Social media marketing encompasses a wide variety of platforms and strategies that have proven to be effective for brands looking to grow an online presence—especially those where factors like target audience age and visual representation are key to attracting customers. As such, personal-service shops such as hair and beauty SMEs find enormous value in social marketing.
New research from payments solution firm Dojo takes a deeper dive into how this industry utilizes social marketing, and uncovers the most effective strategies and channels used by shops in the UK. The firm surveyed personal-service small and medium business owners to understand what their strategy is currently, areas they would like to improve on, and which is the most effective approach for sales generation.
Social media has grown astronomically with 4.59 billion people active on these platforms worldwide in 2022, according to Statista—so there is a huge audience available online for brands to tap into.
YouTube comes out on top
According to the data, YouTube was the most utilized social media channel for hair and beauty shops, as 28 percent of respondents said that they use this channel as a form of marketing—not surprising given that the hair and beauty industry is very visual, and using YouTube is a great way to exhibit tutorials and signature looks that will help to drive customer interest.
YouTube is also an excellent choice for SMEs looking to grow their online presence due to the size of the platform’s audience. According to external data, as of 2023, there are just over 43 million Brits using YouTube as a channel, highlighting the content’s potential reach.
Facebook is the 2nd most popular platform
A fifth of the UK population stated Facebook was their preferred social media platform, according to Statista, so it makes sense that SMEs also chose to focus on trying to reach customers through this channel (26 percent).
Community Groups on Facebook are also a perfect platform feature for smaller businesses, especially in this sector. It gives businesses the opportunity to advertise themselves within a space that their local community uses, and they’re also likely to find requests for recommendations or last-minute appointments in this space.
Only 23 percent use Instagram as a marketing tool
It’s somewhat surprising to see Instagram is not more widely used among these professionals with the platform being so visual.
According to a source, Instagram’s user base is predominantly between the ages of 25-34 (30.1 percent) and 18-24 (26.1 percent). Therefore, depending on the demographic your business is looking to target, using Instagram will be key in building an online brand presence and generating a more loyal customer base that interacts with your content frequently, and more likely to lead to a higher conversion rate.
Influencer marketing falls behind popular social media channels but is the best for sales generation
The data reveals that just 21 percent of those surveyed use influencer marketing as a part of their strategy. Despite this, influencer marketing has come out as the best channel for sales generation, ahead of individual platforms TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, suggesting that user-generated content is much more effective at reaching this particular audience compared to organic social posts.
This limited use of influencer marketing as a channel is largely due to a lack of experience
Arguably, more SMEs would consider using influencer marketing as a channel if they had a better understanding of how to implement it. This is supported by the fact that a quarter of those surveyed noted that they would want support in running successful influencer campaigns.
“When it comes to starting influencer marketing, the most important thing is to pick influencers that align with your target audience,” advises Darcy Jessop, influencer marketing and campaigns expert, in a Dojo statement. “When reaching out for rates, ensure you ask for a demographic breakdown—there’s no point in spending money using an influencer that has the wrong audience for your brand!”
“For beauty salons, using micro influencers to start your influencer marketing journey can be a great way to test different niches (from hair to beauty, all the way to comedy as a wild card option) without breaking the bank” Jessop adds. “Micro influencers often have a highly engaged loyal following already, so growing with them over time can be a great way to break into the industry and make an impact, without feeling like your collaboration is a drop in the ocean on their feeds.”
Dojo surveyed a sample of 197 small and medium business owners, and key decision makers within these businesses, asking questions on marketing tactics. The survey focused specifically on SME personal service businesses including hair salons and barbers, beauty clinics and massage parlors.