Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


ASK THE Experts

How should I use hashtags to build my audience on Instagram?

Different people have different theories when it comes to hashtags but I am going to share with you what has worked well for me. People often ask me how many hashtags to use on a post. Well, there is no set answer, as it depends on your audience, your content and the relevance of each hashtag.

Instagram has a limit of 30 per post. The more you use, the more reach you can get. However, they need to be relevant to the post and your business. So, don’t try to fill the caption with 30 random hashtags as you will end up attracting the wrong audience. Some don’t like the look of lots hashtags in their captions but they are missing out on more reach.

Instagram has confirmed that hashtags work better in your caption, rather than in the comments. Remember, they must be relevant to your post and your business in order to attract your ideal client – who is interested in what you offer and who engages with your content.

If you don’t use any hashtags at all, you simply won’t get as much reach or engagement on Instagram. It will benefit your business to start using them. Just give it a try, even using a few is better than nothing.

Finding the right hashtags for every post can take a bit of time to prepare but it’s totally worth it to build brand awareness. Your hashtags need to be relevant to the post or your business. Try not to use all the popular hashtags – the ones that show up as having been used more than a million times – as your post will just get lost.

If you use hashtags with a low-to-medium usage, then you are more likely to be seen and noticed by your ideal clients. Don’t repeat the same hashtags on every post either, as this can be seen by the platform’s algorithms as spam and your post will not be shown to as many people. Remember to keep doing your research. Some hashtags can be banned, so if you keep using one that is, it won’t work.

By researching regularly, you can find newer hashtags too. This way you may find you attract more followers who hadn’t found you before. So, keep mixing it up.

Also, don’t forget to look at your insights regularly to see which posts are working well and which are not.

Social media is all about testing and trying new things, so a good mixture of content keeps your audience engaged, and monitoring the results helps you to plan more amazing content.

Does this sound overwhelming to complete on your own? Then, consider becoming a Blossoming Salon Socials member for help with this, as I coach and give advice on how to gain more reach, engagement and sales.

Sarah Hartley is founder of Blossom Tree Social. See her talk “5 ways to grow your gram – mastering Instagram for beauty businesses” on the Business Skills: Marketing & Social Media Stage at PB London on April 3, at 3pm.

How can I persuade clients to stop taking skincare advice from influencers and internet searches?

While it’s true that our clients tend to be a lot more skin savvy these days, it must be remembered that they are not the trained experts, we are! There is a wealth of information (and misinformation) in the ether for our clients to devour, yet, it’s not always a blessing for us skin professionals that our clients can access it.

We can all probably agree that we want our clients to be properly educated about their skin. However, more often than not, the advice they source is not relevant for their specific skin type or issues, leading to a host of self-inflicted problems.

Unsuitable ingredients or layering of incompatible actives, for example, could result in sensitivity, inflammation, an altered PH, or trans-epidermal water loss. In other words, a compromised barrier, which may cumulatively exacerbate skin conditions – from acne to eczema.

So, why is the internet, or the unqualified voice of an influencer, so damaging? In essence, it’s because they will never see our client’s skin. Simply put, the information they find is just that, information – it’s not tailored or bespoke advice. As skin professionals, it must never be forgotten that our unique selling point is our ability to prescribe relative to the individual’s skin.

Just because our client wants a specific product or treatment is actually no reason to sell or perform one. Step into your expert authority, trust your knowledge, experience and intuition. As professionals, we should always be able to justify our actions.

It’s just as important to understand why we don’t select a topical regimen or treatment protocol as understanding why we do. This level of integrity is what builds trust and what keeps your client coming back. Building a robust consultation into your process also allows you to properly assess your clients’ skin, understand their objectives, and plan a topical regimen and treatment schedule that’s realistic and suits their needs.

Don’t forget to use the opportunity to detail your expectations too. After all, it’s a two-way street, your client will need to be consistent and manage their part at home. Your consultation should include questions to help you explore their skin in greater depth, such as: how long has this been an issue? What do you want to achieve? What have you tried already? What’s your current regimen? Choose questions that will start a meaningful conversation and allow you to build a picture of the skin and the person in front of you, giving you the opportunity to educate them about their individual skin.

The advice you then give is bespoke to them, yet, they are safe in the knowledge that you have their skin’s best interests at heart. This is something that the internet and the influencers can never compete with.

So, be bold. Don’t just take your clients’ money, offer them value that the internet can’t. Believe it or not, saying no and sticking to your principles will build your clients’ confidence and faith in you.

Maria Rylott-Byrd is a facialist and corneotherapist. See her panel on “Lessons learned: how to start your own skin business” on the Skin & Advanced Treatments Stage at PB London on April 4, at 12pm.

How can I get the biggest return on investment from my salon marketing?

Time is more valuable than money and it is the only resource in the world that you can never get back. The thing is, money can be re-earned, but time doesn’t work that way. So, why when it comes to business – and we are especially guilty of this in the beauty industry – do we often pour a lot of time and energy into certain tasks with the focus of little-to-no monetary value in return?

Salon owners often make the mistake in business of believing money is more valuable than time but this forgets one of the key business fundamentals – return on investment (ROI). Every time you make a business decision, from making a monetary investment to using resources such as time or energy, you should be asking yourself one question – what is the return on investment?

Will you gain more back from what you are putting in? Too often I see salon owners asking the wrong questions, like what will it cost me? Or how long will it take? You need to change your mindset. For example, what if I had a machine that costs £10,000 – would you want to buy it? You might say “no” without knowing what the return on investment is.

However, what if I said instead that this machine will give you £2 every time you put £1 in? I’m sure you’d probably find a way to get a hold of £10,000 to double your money for the rest of your life because now you’re focused on the return, not the investment.

This often happens when it comes to salon marketing – owners spend hours and hours creating content without a measurable return, but what if it didn’t have to be like that? What if you knew exactly what results you would get predictably with the efforts you put into your social media posts?

What if you had a strategy to fill your staff members’ columns without the peaks and troughs and, more importantly, without having to fall back on a discount strategy? What if you could decide to work smarter in your salon and not harder?

When it comes to your salon marketing the creative is, of course, important – making sure it is on-brand and so on – but the business strategy behind the tactics is way more important. Yet, this is often the missing piece in most salon marketing campaigns.

Always start your marketing campaigns knowing the exact results you want to gain and then create a reverse-engineered plan of how to achieve those goals in line with what your business needs throughout the year. On Sunday, April 3, at Professional Beauty London I will be revealing all the ways you can monetise your marketing – please join me.

Jessica Crane is a salon business coach. See her talk “Get the biggest returns from your marketing in terms of money and time” on the Business Skills: Management & Operations Stage at PB London on April 3, at 11am.

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This article appears in the March 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the March 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty