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Tactics to Grow Instagram Engagement

Jen makes a guest appearance on the In-Demand Hairstylist Podcast to share her Instagram expertise with podcast host Kristen Varoli. They discuss Instagram and what’s more important than the number of followers you have. It’s having the RIGHT followers – people you can help – and understanding WHY they follow you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:
* Insights – How to look at them and what to look for.
* Knowing why people follow you and owning that authority.
* Getting clear on your goal for your Insta account.
* Keep it simple – Focus on your followers, the people YOU can help.
* 4 account management tactics.
* 3 daily activities to become an Insta rockstar for your ideal clients.

RESOURCES:
Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raneydaydesign/

Follow Kristen Varoli and the In Demand Stylist podcast
https://www.instagram.com/kristencontempo/
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-in-demand-hairstylist-podcast/id1465639312

Subscribe, Rate, & Review
I’d be honored if you’d subscribe to the show and rate and review the show honestly. This will help other podcast listeners like you find and enjoy the show. We’d love to grow our podcast community to reach and help more people.
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/raney-day-talks-podcast/id1472305410

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Podcast Transcript

Jennifer S.: In today’s episode, we’re dropping major Instagram hacks. There’s four tactics that I mentioned about growing your Instagram engagement, not just following, but engagement, and then three things that you can do every single day that will get you results. So I want you to take a listen, I have Kristen Varoli of In-Demand Hairstylist Podcast, as well as she runs this awesome Facebook group for hair stylists and hair salon owners. And I had the opportunity to speak to them. So it is geared toward that industry, but I promise you, if you take these tips and apply it to your own Instagram account, you will see the results, take a listen.

Hey there, grab your coffee, and let’s talk a business, how to grow it, how to sustain it, and how to harness the wonderful World Wide Web to do it with me your host, Jennifer Sakowski, let’s get started.

The most important thing, and I guess this follows up and as I was thinking, this totally follows up with building your authority online because it’s about engagement. And after talking with you and kind of tapping into your audience, it’s mostly people or salon owner, stylists, you’re mostly on Instagram, because it’s all about pictures, it’s all about showing that before and after and how you went from, to gorgeous, and I eat it up, I follow y’all, and so does your audience because what better way to show your skill sets than showing a great before and after.

So I get that. But it’s time that you take it a little bit further, because after talking with you, a lot of what you empower, the men and women who follow you is all about knowing your niche, knowing what you do, what you can bring to the table, building up behind the chair, and building that relationship with your customers. So it goes hand in hand. It’s not just behind the chair and offline, you kind of bring that up online. And so the first thing, and I brought it down, there’s four I guess tips, tactics when you are using Instagram, because that’s what I’m kind of focused in on right now is Instagram.

So there’s four tactics, and then I got three points I want you to do every single day. So the first thing is, is to answer the question why do people follow you? And that’s where I totally threw you on the spot over on Insta Live that… I can’t hear you. Oh, no.

Kristen Varoli: That’s because I’m on mute, not technical, [inaudible 00:02:49].

Jennifer S.: I’m like, crap.

Kristen Varoli: We’re good. Yeah. So let’s continue with this. I love it.

Jennifer S.: So why do people follow you? And that’s the number one thing, like you have to be able to define this for yourself, you have to be able to own it, go back to building authority, go back talking about being unique, and knowing what you’re doing, knowing who your audience is. It’s important, because you have to be able to tell that. And the example that we talked about before is Jen, when you guys rolled out your curly, I don’t remember what was called, but it was like this whole-

Kristen Varoli: Curly hair experience.

Jennifer S.: Yes, yes. And that’s a niche, right? Jen rocks the curly hair, and she knows how to tame it, she’s been trained, and that was a line that you could focus in on because I don’t have curly hair. I’ve got something like a funky wave that goes on what I wanted to do. But I don’t know how to tame that. And so for Jen, owning that space, and being able to show like her skill sets, not only visually, but be able to talk about it, that makes a difference. And knowing that the audience that she’s going to help, they’ve got that unruly, tamed hair, and they just want to know how to get a grip, and be able to love their hair again, right?

So she’s going to be able to speak about that. So that’s the first thing is you’ve got to be able to define for yourself of why people want to show up? What are they going to find when they follow you, not just one on the scroll, but if they really read your posts and dig into you, what are they going to take away from it? So that’s the first thing and that’s very important, because that is where everything else comes from. We got to be you.

Number two is that I want you to keep it simple on posts. Less is more. So please, don’t try to come up with these crazy off the wall topics because you think that it’s going to… Don’t. Focus on your followers. All right, that’s where you want to start. That’s home base. Don’t get hung up on having thousands upon thousands of followers. Yes, it’s great because fun features start happening when you hit 10 cane above yes that’s awesome, but don’t focus on that, focus on that handful.

If you’re just starting out, like that 15 people it might be your mom and your sister and your brother, that’s okay because that’s where you can start and that’s where you get comfortable showing up because they’re going to engage with you anyways and that’s going to feel good, but start with who’s following you, get to know them and talk to them. So how you have to remember… Did I tell you that that cat was going to want to get out?

Kristen Varoli : Sorry, I can totally hear your cat [inaudible 00:05:32].

Jennifer S.: Yeah, see, this is what happens when we get like if it’s not children of two feet, it’s a toddler of four. Hold on just a second.

Kristen Varoli: Oh my God, I love it.

Jennifer S.: Hey, but we just flow.

Kristen Varoli: Say hello, say hello. I’m watching out in the comments if you guys have questions or anything, so say hello if you’re watching.

Jennifer S.: Awesome.

Kristen Varoli: But [inaudible 00:05:55] dive back into it, yeah.

Jennifer S.: So keeping it simple and it’s important to start with your audience because those are the people who are engaging with you right now and how do we find that information? You have to pay attention to your insights, that little bit of analytics that Instagram shows you, that data to see what’s your growth look like, has your Insta stories been getting comments or have you been getting views, have your posts been getting likes, have you been getting comments? Are you attracting people who don’t follow you? That kind of information is crucial because if you can just pay attention where you’re at right now whether it’s take a screenshot, write it down in a notebook, but pay attention of where you’re starting out, and then when you start doing the tactics everyday then I’ve got to tell you notice the change, notice the change and the increase in engagement and hopefully-

Kristen Varoli: That’s a [crosstalk 00:06:53] is to see where you’re at currently because how are you supposed to know where you’re growing? Like again, like you said look at your analytics, but I think it’s a good place to like okay, it’s like losing weight like, “Okay, here’s where I’m starting, in a month from now I’m going to weigh in again and see whatever.” That’s like [inaudible 00:07:14]. I like that.

Jennifer S.: And just remember it’s not all about your followers. I want to deprogram people to think that we have to have these thousands upon thousands of having a profitable business or having a fully booked client list if that’s not what it’s about it’s about finding the people who you can help and serving up helpful posts to them because the more people that you can help it translate into dollar signs. I don’t care who you are, but if you’re focused more upon the people and the services that you offer and fine tuning those services and then being able to relate that to them online, your bookings are going to grow.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, well, and I think that’s a disconnection sometimes. Like I know I get like that too is like why are you posting what you’re posting? And social media can turn into a full-time job. So if it’s not turning or translating into money, it’s pretty much a hobby that takes up a lot, lot, lot, lot of your time, so I think that’s such an important piece is like how do we translate this into actually a marketing tool? It’s great to be able to serve people, but we need this at some point to translate into a paying client in your chair.

Kristen Varoli: So I love that piece. And the other piece that I love that you said is you don’t need thousands and thousands of followers. Stop worrying about the followers. And I always hear a lot of people say that if you have 10 people that follow you, you’re an influencer. If you have 100 people that follow you, you are an influencer. You have eyeballs on you, on your work, on what you do. So that was important piece to share too. I don’t know if that was even part of your thing, but that’s important.

Jennifer S.: Yeah, 100%, 100% because I-

Kristen Varoli:  I want to know how to get more followers, so you share.

Jennifer S.: Yeah, okay, I’ll keep talking. Okay, so the third tactic is… Oh, okay I needed you to know this, with the analytics, so pay attention when you’re… And this is like a whole like you said, I could post you a loom on how to do this, but look at your analytics, look at your last 30 days, see which one had the most engagement because that is a great indicator that your audience that you’re paying so much more attention to now that they like that, they want more of that because that post gets the most engagement, so you need to replicate that.

Kristen Varoli: Let me just stop you for a quick second because I’m going to log in to-

Jennifer S.: How did I know you’re going to do that?

Kristen Varoli: So when I go in here and I go into my insight and I’m looking under, I think this will be helpful for some people who listen either live or if they watch this back. So if I change it to the last 30 days-

Jennifer S.: Okay, backup. So let’s walk through just, hey, how to get to that point. When you go into your profile, you’re logged into Instagram on your phone, go to your profile, and you see your profile where it says insights, tap that. And so that’s going to show you a plethora of information. Now, can I just tell you a little nugget?

Kristen Varoli: Yeah.

Jennifer S.: If you’re using this as a medium for your business, make sure that you convert your Instagram account to a business account because that gives you some more info. So like we can add a how to later, but just be mindful of that, anyways. So go to the insights, tap that, it’s going to show you last seven days at the very top, right?

Kristen Varoli:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jennifer S.: And then if you scroll down, it’ll say content you shared stories, you should see your audience and you’ll see your total followers, and It’ll give you some overviews right from that screen. If you tap the little arrow over to posts, you’ll see at the very top, it’ll say any reach last year. If you change… Mine’s period that always goes last year. If you go to 30 days, it’ll reorganize, and it’ll put the most engaged photo first. And right now I’m looking at reach.

Kristen Varoli: [crosstalk 00:11:18]. So what’s the difference between reach and impressions? What do you want to really focus on? What is the most important thing? Is it the impression? Is it the likes? Is it the comments, is it the reach?

Jennifer S.: Okay, so I’m going to play this game, what’s your goal? Is your goal is to get your posts in front of as many people as possible. So that would be a reach. I want to go beyond the people who follow me to other people who might come across me because of my hashtags.

Kristen Varoli: Okay, got it.

Jennifer S.: So if I’m trying to build, that’s a good indicator. What you can do, if you go back to insights, this might be even better, go back to insights on the very top, if you change that last seven days to select a time period of last 30 without going into your posts, it gives you a good overview of the accounts reached, content interactions, your audience, content you share. So that’s a good indicator. But specifically, I just want to look at my posts. And that’s why I tell you to go in.

Like right now so my goal for my personal brand is that I want to just get my name out there. That’s my focus right now. I just want people to see my posts. Right now I’m not cared about interactions, I just want to get my reach, I want to work on my Instagram and my hashtags. I want to focus that. So that’s where I’m at with the reach. So we’ll stay in that lane. If you go to last 30 days, it’ll reorganize all your photos. Well, my top photo in the last… Wait, that was last three months, hold on, last 30. It’s the same. My number one for my personal brand it was a picture of my kids building out their little fort with a bunch of books, and they can’t even see them because they’re in the corner.

So for me and knowing what I’m trying to serve up and knowing who I am and how I want people to see me when I show online, that’s important. And the reason being is because I talk about in this and I’ve tested hashtags, which we’re going to talk about, but I focus on hashtags about my audience. And I put pictures of my kids being kids and loving that they’re who they are because I want to show up in that space, I want to show up as like a mom who bounces between work and boss and kids and raising and safe, and all.

So I want to replicate more pictures of my kids because the pictures of my kids and me, those get the greatest engagement. So for you, what was your most topped?

Kristen Varoli: So actually that’s so funny, because my top post was one that I posted recently about how I… I do real estate as well, how I purchase real estate. I’m like, “Oh, well, that’s interesting,” but not at the same time because like we had talked about, I think I have a variety of followers obviously hair stylists and salon owners, but also people who are ambitious women who want to possibly own their own business someday and things past that. So that’s really funny. I haven’t even looked at that. But yeah, that’s my top post.

And then there’s one with me and my son on a trip back to Pennsylvania. So that’s good to know, though because it kind of gives you some guidance on like, okay, maybe people want to know a little bit more about what I do and the behind the scenes and what things-

Jennifer S.: Your behind the scenes.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, so that’s really cool. I love that. I love that. And so I don’t know how often people are checking in to their insights. Like I said, me personally I knew there was insights, I kind of knew the gist of it. But using that as a tool to really-

Jennifer S.: Hone in.

Kristen Varoli: [crosstalk 00:15:20] your posts. Yeah. No, I love that. I love that.

