Phorest FM Episode 108: Ryan Power On Using The Blurred Lines Between Personal & Business Personas As A Marketing Advantage

Just as the world wide web celebrates its 30th birthday, we, as users, are becoming more aware of online privacy. We're also increasingly wary of the impact that social media can have on our professional lives. But the reality is, the lines between online personal and professional personas have never been so blurred, which is causing a lot of headaches in the entrepreneurial world. As a small business owner, can you use those blurred lines to your advantage?

To discuss the matter and some specific Facebook salon/spa marketing tactics, Killian and Zoe have a sit down with UK-based coach, speaker, author and co-founder of Salonology, Ryan Power.


Ryan Power

Ryan Power is a coach, speaker and author helping hair, beauty and aesthetic business owners to double their businesses; be that double the profits, double the clients or double the amount of time the owners can take off. He was recently a judge for the British Hairdressing Business Awards 2019. As a day spa owner himself alongside his wife Hollie, Ryan knows first hand how to fill diary columns.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 108. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week on the show we’re joined by UK-based based Salonology coach, speaker, and author Ryan Power. As a day spa owner himself, Ryan knows firsthand how to fill diary columns. Today, we’ll be discussing the blurred lines between personal and professional social media profiles, and how you can use that to your advantage in your salon’s marketing.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian.

Killian Vigna: So today we’re talking about the “bluuured lines” (singing)!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I completely forgot that song ever existed. Excellent reference!

Killian Vigna: When we first talked about the title, that’s all that’s been going through my head, is “Blurred Lines.” So yeah we’ll probably swap the old intro jig with that guy.

Introducing Ryan Power [01:02]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, so I’m really excited to introduce our guest today. Every time I speak to Ryan on the phone, I become so much more energised. I come out of that phone call feeling like I just drank a Monster or a Red Bull or something.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. I think we should nickname him Mr Motivator or something because we had a call with him last Friday. Now for me, it was like five o’clock on a Friday, so everyone knows that feeling. I was on the couch, and I was like ahh, I want to go home. But I was supposed to be going to a rugby game that night, and I was in no mood for it. And then after 20 minutes of talking to Ryan, I was just completely buzzed and wired. So without further ado, welcome the show, Ryan!

Ryan Power: Thank you ever so much, lovely to be part of your show! And what a wonderful billing that was; I feel that the pressure is now well and truly on to lift those spirits and energy levels for everyone!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I don’t think you’ll have an issue with that, though!

Ryan Power: I hope not!

Killian Vigna: I’m watching you on the screen. You’re standing up; you’re bumping around. I kind of want to stand up myself!

Ryan Power: Do it! I totally recommend it.

Killian Vigna: I can’t, the leads are too short! I’m restricted to the desk.

Ryan Power: It’s funny you say that. But maybe about six months or so ago I made the change from having a normal desk to one of these like, standing up desks. And oh, it makes such a difference I find. It really does help your energy in terms of, that you don’t have that sluggishness. So I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone listening.

Killian Vigna: Because we’ve heard about those. I just always thought it was another one of those… You know those phases where everyone goes “Well, everyone else is sitting down, I want to stand up.”

Ryan Power: I’m not doing it just to be awkward if that’s your insinuation!

Killian Vigna: Well, it seems to be working for you.

Ryan Power: Well, exactly! They say you’ve got to stand out, so maybe standing up makes you stand out. I don’t know. But either way, I find it useful all the same.

The blurry lines of social media personal & professional profiles [02:44]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So Ryan, one thing that did come up in our Friday chat – about this particular episode – was how people today are blurring the lines between their personal profiles, say on Instagram or Facebook, and their professional profiles. And I see it just with myself. Like, if I look at my Instagram profile, it’s half work and half personal stuff. And there is definitely a lot to say about that and how as salon owners you can actually use that to your advantage. But where do you all start, how do you even, like, untangle this whole blurred situation?

Ryan Power: Well, it’s a great question. I think it’s something which has actually come about as a fairly natural progression. I think for most people, social media started off very much as a personal thing. You know, everyone joined up with excitement, I still remember now, getting, the very first time I was invited to join Facebook. And obviously, this was long before any businesses had really cottoned on to what it was all about. This was a long time ago, I guess now.

And then since as it’s evolved, it’s obviously become more and more business orientated, and then obviously it became a paid platform and so on, and so forth. And I think that along the line there, obviously, as people went through their natural progression, people start adding their own small businesses, but you can’t have a small business page without linking it to a profile of some description. You know, you have to have a personal profile to even have a business page. So the links started becoming there. And then as time progressed more, I think that then it sort of become obvious, as some of the individuals were managing and running the pages, and now, of course, they’ve taken it a step further where it actually shows who manages what pages.

