Instagram is the social media platform everyone uses and you should definitely not be the exception!
Statistics show that 500 million people use Instagram every day, and it seems that this number will only continue to grow.
We have already given you advice on how to make the best out of your hair salon’s Instagram account (check it out here).
Now we’ll talk about a particularly popular feature: Instagram stories.
Known for their 24h availability, Instagram Stories are meant to be fun, spontaneous and authentic. They are the perfect place for you to engage your clients while showcasing and strengthening your brand.
We are revealing everything you need to know about Instagram Stories. For this we’ve collected the best tips that you can tailor to your hair salon’s Instagram. So, don’t miss any bit of it!
… or jump directly to what you want to know:
- Why should I use stories for my Hair Salon’s Instagram?
- First time on Instagram Stories?
- Pro-tips for a hairdressers Instagram Story
- What are Instagram Highlights and what can they be used for?
- Should I think strategically while using my Instagram Stories?
- Go a step further with IGTV: Instagram’s newest feature
Why should I use stories for my salon’s Instagram?
There is not just one good reason to do it, there are plenty! Instagram is a great platform to generate awareness for your salon, to grow and engage with your customers.
Instagram users aren’t just active, they’re engaged. For that reason, they also demand a little higher investment of time and commitment from you.
The good news is that you can use your creativity as well as your hairdressing and social skills to succeed in it!
First time on Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories are quite intuitive, but if you are using it for the first time, you might not be completely familiarised with all the steps. So, we’ll explain to you:
1. When in the app, you can access Instagram Stories in three ways: by swiping right in your home screen, by clicking on the camera icon that is on the top left corner of your screen, or by clicking on your profile picture while you are on your profile.
2. Now you have several options: take a photo, make a video, do a boomerang (short videos that loop back and forward) or a superzoom (a video zooming someone/something with added funny effects), type something, go live or record a hands free video. You can select what you want to do by swiping right or left in the menu that is above the record button.
3. If you want to take a photo, you should tap once in the record button, but if you want to take a video instead, you should press the record button. Be aware that videos are limited to a maximum of 15 seconds. However, Instagram gives you the option to record a longer video and will automatically break it into smaller clips.
4. You can also choose which camera you’ll use (front or back), by tapping the arrows icon.
5. If you didn’t have time to post a story during your busy day in the salon, you are also able to upload previously taken pictures or recorded videos from your camera roll later on when you find time You can do this by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner of your screen.
6. After you’ve taken or uploaded the photo or video, you can:
Apply a filter by swiping right or left.
Doodle your photo or add stickers and GIFs to it.
Add text (including #hashtags and @tags, e.g. #natulique or @natulique).
Add a liking scale, a poll, a questionnaire, or a question box by tapping anywhere on the screen.
7. When you finish styling your photo or video, tap the ‘Send to’ button, and afterwards select the ‘Your Story’ option.
8. For the next 24 hours, your story will appear on your followers’ feed, and it will also be accessible on your profile page whenever someone taps on your profile picture.
Pro-tips for a hairdresser’s Instagram Story
After laying out the basics, here are a few more aspects that can be considered when using Instagram Stories for your salon…
It’s all about creating a brand for your hair salon
It is extremely important that your followers, when passing through your Instagram Stories, can identify you immediately.
Since we’re talking about the most visual social media that exists, building a strong brand on Instagram is highly dependent on whether you deliver a good and recognisable visual identity.
As a hairdresser you may be familiar with this already – It is important that your salon’s identity is reflected online.
You can build a strong brand using Instagram Stories by…
Finding a visual identity that reflects you, and stick to it!
If you post different types of content in your stories, focus on turning it into ‘your’ content, by staying consistent in applying the same filters and using the same font.
By doing this, you’ll create cohesive, on-brand stories that align with your hair salon’s identity.
There are many apps that help you with this, you just have to pick one. (This article has some good suggestions, go check it!)
Bringing the visual identity to your feed (and vice-versa)!
A clear visual identity is only achievable if it is consistent throughout both your Instagram Stories and your Feed.
