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aka_dakota View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 03 2011 at 5:25pm
Hey folks,

I'm new here and doing some research for my sister. She's a stylist and works from home and is looking to set herself up with a website to help bring in some additional work. As I'm the "computer expert" in our family she's asked for my help which has lead me here.

It seems like hairboutique is quite active so I wanted to simply ask, does a web presence help bring in clients? I'm not entirely sure what she's expecting but I know that eventually she wants to open up a salon and its important to her to establish with herself with new clients before she takes that step.

She's also looking at online appointment scheduling systems.  It apparently lets her clients book appointments with her by letting them see what times she's available. Has anyone here worked with something like this?? Are these a waste of time?? I don't want her to spend money on something unless it really works. I'd rather see her focus on a minimalistic approach but at the same time the appeal of a system like that is great. It feels very modern. That and I'd prefer to see something like that everywhere.

Anyway I guess in a nutshell how important would you say an online presence is to salons and stylists? Is it still too new?? Keep in mind my sister doesn't really have a clue about things like twitter... facebook on the other hand :P


Edited by Karen Shelton - June 04 2011 at 8:53am
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Karen Shelton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karen Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2011 at 9:08am
Hi and welcome.
 
I removed your link because we do have stricts rules against advertising on HairTalk and I wasn't sure if your link was to promote a particular product.
 
However, I would be happy to help your sister with information about scheduling.
 
Here are some general tips for stylists which can help them interact with their customer base:
 
Automated Scheduling System - Yes Or Not
 
A scheduling system may be helpful in some cases however most clients may prefer to have a more direct approach. 
 
Even though my stylist offers online scheduling, she also has a Facebook page, a Twitter account and actively texts.  If I text or email her what dates she has available on Monday mornings for a particular month she will text me back the dates and times or email me.
 
She also posts her available dates and times on her Facebook page.
 
I love that within 1-2 hours of texting her she will text me back dates/times and then I can pick.  She confirms very quickly.
 
Automated Scheduling Systems MAY work for a large salon with lots of stylists where they don't want to have a full time front desk person for scheduling or for clients who want to schedule 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
 
However, automated scheduling systems are not the best bet, in most cases, for stylists working independently, booth renters or stylists working from home.  They require a lot more.
 
A stylist like your sister who really wants to hit the ground running and connect instantly with her clients (who love that accessibility) should probably do the following things first before even considering a scheduling system:
 
1.  Create a Facebook page and invite all her existing clients to Like her or be a friend.
 
She should then post appropriate business info on her page such as hours of operation, special appointment availabilities, her hair and beauty specialities or special expertise.
 
2.  Create a Twitter account and link it back to Facebook.  She should also mention her Facebook page on her Twitter page.
 
Since you are the "computer expert" then you could set up a Facebook and Twitter page without much difficulty at all and she would be up and running.
 
3.  Once she has the FB and Twitter pages then she should try to locate her current clients on both Social Media networks to see if they have pages or accounts.  She should Friend or Follow them.
 
My own hairstylist follow and friends me and if I am complaining I need a trim or highlights she will send me a message and offer to help me schedule a visit.  I LOVE that about her.  Love it!!!
 
4.   Once your sister feels comfy online than you can explore creating a web page BUT if you do it's important that it look professional with some images of work your sister has done in her professional, her hours of operation and related hair stuff.
 
5.  After the FB, Twitter accounts and the webpage your sister can then link to other sites which promote her salon.
 
Hairboutique.com has a free salon directory which lists hairdressers, stylists or anyone at no charge.  There are several places around the web that offer a free posting. 
 
Be sure the posting is free though because many sites are cracking down on people who post advertisements without permission. 
 
6.  Once she has a FB, Twitter, website and directory listings she can expand from there and consider other business promotion developments.
 
I really think that online scheduling has a place but considering your sister's business I would not consider online scheduling for a long time...if ever.  Why spend the money or time when she can connect quickly via the other channels.
 
If you or anyone has questions about setting up FB, Twitter, social media channels or free salon listings than please email webmaster@hairboutique.com and we will do our best to help. 
 
Thanks for your post.  I hope this info helps you, your sister and any other hairstylists reading this.
 
Have a great weekend.
 
 
That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger or drives you totally insane. :-)
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aka_dakota View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aka_dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2011 at 12:22pm
Wow thanks for the reply and sorry about the link, definitely understandable.

I love the idea of incorporating texting just a quick question about it though .. is using your personal number the best way to approach that? To me it obviously makes things easier but comes with the opportunity for abuse.

I'll set her up with twitter and facebook. Your suggestions just make too much sense! I'm gonna print this off and show it to her!

Woo hoo!
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Karen Shelton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karen Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 06 2011 at 1:07pm
You are very welcome.  No prob with the link.  It's just the advertisers can be overwhelming and we try to keep those off the board.
 
The texting is so awesome.  I just made an appointment for a nail appt with a text as well. 
 
Yes, def potential for abuse.  There has to be good boundaries between the hairstylist or beauty pro and their clients. 
 
My hairstylist uses her personal phone number but she is very selective and will only take clients she wants to work with.  She is a well-known haircolorist here in Dallas (famous for her blonde highlights).  She is great at saying no - not that I would ever abuse the priviledge.
 
She told me once that since she started offering the text option only one person texted her inappropriately.  My nail person has 2 phone numbers.  One she offers as a text option and the other is her private number.  I have both numbers but never call her private no and just text her. 
 
I have become a text fanatic...but never while driving.  :-)
 
Hope that helps.  When you set your sister up on Twitter and FB be sure to follow us on Twitter and we will follow back.  Ditto on FB.  Also, be sure to send us your sister's info for our free salon directory.
 
Let me know if you have any other questions.  Thanks for visiting us here.
That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger or drives you totally insane. :-)
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