Social proof: a powerful way to attract new salon clients

Social proof: a powerful way to attract new salon clients

In these challenging economic times attracting new clients is more important than ever. We asked Alice Kirby, founder of Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing, for her thoughts and advice.

It’s a marketing buzz word. But what exactly is social proof?

Think of it as a ‘shortcut’ we all use when deciding how to act.

Imagine wandering down the street looking for your morning latte fix. You pass three coffee shops. One of them is empty, the next one just has a couple sitting in the window, and the third one is bustling with smiling, chatting customers. Which one are you going to choose?

If you’re like most people, you’ll choose the third one buzzing with happy people. This is social proof in action.

Why social proof is key to attracting new clients

Using social proof in your marketing will attract new clients to YOU as it:

  • Builds trust and confidence in your expertise and customer care.
  • Adds credibility to your brand.
  • Gives you an edge over your local competitors.
  • Motivates and supports individual team members.

How to generate more social proof

Let’s dive in to see how you can generate more social proof and then use it to market your salon:

Client reviews and testimonials

As a business owner one of your most powerful marketing assets is happy clients who review you.

Don’t just take my word for it. Research by BrightLocal in 2021 shows:

  • 77% 'always' or 'regularly' read reviews when browsing for local businesses.
  • 81% use Google to evaluate local businesses (up from 63% in 2020).
  • 57% of consumers will only buy or use a business service if it has at least a 4-star rating.

So how do you get more client reviews and testimonials? Quite simply – ask.

If approaching clients feels a little daunting, try my practical tips:

  1. Don’t ask every client. Only approach your best and most loyal clients as they are more likely to offer a glowing review to give your salon a helping hand.
  2. Offering incentives to clients to post reviews is frowned on by Google and other review sites who penalise you if they catch you. But for your regular reviewers how about a complimentary treatment upgrade or a gift of their favourite shampoo as a thank you after their last review? We all love to feel appreciated.
  3. Strike while the iron is hot. When a client gives you a compliment, thank them and ask if they’d mind popping it on Google, Facebook or any online salon guide you’re on.
  4.  Incentivise your team to ask their clients for online reviews by offering a monthly or quarterly competition or reward.
  5.  Build relationships with local influencers and experts in our industry to encourage mentions on their social.

Good Salon Guide Members: Ask clients to pop a review onto your member profile like multi award winner Anne Veck does. This ensures people searching for a salon in your local area see them and feel confident in your expertise and service and don’t forget to send us your award news and photographic collections as we love to include them on our social platforms and showcase our members to a wider audience. It’s great for your industry profile too.

Awards and star ratings/accreditation

Client testimonials and reviews are highly effective for attracting new clients and taking them on a journey to get to ‘know, like and trust’ your business. But don’t overlook other forms of social proof, for instance, industry and local awards and star ratings/accreditation organisations like the Good Salon Guide are highly effective ways to attract new clients.

Awards

You don’t have to be the winner to use industry or local awards as social proof to market your salon.  Reaching the final is a fabulous achievement, so shout about it. By doing so you’re reassuring potential clients that your team and business are amongst the best in the country. It’s all about that trust building I was talking about earlier.

Ratings and accreditations

A star rating by an independent national organisation gives your business trust, social proof and credibility 365 days of the year.

For me, the key marketing factor with these is ‘independence’. Potential new clients must feel confident they can trust the assessor to be honest and transparent. Like a Michelin star rating for a restaurant, it is something to be earned by the best. Not something that can be bought.

 Use social proof to market your salon

Okay, so you’re now getting a steady stream of awesome social proof. Let’s look at how you’re going to use it to market your business and attract new hair and beauty clients.

Let’s start with:

Salon social

A couple of times a month post a client testimonial across all your social media channels. Whenever you can, link it to the treatment/service you’re posting about. So, if you’re talking about your colour services or massages choose an appropriate client review to build trust and confidence in your technical skills.

Include any awards, certifications, and ratings in your bio. Regularly remind your social audience of your accolades with videos, throwback posts, stories, reels and carousels. Make your social proof works hard to promote your salon brand.

On your website

Display your client shout-outs as testimonials on your website too. And don’t just keep them for the homepage – scatter them across the whole website.

Do the same for your third-party social proof and remember to add any logo or graphic supplied by the organisation to your website to build trust and credibility.

In your email marketing

If you’re not doing email marketing, then think again. An e-newsletter once a month is one of your most valuable salon marketing tools.

Try to weave a relevant testimonial into each e-newsletter as they are brilliant for improving retention rates as well as converting potential new clients. Again, display any award/rating logo at the top of your e-newsletter.

Around the salon

Your windows, walls and front desk are all freebie advertising space. Use it.

Pop testimonials, awards and accreditations in framed posters, strut cards and on your digital screens if you have them.

And make sure you have an outward facing graphic on your windows to shout out to passers-by. Unless and until they trust you, potential new clients will be reluctant to pick up the phone to book. So don’t let your windows go to waste.

Build trust with social proof

Give your business a head start over the local competition. Regularly use social proof across all your marketing channels to:

  • Boost trust and credibility.
  • Reassure potential clients they are in professional safe hands.
  • Prompt them to pick up the phone. And book.

Hair & beauty marketing specialist Alice Kirby can be found at Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing and the Salon Social Club.