Genuine friends more powerful than social influencers

Choosing a salon or clinic is a highly personal decision. It’s a commitment to be vulnerable and to invest heavily in the services of the technicians employed there. And once a consumer makes that decision, it is usually enduring. A recent UK survey revealed that over half of the individuals taking part (53%) were anxious to try a new clinic or salon. That said, clinics can’t continue to grow and expand based on the loyalty of existing clients alone. Yet, according to the study, if consumers can be convinced that a product or service is “sensational”, 78% of people will switch to it. And the best way to do this? Have a friend vouch for the product or service.

The emphasis is on “friend”; someone whose opinion genuinely matters to the client considering jumping ship to a new salon or clinic. With that in mind, the likes of the social influencer, with their millions of Instagram followers, are not relevant here.

“Extend the reach and influence to visitors’ friends and family by including techniques that enable people to post their experiences of the product or brand through their social media channel – or channels – of choice,” says Diana Petre-Mag, account director of global brand experience agency Sense. “Use a driver such as a prize draw or freebie to incentivise this vital process.” For example, clients who use a particular hashtag on their social media posts about the service they received may be entitled to a discount at their next visit.

Diana also says that salons and clinics need to make it personal. “Tap into the highly personal and intimate nature of beauty treatments by tailoring the experience to each visitor as much as possible.” This may be a complimentary skin assessment prior to an appointment being made, or a discount when a client posts about the results achieved through the treatment. In addition, a freebie to each client that refers a friend is a sure way to ensure existing clients use their sway within their personal social circles.

Diane insists that, managed the right way, salons and clinics can quell consumers’ fears of trying somewhere new, “while also capitalising on the importance of friends and family influence in encouraging people to switch brands.”

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