Investment in social media tops hair and beauty business professionals’ priorities, as lockdown puts pressure on them to keep customers, according to new research.
The study, conducted by SimplyHair, a salon supplies wholesaler, reveals hair and beauty business owners are focusing on social media to grow their business during a year of rolling lockdowns.
The survey asked 527 salon owners and hair professionals about their priorities for business investment, development and upskilling in the next 12 months.
Social media marketing for salon owners
44% of respondents said they are focusing on growing their businesses’ social media profile this year. 35% of hair professionals see growing their social media profile as offering the biggest opportunities for business growth. Nine out of ten (89%) salon owners believe social media presence has a strong or very strong influence on how a client chooses a salon2. Furthermore, 78% of hair and beauty professionals agree that a strong social media following will help them to attract higher-paying clientele and justify charging more for current services3. The survey suggests social media platforms are more important for business growth than a company website as less than a tenth (9%) of hair professionals’ primary business focus is website development.
The value placed on social media is also influencing other areas of business investment including branding and aesthetics. 85% of hair professionals believe that brand look and salon design influence or strongly influence a client’s choice of salon and 86% agree that high quality photography helps to attract higher-paying clientele or justifies charging more for current services. Three quarters (75%) of respondents agree that “Instagrammable” salon interiors will help them to attract higher-paying clientele and charge more for current services. As a result, 1 in 10 (12%) salon owners are focusing on updates for their salon’s interior design this year.
Specialist treatments and services
When it comes to upskilling, after social media, business owners are prioritising technical skills. 16% are interested in learning new technical skills, such as fitting hair extensions, a decision that might be driven by the perceived financial business benefits. 88% of respondents agree or strongly agree that offering a wider range of specialist services, such as hair extension fitting, helps to attract higher-paying clientele or justifies charging more for current services.
Professionals agree that showcasing technical talent also helps to attract new clients, 94% believe that “before and after” pictures influence or strongly influence how consumers choose a salon.
Salons as retail businesses
The past 12 months saw many hair and beauty professionals start to sell products and DIY kits online, to ease the pain of store closures and diversify revenue streams. However, the survey suggests growing an ecommerce offering is not a future trend for the sector. Less than a tenth (9%) of hair professionals are primarily focusing on establishing an online shop this year and even fewer (7%) see an online store as their salon’s biggest growth opportunity.
Yet, hair stylists see selling aftercare products as an opportunity to increase profits across the wider business. Almost three quarters (74%) of respondents agree that selling high quality aftercare products helps to attract higher-paying clientele and justifies charging more for current services.
Commenting on the findings, Amy Filippaios, founder of SimplyHair, says: “The survey confirms that there’s been a steady increase in the use of social media over the past few years, with many hair and beauty businesses using social media accounts as their online shop front, rather than developing their own website. During the pandemic, use of social media as a whole increased and for in the hair industry it became a primary channel of communication to keep in touch with clients while salons were closed. Having seen the value first hand, it makes perfect sense that professionals want to continue developing their platforms and prioritise investment in social media to sustain business growth.
“Salon owners have also recognised the importance of elements including quality photography, branding and digital advertising, which naturally support social media activity. Improving salon aesthetics is also a priority, as well as being a source of social media content and backdrop for photographs, interiors help to build a memorable brand and appeal to consumers who seek shareable experiences.”