An easy way to attain your follower’s visual recognition is to make use of the same colour or (at least) the same colour scheme in your photos and videos.
Here is a good example to inspire you…
Use hashtags and create your own
Hashtags are known as the “common areas” of the Internet. They are present in all social media and there is no product, brand, city, style that doesn’t have its own hashtag.
Hashtags’ main purpose is to categorise content online. On Instagram, it is possible to search for a particular hashtag and access all posts and stories it was mentioned in.
You can benefit from hashtag on your hair salon Instagram Stories by…
Creating your hair salon’s hashtag(s)
Hashtags are an incredible way to attract new followers.
You can create a unique hashtag connected to your hair salon brand, you can use more popular ones such as #hairsalon, #haircolour, #hairstylist, or #beauty, or you can go for a mix of these.
When you carry on using the same hashtags in both your feed and your stories, you’ll also contribute to a consistent brand for your hair salon on Instagram.
What’s on today?
When you add popular hashtags to your stories, you increase the probability of them being seen by people that are not your followers yet.
Every time someone searches for a hashtag that you added to your stories, he/she might end up watching your story and becoming your follower.
A good tip is to do some research for the hashtags that you’d like to add on Instagram story and consider selecting the ones with more hits when you are searching for them.
Another suggestion is to search for the hottest hashtags of the day in specialised websites, and look for the ones that might suit your story and are relevant for your hair salon brand. For example, you can use this one.
The amount matters
Keep in mind that, while for feed posts the more hashtags you add the better, on Instagram stories you should be more moderate on the amount.
Another important tip is to not string too many words together in a hashtag.
Remember that your goal is to make them clear and easy to understand by your followers.
Pay attention to the text size of the hashtags
When you’re styling your story and add a hashtag as text, you can edit its size.
If you want to tell something through your hashtags, make sure they are big enough and readable.
But if you wish the photo/video to stand out without losing the benefits of using hashtags, make them smaller and locate them in one of the corners.
Use Instagram Stories to humanise your brand
Instagram Stories is all about authenticity. The stories are meant to be fun and entertaining! Above all, they should be an open door for you and your hair salon.
Instagram Stories offer a great space to show the behind the scenes of the beautiful works from your Instagram feed or to display the small details that make your hair salon unique.
You can show your true essence using stories by…
Showing clips from behind the scenes
This is a great place to show work in progress of the works you are most proud of, like before and after videos.
See examples below:
Presenting the people behind your brand
Either the salon owner or the different professionals should be part of your hair salon Instagram Stories.
In the end, we can more easily connect with someone’s work, if we connect with its creator.
You can, as an example, show your own hair routine and habits, or tell a little bit about you and your story on how you decided to become a hairdresser.
Letting your salon’s culture shine through
If you only use organic products or if you own/work in a pet-friendly hair salon, that is also a part of who you are.
Make sure your followers know that about you by sharing how you live it every day in your salon.
Here are some examples how salon’s have presented their lifestyle in their stories:
Engage with your salon’s community
Engage, engage, engage…It might be time-consuming, but you can only build a strong community by engaging with it.
If your community is engaged, they will follow your work closely, and share your posts and work with their friends, generating positive and free word of mouth about your hair salon.
This will help you keep your customers loyal, and potentially attract new ones.
To efficiently engage with your followers using Instagram Stories, you can…
Talk to them
If a follower sends you a question regarding one of your stories through Instagram direct, reply to him/her and create the opportunity to ‘sell’ your services.
Show your appreciation
Show appreciation when your clients proactively thank or praise your work on their personal profile, and share their stories with a special message from you. In general, reposting what your clients are sharing about you in their stories is a great idea. If they are linking your profile the story will show up in your messages on Instagram and automatically suggest you to post this to your story. It’s quick, simple and strengthens your community.
Use polls and questionnaires
You can use these features to find what you would like to know about your followers’ preferences regarding your work (e.g. your schedule and appointment system, your latest works, etc.).