So I think that Facebook has been partly responsible for that change and other social media networks. But I think that it’s also one of those things whereby, you probably could’ve hidden a little bit, as it were, in the past. But now, it would be difficult to if you wanted to; but secondly, there’s no real reason to hide behind that. Because actually it can be quite powerful using it, as we spoke before and we obviously will expand on that today, it is worth doing that. Because people generally buy people. And people want to know who the people are behind the businesses. And nowhere is that more true than in a small business, particularly in our industry. So to kind of hide behind a brand is a little bit counterproductive when your clients probably would much rather connect with you on an individual level anyway.

So there’s a whole load of reasons from a business owner’s perspective as to why they would want to blur those lines anyway. Our hands have kind of been forced a little bit. And I think now, actually, it would be harder to try and remain anonymous as a business owner than it would to put yourself out there. If clients really want to find you, personally, they’re going to find you. And now even on Facebook, even if they’re not friending you they can still follow you. Which again we’ll come and talk a little bit more about. Obviously Instagram, pretty much everything is public, assuming you’ve not completely locked down your profile. So people are going to find snippets anyway.

So with that in mind, why not embrace it and use it as a source of competitive advantage for your business? People want to know who it is behind the business. And particularly if they think they know a little something about you which maybe not everyone else does, actually that’s quite cool kudos wise for them. And it’s going to result in them coming to see you in a business perspective more.

One of the funny things is that business owners, even if they don’t view it like this, they are in many ways, in the eyes of some of their clients, they are minor celebrities. I don’t care how minor they think they are, but if you’re famous to a few people, i.e., your clients, then you are a very minor celebrity. And some of your clients are going to be very interested in what you get up to when you’re not in your salon, as simple as that. So you might as well embrace that and welcome them in, and also use it to your advantage by building a bit of a relationship with them.

Protecting your image: creating Facebook friend lists [07:08]

Killian Vigna: Okay. So on the flip side of that though, you’re saying, like I know, Zoe, your profiles are all public, and you’re saying if you’re trying to grow a business, then your profiles should be kind of mixing personal and professional. But what about the flip side of it when you are a bit of a private person? So yes okay I have a business, and I want to grow my business, but I might use social media accounts to keep in contact with my family who could be in Australia or all around the world. My accounts were all on private, because now I’m kind of coming away from it slowly, but like, when did Facebook come out? About 15 years ago, minimum?

Ryan Power: Yep.

Killian Vigna: Like, I’ve stuff on there from when I was 18: school, college. I don’t want to remove it because they’re memories, but if I was to make my accounts public, is that going to affect my image?

Ryan Power: Well, that is a wonderful question, and I hope that by the end of our time together, maybe I might have convinced you that you might want to open up some of that. Because actually, I’m talking here specifically about Facebook, is that Mr Zuckerberg, he’s got your back because this e-man has put lovely little things on the profiles meaning that certain posts can be shared with certain subgroups of your friends.

So it’s one of these things that has always been a feature of Facebook for as long as I can remember, so a long time; however, from my experience talking to other people, most people don’t use it, and lots of people don’t even know it exists. However, within your personal Facebook profile, you’ve got a series of subgroups. You can go into your friends, the next time you’re online, click on the Friends tab, this is when you’re on a desktop. Click on the Friends tab and then you can see on there when it’s sitting next to the friend you can add them to a group. And basically, you have got these subsets which are like, close friends or acquaintances. Or if you’ve put in there where you went to school, it’ll automatically make a set for people you know from school and one for your town if you’ve put where you are.

But you can also add new ones; you can make ones up. So you can then categorise people how you see fit. So say, for example, let’s say I’m opening up, let’s say you’re doing this, Killian. For the first time, you’re opening up your profile to everyone, and you’re like, do you know what, it would do me a lot of favours to get some other industry people who are my friends, but I wouldn’t necessarily invite them to my wedding. Yeah? So that’s a sort of category of people. So these people there, you set up a new little subcategory, and let’s say you call it Industry Buddies, let’s say.

And then when these people send you the friend request, which, you must get friend requests, from people who are industry people, and they know you’re not accepting them.

You know? What message is that sending? They know, and you know, you both know that you’ve seen it, you know? So that’s sending out a whole different message in itself, which is a whole other point.

So they send it through to you. Now, instead of having the embarrassment when you next bump into them at an industry gig of them saying, well have you seen that outstanding friend request from eight months ago, you know, you can now circumnavigate all of that issues, by accepting them as a friend but adding them into this new Industry Buddies group.

Now, here’s where all the magic happens. All of your other posts, so let’s say you’ve categorised everyone. So you’ve got your close friends, who are genuinely your close friends; you’ve then got a separate one… let’s say for your Industry Buddies. Well let’s not complicated it, let’s just stick it as those two. Every time you then set up a new post, there is a little dropdown, and it will ask you who you want to show that post too. Now you can show it publicly so that the whole world can see it. Or, you can just show it to all of your friends, which is like the default setting. Or, you can show it just to a subgroup.

So what I would recommend, is if you’re putting something up, for example, about let’s say you’ve got an event coming up in Dublin that you’re looking to promote, that you’re involved with in some way, you might not want to bore your auntie in Australia with that information. However, your industry buddies, they’re going to want to hear that, and you want them to hear that. So this post, you would hit the dropdown, and you would select Industry Buddies, and only those people will see that post.

What I’m recommending people do is that if they accept some friends from their clients, some various clients that they’ve got, they can put them on like a client sub-domain or sub-profile if you like, and then certain posts, which they think they’d be interested in, they would just show to them. Other posts, you would only show to close friends, which means that then your auntie does get to see all the cute little pictures of your dog and your nephew and your niece and all, but they don’t find out about your big event that’s going on, which quite frankly, they don’t care about.

You can kind of split your profile up a little bit, and determine who sees what. Now the only the slight drawback with this whole idea and strategy is that if you’re going to really dig deep, then you might want to go back in time on your timeline and do a little bit of housekeeping.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I was going to say. Because I remember when Facebook started, I used to post, and a lot of my friends used to post multiple times a day. We used it almost like a Twitter feed, you know? Whereas today it’s like, maybe I’ll post something up maybe once a week if even, you know? But all the photos, every single post that you’ve had, all the friends, that’s a lot of categorising if you, say, you have 1200 friends on your profile.

Killian Vigna: Oh, wow. You have 1200 friends Zoe?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I actually do, or something like that, yeah.

Ryan Power: Yeah, well I would agree, that is a lot, yes. However, again, you can download everything, so you can download like your entire profile, off of Facebook if you wish. So if you’re saying oh it’s a lot of work in terms of you want to keep that information, then you can, you can easily download it.

For example, it was funny, because I’ve been going back through my own ones myself, and mine was similar to what you’ve just been saying. And loads of mine, it was, back in the day when do you remember how it first started, is it would show your name, and then it had “is,” didn’t it? And that was like, pre-populated, and you couldn’t change that. So mine was always, “Ryan Power is…” And then you would start filling in the next bit. And then it just became your name, and then obviously now you can put whatever you like. But when you go back now, you see all these old ones which actually don’t make much sense. And you thought at the time you were being so witty, obviously, and now it is just like, oh god, that doesn’t even make sense, let alone be funny.

Killian Vigna: It’s horribly cringy!

Ryan Power: I know, some of it is just like, cringe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: The memories on Facebook is my favourite friend because it just pops up all of the old stuff, and then I can just delete one or two a day until eventually, I’ve done all the cleaning up.

Killian Vigna: Do you know what’s not my favourite friend, is when friends re-tag or re-comment something from 10 years ago. That’s not good!

Protecting your image: how to monitor what people tag you in [14:08]

Ryan Power: Right. Well, that actually also brings up another point, because one of the other parts of this strategy that I would recommend is going into your settings and disabling that feature, or having it so that you have to approve it first. So you can change the settings so that if I tag you in some comedy photo from your graduation night where it’s three in the morning and everyone’s getting worse by the hour, then you get to approve whether or not that tag goes there and hence whether or not other people see it or not.

So again, you can put certain things in place to stop the potential embarrassment. But also, do you know what? Part of it I think is just sort of like, embrace, you know? Because who hasn’t fallen out of a nightclub at some point in their life? And quite frankly, if it’s someone that has never, ever done anything like that of that ilk, are they going to be my target, ideal dream client? I’m not sure we’re going to be that good a match for each other, to be honest. Because you know what, actually it’s okay to have a past, and it’s okay to have a history. And particularly, if we’re talking about a picture from 20 years ago, then who didn’t do that in their 20s or whatever, you know?

Killian Vigna: It’s like all reeling in the years. It’s like when you’re going through someone’s timeline; you see their development. We’re not all the professional or the kind of, like you, kind of the consultant and coach that you are now. Like, you 10, 15, 20 years ago were probably a completely different person. So, it’s kind of nice to be able to see that transition in someone.

Ryan Power: Absolutely. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And so again, by opening up and showing a bit more of yourself, particularly if you’re making yourself a little bit vulnerable, actually that’s going to bring clients much, much closer to you than it will repel them. And that might seem a little bit back to front and people initially, a lot of the time, think, oh no if they see the, I don’t want to say the real me, but if these see sort of the few layers down, let’s say, is that going to put people off? You know what? It’s not. The right people, it’s going to bring them even closer. It’ll probably be the best thing you ever do.

