Over the last few years, we have produced more content than ever before — in the magazine, on our website, and more recently on our blogs, Facebook page, Twitter account, NAILStv, YouTube Channel, and more. My job as a magazine editor has changed tremendously since I first started in publishing 16 years ago: Back then we barely used e-mail, let alone had all these other ways to stay connected.

With 600+ million users on Facebook today, it’s becoming a necessary avenue for businesses to make sure they are accessible to customers online. I know you’re busy running your business and servicing clients. That’s your job, after all. But if you aren’t participating in some sort of social media effort, I’m afraid to say you are in danger of being left behind. Staying “linked in” online has to become part of your job as well. (I know it has become part of mine.)

Here are five basic things every salon owner or nail technician should be doing when it comes to social media:

1. If you don’t already have one, make a Facebook page for your salon. You can start out with the basics — contact info, salon photos, photos of your services or nail styles — and move on from there. We have a great story to help you get started: www.nailsmag.com/socialnetworkingfortechs or you can go to http://www.nailsmag.com/bloglist/fingernailfixer and click on the Social Media tag to read blogger Holly Schippers’ useful tips for setting up your business Facebook page.

2. Make sure your website shows up in Google searches. Search engine optimization (SEO) might sound like a foreign language, but there are some easy things you can do to your website to move yourself up in the Google rankings. We have a great story that explains basic SEO at www.nailsmag.com/seo.

3. Find out what sites your clients use. All you have to do is take an informal poll — are they on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Do they like to read blogs? E-newsletters? Once you find out where they are, make sure you have a presence there. And don’t hesitate to ask them what kind of things they’d like to see from you if they were connected with you on one of the sites. Do they like to see last-minute appointment openings? Discounts? New styles and photos? Listen to what your clients want and that gives you an easy blueprint to what you can offer online.

4. Once you’ve established your business presence online, maintain it. It’s great that you have a website and a Facebook page and a Twitter account and a blog. But if you aren’t updating them regularly, your clients and potential clients will stop coming back to check you out. Don’t spray them with spam, but don’t forget about them either. Remember that social media is about communication and interaction. Don’t let the conversation be one-sided. Make sure to answer questions posed from your fans/followers.

5. If all of this seems just too foreign to you, give the job to someone who’ll handle it with enthusiasm. You don’t have to be the one in charge of your social media efforts. Maybe one of your Generation Y techs or receptionists is a social media whiz and would happily handle this project. Find out who on your staff would be able to help you and use their skills. Personally, I’ve found that most people under 25 can do this stuff in their sleep. All you need to do is set up a game-plan and leave it to them. 

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