BLOG: Social media marketing trends

Rachel Atherton explores the latest trends in social media marketing and how these methods could be implemented within your salon...

The importance of a social media strategy is ever-increasing as brands focus more on digital marketing. However, unlike mainstream media where approaches have remained largely unchanged for many years, the world of online communications is constantly progressing with new platforms, techniques and trends emerging each year.

“Social media is basically free advertising. Knowing the tool inside and out, as well as knowing how to use it effectively, can save you lots of money when it comes to marketing your business and building long term relationships with your clients,” explains Summa Barton, digital marketing manager at Sweet Squared. “If you're ahead of the game and know which trends and developments are coming up, you can plan the best way to utilise them and see your client base soar.”

The right platforms

Before researching what's new in social media, first think about the different platforms that you are active on. Many experts are in agreement that it is best to limit yourself to a small number of sites that are most suited to the type of content you want to create. Take the time to consider how you are currently reaching both existing and potential clients on social platforms and what is working best in terms of engagement rates.

Just as digital platforms are ever-evolving, so is your online community. Therefore, your marketing strategies for these avenues should always be adaptable. The beauty is that you can update your social media schedules at any time to incorporate any emerging trends and features that occur, as well reacting to news and developments as they happen.

Engaging youth

In your social media plan, you may want to consider different audiences and how they can be enticed into the salon. For example, creating content with teenagers in mind could help introduce this demographic to your business, whether you choose to upload educational posts on certain skin concerns or share your latest make-up and nail creations. A customised and curated feed has the power to translate into physical bookings, and securing teens at an early age could help you set them up to be regular clients in the future.

Social networking service, Tik Tok, has seen its popularity rise over recent months. If you're considering incorporating this platform or ones which are similar into your strategy, then video content is your friend.

Tik Tok is the destination for short-form mobile clips that involve everything from lip-syncing and comedy to dancing and talent. Its users are looking for viral-esque content, so you'll need to think outside the box for this one – perhaps you could create short tutorials, such as a bold nail art look or a colourful hairstyle that'll stand out from the crowd. Just remember that the more creative, the better.

However if you think Tik Tok may not be for you, it's still important to consider your different audiences when outlining your social media plans. On one platform alone you may be reaching potential clients of all ages. Look into your analytics; don't assume your audience base is made up of who you think. If you're missing out a certain type of demographic that you think may be interested in your products or treatments, consider running targeted advertising to reach those groups in particular.

Make it shoppable

A further social media trend you could look to embrace for 2020 is that of shoppable posts, which has been fuelled by consumers' spending habits of today. You'll now find that several social media platforms are offering ways for users to click straight through to purchase products seen on social media feeds.

“Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are set to become even more popular in 2020,” suggests Salon System expert, Julie-Anne Lariviere. “Brands and marketers should think about introducing e-commerce into their sales strategies to make the most of what social media has to offer. If retailing products is one of your focuses, why not use shoppable posts and sell these online?”

You could use this feature to add shoppable links to retail products available through the salon or potentially link through to your online gift vouchers. This way, as well as receiving promotion and marketing via your social media feeds, you could be receiving sales too.

Embrace the community spirit

One key social media trend to consider for 2020 is to start seeing your platforms as more than just a sales tool. Whilst the idea of ‘sell, sell, sell' might seem the best approach to entice clients, you are more likely to build stronger and loyal relationships by cultivating a community through your social media pages.

A shared sense of interest is something that will not only keep your existing clients returning and investing in you and your business, but may also help to attract new customers who see what you're creating and want to become a part of it. Public social media pages can help to nurture relationships and community spirit, particularly if you are active in the comments section or offer ways for your followers to interact with one another, such as Q&As or live chats.

Yet, perhaps the best method of creating a communal feel around your salon is to launch a private group for clients on Facebook. Here, you could share exclusive content, encourage clients to talk with one another and answer each other's questions, with you stepping in when required or offering prompts for discussion. These could include threads around what they think of current beauty trends, their thoughts on potential new treatment additions or offering invitations to salon events.

Make it visual

The use of video remains ever-important in the world of social media, whether in snappy short forms or lengthier uploads. Many social media platforms are now actively encouraging the use of video, for example Instagram offering Stories and IGTV. In addition, you'll find Facebook Live and the site's new Video tab, as well as YouTube continuing to dominate with its long-form content offerings.

If you'd like to start producing this type of content for your own business, it can be daunting to dive straight into uploading 10-minute long YouTube videos. Instead, why not take a ‘dip your toe' approach and create Instagram Stories showcasing your salon, your staff and the treatments you have on offer. If you're worried about talking to camera, you can start by offering silent videos on this platform whilst building confidence. “You can also use video apps such as Boomerang to showcase your salon's services,” adds Summa. “If you have an interesting facial treatment, take a quick boomerang and put it on your stories. This is still video content and will have watchers intrigued as to what's going on.”

Furthermore, videos can be shared directly to your feed on Instagram and Facebook. Content that moves has been proven to attract more eyes, as it quite literally draws viewers in. When users are scrolling through their feed, your post will stand out amongst other, static images.

A further trend for 2020 is that of short-lived content, such as the 24 hour cut-off for Facebook and Instagram Stories. “Ephemeral content (content that disappears after a certain amount of time) will continue to be one of the most popular forms,” explains Summa. “Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories fit this well and because people's attention spans are shorter these days, they like content to be quick, snappy and to the point.”