Jennifer S.: Yeah, because it goes back to the number one is knowing who you are and how you want to show up and knowing your audience, because point two is being able to post posts that they like, right? What we’re focused on our current followers. So number three, is that this might seem a little uncomfortable, but I want you to share more of your why.

Kristen Varoli: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Jennifer S.: Okay, because it might be like you do great hair, but why? What fuels your fire to hone in on that craft? And so it’s like don’t be scared to come outside of just showing before and afters, get creative because you try it. Working with customers I’m always marketing, marketing. don’t care who you are. There is no one size fits all. There is no I’m going to give you this, and it’s going to work perfectly for you. It doesn’t work like that because your audience is different than my audience, is different than the next salon owners audience. There’s differences, right?

Jennifer S.: And so what you do is that you try for a little while. You’re focused when you try, you’re paying attention to what you’re posting, but then you see, okay, they like it when I post pictures of me and my dog, and outside of work. Okay, well, I’m going to talk more about that. But I’m going to slide some content on that post, and tie it back into my why and why they want me to work in their hair. Did you see what I did? It’s getting their attention by the picture, but I’m serving them my why in the actual content, the description of a post.

Kristen Varoli: Gotcha.

Jennifer S.: So you don’t have to have like a big quote, because I know it’s funny because I do it too. I love quote, I love me a good quote, I love me a good motivation. I am there with you, but you don’t have to have that, you don’t have to serve up these great little back and forth picture to quote, you don’t have that. Because Instagram is searchable. Those hashtags help you as well. And that’s why the last one. Oh, no, this is not the last, yeah, the last one is do your hashtag research. Take time. And I know it’s annoying. And that’s why people don’t grow their following because they don’t want to do the homework. So that’s me calling y’all out to do your research. Take time.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, I feel like [crosstalk 00:17:53] followers for forever. I mean, that’s not my main goal is to grow my following. But I think it’s something that everybody notices, and I feel like yeah. There’s times when it’ll shoot up, and then other times where it just sit still for like months. I’m like, “Oh, my…” It’s all right, so if I don’t, like I don’t research hashtags and stuff like that and [inaudible 00:18:17].

Jennifer S.: And they. Like just think of it… The best way that I can explain a why is because hashtags are searchable so it’s like joining conversations.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, sure. I like that, yeah.

Jennifer S. Because not everybody will sit there and search force. Like some people will follow hashtags that they enjoy. Like I follow Grit & Grace, because I’m all about that Grit & Grace. And some people might follow along the lines of your hashtags in your industry. You don’t know until you try. So what I do is that I’m going to challenge you, you can have like 30 hashtags on your posts, and I don’t care if you do first comment, I don’t care if you go dot, dot, dot and schedule your posts out with Hootsuite, and include your hashtags there, but maximize that, it’s not going to hurt you, and it most likely will grow your engagement and start increasing your reach

 

So try to shoot for 20 to 25 hashtags that your ideal followers may be searching for. And you want to get them to where when you search for your hashtags if you just type in one in here, like give me one that you use.

Kristen Varoli:  always use like hairstylist, hairstylist, salon owner.

Jennifer S.: So if I type in hashtag hair stylist, there’s 35.1 million posts. I’m going to challenge you to find another hashtag that hair salon owners or stylist might use that is less than one mil, because the likelihood that you’re going to show up unless you’re serving up like crazy amounts of posts for that, you’re not going to show up on the top here. I want you to get noticed. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to tap one of these, and then I’m going to look at their… Damn cat. I’m going to look at their, and some of them… Like unicorn hair. Look at this gorgeous picture. Okay, that’s creative. So I’m going to tap unicorn hair, and there’s 1.1 million. So we’re getting closer, right? So I want you to-

Kristen Varoli: [crosstalk 00:20:35] interesting, so you want to try and use hashtags that are actually not crazy ridiculous like three [inaudible 00:20:44].

Jennifer SYes.

Kristen Varoli: Okay.

Jennifer S.: Yes, because I want you to show up. I don’t want you to get lost out there in those cutesy little hashtags.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, got you. That totally make sense. But I was not doing that. I was doing very broad ones, like broad hashtags.

