Dear E. Jean: I’m 26 and building my career in New York City as a hairdresser. The owner of the salon where I work is a very successful guy and has been featured in several fashion magazines for his amazing product line. But he’s so busy promoting his line he’s never at the salon! A second stylist and I basically run the place, but even though we have a great location in Manhattan, some days it’s just dead. How do I attract new clientele? How do I market myself and the salon? The owner gives me complete freedom, so I take an hour every day and give flyers to the doormen near us and put them on car windshields. I also post about the salon and our work on my Facebook page, and I’ve started a Twitter account. What am I not doing? I love styling hair, and I have the drive to succeed, but how do I get noticed? How do I get myself and the salon out there? —Uptown Girl
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Girl, Darling: Love your work ethic! But get off those windshields.
I am a big believer in social media. The New York Times says half the population of America over the age of 13 is on Facebook. It’s now bigger than the whole Internet was in 2004, according to Michael Lazerow, founder and CEO of Buddy Media. Facebook provides you with extraordinary tools to grow your business, so it should be the soul of your social campaign. You can run polls, contests, and so on, but why not do a three-week promotion on the salon’s Facebook page called “Trims for the Troops” and offer free haircuts to the soldiers—men and women—returning from overseas duty? It will bring attention to the shop, drive a ton of new paying clients to your door, boost your personal reputation, and be a godsend to our warriors!
If you want to try a scrappy, offline, old-school approach, launch a “Best Friends” special at the salon. Offer to style two friends for the price of one. You’ll heft a small profit from volume—the more heads you do, the more word will get out, the more money you’ll make. So it shouldn’t be difficult to get permission from your salon’s owner. Good luck! Tweet me when your “Best Friends” offer goes up! I want to be the first in the chair!
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.