The New Wave of Social Media

The photos that caught TMobile and Pottery Barn’s eyes. . . and the subsequent messages each company sent me.
The photos that caught TMobile and Pottery Barn’s eyes. . . and the subsequent messages each company sent me.

Recently, I was contacted out of the blue on social media by two businesses that I frequent. Pottery Barn had spotted a photo of my Siamese Mix, Maddie, on Instagram, posing elegantly in front of three of their Halloween pillows. They loved the photo and were asking for permission to “regram” it on their site. TMobile, on the other hand, had found a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) post I’d made on Twitter near the end of the 2015 MLB season. It was a picture of my younger brother, Kevin, and I at the 2007 World Series watching the Rockies get swept by the Boston Red Sox.We both look angry and stunned in the photo, and they thought it captured the full essence of being a fan. According to the guy who messaged me, they were considering placing my photo in an ad campaign they were putting together to run during the World Series.

Neither of these communications were planned. I did not post these photos on social-media thinking either company would see them, although in Maddie’s case, I did hashtag #PotteryBarn so that other Instagram users who like the brand could easily find it.

When I received the first message (TMobile) I was surprised and flattered. I also fig-ured it was an once-in-a-life- time opportunity that I – a huge baseball fan - was lucky enough to be par t of. However, when the second message, from Pottery Barn, arrived less than two weeks later, I began realizing something more was at play. Indeed, as social media becomes even more popular, and paid advertising on these sites increasingly relevant (more on this in our upcoming Jan/Feb 2016 issue), companies of all sizes are also expanding their social approach. It’s no longer enough to simply monitor your pages, post cute photos and respond to customer comments. Rather, those elements have become the basic building blocks you need to maintain a site.

To take things to the next level, you have to aggressively search for mentions of your salon and look for ways to incorporate those posts into ad campaigns and promotions. Essentially, it’s become your job to take that extra step and turn customers who make positive mentions or post about related topics into brand ambassadors.

Each day, spend 30 minutes or so browsing online.Search topics by hash tags, look for images...and don’t be afraid to reach out to the people who are posting them. Example: Let’s say you notice a local teen posting stylish dress images and discussing prom with her friends. Why not reach out and invite her to model in a prom fashion show? She might’ve never heard of your store before but once the invite is extended, you’d better believe she will tell every- one about it– and come check out your dress inventory! This is the new wave of social media where it’s no longer enough to sit back and let customers come to you. To really stay on top of the game, take a cue from com- panies like Pottery Barn and TMobile and proactively reach out to potential customers. It’s flattering and it puts your salon front of their minds. It’s free adver tising at its finest – but it does take some work.

And while you’re at it, if there’s something you’re passionate about, don’t be afraid to post about it. You never know who’s watching these days – or what a random social-media message could possibly lead to!

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