This is a guest blog post written by Becca Whitehead
For those of you who don’t know me, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Becca Whitehead, I am a hairstylist who has been in the industry for over 6 years and behind the chair (post school and apprenticeships) for 4 years. I’ve been in the Instagram game for 2.5 years—my main focuses being hair painting, lived-in color & cuts, as well as self-love encouragement, raw truth-telling, and career fulfillment.
Instagram has been a game changer for my career. I received over 200 new client inquiries in my FIRST YEAR of Instagram business marketing, allowing me to switch from commission to booth rental with a constant flow of new clients and a wait list.
I tell you all that just to say: I am a huge proponent of Instagram marketing.
I know I’m not alone in that, too. Over the past 5 years, Instagram has taken our industry by storm. 10 years ago, business cards and word of mouth were the main form of building clientele. Now, stylists are getting new clients in their chair every single week all with the power of Instagram marketing.
The possibilities don’t end there, either. Brands are now connecting with stylists more than ever to promote their products, giving many people a new way to make some extra cash. Our industry is exploding with creativity and possibilities, and we have more control over our success and our futures than ever before.
Seems great, right? Then why are so many of us unhappy? Every day I see stylists complaining about feeling burned out, unseen, unheard, uninspired, and frustrated when it comes to social media marketing.
In my opinion, all of these negative feelings are created by the distractions we are faced with 24/7 on social media. Creating a business Instagram account usually starts out as a positive career & marketing move, but has the tendency to turn into a source of inadequacy and envy.
We’re hyper-focused on the highlight reels of the people we’re following. It’s rare for anyone to post about their screw-ups, so we only see the best of other’s work—the best lighting, the best angle, with the best background, etc… We all know that people only post the best of themselves, yet we can’t stop getting distracted by the idea that others seem to be doing better than us.
We know that social media is specifically designed to be addictive and tug on our desire for validation, yet we still can’t help but feel heartbroken when a hair photo only gets 10 likes…or a spark of gratification and accomplishment when the algorithm boosts a post.
Social media plays our basic human psychology, simply to encourage us to spend more time on it. These methods fool us into believing that only receiving 10 likes on a photo means what we’re doing isn’t important.
I mean, the algorithm literally hides posts that it decides won’t be popular and garner the most attention.
It’s no wonder so many of us feel exhausted by the whole Instagram hustle…it’s like we’ve all been time warped back into High School and are playing the popularity game all over again. We’re fighting for validation and attention, and when we don’t get it, we feel it’s a reflection of our self worth.
So what do we do about this? We need to gain focus, and stop getting distracted. It seems difficult to do, but you can begin the process simply by being aware when you’re distracted. Then take a step back and regain focus.
To help you regain focus, sit down and write out your business goals.
What are your goals 1 year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
Dream big, but also be realistic and think about what YOU really want.
For instance, I thought I wanted to be sponsored until I realized that most sponsored stylists have a quota they have to meet every week, and a contract to abide by. I HATE being bound to quotas and contracts. So why was I chasing sponsorships? I thought they should be my goal because that’s what everyone else “above me” was doing.
It had nothing to do with my own desires, and everything to do with comparison. I was getting distracted. Make sure your goals aren’t being created by distractions.
Next, I want you to write down how you can use Instagram to help aid you in achieving your goals.
If your 1-year goal is to fill your books, you can do that with less than 2,000 followers if you’re using the right methods and targeting your market correctly.
If your goal is to teach, stop worrying about how many people are reaching out to be a new client, and start focusing on building relationships with other stylists on Instagram by networking and sharing techniques and knowledge.
Having a large following can help you in achieving your goals, but it is by no means a requirement. You can double your clientele without 5,000 followers, just like you can gain 5,000 followers without ever growing your clientele.
Finally, don’t get distracted by YOURSELF.
Don’t let your focus on your 10-year goal distract you from first achieving your 5-year goal. Why stress about gaining sponsorships when you still need to fill your chair? Why worry about gaining 10,000 followers if you’re still trying to learn and perfect your techniques? Your 1-year goal needs to happen before you can begin to achieve your 5-year goal, so don’t let your focus skip over it.
On that same note, don’t let your long-term goals distract you from enjoying all the short term accomplishments you’re achieving NOW.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve discredited my short-term accomplishments because they don’t look as shiny as my 5-year goal does. Not allowing yourself to celebrate small milestones will only create more feelings of inadequacy and failure.
I want you to celebrate every client you retain, every bit of positive client feedback, every technique you nail for the first time.
Celebrate every successful price increase, every business investment, and most importantly: celebrate every week you get through with a smile on your face. These are the things that matter the most to having a satisfying relationship with your career growth, because Instagram could go away at any point. Keep your distractions in check, your goals prioritized and in-focus, and the way you participate in Instagram marketing will greatly improve.
Becca Whitehead whitehead is a licensed cosmetologist. Her goal as a stylist is to help you develop a plan for your hair that is realistic to your hair health, your lifestyle, and your future. You can expect Becca to prioritize healthy, natural-looking hair, lived-in styles, and lots of communication.
Thank you Becca for your Instagram tips!
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