May 2020 | One of the first things people notice about my online presence is that I don’t post photos of my work on social media apps. You might be able to find some that clients take and post themselves but to be abundantly clear, I never take photos of clients, ever. That said, there is a lot more to this topic than most people realise. In fact, it resonates with the very core of my professional principles.
To begin with, my clients are a multicultural mix of Anglo, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Pacific Islanders. They are 20 something to 70 something, on average. Trying to visually capture what I do would be an unrealistic, arduous task that I do not have the time for during or after anyone’s session. To that point, any attempt to post photos online only serves to alienate those who feel they are not equally or at all represented.
The bottom line, photos are riddled with bias, something that is necessary to avoid as much as possible. Most important though, I work with a number of individuals who have a variety of personal and private situations, from public personalities to camera shy and Transgender through anxiety challenges, neurodiversity, pre and post-chemotherapy, Alopecia and Trichotillomania.
These individuals desperately search online for someone who might be different from the rest and who also might have a private space that wouldn’t cause them the sensory or otherwise emotional distress a typical salon would. Another Instagram feed full of redundant, perfectly styled images is exactly the sort of thing that would likely make them quickly gloss over what I am offering here. Most of all, I respect my clients’ rights to privacy and anonymity. Appropriately, their written testimonials are tremendously helpful in attracting others like them.
Those looking online for a hairdresser seek someone who can give them an exceptional haircut. That great haircut should provide clients lasting contentment from the salon door until their next booking months later. A great haircut should also be functionally flattering with minimal products and styling. Since social media photos are carefully curated moments in time, there’s no way of knowing if they are, in fact, great haircuts. Sure they look nice and generate those all-important likes, but often there’s been so much product applied that it’s difficult to tell if the cut will grow out well or look equally flattering without those professional styling efforts.
Prospective clients are ultimately looking for something to give them confidence before making a booking. Social media photos can sometimes provide this, but they don’t tell the whole story about the work presented. Overall, I feel the client photos hairdressers post online are so similar that they’ve nearly lost all value to prospective clients. Thus, I prefer to provide clients with confidence through well-considered and transparently conveyed principles and perspectives.
From the data I have collected, the type of clients I tend to attract are looking on Google, not Instagram. It’s why I spend many hours each week on SEO so that these individuals can easily find me. Once they make their way to this website, there is plenty of content to answer any questions they might have. Fittingly, the individuals who go on to become clients are often the sort of thorough, well-read, research-based individuals who can articulately engage in conversation.
In the end, I will not be a perfect fit for everyone and I am completely okay with that. It is a foolish endeavour to try and attract every type of person, regardless of their hair type or needs. In fact, it’s entirely misleading to state that you are great at everything for everyone. No one can be. My practice and how it presents online is designed to align with a certain type of individual and the challenges they often have.