We compared two of the leading social media apps to find out which one helps you connect to your clients better and which one is most helpful to you as an entrepreneur. We even reached out to industry influencers to share their best tips. Spoiler alert: If you’re not already sharing #content on either platform, stop reading this and start posting right now.

Let’s start by looking at numbers and audience size. According to Instagram, the app has 300 million daily active users worldwide and more than 95 million photos and videos get shared every day. Comparatively, Snap Inc. (the company officially changed its name in September) says 150 million worldwide active daily users spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes on Snapchat every day.

That potential client reach is exactly why Laqué Nail Bar owner Robert Torosian gives emerging apps a chance by being an early adapter. “It’s important to use as many marketing tools as possible to market your brand and your business,” he says. “By utilizing different social media outlets, including Snapchat, you have the potential of reaching millions of prospective clients and supporters.”

When Torosian says millions, it’s not an exaggeration. With nearly two million followers on Instagram and more than 40,000 impressions on every Snapchat post, Laqué Nail Bar leads the pack among successful professional nail brands on social media. “Where else can you get exposure to millions of potential clients for free?,” Torosian says. “It’s important for every business to actively market their brand and company on social media outlets.”

Instagram’s Beauty of Building and Branding

As nail techs, we are entrepreneurs and need to understand how to market ourselves as individual companies, stay relevant, and build our personal brands. Social media can help market your talents and allow prospective clients to discover you and your services. “Instagram is perfect for people who sell creative services (like nails),” says NAILS Next Top Nail Artist alumna and social media influencer Celina Rydén. The Stockholm, Sweden-based nail tech and Light Elegance educator with more than 178,000 followers on Instagram says she uses the platform to showcase her artistry and promote her educational endeavors. “I mix my posts with regular inspirational pics of work that I do with tutorials, and other tips and tricks. Because I do a lot of classes, I want to make sure that people see me as a tutor or educator, and that my followers feel like they can always come to my page to learn more about different techniques and the business. Then it’s easier for me to promote my workshops and it doesn’t feel forced because it’s a natural part of my account.”

Rydén’s story is a successful one because her efforts have translated into tangible results. Her service demand is high and she has a large international following she can tap into with a share button. But for newer and emerging nail techs on Instagram, the trifecta to a great account includes consistency, engagement, and tagging. “Branding is something I’ve been trying to work on with my Instagram. Reason being, it shows your style, your type of art, and the main things you specialize in,” says Santa Monica, Calif.-based nail tech Katie Masters. After earning her manicuring license in 2015, Masters’ intention on Instagram is to attract an ideal clientele to fill her book and grow her studio, Nail Thoughts. “I’ve heard nail techs complain that they don’t get enough clients who want art but it’s because they aren’t promoting it and branding themselves as artists,” Masters says. “I sort of shove my art in my follower’s faces. When you brand yourself properly, you can weed out the clients that don’t have your same style and attract the clients you want.”

To attract new and potential clients, as well as a way of hiring new and social savvy nail techs, NAILS NTNA Season 2 Champion Lavette Cephus turned her salon’s Instagram feed into a business account. The option is available to anyone with a Facebook business page. When you make the switch, a contact button will appear on your profile. Users can click it to choose whether they want to email, call, or find you (this information can be edited, of course). A business Instagram account also gives you access to analytics so you can find out what content is working for you and so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Additionally, the profile type gives you access to ad creation (formerly only accessible through Facebook’s advertising tools) and lets you click to advertise for a fee. Cephus says she created a month-long advertising campaign on Instagram that helped her grow her salon’s team. “I boosted content (created an ad) regarding hiring in my salon,” Cephus says. “I had four spaces available in my salon and three of them got filled.”

Snapchat’s Cool Factor

What happens after you have your established clientele, team, and following? You have to increase the interaction to keep them captivated and happy by way of the latest and trendiest platforms, says Long Island, New York- based nail tech and salon co-owner Lexi Martone. “Just like Instagram and Facebook, Snapchat is another form of social media that helps you get your name out. It’s quick, easy, and a fun way to interact with others,” Martone says. “Everyone always tells us we need a reality show, so we made a Snapchat account just for that it’s our own mini Salon Martone reality show. We mainly post random craziness that occurs around the salon on daily basis. It gets our followers more involved rather than just constantly seeing nail and hair pictures on Instagram. You gotta keep things interesting!”

To increase engagement and brand awareness, Salon Martone and Laqué Nail Bar are nail salons that have purchased and offered their own personalized Geofilters in the past. A Snapchat Geofilter is a special overlay accessible only through the app that, “communicates the ‘when and where’ of Snap in a fun way, whether you’re sending it to a friend our adding it to your Story,” Snap Inc. says. “Geofilters offer a fun way for our clients to take pictures around the salon and they help promote the business when their friends see it. It can get a little costly to keep the filter up 24/7 so we keep it mostly for the weekends and special events when the salon is busiest,” Martone says. 

Snapchat is a leading marketing tool because of the interaction, says Jaclyn Sepulveda, digital marketing manager from San Diego, Calif.-based digital agency Taylor & Pond. “Snapchat keeps your brand relevant and puts a personality behind your posts and brand, and it gives you the best opportunity to humanize your business by communicating with clients on a more personal level,” Sepulveda says. “Snapchat relieves brands and nail techs from the pressure of producing perfect content, and instead it allows them to post organically. The platform encourages you to add fun characters, drawings, or captions to your photos and videos. The content also disappears in seconds or lives for 24 hours when posted to your Story (think of this like Facebook’s Timeline). This platform enables you to engage with your niche community on a friend-to-friend level by showing a personalized side that is relatable.”

With Instagram’s recent addition of the Stories component that resembles the fun storymaking capabilities on Snapchat, you can now have some of the benefits of Snapchat while keeping your platform commitments down. But for Profiles Nails co-founder Ami McClure, the multiplatform engagement is worth the extra workload, so she chose to launch a Snapchat account for her brand and business. “Clients were asking us for it!” McClure says.

To make the social media managing manageable, Profile Nails divides the responsibility. “Social media is a lot work. I manage Instagram, my partner does Facebook, and we have one of our fun, young, and adorable top nail techs manage Snapchat for us. Any salon owner would be crazy not to take advantage of free advertising. There are potential employees and clients out there watching you. These days, salons must stay relevant with the generation that is on Snapchat.”


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