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Use Social Media to Connect With Your Future Salon and Spa Clients How these 7 social networks can help you find clients and generate more sales

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In Start Your Own Hair Salon and Day Spa, the staff at Entrepreneur Press and writer Eileen Figure Sandlin explain how you can launch a successful full-service hair salon and day spa, a business that can be personally rewarding, makes a lot of people happy and can be very lucrative. In this edited excerpt, the authors offers tips on using 7 different social media platforms to promote your business.

Although a professionally designed website is your best 24/7 sales assistant, there are a number of other electronic tricks you can try. Here's a rundown of today's most popular social media marketing tools:

Facebook. You may already have a Facebook profile for connecting with your friends, but it's also a great tool for connecting with customers. What makes Facebook valuable to small-business owners is that the people who visit can post comments, which can be a source of excellent word-of-mouth advertising. A Facebook profile also allows you to get your brand out to a wide audience base in a short time.

Twitter. Once you start to accumulate a list of satisfied customers, you can use Twitter to keep them posted on your latest service specials and other beauty information. As you may know, Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows you to send brief (up to 140 characters) messages, or "tweets," to anyone who follows you—which in your case, would be any client who agrees to let you tweet him or her. For this reason, you should start compiling a list of Twitter usernames that can be used for marketing. But don't tweet too often, or the messages will lose their punch, kind of like crying "wolf" too often. Instead, if you see something interesting to bring to the attention of your clients ("Did you see Jessica's hair on "Idol" last night? Now rocking Jessica's 'do at Starlight Salon!) or if you want to inform loyal customers about specials or the latest beauty tips, you can send a tweet.

LinkedIn. This is a business-oriented social networking website, and as a small-business owner, you need to be here. LinkedIn has 227 million members in 200 countries and territories, most of whom won't be dropping in for a haircut or a massage. However, the site is useful for establishing new contacts, reconnecting with former acquaintances and even finding new business. In a way, it's like an electronic chamber of commerce but without the monthly meetings.

Pinterest. This site is designed for cyber collecting: Users "pin" things they love from various online locations to their site. In essence, they build a visual diary they can share with other people. In fact, like Twitter, "pinners" can follow boards that have pins they like. This opens the door to exciting marketing possibilities for small-business owners like you. Sign up with Pinterest, add a "Pin it button" to your website, and pinners can add information from your site—say, a rock-and-roll haircut or information about a great new stylist—to their board. It's great, no-cost visibility.

Tumblr. "Follow the world's creators" is Tumblr's motto, and the site lives up to its hype, hosting more than 180 blogs and more than 80 billion posts since its 2007 debut. Participants share whatever moves them -- text, photos, quotes, links, and more -- then follow others who share their interests. On a recent day in cyberspace, Tumblr enthusiasts posted nearly 94 million messages.

Instagram. This photo-sharing app has morphed from a social platform for friends and family to a serious contender for business recognition. Companies are using Instagram to build brand loyalty by showcasing their product lines, services and locations; posting photos of company activities, and much more. It's the perfect place to show off your beautiful new salon and the innovative hair designs created by your stylists.

Flickr. Yet another image-sharing site with great potential for savvy salon and spa owners. In addition to posting photos, you can use Flickr to upload videos up to three minutes long. It's also said to have exceptional search engine optimization capabilities, meaning it's easier for search engines to find your Flickr stash. You can use the site to show off your building, your products, and your staff, both in pictures and video.

This is just a microcosm look at the social media tools that are useful for salon and spa owners. If you're hungry for more, just Google "best social media sites" and you'll have plenty of reviews and lists to choose from. And by the way, while it's not necessary to sign up with all of these services at the same time, they all should be on your radar.

Written by business writer Eileen Figure Sandlin and edited by the experts at Entrepreneur, each Start Your Own title delivers industry-specific information for starting a business supported by expert interviews, lessons learned, and success secrets from practicing business owners in the industry.

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