In April 2020, when a lot more indie nail professionals finally had some time to stop + think about their businesses, I hosted a workshop called the Service Menu Makeover. The 3-day workshop explored how to determine our perfect pricing, elevate our service menus, and how to redesign our marketing so that we could fill our books with services we love + perfect-fit clients.
The number one question I got during the workshop:
“How do I get more nail clients from social media?”
I looove this question because social media has grown + maintained my clientele like that all natural fertilizer my mom used to grow these tulips. They still bloom every spring after 40 years with literally ZERO maintenance:
On social media, indie nail professionals can:
Gain exposure to a whole new set of (dream) clients we might not normally meet
Showcase our best work, attracting *only* clients who want our speciality
Feel like friends before they even sit in our chair, clinching client retention goals that make a 6-figure beauty business
This all sounds glamorous like Billy Porter on the Met Gala red carpet, but something might be getting in the way: OVERWHELM 😱
What do I even post?
How the heck do I use hashtags?
How do I get people to follow me?
If you can relate to that overwhelm, here are some quick social media marketing for nail salon recommendations:
Instagram marketing for nail salons FTW
Instagram is my platform of choice for finding new nail clients + marketing my nail salon services. Unlike TikTok, Instagram lets us post both photos + videos, which keeps us introverts in the game. Instagram has a 2,200 character limit versus TikTok’s 100 or Twitter’s 280, allowing us to make deeper connections with clients who like to connect with words. Facebook allows 63,206 characters in a caption, but organic reach is, er, pathetic compared to Instagram. (Not that we shouldn’t use Facebook business pages; it’s just a different playground with different rules.)
Ideally, use an Instagram business account + categorize yourself as a local business. (You’ll need a Facebook business page to do this.) This will give you useful analytic insights that will help you figure out what kind of posts and stories your clients want to see, which can help increase your reach + grow your audience.
However, if you’re new to Instagram marketing or get sweaty just thinking about it, start with a personal account. You can switch it to a business account later.
Post about the services you want to be doing more of in 6 months
Whether it’s a service you’re booked solid with now or something you want to grow, talking about it now will help grow interest + awareness around that thing. It doesn’t all have to be photos of the service itself. Before-and-afters, finished services, photos of service products, videos of the process…all these visuals can have a caption that talk about the service you want to grow. The caption doesn’t always have to match the image, either. I’d argue it works better when it doesn’t.
Think of hashtags as 30 search terms that can help your target audience find you
Hashtags are keywords preceded by the pound sign (#) used to categorize content on social media platforms. Hashtags first started on Twitter, with other platforms quickly following suit. Hashtags are a great way to find information on a specific topic quickly.
Location tags are similar to hashtags, except posts are categorized based on geographic location. On Instagram, this can be a very helpful way to find new friends + connections locally.
If your goal is to get more clients, use hashtags that clients would search for, not industry folks. A client is way more likely to search for a nail style than a technique. So instead of using #cndwildfire, add #rednails. #CNDWildfire targets a professional audience who knows brands + color names. #RedNails is the style that a client would look up for inspiration.
To organically grow your following with people who want to book with you, get your fingers on their posts first.
Every time you post, spend 5-10 minutes engaging with hashtags or location tags that your ideal client follows. Within the tags, comment on recent posts belonging to people who seem like your ideal client. For instance, if your ideal client is a working professional, check out location tags for offices
Start building a relationship with a thoughtful comment. I mean, you don't engage with spam "Buy my stuff!" comments on your posts, right? Don’t do the equivalent of dropping emojis without any meaning, or simply double tapping and scrolling on.
Followers don’t equal bookings (or money)
Last note: you don’t have to have a large following to grow your nail salon clientele. Sure, a larger following feels validating. Dozens of likes feeds our dopamine. AND. The average Instagram user has 1000 followers. How could we possibly book every single one of them? Don’t wait for a certain number of followers before you start inviting followers to book. And don’t give up on your social media efforts just because you’re not getting as many likes or comments you think you should be getting.
Still don’t know what to post to find new nail salon clients on Instagram?
It’s easy to overthink it. We see the perfectly curated feeds + large, professional camera setups of more established nail professionals and think that’s what we need. But it’s not true. All we need to start is our phone and an Instagram account. We can build up to the large studio setup (if we want to).
Is analysis paralysis stopping you from getting nail salon clients on Instagram? Turn it into a game! Get the 10 Minute IG Makeover, a BINGO game A BINGO game to rejuvenate + grow your Instagram audience in <10 minutes a day. Fill in the form below to get your copy.
Did I miss something? What's your favorite tip for Instagram marketing for nail salons? Leave a comment here + share the love!
Mary Chhea (she/her) is a nail professional and marketing nerd who helps indie salon professionals build healthy businesses financially, mentally and creatively. She believes that, as co-creators of beauty that moves and lives in the world, we deserve to be well compensated for our creations and we get to decide what that means.
Creator of the Service Menu Makeover, Mary has helped 30+ nail professionals discover their perfect pricing and redesign their marketing to increase their profitability with services they love and best-fit clients.
A #coloRADo kid living in Vermont with her husband and cat, Mary is a sucker for pho noodle soup, English panel comedy, and any excuse to visit a Harry Potter themed anything. Learn more about growing your healthy business with Mary here.