Jennifer S.: Yeah, and that’s not bad, because I’m going to challenge you to do 20 to 25 that are less than one million, but your five to 10 remaining, use those for those broader, those photo related. So it might be like what I always use Jesus coffee, because that’s what I wrote on. I may use like more coffee place, Mama Booth, those are some of the hashtags that I use my personal side. For business, we might be using WordPress tips, we might be using social media marketing, and those are bigger. So that’s okay, because I still want to join that conversation, but I know I’m less likely to get seen there, that I am if it’s one million less, because then I’m getting creative, and it takes a little bit.

And here’s a great way to see, think of your favorite client. Think of that beautiful head that comes in that you just love to work with because it’s not just about their hair, but it’s about the person, and it’s about that interaction and that relationship that you’ve built with them. I’m going to say this, this is going to sound really creepy, but I want you to creep on them on Instagram. And I want you to see what they post and what hashtags that they use.

Kristen Varoli ; Ah, whoa!

Jennifer S.: And so that kind of gives you some insight into like where… And you really need to do that because I love… I always say GSD, get stuff done, but if you do the research on that, it’s a German Shepherds, dogs.

Kristen Varoli: Oh, really?

Jennifer S.:Yeah. So I’m using hashtag GSD, like a bot. But the greater audience is for German Shepherds, and I love me a German Shepherd.

Kristen Varoli: That’s so funny.

Jennifer S.: So that’s why it’s important to do that.

Kristen Varoli: [inaudible 00:23:03] like headphones in with all of our German Shepherds? Like you should check what hashtags mean sometimes, I guess, right? You should ask friends to check in on that. I never do that [inaudible 00:23:17].

Jennifer S.: Yeah, because we think it’s cute and we think that, oh, all these people use it and that’s great. No, I want you to be so strategic, that you know why you’re posting what you’re posting. You know who you’re trying to attract, and you know why the hashtags that you’re using because you know that it’s going to help you get a bump, right?

Kristen Varoli: Right.

Jennifer S.: Whether it’s impressions, engagements, I don’t care. I just want to see your engagement, your activity green.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, gotcha.

Jennifer S.: Right?

Kristen Varoli: Yeah.

Jennifer S.: Okay. So those are some of the tips that I want you to be mindful of. All right. So what I want you every single day for Instagram, now remember three C’s, I might have just be releasing a podcast on this, clarity, content, consistency.

Kristen Varoli: Got you.

Jennifer S.: Okay. Friend, I don’t care if you post every single day, I don’t care if you post three times a week, I just want you to be consistent, and I want you to be clear on who you’re trying to attract and why you’re posting. So whatever that works out for you, just do it and be consistent about it. So with that, I want you to do these three things every single day. And yes, it’s going to take some time and at first going to be like, “Oh.” It’s right, send me those hate messages. I got big shoulders. I’m used to it. I want you to leave a thoughtful comment on 10 followers of more than four words.

So I don’t want you to just put like a hat like, I don’t know, a thumbs up emoji or like, I love this. No, I want you to be thoughtful. And I want it to be four words or more. So the people who you’re following who you’re like, “You could be in my chair. I want you to come in. I know you’re local, I know this can work out,” I want you to follow them, follow them back. Social media is about relationships. It’s about talking. It’s about communicating, it’s social. Don’t think that I post it, and they will come. We’re going to talk about that later. But it doesn’t work out that way. You have to go out and engage with people that you want to follow you and get to know you. Just like, I’m going to come up with you, and I’m going to shake your hand or I’m going to elbow you right now, COVID.

But I’m going to go to you, and I’m going to talk to you. Same thing, if you want to show up on somebody’s radar, go comment on their post and see what happens. You do it enough they’re going to follow you. So that’s number one.

Kristen Varoli: I go through phases too where I’ll be very active in doing that, and then I actually have to ask myself, I’m like, “Am I just like…” And I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I’m like, “All right, I’m posting and I’m checking for likes seeing if it’s doing well.” But when’s the last time that I responded on somebody’s thing or went on, you know what I mean? So I [inaudible 00:26:17] like little dry spells where I’m like, “Okay, Kristen, when’s the last time that you actually went and actually engaged with people?” So it’s weird. And I think that probably happens for a lot of people where they post and they check in there, they’re checking all their stats, but then they’re not doing the actual social part of it. Yeah, no, that’s a great challenge to actually do it really.

Jennifer S.: Yeah. And that would be number one. And if you get stuck like, “Why the heck am I doing this?” You have to know your why. So that’s where goes back to that first point of knowing why people are going to follow you, put that up in front of you, make it the screen, the background on your… Like, what is your goal in all of this? Because this takes work. And I am not an expert on PPC or on pay per click ads, social media, Facebook ads, Google ads, that is not my forte. So about ads, my forte, my niche, what I get real excited about is that we build an organic following, an organic increase in online presence. That’s my sweet spot because it takes time, and we have to know who we are, why we’re showing up, and what’s the end goal?

Jennifer S.: So friend, you have to think about these things because knowing your why is what’s going to get you reminded about why the heck am I spending so much time talking to people I don’t know?

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, well, that’s true, though because it does, it takes some effort, but not that much effort. I’m like, “Okay, these are the three things and I’m excited to [inaudible 00:28:06] too.” But it might take like what? It might take 15 minutes of your time, come on.

Jennifer S.: And it will take longer at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you get it, right?

Kristen Varoli: Yeah.

Jennifer S.: Number two is work polls into your Insta stories. And then when people comment on them, when they actually say yea or nay or slide the bar over, I want you to reply to them directly, and thank them and interact with them. If they took the time to answer a poll on your Insta story, then dang it, you take the time to say thank you because once again, that’s opening that door of building that relationship in that you are a true human.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah, no, I love that.

Jennifer S.: So that’s number two. Number three is choose a hashtag. So like focusing on a hashtag that you know your audience hangs out at, that they post, that they might look for, I want you to search it, click it, and then leave a comment of at least four words or more, like a thoughtful comment on their profiles. So they’re not even ones that follow you, you’re actually going out and finding the people.

Kristen Varoli: Okay.

Jennifer S.: I know it sounds kind of crazy, but if you’re focused on building your client list locally, then pay attention to the hashtags that people around you post. So like here, it might be like Westmoreland County, it might be Greensburg, GBG, whatever that is, that’s what you want to pay attention to, that people claim to that’s local, and then go comment on some of those. And it might take a little time because you might have to flip through that top feed to find somebody you’re like, “Oh, yeah, that’s the person.” Follow them. Add a comment. I really just want you to add a comment. But if you feel bold follow them because most the time people will follow you if they feel like there’s engagement there, right? They’ll most likely follow you back.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah. I love this. Okay, so this just came to me, this is my main takeaway from all this is be intentional about your [crosstalk 00:30:16].

Jennifer S.: Oh, yeah.

Kristen Varoli: I’m like, “Oh my gosh,” because how do I spend like scrolling or thinking about what I’m going to post or whatever, just everything you’re saying is intentional.

Jennifer S.: Yeah, the more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah.

Jennifer S.: That’s bottom line, the more time that you put into going in attracting the right person, the better it’s going to be, the more you’re going to get out of it, right?

Kristen Varoli: The right things though. The more time you spend doing the right things. Like even me, I feel like I try and post often or whatever, but the hashtags that I’m using are so broad that I probably just disappear in the abyss of Insta. You know what I mean? No one’s ever going to find me that way. So I love that tip. Wow, this is so good, really.

Jennifer S.: So I’m going to challenge you a little further.

Kristen Varoli: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jennifer S.: So we have to remember that is a crowded space online. Social media is crowded just like you, I’m scrolling.

Kristen Varoli: Yes.

Jennifer S.: Right?

Kristen Varoli: Right.

Jennifer S.: So use your social media to work, like allow it to work for you. But do not think that you own that space. You don’t own Instagram. You don’t own Facebook? Where do you own that relationship besides when they’re actually sitting in your chair? It’s not social media. It’s on your website and in the email, because an email, you can nurture them, you can serve up information to them, and you can stay in front of them. On your website it’s where you do your hard sales, and you start to build out who you are, your services, what sets you apart, right?

Kristen Varoli: Right.

Jennifer S.: And I think that we forget that because if Instagram went away tomorrow, where would that leave you? Where would all those contacts leave you? I would much rather grow my email database, my email list, than I would my followers, that’s just a medium for me.

Kristen Varoli: Yeah. That is so true, though because honestly so many stylists and owners, and whatever, they are building their business on Facebook and Instagram. I’m doing it. I’m building my business on Facebook and Instagram. If they disappear tomorrow, what would happen? Where would your portfolio go? Where would you post it? That’s a great question. So if somebody doesn’t have a website, like you’re talking about an email list, how important that is, where would someone even put how’s an email list? Like if somebody is an independent stylist or maybe they work at a salon for somebody, what would be their first step, and what what should they be doing?

Jennifer S.:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So the first thing that I would do is to start small. And I know when it comes to, “I don’t know how to build a website, I don’t have the funds for that, I don’t want to have to go…” I understand because that’s now my space, now you’ve just entered into the land of Jen, and that’s where I started out. But you don’t have to have this massive website, all you need is a platform for them to find you online, a domain, and a place where they can come, they can see your face, they might be able to have a form to contact you, and then a way to you to ask for their email and then to take it.

Where we usually start clients out with when it’s no budget is MailChimp. MailChimp is a great starter. That’s what they do. It’s just email marketing. Don’t think it’s going to be your way to manage your book, manage your contact list, no. But to get emails and to send them a nice regular email just to keep in front of them to start nurturing at a sequence, that’s a great starting point because it’s free, right?

Kristen Varoli: Yeah.

Jennifer S.:

I think it’s like 2000 contacts. It’s free. So that’s like your baby step. For a website, you know I’m going to come with you at what we can help you with. So if you’re starting out, there’s lots of options. There’s the big GoDaddy, there’s the Wix, there’s the Squarespaces. I am all in on WordPress. So you might hear that, that might be a buzzword, but I’m on WordPress because I know that Google loves WordPress. And who runs the search world? Google. So I know that I can get somebody to rank organically using that platform.

So what my team has done, we have built this system to where it’s a do it yourself platform, you get your domain, you get your hosting, but you have a real team and not some big box company somewhere that’s on the other side of email that we help you build it. So if you’re just getting started, I really encourage you to look for it, if not us, and if you’re interested, drop me like an emoji, coffee emoji on the ground, and I’ll get with you. But that’s a great starting point because one, you know the company that you’re working with, they’re real people like we do a Facebook community, I do all kinds of emails, we do a lot of how tos. But it’s like a website in a box.

Kristen Varoli: I love that.

Jennifer S.:

Right, and all you need is a couple pages, just a pretty sight, but someplace that you could be you because that’s what you own. If Facebook and Instagram go away, that is one space that you know that you can send people to. And let’s face it, if I’m on social, great, it’s one step closer to being ranked is having a web site, right? Like that’s home base. I always tell my clients is that, I don’t walk up and I don’t just kiss the guy off my street when we’re out. No, there’s a courtship that happens. There’s a dating that happens. And what’s the best place to have that is an email, they get to my site, I grab their email address, and then I’m able to communicate with them because people say, “Oh, emails dead.” I’m sorry. No, it’s not. It’s not.

Kristen Varoli: I’m constantly typing my email into something. I mean, everything requires an email now. But I still open the emails, but from a place [inaudible 00:37:00], I still do. The best way to get a hold of me, I check my email daily.

Jennifer S.:

Right. And it’s annoying. I get tons of… I mean, we help craft tons of emails for customers. But I know it’s annoying, but you got to be remembered, you want to be top of mind. For me, because I follow Contempo, I know Contempo, but if it’s coming in my inbox, so that feels kind of personal, so it’s coming into my inbox, and I’m getting information and messages that way. And I’m also seeing them on social. And then I know that I can find them by search, do you see what happens? I start to program myself like, oh, I know that they’re really good with cut and color. I’m going to go call them. Or man, they’re getting a lot of reviews from their Google My Business, and they’re posting it on social and they have it on their website. That’s like social proof. That’s telling me that other people like them. And when I google them, they’re right on top, it all works together.

So that’s like part B. I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. I don’t want you to get… Focus on one thing, focus on building your audience, crafting who you are. But just don’t forget, like you don’t own that relationship, that space. You have to have a way to grab their contact information and be able to talk to them without going away tomorrow because we don’t know what’s going to happen.

Kristen Varoli:

It’s so true. Yeah, if the internet just went away and all these social platforms where… And inevitably, let’s be real. I mean, I hope Instagram’s around forever, but it always transitions. It used to be like, oh my god, I’m going to date myself, holy crap like MySpace and [crosstalk 00:38:55]. I don’t even know-

Jennifer S : Yeah, I say creeper space.

