Dear Socially Stephanie,
I'm a stylist and makeup artist. As a creator, I've found it difficult to manage my online reputation. My clients often post pictures of themselves before I get a chance to approve them or post my own, which makes me feel like my reputation is out of my hands. Am I being crazy and overly controlling?
Also, do you know of any niche networks I can build my brand on?
Beauty Pro in Boise
Dear Beauty Pro,
First of all, congratulations. You've got a brilliant business for social media success. Here's what I'm saying: anything that involves beauty and fashion-work it to your favor on as many social networks as you can get your nicely manicured fingers on, because those networks are consumer-facing. Plus, you've got a ton of content to work with! You're an artist, so now it's time to integrate that artistic flair into your social presence.
So, you're controlling. I get it. Who isn't? Especially when it comes to your online reputation. But you shouldn't be so concerned about it. In fact, you should be happy they're giving you free advertisement. Of course, this changes if it's a big ol' smeared mess, a totally hideous outfit, post-crying mascara face, or the ever-dreaded lipstick teeth.
When your client Instagrams a photo of their new look, they're posting to an audience full of their friends. An audience full of friends who will, at that point, be totally taken with the transformation you've given the poster. It's only a matter of time before those friends come flocking to, who else, you for the very same star treatment.
That right there is your BCS-Best Case Scenario.
The worst case would be that the client is completely unhappy and they post something negative about you, or snaps a picture of how "ugly" they look or feel. It's unlikely, but if this does happen, you've got some control there and can untag yourself. It'll still show up on your client's (or soon-to-be ex-client's) network, but you don't have to showcase it on your page. That's important. You have control of what shows up on your Facebook page.
Another part of your job should be making sure your client is happy and wants to post away-which, of course, since you do great work, should be something you encourage. This is free advertising of the most powerful sort-social proofing. One way to control the atmosphere is to have them show up for their makeup session in a photographable outfit. Start there. Pretty simple.
Second, ask to take a picture of them with your camera. And keep retaking that photo until you're happy with it. Show it to your client and ask her to sign a release form while she's still deliriously happy over the transformation, to ensure it gets done. You want to make sure the photos you've snapped are the ones that people see when they come to your website, blog or social sites, and asking your clients if you can use their photos will be a great testimonial.
People like to have a few minutes of fame, so they'll most likely be happy you asked. A few days after you've seen to your client, email them with the picture that's been touched up and digitally perfected, and send it to them with a link to your Yelp profile. It's like laying all the fashionable pieces of your style puzzle out for them, on the design table. Ask them, kindly-and with a bucket of flattery-to write a review of your services. Let them know that if you can count on them to post the picture you sent, you'll give them a discount on their next makeover. People love incentives. And you will love the value and referrals it will bring to your business.
Recently, I came across an interesting new website called StyleSeat. StyleSeat is a network that allows you to promote your business and give offers to new customers. It's free to sign up, and with over 48,000 Facebook fans, it's already known and sure to keep growing. But remember, like on any network, your profile alone isn't going to be enough. It's all about engagement. The more engaged you are, the more engaged your customers will be.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells