contra deals of product for promotion. And while the Australian Federal Government has recently banned the use of Influencers in their future ad campaigns, other businesses are willing to manage the risks and pursue the brand amplification and association their networks.
An influencer typically works with more than one brand. The partnership may commence when they approach a brand, or as their popularity grows then brands will approach them for promotion of their products or services.
Micro influencing the way to success
Meet Gracie (@graciepiscopo).
She’s 21 and lives in Perth. Just an everyday girl. An everyday girl with 398,000 followers on Instragram, and over 145,000 on Youtube.
She is a regular customer of Circles of Hair. She has hair extensions with a colour to the value of approximately $2,000, and keeps up a maintenance appointment every 8-10 weeks priced at about $400. How does she pay? Through her social influence.
Between visits to the salon, Gracie will post and collaborate with Circles on a number of social posts and editorial content. This may include Instagram posts, Instagram stories and Snapchat stories while she’s in the salon and out and about. Plus she’ll feature in Youtube videos or blogs with relevant stories. These activities are all set out in a contractual arrangement between Gracie and the salon.
More than a Lifestyle, it’s a profession
With her work with Circles, plus other brands Gracie has found herself in a situation where she isn’t required to work for additional income beyond her promotional efforts online. Her entire lifestyle is sourced through income and products and services received through her promotional work.
Perth based influencer and content creator Emily Davies (@emdavies_) has an incredibly engaged 173,000 follower base on Instagram.
From fashion to travel to everyday chic her styled photos are beautiful to look at, and a marketers dream. Her spectacularly colourful and unique outfits and hair for local festivals has led swarms of customers to recreate the look to the clothing brands, and of course for Circles of Subiaco.
“We love Em and the amazing looks she creates,” said Sharlene. “From ice blue to candy pink hair extensions, soft waves to wild up-do’s. Her followers love to watch her creations, and we find it’s a winner for attracting new clients that are keen to try something similar.”
“I absolutely love my bloggers,” said Sharlene. “If I could get more, I would in a heartbeat.”
Selecting the right style
For every brand there is an influencer to influence, but not all work out. Sharlene looks for the right fit with her brand.
“I ask myself does their look, style, personality match with mine?” she said. “I’m also looking at who they’re associated with and any other brands they’re promoting. Will it complement or conflict with mine?”
Where are Influencers Found?
In their Instagram habitat of course. Scanning for tags on other well known bloggers, Sharlene researches fashion labels and the people who are associated with them. Along with other bloggers or influencers that she likes the look of.
“Once I zero in on a person, I’ll be checking out their page and seeing if they’re tagging any other salons. If not, I’ll approach them,” Sharlene muses.
“Bloggers follow bloggers. When you start to work with a few, then they start to come to you and your reputation grows.”
Does it really work?
How do you measure the returns on influencer marketing?
So far Sharlz has over ten bloggers on her books and she can attribute 25% growth in her business from her tribe. She has also seen her own social channels grow in numbers, although the conversion to sales is what she’s really interested in.
The Measurement Matters
When a new client comes in, they will be asked how they found out about the salon. And they can select the Influencer that caught their attention.
And beyond that she measures through the social channels. Using Instagram Insights, which is the measurement capability available within the App, she measures the number of website views from Instagram and other social. Her team also tracks the number of tags, mentions and posts from her influencers to track the overall effect of her social activity.
It’s not entirely without risk.
Sharlene and her team have been required at times to remind their influencers of their contractual arrangements. Her team will also work more closely with some of the younger and less experienced influencers, guiding them through the content creation process with a calendar of what to post and when. While Sharlene never tells her bloggers what to say, she’s found it pays to stay tight on what is agreed, so the value from the arrangement isn’t lost.
All-round success on social: Tips for other businesses
The traditional method of attracting clients has fundamentally changed in the age on online influence. A flier or print ad no longer cuts it. In Sharlene’s experience she’s found your customers will have googled you, searched you on social, read your reviews, before they even make a booking. If you have no online presence, you may lose out to other competitors who do. Investment in social media is no longer a maybe, it’s a must.
With her second salon having opened in the last 6 months, she has approximately 60 new clients coming in to both salons each week, and she attribute the success to her overall marketing approach. This includes the influencer marketing, SEO marketing (Adwords and google advertising), focus on reviews and her overall social media efforts.
Sharlene’s top tips for influencer marketing
- Pick the platforms that you feel comfortable (Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook – whatever suits you)
- Post at least 3 times a week. Consistency is key. Sharlene and her team do it every day.
- Don’t mix personal with professional. No-one cares about your dog or your breakfast, if you’re posting about a business – keep the story of the brand front and centre in your social.
- Respond immediately to any questions you get on social. Don’t wait until business hours or you could lose your clients.
- Create an instore environment for snapping. If you provide a service create a space where clients can snap a photo and share straight away. Sharlene has two decorative walls where newly styled clients can’t help but grab a photo while their in the salon.
- Experiment and then experiment some more. Keep trying new ideas, see what works and do more of that.
Sharlene’s passion, energy, and enthusiasm to the industry cannot be understated. Salon owner for 26 years, Sharls has built a successful business brand and culture through her creativity and insatiable drive for ongoing growth. Her infectious personality and ability to develop and empower her staff to reach their own potential cannot be understated. With a staff of 27 stylists and in the process of adding a second location and business to the already expanded Circles of Subiaco, her dedication to the business is an inspiration. The business was awarded ‘Hair Salon Business of the Year 2018’ at the 2018 Hair Expo Awards.
Proprietor- Circles of Subiaco
About Kirryn Zerna
Kirryn Zerna is a speaker, facilitator and advisor. Her passion is to help businesses and leaders to stand out, without selling out, in this age of online influence. Known for her work in brand communication, strategy and future trends, what’s unique about Kirryn is her broad experience across sectors. She draws on over 15 years experience working with businesses of all sizes – from corporate, government, consulting agencies, small business and high profile individuals.
— Kirryn Zerna (@KirrynZerna) August 28, 2018