This is going to be my most personal blog post ever.
Because in addition to using examples from other beauty businesses, I’m going to show you my own personal journey in my business.
I’m going to show you how being personal and making the decision to be the face of my business has made a huge positive change for my brand and my revenue.
I’m going to show you my transition from “hiding behind my business” to “being super front and centre”.
I’ll tell you about my fears in being so personal in what I do, and how those fears still exist, but I’ve figured out how to push through them.
And I’ll also give you some challenges so that you can go from “hiding behind the scenes” to being the shining face of your salon…
By the end I hope you’ll see that injecting your own personality into your marketing will help you gain more recognition, more fans, and more clients.
I’m willing to bet that you’ve seen some major changes happen to your business and your marketing in the past few years. The truth is that online marketing has changed, and it takes something different and special to get the attention of people online and turn them into clients.
Fortunately that something special is sitting right in front of you. It’s your personality.
Here’s what’s happening in 2018 that’s made “making marketing personal” so important:
This is a major trend that’s been in the news that we’ve all noticed for ourselves. People don’t want to hear from businesses on Facebook anymore. They want to hear from people. They want to hear from you.
The rise of Instagram, and the fact that you’re forced to show photos and videos instead of links, blog posts, and logo – means that people’s expectations of what businesses share online has changed.
67% of consumers will read up to 6 reviews before deciding whether they want to visit your salon or not. They WILL read your reviews on Facebook, and they will also check on your Instagram. Consumers especially want to know WHO the business is: the people behind it.
Increased competition means more selection, and that means that people “shop around” more. They want to choose the business that fits best with them, their personality, and their ethos.
When I first started my business, although it was a brave step, and although I had years of deep experience in marketing… my biggest fear was that someone would tell me I don’t know what I’m doing. Or that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Yes, business is money, and productivity, and products and services and tools… etc etc. But at the heart of business is emotion.
It’s emotion that drives you to start your own business; the entrepreneurial dream and the hope of a future where you can control your own destiny.
It’s emotion that drives you to trudge through those days when it feels like nothing will go right, but you do it anyway because you know that you’re building something that’s yours.
But it’s also emotion that prevents us from taking risks, and making decisions that could be hugely positive for our businesses. And the biggest emotion that drives so many of us: fear.
Fear that we’ll be rejected.
Fear of being ignored.
Fear of looking stupid.
Fear of being labeled inadequate, a fraud, or untalented.
I had all of those fears when I first started my business, but I did want to start somewhere.
So what did I do? I tried to minimize the chances of being rejected, ignored, or labelled “untalented” as a person, and I hid behind my business.
What do I mean by that?
In short, I didn’t really want to be the face of my business. That way, if people didn’t like my Instagram post, if people didn’t read my blog post or open my emails… it hurt a little less.
That way, it wasn’t that they were rejecting ME, it was that they were just rejecting what my business was posting. It was a self-defence mechanism, and I see it so often in the beauty industry.
Does that sound familiar? If you’re really honest with yourself, are you doing that same thing in your business?
You’re less trustworthy online: People that are checking out your business feel like you’re hiding something, and they don’t trust you. They’ll go to another business that they feel a connection with
People will engage less with everything you do if you’re not personal: people prefer emails that come from a person. People like to watch videos with people in them on Facebook. People like to like and comment on photos that are personal on Instagram. You’re going to miss out on some major online engagement.
You’re missing out on a major opportunity to attract your perfect clients: People do not connect with businesses. People connect with people. When you show the human, weird, imperfect, funny side of you – people who are attracted to that (it won’t be everyone, but it will be a lot!) will want to turn that into a real-life relationship.
Hiding behind your business feels safe… but trust me it gets boring: Fast. If you feel like marketing is like pulling teeth, probably you’re not injecting enough of yourself into it.
So I talked before about how when I started my business, I made an unconscious decision to hide myself behind my logo and business name.
It felt safer and more comfortable.
And I know that sooo many business owners, especially new ones, are in the same spot. I understand that and I respect that.
But I want to show you some of the gradual baby steps I took to sneak out from under my rock and what a huge difference it made for my business. I hope it’ll encourage you to take some of these steps too.
First, I want to share a lovely quote from Doctor Seuss, who wrote children’s books but has so many important thoughts for adults too:
“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.
Now, whenever I share a video now of myself and I get that nervous flutter in my stomach, I remind myself of this.
You may get haters for being vulnerable and personal in your marketing, but they will be few and far between. And you know what? Who cares! Do you really want those people as fans/clients anyway? Unlikely.
When I share a blog post, the overwhelming feedback I get is positive.
You know the only people who have ever said anything negative?
Other business owners who have marketing companies and seem like they’re struggling to find clients, so they spend their time looking at what other businesses are doing and being negative about them.
And the people who do matter to me? My ideal type of salon owner client who’s a badass go-getter? They generally enjoy what I’m sharing, and like to see that it’s coming from me.
But, all of this was a slow journey.
1. I made my emails come from me: I put my profile picture in them and my picture and signature at the bottom. Email marketing should be a friendly, personal thing, so make it feel like the emails are coming from a friend.
2. I added a blurb about me and my experience on the “about” page of my website, and a blurb at the end of each blog post
3. I started posting more pictures of myself on Facebook and Instagram
4. I started writing in the first person (using “I” instead of “we”) on social media, emails, and my blog posts. I started to include more personal anecdotes and more personality or sense of humour in my blog posts. People like reading fun, personal stuff much more than dry stuffy business stuff!
5. I finally took the plunge and started to do videos on Facebook. First it was just a quick 30 second video, then longer.
6. Finally, I’m now doing full 1-hour video workshops. They are tough to do! But I try to make them really personal.
As you can see, getting to the point where I feel comfortable in front of the camera, and I feel like people actually WANT to hear from me took time.
But the results have been amazing! Just as an example, I recently did an ad for my Instagram workshop. I did three versions of it.
The version that did the best? The simple one of me talking to the camera. No fancy equipment, graphics, or business stuff. I had more clicks for less money, and far better results from those clicks:
Or how about my silly, personal videos?
I’m not actually selling anything here. I’m just letting people know how I am, so they get familiar with me and my sense of humour (and evident awkwardness!)
Since I’ve added more personality to my marketing I’ve had:
But can I tell you a secret?
Every time I hit publish on a new webinar, blog post or video, it still makes me a little uncomfortable. I still hesitate and worry.
But you know what? That’s okay. Part of being a successful business owner is feeling uncomfortable and afraid, and doing things anyway.
So now for the fun part! I’m going to give you 5 challenges that you can start on TODAY to get out of your comfort zone, share your lovely humanness, and get more people engaging with you on social media.
Sometimes we all need a little PUSH. You’re reading this article because you realize how important your personal brand is to your business. You want to share more of yourself in your business, but you’re worried about looking stupid, or being ignored, or being ridiculed.
Those are all valid feelings, but the truth is, they’re just fears. In reality, no one really thinks that hard about what we’re doing. People mostly just are worried about their own lives.
Chances are great though that you’ll get a great reception and you’ll feel a little better each time you add a piece of yourself into your marketing.
Here are 5 challenges to get you started. Start on 1 of them today, and see how many you can get through in the coming days.
I promise you will love the results you get, if you just relax, be yourself and remember that people DO care about the person behind the brand.
I put this challenge first because it’s the easiest one to start off with, but it will have a major impact on your business.
Your website is often the first thing people will look at when searching for your business. It says a lot about you.
But apart from you menu and pricing, people really want to see you and your team members!
Your staff is the heart and soul of your business, and they should be showcased proudly on your website. I absolutely love the Lisa Dihn website, and it’s mostly because they are so human:
On the homepage of their website, they have a behind-the-scenes salon video, staff profiles (including their salon puppy!), and a group photo. Their individual staff profiles are also very well done, with animated profile pics, a personal message, and links to their personal social profiles.
People want to like and trust you, but you have to give them a chance. Be real, be human and show your true colours on your website.
You KNOW that social media has to be social, so stop hiding behind the camera! Get in front of it! Here are some ideas to get started with:
When looking for a new salon, people looove to stalk your social profiles (I do it all the time!). Help them find what they’re looking for: the lowdown about you and your team.
This challenge is easier in some ways, because it doesn’t have to be so “personal and vulnerable”, but more difficult because getting good photos and using them on your website is tough.
But let me say this: people can smell stock photos from a MILE away. And if you use too many of them on your website, they give the impression of a website that is pre-made, not reflective of the business, and not trustworthy.
One of the ways you can boost the attractiveness of your website while also making it more personal is to use your own photos instead of stock photos.
Get a photographer to come in, borrow your friends’ camera, or just use some of your Instagram photos and replace those impossibly perfect stock photos!
I am a huge huuuuge fan of email marketing for personal branding and for building a community… not so much for sales.
I know that most salons see email marketing as a sales tool to announce their promos, and then they get disappointed when no one opens their emails.
“Email marketing doesn’t work” they say.
Well actually, email marketing can work extremely well if you use it as a personal branding tool and make it friendly. People love reading emails from their friends. People hate reading emails from businesses.
So send people what your clients want to read. My fourth challenge to you is to craft a simple yet heartfelt email to your email list.
Show a recent picture of yourself, showcase some of your recent favourite work you’ve done (with stories), tell them what’s new in your life and in your business.
The email doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect, but it should be have lots of your personality injected into it (see a trend here?).
You can include an a link at the bottom of the email to book an appointment if you like, but don’t make that the primary purpose of the email.
The real purpose is to connect back with clients who haven’t heard from you in a while, and to make yourself top of mind. Maybe next week when they need a facial they’ll think of you. Maybe they’ll forward the email to a friend.
Start with this small challenge, then going forward by using email as a personal branding tool. Check out my blog post all about email marketing for personal branding here.
Now for the biggest challenge of all: Video. Video is so intimidating most people, and I am no exception.
I get super awkward as soon as a camera is on me, especially if it’s just me recording myself alone (it’s like, who exactly am I talking to??)
But video is one of the BEST ways to show people your personality, style, sense of humour, and really WHO YOU ARE.
So this challenge is meant to push you a little bit by posting one quick, 1 minute video about yourself to Instagram or Facebook (or both).
You can say something along the lines of “Hi I’m Sarah, the owner of Sarah’s Nail Studio. I thought it was time I introduce myself! Here are three things that most of my clients would never guess about me…”
And once you’re done, post the video right away without trying to make it perfect. I know, it’s hard.
But it will be so worth it, I promise.
Personal branding and human-centred businesses are the future. And this is doubly true in the beauty industry where you want to REALLY KNOW who you’re trusting with your skin, your hair, your nails, and your appearance.
Chances are, once people get into your studio, your salon, or your spa, they feel at home. They feel like they’re in good hands and that you’re someone they trust.
But the real challenge is to give them that same feeling of trust before they ever walk into your door. You want them to choose you. And to choose you, they need to see who you are. Make sure your marketing is full of your personality, character, and charm.
I hope that this article has helped you to realize that we’re in this together. Fear of judgement from others is normal, but most people actually aren’t judging you.
I hope you see the power of putting your personal brand into your marketing, and you’re ready to take the first few steps. Good luck!
And one last thing! If you want to grow your brand recognition and following on Instagram (who doesn’t??)… I’ve got a new FREE masterclass to share with you!
This free training is full of juicy ideas for your salon’s Instagram, from using the right hashtags, to creating a beautiful portfolio of your work, and everything in between.
Sign up for my next session here! See you on the training 🙂