These features can also be useful to gather feedback and ideas, or simply to entertain your followers. Here are some examples:
Hold 24h contests
Use the 24 hours during which your Instagram Stories are online to promote fun contests amongst your followers to answer.
For instance, you can post a photo and ask how many products they can count on it, which is also a fun way to introduce a new product on your retail shelf.
Another idea is to ask your clients to share their favourite look they’ve done in your hair salon with a creative/fun sentence, tagging you and adding your hashtags, in their stories.
Then, you choose the best one and offer the winner a nice prize, maybe in the form of a retail product, a discount or an offer at your salon.
This is moreover an opportunity to spread your works amongst your clients’ followers.
Capture the moment!
Instagram is a fast-paced platform.
To make sure you catch your followers in the right moment, use Instagram Stories to…
Announce last-minute appointment opportunities
If you happen to have an unexpected free spot on your agenda, you can try to recruit a customer to fill in by posting about it in your stories.
This is how others have done it:
Use a location tag
In the editing stage of your Instagram Stories, you can always add a location tag indicating where you are working from.
By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of being discovered by local clients.
If any Instagram user (even if it is not your follower) searches for stories with your location tag, they will come across yours and potentially consider your hair salon for a future visit.
Call to action
The name says it all! In your stories, directly ask your followers to do something. You can, for example, tell your followers to click on the link in your bio to make their appointment, or ask them to go check and comment on your latest post.
A good technique is to only partially reveal the photo in the story, by adding a GIF covering it. That way, you’ll attract your followers’ curiosity to the actual post on your feed. As you can see in this example…
What are Instagram Highlights and what can they be used for?
Instagram Stories are supposed to be temporarily available, but sometimes it becomes useful to keep them on your Instagram feed for more than the 24 hours they were made to exist.
Instagram created a feature called highlights exactly for this purpose and made it possible to save any Instagram Stories in your feed for as long as you want.
That way, your followers can always watch it, regardless of how much time has passed since you’ve posted it.
Highlights can be very useful for your hair salon’s Instagram.
For instance, you can highlight your best works, tips and advice, your products, special offers of the week/month/season, and other endless options.
There are a few tips that you should keep in mind if you were to do an Instagram highlight…
To add a story to your highlights, you just have to:
1. Go to your profile and tap story highlights below your username and bio.
2. Tap the + button.
3. Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap ‘Next’.
4. Choose a cover photo and enter a story name for your highlight, then tap ‘Add’/ ‘Done’
You can only add stories to your highlights that you have posted already. You can not upload videos/photos directly from your camera roll to highlights.
You can add more photos or videos to a highlight at any time by tapping and holding on the highlight and then tapping ‘Edit Highlight’.
For the cover photo of your highlight, a good suggestion is to use an icon instead of one of the photos/frames of videos included in the highlights. You can easily design the icon previously, for instance through the website Canva. Try to go for a self-explanatory and fun icon. You should also take your brand colour scheme while you’re designing this icon, e.g. by using the same colour as used for your logo/ salon interior
Use a short title for your highlights. Emojis are also a good option.
Should I think strategically while using my Instagram Stories?
Yes, you definitely should think about Instagram Stories as a strategic tool for your business and use it accordingly!
If you follow all the tips and advise that we’ve given you here, you are already on a good path.
By doing this, you’ll most probably see the number of your followers grow as well as their engagement with your hair salon brand.
In any case, having a strategy in place also involves planning your content ahead, looking at your numbers (Instagram Analytics), and maintaining an innovative mindset.
While designing a strategy for your Instagram Stories, you should consider…
Never find yourself asking ‘what should I post today or this week?’.
You can, of course, do spontaneous posts, but getting used to planning them ahead will help you in the long term.
In your calendar, structure your Instagram Stories’ posts for the next week or month, and try to stick to it.
Vary your content
Don’t post 3 Instagram Stories series in a row showcasing before and after looks/transformations.
On the other hand, if you notice that a specific type of post works really well amongst your followers, think about including one every week or every two weeks.
Look for patterns
If you have an Instagram Business Account, you can use Instagram Analytics to find out which are your most viewed stories, the most answered poll/question box, and much more.
