Tori Allen is President and CEO of Brainchild Associates, with more than 10 years of experience as a communications professional. She specializes in experiential branding and consumer marketing for businesses and individuals. She has helped numerous clients in the beauty and cosmetology industry. Follow Tori on Twitter @brainchildassoc or visit her Facebook fan page.
You've looked forward to the day that you were no longer a beauty student for a long time now. Becoming a cosmetology professional is what you've been waiting for and now that you've graduated it's time to build a name for yourself as a respected and elite professional in the beauty industry.
But how do you do it? Your talent is an art form. You look at each client as an empty canvas and you know exactly what to do to bring out the beautiful glamour queen or king that lies within them. YOU may know that you've got what it takes, but how do you transfer that into the minds of your potential clients?
Here are five solid steps to give you the definite edge when it comes to quickly position yourself in the cosmetology business through personal branding. Many of these tips involve social media, so get your computer out and prepare to join the ranks of the savvy marketer. It's all about EXPOSURE!
1. Photos, Photos, Photos! Constantly Build Your Portfolio
Keep a camera with you at all times. Take photographs of every new style, color, cut, weave, or anything else you want to brand yourself with. Use your best photos to create a mobile cosmetology portfolio on your cell phone and online cosmetology portfolio on your dedicated website, blog site or social media profile. (Create a free online cosmetology beauty LookBook on My Social Beauty.)
Keeping photographs of your work will help you in more ways than just giving your potential clients an idea of your capabilities. A portfolio can help you to recognize your strong areas and may even drive you into developing a highly profitable niche for yourself. Furthermore, you can post your photos online or send them via email with coupons for your services.
2. Join Twitter Right Now! (Even Before Graduating)
Twitter is a way to network with individuals in the beauty industry as well as potential clients. Joining Twitter should be high on your list because you can start networking long before you have an online cosmetology portfolio. I suggest targeting PR professionals, salon owners, area business owners and brands that will help grow your business. Twitter resources such as Twellow and WeFollow are great for identifying key cosmetology contacts you'd like to network with, whether locally, regionally or nationally. If you've been Twittering the entire time you are in school you may have well over 5,000 followers! And guess what? You can post your portfolio link right on Twitter and invite everyone to check it out. This drastically increases the chances that people will visit your site and visit you for your excellent services. (Follow Beauty Schools Directory on Twitter @BSDiva.)
3. Get Your Own Business Cards
As simple as this sounds, there are so many hairstylists that either don't carry business cards with them or don't have them at all. Lack of business cards means lost opportunities. You can easily order full color business cards online for a minimal fee. I recommend fold-over type cards that have enough room to showcase some of your best work. In the beauty industry, seeing is believing. Individuals have a natural fear of trying new things and although hair grows back, no one wants a bad haircut or style. Proudly show off your work every chance you can and you will gain the attention of potential clients.
Another option for business cards is to give extra cards to some of your best customers. Tell them to sign their name on the back of the card and recommend you to others who comment on their hairstyle. After two or three recommendations that come in with these cards, give your faithful customer a free haircut and style. Always reward your walking, talking billboards. Verbal recommendations are the best and most sought after type of exposure. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
4. Build a Blog
Creating a free blog is an easy step to having your own little piece of web real estate. On your blog you can give advice on hair care products, certain styles, tips and trends. As you build up a following of readers, you will be recognized as an authority in your field. A blog is also another place to house your entire cosmetology photo portfolio. I don't recommend putting an overwhelming amount of time on social media since it can become rather time-consuming. Set small goals for developing your blog and social media accounts. Posting one or two times per week won't take long at all and after a year passes by, you can easily have 100 blog posts online.
5. Volunteer Your Services
Lastly, there is no more meaningful way to demonstrate your passion for hair then to volunteer your services. This is a very strategic way to expose your aspiring hair talents, network with prospective clients and be a part of premium initiative that might even be life-changing! Premium volunteer opportunities include makeovers for participants of nonprofit award ceremonies and charity events as well as local TV, film and theater productions. Volunteering with local photographers may also present the key opportunity to connect with target clients and expose your talents through a winning editorial feature!
These five recommendations are just a few ways in which you can build up a fast client base right after graduation from cosmetology school. As your business grows you must continue to brand yourself through networking opportunities, participating in charities and keeping yourself in the spotlight whenever possible. And since YOU are your number one selling tool, remember to always look your best and present yourself with an air of success!