Point, shoot, upload. Manitoba stylists rate Instagram the #1 social media platform
By Jillian Mitchell
Mermaid hair, jazzy short cuts, and how-to up-dos—it’s almost as if social media was made for stylists. And Instagram? Well, that’s simply the icing on the very stylish cake.
The power of social media is not a new tale, but the conversation has shifted somewhat, with a focus on finding the best platform for each vocation.
Barber Scott Ramos of Winnipeg actively shares his story on Instagram, and his 77.6K followers can’t get enough. Ramos—or @famos, as he is known on the photo-centered platform—says the key to his online success is a threefold: consistency, authenticity, and positive energy.
“Every morning when I wake up, I go on Instagram. All my free time, I’m on Instagram, and I know it can be time-consuming, but this is my job,” says Ramos, who currently travels across North America teaching his trade, alongside barber Pacinos.
Ramos adheres to a very positive, self-made brand—his logo, a pair of scissors crafted out of his initials “S” and “R”—to which every online post adheres. An integral piece of the equation, all posts are tagged with his own hashtag, #famosramos.
“Life is what you make it,” says Ramos, who also uses Instagram as an inspirational tool. “I always try to think in a positive way. The stuff you put out there, it has to be positive. I’m inspiring thousands of people with the stuff I put out there.”
Posts with that certain wow-factor are integral, Ramos says. His top posts typically involve design portraits—on hair.
“When Chris Brown dropped his album, X, I drew that album cover on the back of someone’s head,” he says. “Chris Brown saw it and reposted it and now I’m getting follows off of that.”
For the burgeoning barber, Instagram takes the cake. “When I first put my pictures on Facebook, I was able to reach out locally, and that’s how you get your chair busy. But when Instagram came out, it was a way for me to reach out internationally,” he adds.
Stylist Amber Joy Rogan agrees that Instagram trumps all other platforms.
“On Instagram, it’s your page, an extension of you; no one else has access to it. On Facebook, people can post on your page—and it’s busy and scattered,” says Rogan, known as @hairbyamberjoy by her 21K Instagram followers. “Instagram and Pinterest allow you to focus.”
Rogan cites Pinterest as an inspirational tool for clients, whereas Instagram is “probably the number-one thing to do to build your career.”
“Seventy per cent of my clients have been to my page,” she adds.
Rogan’s top posts? Mermaid hair, mermaid hair, and … yup, more mermaid hair.
“People love long-hair pictures!” quips the stylist from Grace Hill Salon on Winnipeg’s Corydon Avenue. “Getting the right shot is the most important thing—the hair’s in place, the colour is showing properly, the lighting is good. Sometimes I have to take 30 pictures to get the right one.”
Rogan stresses the importance of having an aesthetically pleasing page with variety—from blondes to brunettes, to before-and-afters. The stylist also confirms that video posts are equally effective. (And hashtags are essential; posts can sport up to 30!).
For Rogan, consistency is key to her online success. “Stay active. I try to post a couple times a day, with six to eight hours between posts,” she adds, noting that following other stylists is another great tip. “The more you post, the more people see your work.”
Salons can—and do—use Instagram as well. Amy McLachlan, co-owner of Grace Hill Salon (partner is Somboun Phommarath), actively uses the online platform under her salon’s moniker, @grace_hill_salon, and currently boasts 2,987 followers. She says being on Instagram has helped boost her client roster, and those of her eight stylists and four makeup artists.
“We try to post visually clean, bright images with respect to what’s hot in the industry right now—rich-looking, wearable looks with lots of texture and detail,” McLachlan says. “We covet looks that are lived-in and natural, with precision and polish built in.”
One of the salon’s more popular posts is of a blended, balayaged colour melt.
“Our followers also love seeing some cute personal stuff thrown in that isn’t hair-related. It makes us more real,” McLachlan adds. (Her post, “Life’s too short to have boring hair”, gets high praise!).
Undoubtedly, there’s a big question surrounding social media: How to find the time? Our stylists recommend posting a few times per day. Tools to assist with social media time management, such as Hootsuite, may also be helpful for on-the-go stylists (but can lack that personal touch if stylists aren’t at times involved in their page in real-time).
McLachlan offers the following insight. “We are a very busy salon, so to stay on top of our social media can be hard,” she says, “but we definitely need to maintain a presence to keep our page on the forefront of our followers’ minds.”
*Instagram stats reflective of February 5, 2016.