That way, you’ll be able to identify what they have in common, and try to repeat the ‘formula’.
Who are your followers?
Instagram Analytics can also tell you who your followers are (age and gender), from where are they watching your stories, and at what times are they more active in your profile.
How to access this information:
To access the info about your stories, you can go to your profile and tap the ‘Insights’ icon on the top right corner.
Then, scroll down and tap ‘Get Started’ in the stories section.
Use your data wisely! Take the info that you’ve collected from Instagram Analytics to make thoughtful decisions about your next stories.
Don’t post too much
In fact, there is no right amount of Instagram Stories to post per day/week. But you have to look for a balance between not being forgotten and not being annoying.
Instagram allows users to mute certain accounts’ stories, which basically means that your stories go to the end of your follower ́s queue, and will not automatically start playing.
The only way to avoid being muted, and assure that your stories keep being watched by your followers, is to not saturate them with too many or not relevant ones.
Provide quality over quantity
The amount and frequency of stories for your hair salon really depend on what you can deliver and what your followers expect.
A good tip is to value quality over quantity: If you cannot plan multiple stories to post every day, try focusing on delivering really rich ones 2 or 3 days of the week.
Find how can you manage to produce good content that your followers would look forward to watch, without getting tired of it.
What is the perfect time to post?
Since Instagram Stories are available for 24h, it doesn’t really matter at what time you post it.
If you finished an incredible haircut at 9 am, but no one is on Instagram at that time, do a story about it anyway.
Your followers will gladly watch it at 8 pm or whenever they are active on Instagram. But, if you’re looking for an immediate reaction from them, be aware that you should post it when your followers are more active (and Instagram Analytics is the tool that will tell you that).
Keep an innovative mindset
Look for inspiration and always try to innovate on your content, on the number of stories you post, on the type of polls you post…
Having an innovative mindset and always keep trying and looking for the best techniques is one of the most valuable strategies on Instagram Stories. Don’t be afraid to try!
In the end, your success using Instagram Stories will immensely rely on your hair salon brand, and on who you are.
Go a step further with IGTV: Instagram’s latest feature
This is not directly a part of Instagram Stories, but more so an additional feature of Instagram that has recently been introduced and gained great popularity.
As you may have noticed, Instagram Stories lets you post sections of 15 second videos.
Through IGTV you can view longer videos on Instagram in a similar style to the video platform Youtube.
As a hairdresser this feature might be helpful for more informative video messages to your customers.
For example you could show longer tutorials of your products, makeovers of your clients, transformations of your salon…the possibilities are endless.
We’ll give you a quick step through on how to use it, but we advise to check out videos like this one for further explanation.
1. Access IGTV on your Instagram feed.
2. Because IGTV does not have a built-in recording system, you will need to prerecord your videos with your phone camera.
3. From there you can upload the videos from your camera roll by clicking on the + button in the IGTV. A video cannot be longer than 15 minutes!
4. Now you will be offered to fill in your title and descriptions. In this step you can also choose your cover. This is rather important since it is what will make people click on your video. You can either choose a photo from your camera roll or a still photo from scrolling through the video.
5. That’s it – now you can upload your video for your followers to enjoy.
Your video has to be longer than 15 seconds (otherwise you could just simply post it to your stories) and no longer than 15 minutes.
A bit of the top and the bottom of the title image and video will be cut off because of the title and the timeline of the video. Keep that in mind already when filming your content.
It will help to make an Instagram story about your IGTV video, since people are unlikely to get to your IGTV by themselves.
Congratulations! If you’ve managed to read the Hairdresser’s Guide to Instagram Stories this far you can truly call yourself an expert of Instagram Stories. For some more general tips on how to use Instagram as a hairdresser check out our 5 Steps to Success.
Now it’s time to put your knowledge into practice!
Don’t forget to tag us @natulique so we can follow you on your Instagram journey.
If you have a question, are looking for footage of NATULIQUE retail products to post or need more inspiration and support in building your salon brand, feel free to reach out to us.