Kristen Varoli: Scary. Yeah, there was MySpace, and then there was Facebook and Facebook was only for college students. And then it evolved. And nowadays [crosstalk 00:39:07].

Jennifer S.: Twitter.

Kristen Varoli: Twitter, right, now TikTok, and there’s a Clubhouse. I don’t know if you’ve done Clubhouse yet, but there’s just all these different platforms, it’s always evolving. So if you are only using Instagram, and that’s where your entire portfolio is, that’s where you communicate with people. Amazing, amazing, amazing tool. And you wouldn’t be here today sharing ways of growing it if that wasn’t important. It is important.

Jennifer S.:Right.

Kristen Varoli: Your Instagram, your social is important, but you’re so right, if it goes away tomorrow, what do you have? And I love what you’re saying too just like if you have to start anywhere, maybe have a MailChimp account. Okay, you could do that. And then grow into it.

Jennifer S.: Grow into ActiveCampaign. Grow into those other social.

Kristen Varoli: And what you shared with me very affordable for a pretty much like to have a personalized team to help you build your website. You’re not going to be able to get that anywhere else. You can either try and do it by yourself. This morning, I was on the phone with my financial advisor, and I had this conversation with them. Sometimes you just have to reach out to the professionals. Don’t try and do stuff yourself. You can build a website, try and build a website yourself. The website in a box that, very affordable for a stylist, a single stylist, a salon owner that doesn’t have a huge budget for it. Very affordable. I love what you’re putting together for people because it really is. It’s needed, it’s very [inaudible 00:40:47].

Jennifer S.:

Well, and that’s my heart space because when I have customers come in to us, and they’re like, “Oh, we can’t afford you.” I’m like, “There’s a problem here.” We can do custom work, and we can do… But if we don’t have a solution for the startup, then why are we in business because I’m a startup. We turned 10 this year. And so that led us on this mission last year to start this. But I have to say one thing is that remember that content is so important, but please don’t get discouraged if that you post something and people don’t automatically start liking and following you. It takes time.

So I want to challenge you and I had to explain this, but this is not if you posted they will come. Same thing with a website, if you launch a website and you think that my booking is going to be filled, no, it’s not if you post it, they will come. It’s not if you launch it, they will come, you have to put the work in. All right? And so and you have to remember that content is king. Your content, the words that you put on the screen, the posts that you put out there, it matters. So that’s why it’s always going back to what makes you different. Who are you? How are you standing out? And how can you help your audience? Always go back there and always speak from that space, that’s what’s going to set you out from so many, because in marketing, it’s the right message, the right medium, at the right time, in the right way. It’s like this magical thing that you have to line up to get somebody to opt in or to call to schedule. So the best thing that you can do content, consistency and clarity.

Kristen Varoli: Love it. Love the three C’s.

Jennifer S.: Yes.

Kristen Varoli: Oh, my goodness. Well, thank you so much for being here and sharing your knowledge. I love your passion so much. You love what you do it’s so clear, and I’m just so grateful. I’m grateful for your friendship. I’m so grateful that you are hanging out with me at almost 10 o’clock at night, just sharing with my community because this stuff is gold.

Jennifer S.: Thank you.

Kristen Varoli: And I’m so, so grateful. I’m going to leave this up in the group so people can watch it later. And if you do watch it later, just hashtag replay in the comments. And like Jenna said, drop a copy emoji, reach out to me if you’re interested in her services. But thank you so much.

Jennifer S.: Thank you. I love hanging out with you. So, thank you so much. And yeah, definitely reach out if we can help. And if you have any questions back, I will be trolling the comments.

Kristen Varoli: Okay, awesome. Sounds good. Have a beautiful night. Okay.

Jennifer S.: Thank you.

Kristen Varoli: Okay, bye.

Jennifer S.:

Thank you so much for listening to Raney Day Talks Podcast. If you found this helpful, please do us a favor and subscribe to our podcast. Follow us on YouTube. Like and share this post. You can do that by just taking a screenshot and tagging us at #raneydaytalks. Thank you so much and a huge shout out to Mark Levander Productions on helping put all of this together so that way we can produce the awesome podcast. Find him at mark@marklevanderproductions.com.