We’ve managed accounts for several fashion and beauty businesses and often encounter the question of whether or not it makes sense to follow clients. Most of you in the fashion and beauty industry make it a practice to only follow those on social media who are in the industry. This helps you to network with colleagues, keep abreast of the goings-on and trends within the industry, and get inspiration. These are all great reasons to do so and you should definitely continue to follow those in the industry, but our thought is this: Yes. You should also follow your clients. We’ve heard several reasons for not following clients from: “I don’t want clients’ posts to distract from what I would like to see: i.e. posts within my silo” to “What’s the point in following clients period?” or a variant of a KPI question.
Here’s our point:
By not following clients and potential clients, you’re missing the whole point of social media. This goes back to understanding why you’re on social media in the first place. If you are on social media to reinforce a relationship with current clients and expand your client base, then you absolutely need to have a two-way relationship with your followers. If not, then it’s useful for other things (we’ll talk about specifics later), but not necessary.
The entire purpose of social media is to break the fourth wall and open communication that previously was non-existent between businesses and their customers. How are you going to have a conversation with your clients if they can only visit you on your terms i.e, your page.
The benefits of having a two-way relationship extend to both intangible and tangible forms.
The intangible benefits:
- Building a relationship.
you get to know your followers on their turf, as well as yours, and gain an insight into their lives. You also are now have more of an opportunity to listen and converse. For example, if a client posts a picture of the hairstyle you just did for her, you then have the opportunity to gain permission to repost and image. More content that you don’t have to create. Potential clients who see this can now see your work in a relatable setting.
- Humanizing the brand.
By engaging with your clients and showing them that you are not a robot, and that you care about the welfare of your clients, you bring a human face to the brand. This means don’t just follow and lurk, engage! Like a photo, talk about something relevant, reply to comments.
Too many businesses ignore comments. If your page is getting swamped with comments, you’re obviously not going to have time to reply to each one individually, but keep an eye out for questions and potential clients seeking information. This can be the deciding factor between whether you gain a new client or lose a potential client. If you don’t have time during business hours, delegate someone to take shifts or set aside an hour or two each day where you make a point to browse through your notifications and answer questions. If you’re just starting out and get very few comments, you absolutely need to make it your duty to respond to everyone, question or not. Show that you care that they took the time to leave a comment.
- Building trust.
Going back to the example of re-posting a client’s image of your handy work, this is also an opportunity to build trust. How many of us have gone to a hair or nail salon and left less than pleased and now do detailed research before trying any new place? By posting your handy work from your client’s perspective, you’re developing a rapport and showcasing verifiable reviews from clients that love you i.e., building trust.
The tangible benefits:
Higher potential for new clientele.
New clients are important to growth; a business can’t survive solely on repeat customers. In order to significantly increase revenue, the fact is that you need new customers. You need more people buying your products and your services in order for significantly increase growth and, as a result, revenue. This means that some time should be spent focusing on how to bring in new clientele. This is not to say that you should take any focus off of current repeat clients, you definitely should not, as repeat clients are fundamental to sustaining business. On the other hand, if growth is your goal, new clients are how you get it. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach clients in a way that no other marketing platform does. It essentially puts clients right at your doorstep and opens the door to their lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen posts of people moving to a new area and looking for a new stylist, nail salon, and or boutique. It happens on a regular basis, why not benefit from it.
Where do you start?
- Pay attention to who likes your content and do a little bit of research. Check out their page, see where they’re located. If they’re in your area, follow them.
- Check out who likes the content of those in your industry. Some instafamous people in the industry have followers from all over the world. If you check the comments, you’ll see from time to time people comment “I wish you were in *insert town here*.” If they mention your town or surrounding areas, this is your cue to step up and promote yourself. Don’t get ahead of yourself, no sales pitch necessary. Simply “Our salon/ boutique is right here in ______, check out our content” will suffice.
- See if there are any Instagram pages dedicated to your city and see who follows them. Do a little bit of sleuthing and see if you can find target client. If so, follow them.
- Take a look at your discovery tab, as you like and follow more content that’s relevant to you, the Discovery tab will pull more useful content. Instagram has nearly perfected this algorithm. Take full advantage of it.
- If your feed is too clogged, create a separate page just for yourself as the owner so you can see only what you want to see. Click here for a few apps that can help you manage multiple Instagram accounts.