Welcome to the Precision Nails Blog

As a salon owner and licensed manicurist, my perspective on the nail industry could not be more practical. While some may be offended by the opinions expressed, please understand that I want to share information and stimulate discussion. Whether you want your nails done or do nails professionally, I hope you find this blog both useful and interesting.

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Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Social Media? Not for Me

Article Published in Stylist Magazine, October 2013

Most salon owners, nail professionals and consultants may believe otherwise, but social media is just not that important to the success of my business. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, protective of my privacy and too busy to bother; I don’t invest much time or other resources promoting my salon online. Please don’t get me wrong. I love technology and how it simplifies running my business, especially the work that’s not obvious to clients: managing the schedule, handling finances, paying employees, tracking inventory, ordering products, etc. My responsibilities as a business owner would be difficult to meet without technology. It’s an incredible resource that I value for its reliability, cost-effectiveness and convenience.

Using technology for marketing, however, is an entirely different proposition; while it plays a large role in providing information, the social/interactive aspect means very little to me. Anyone with access to the internet could easily find my salon and learn about the nail services we offer, upcoming events and more. I update my website every month, write an article for the Stylist and post occasionally on Facebook, Twitter and BeautyTech. However, these activities represent less than 5% of the time I devote to my business. Could I do more online? Spend more time and money? I suppose, but why should I? As long as most clients reserve their appointments a year in advance, and potential clients continue to contact us, I’m very comfortable with my current level of online involvement. To do more (advertise, tweet, post, request reviews, etc.) without the capacity to accept more clients would be foolish.

Before it’s suggested, let me address the concept of expanding my business. One of the most critical features of a successful salon is  maintaining the proper balance between supply (services offered and time available) and demand (services desired and time required). I understand my limits and don’t want to be stretched beyond what’s reasonable. It’s not my intent to make my salon available to everyone; that’s not my business model. Above all else, I want to serve my clients well. That means welcoming them at every appointment, doing quality work and showing appreciation for their loyalty. Besides, it’s not possible to meet the needs of everyone at the exact moment they want them met. That’s why walk-in salons exist, and their manicurists can stay busy churning through new clients.

A salon that needs new clients would likely have more reason to market online. Social media might seem worthwhile; after all, if you aren’t busy doing nails, you have more time to talk about nails, or your clients or things completely unrelated to nails. There’s no privacy in these interactions and some opinions are not meant to be shared. Giving your clients and potential clients/complete strangers more information with which they cannot help but judge you is not productive. Even if I had an opening in my schedule or a negative client experience, I certainly wouldn’t post about it. But that’s my choice.

Any time spent/wasted online serves as a reminder that the most important interactions I have are with my clients in person. Most of my work time (approximately 75%) is spent providing nail services and getting paid. I can share anything they need to know about me or the salon during their appointments. If immediate communication is necessary, I can send emails or make phone calls. To reduce the need for excess communication, I encourage standing appointments, if possible, for convenience and my peace of mind. (If I were to commit to more clients than I could serve, that would make me anxious!) I don’t expect them to follow me on Twitter, post to Facebook, write reviews or anything else beyond remaining satisfied clients. That’s enough for me.

No amount of stars, likes, views, comments, replies, or any other measure of “popularity” can capture the quality of the salon experience. Comments, testimonials and recommendations, though more qualitative and seemingly informative, can only be trusted to a certain extent. The anonymity of most online interactions allows for some dubious, unethical and sometimes nasty behavior. I’ve encountered one too many salon owners posting positive reviews of their own salons, and more than a handful of “clients” expressing their disappointment in salon services when their complaints have no merit and only serve to disparage. If all this information hasn’t been verified, why believe any of it?

Ultimately, every business owner has to consider how best to use time and resources. That’s a personal decision based on priorities. My priority is my existing clientele; the individuals who month after month, year after year, support my business financially. Potential clients are everywhere, but I don’t feel the need to pursue them online. I don’t even market to existing clients online; they know where to find me and how to contact the salon. And if they want my opinion abut something, all they have to do is ask.

By Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D.