L’Oreal Professionnel UK Colour Spokesperson and celebrity colourist, Jack Howard, reveals how to handle a savvy social media inspired customer. With over 17k followers, he should know!
“When I came back from the US a few years ago, salon colour menus were stuck in a rut with uninspiring colour descriptions like ‘T-bar’ and ‘half-head highlights’ that don’t speak to the consumer. These techniques were one-size-fits-all colours that didn’t take the individual client into account and which made colour a chore. At the same time, social media was taking off and the advent of Instagram meant clients were seeing trends at the same time as the experts. Trends are things that keep us interested in the world of hair, they can inspire us, define us, help our businesses grow and make money. Whereas a few years ago they would filter down from the catwalk into a magazine and eventually onto the high street, it’s all changed with social media, especially Instagram, Pinterest and online fashion sites.
The first thing that’s important to acknowledge is that in this fast-paced world the word ‘trend’ is being thrown around at everything - two posts on Instagram and a clever hashtag suddenly become ‘the latest trend’ in the media when in reality it’s just not true. To me it feels forced, there’s no room for it to be nurtured until the next new thing comes along.
While 2017 saw us race through every colour ‘trend’ under the sun (pastelage, unicorn, glitter, neon, watermelon…), the reality is that the placement and application of colour is what makes something stand out. Salons are businesses, we need to make money, and while bright multi-coloured hair might score a thousand likes on Instagram, you can bet you won’t get a thousand clients asking for it. Why not? It’s not wearable! Of course, it has its place, and it works for some clients, but the majority of the clients who sit in your chair want a beautiful, flattering colour that looks healthy and natural. What they were born with, but so much better!
As salons and professionals, it’s about understanding social media, exploiting the positive elements of it and counteracting the limitations of it. This means knowing your techniques inside out so you can look at the Instagram picture your client brings in and tell them with confidence that it’s filtered. Or that it’s simply not possible to achieve that colour on their base. Then work with them to create something that will be more flattering and bespoke to them. If you know what’s going on you won’t be caught out when a client starts using terminology that’s even new to you!
Social platforms are also a great tool to promote yourself so embrace the opportunity this new technology brings. Hashtag your work on Instagram and use Facebook’s targeted ads to find clients. Or use them as an extra platform for your learning and self-evolution.