You’ve seen them, you’ve heard them, and you’ve likely been influenced by them in one way or another. Social media influencers can be found in every niche, from “mommy” influencers, fitness influencers, and of course, beauty influencers. We’ve seen this type of marketing be extremely beneficial in other industries and we think when done correctly and strategically, it can be an amazing marketing investment for your salon/spa!
In this blog post, we’re going to explain to you exactly WHAT an influencer is and the benefits of collaborating with one as well as how to take the first steps in getting started with a brand ambassador for your salon!
Influencer marketing has picked up steam in the last few years as social media has continued to run show. Think of influencer marketing almost like a sort of digital “word of mouth”. Any person, brand, team or group can have influence as long as their audience trusts the message they are putting out on social media.
There are 5 levels of influencer and it is determined by social media following. This is important to know because an influencer with a higher status will likely require more of an investment because your message will be exposed to a larger audience.
Before you choose an influencer, it is important to establish WHY you are collaborating with one in the first place. Is it to gain new social media followers? Well then it’s important that you team up with an influencer that has a very large following so you can gain that surge of followers. If your goal is to get more guests coming to your salon through learning about you on social media, you’ll want to focus more on a locally based influencer because in this case, trust is more important than number of followers.
For these reasons, every level of influencer is important for one reason or another, it’s just necessary to nail down the purpose of the collaboration before diving in!
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INFLUENCER MARKETING BENEFITS FOR SALONS AND SPAS
As with any other digital marketing strategy, there are pros and cons that go along with collaborating with an influencer. We believe that when done right, the pros far outweigh the cons. We’re going to fill you in on the benefits of using an influencer as well as things to be aware of before you get started to make sure it’s an easy, stress-free process!
Increase brand awareness. This is the most obvious benefit; even if an influencer's followers don’t become guests of your salon, seeing these collaborative posts will make them aware that your brand exists.
Build trust. Influencers have built a level of trust with their audience and have created a community feel. This means that if the influencer likes you and your products/services enough to post about them, their audience will feel more comfortable connecting with your salon because they trust the opinion of influencer. This seal of approval also provides credibility for your salon/spa.
Better content. User generated content is beneficial for so many reasons; it builds trust and credibility for your brand as your audience sees REAL people talking about your products/services, it provides you with different content to use on your social, and it gives you an opportunity to be seen by the audience of the guest who posted the photo.
Increase sales. This is typically the goal when collaborating with an influencer and when done correctly, you will absolutely see a return on investment.
Cost effective. In comparison to other marketing strategies, influence marketing is relatively inexpensive. Well, more like it is as expensive or inexpensive as you choose to make it! You’re the one putting together the contract giving you control over what you invest in it.
Create collaborative relationships. For salons, the goal of having an influencer is likely to create brand awareness in your community to gain new clientele. This means, you’ll likely be collaborating with an influencer figure in your local area. This can open up so many new doors and allow you to meet new people in your community while cross promoting your businesses. Win-win for everyone!
Boosts SEO. Search. Engine. Optimization. PEOPLE! These are the little keywords that platforms like Google look for when determining which results get posted at the top of searches. So when an influencer mentions your business by name and the services/products you offer, SEO will pick up on these keywords and will hopefully bring your salon up in the search results!
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The list of benefits goes on for miles, but we also want to let you know of a few things to be aware of when collaborating with a salon influencer.
Fair exchange. This is truly the #1 issue you have to worry about when collaborating, because no one wants to feel like they are doing more and not receiving as much in exchange. This is where contracts and guidelines come into place, we’ll get more into that in a bit here!
Finding the right partnership. It takes a lot of trust to place your brand in someone else’s hands, so you want to make sure you’re doing that with someone whose overall values line up with yours. If your brand promotes positivity and you collaborate with an influencer who is often negative, it can shed that unwanted light on your brand.
Measuring results. This is often an oversight as it can be exciting process signing on a salon brand ambassador! You want to make sure you’ve got a solid tracking system in place so you can actually see your ROI. We’ll dive into that a little more in the next section!
Now that you’ve got a hearty list of pros and cons to weigh, we want to give you the tools you need to get started with vetting out potential salon influencers!
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH INFLUENCER MARKETING FOR YOUR SALON OR SPA
If you’ve decided that Influencer Marketing is a route you’re interested in trying for your salon/spa, we’ve got a few tips on how to get started!
Determine your goals. As we mentioned above, the first thing you need to do before even reaching out to influencers is establishing WHY you are and what you hope to accomplish through doing so.
Establish a budget. Like most other marketing strategies, you need to make an investment in influencer marketing. Every influencer is different and may accept payment in salon services and retail discounts, or they may require a monthly payment. Either way, determine what your monthly budget is and this will help guide you to which kind of influencers to reach out to.
Consider discount offerings. Often brands will give influencers a specific discount code so their audience can score products/services at a discounted rate. There are many ways you can offer custom discounts for your brand ambassadors such as creating an online discount code for retail or having a welcome package specifically for your influencer to hand out to incentivize salon visits. Custom discount codes also allow you to track which sales are coming from your ambassador, which leads us to our next point…
Create a tracking system. You’re investing in an influencer as a marketing strategy, and you want to make sure there is truly a return on investment! Influencer discount codes (for both online and in salon purchases) are a great way to keep track of the sales you are getting as a result of your influence marketing investment.
Make a rough draft of a contract. You will need to adjust this based on the agreement between you and the influencer but it’s good to have a foundation to build onto. This contract should include how the influencer will be compensated, what you as the company require in return (number of posts, platforms, tags, hashtags, etc), as well as anything else you want to set in stone before moving forward. For example: contract duration, exclusivity, whether approval of posts is required, bonuses, contract termination guidelines, etc.)
Scope out potential influencers. Now that the hard work is done, it will be super easy to navigate choosing potential influencers for your salon/spa! Make a list of 3-5 solid candidates.
Reach out! Depending on your marketing budget, you may only be looking to bring on one brand ambassador. If this is the case, message your top choice to see if they’d be interested in collaborating! This message is your first impression so make sure it’s oozing personality and that they get a good feel for what your brand values are and why you feel as if they’d be a great fit as an influencer.
If (and when!) they say they’re interested, set up a meeting to discuss logistics. Lucky for you, you already have the bones of this ready and can plug in the agreed upon numbers accordingly!
Influencer marketing for salons and spas may or may not be the best route for you to take, but we feel as if it’s a trend to be aware of either way! Influencer marketing on social media has been blowing up over the last few years, and we’ve seen salons that have hopped on this trend and had incredible success. If you decide to give salon influencer marketing a go, make sure you come up with a solid game plan to ensure your investment of time, energy, and money is fully worth it in the end.
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‘Til next time,
Your Team at Salon S.O.S