So yeah, I’m all in favour of that. And as we’ve said previously, I just think that those lines are blurred, as we’ve said, and I’ll leave the singing to you here Killian. I’m not going to go anywhere with the singing on that one. But I think that they are blurred, and increasingly so. I think nowadays there… let me rephrase that. Previously, some people probably said there was a “professional me,” and I’m doing little floating bunny ears here, for the benefit of everybody listening, and then a real, let’s say, me, or an after five o’clock when the office is shut me, and a work-time me if you like.

Now I think that a one persona option is probably best for everyone. Because actually, if try and make out you’re something that maybe you’re not, or you try and make out that you’re a completely different person outside of your professional, you’re going to get caught out nowadays, because everyone has got a camera phone, and everyone can tag, and everyone knows everyone’s business and all that. So you would get caught out. And as I mentioned already, you might as well just embrace it, because you’re actually going to bring more people closer to you, I believe, than you will repel them.

Killian Vigna: It’s kind of like, and I’m probably going to cause a lot of controversy here. But do you know when people only post pictures of themselves that are Photoshopped or filtered?

Ryan Power: Yes!

Killian Vigna: You meet them in real life, and you’re going, “Sorry, who are you?” It’s like, you’re constantly hiding, or you’re putting a mask over who you actually are. And kind of like that with the filters. When I see you in real life, you’re probably not going to look like how I saw you online.

Ryan Power: Yeah. And particularly in our industry, I would say as well, you know? And funny that you say that, but I’ve been experimenting recently with Instagram, and putting up a video every day, on like the little IGTV channel they’ve got. Yesterday I went out and did it, and the skies opened on me. And to say they opened, it was of biblical proportions. And my hair was like, literally like I had a Mr Whippy on my head, or something outrageous. And it was all over the place. But actually, do you know what? It was like why who hasn’t been caught in the rain before?

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Ryan Power: So anyone can relate to that. And it’s happened to everyone. And did I look like a drowned rat, yeah I did. Do I care? Not really? You know, at the end of that day, that was who I was, and that happens to be what I look like if I get caught in the rain. So if anyone ever meets me caught in the rain, they will now know what I look like.

Making your personal Facebook profile serve your business [18:44]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. But aside from all that image perception, right? Instagram and Facebook have been talking about how, well, especially Facebook I suppose, how using your personal profile to do business is not something that they recommend. But you’ve seen it even, like through Instagram you’ve seen this whole situation happening. You just look at the Fyre Festival scandal thing, where you know, influencers were backing this whole festival, and at the end of the day it didn’t happen, and a lot of people were out of money. And they got sued for promoting this thing because they didn’t have, and that’s kind of where that hashtag #ad or #sponsored came from.

Like, we’re not all of that, I suppose, status of celebrity, right? With thousands and thousands of followers or whatever, so putting a little hashtag #ad, I don’t know, right? But how do you make that distinction so that you don’t get penalised by Instagram or Facebook?

Ryan Power: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, well I think that yes, you’re right, absolutely. I mean Facebook is very, very clear in their terms of service; you cannot use a personal profile as a business. So if you’ve got your personal profile set up as, I don’t know, your name and you see it, where actually their name is like “Julie Luscious Lips Botox Smith” or something, and obviously that isn’t the same name as what appears on that young lady’s passport, I’m guessing. So you can’t do that. And if Facebook catches you doing that, they will show you the back of their hand, and you will not just be on the naughty step, but they will just shut your account down overnight, okay? So they are very, very clear about that.

However, what you are allowed to do, is push out messages about your business, if it’s in the general scheme of normality. They obviously appreciate that people have businesses, and that is a big part of their lives. So as long as your personal profile isn’t just promoting your business, then I think that generally, you’re going to be okay. So for example, if you have got it linked up to your business page, you put out a business post, and then you shared that post on your personal page as well, Facebook is cool with that. They haven’t said anywhere that you’re not allowed to do that. They encourage sharing at the end of the day. That is absolutely fine.

Now if you did it 50 times, they might not be quite so understanding, let’s say. But you’re going to be fine to help share that content that you have created, that is cool. But also, a lot of what I would suggest people do is actually just kind of make friends on more of actually a human level. And it’s not necessarily about having your profile and just shouting about your business all the time. It’s more about having an online presence which is you and personable and approachable, and actually making communications with people in like, a normal way, and not just about what you’re sharing on your page, but in terms of your one to one communications.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. So let’s say for argument’s sake, if people, and again I recommend that they do, complete their profile, their personal profile, in the proper way. And by proper, I mean including the links to their business. You know, Facebook again, they have now got a section on there which says “Bio.” And they allow you to put a link. And they encourage you to put your website and your Instagram links. So if they didn’t want you to do anything remotely business-related, then they wouldn’t give you those options. Because who would have a website? Nobody would. Yeah? So they obviously are happy to allow certain elements of that. You just can’t take, you know, the mickey.

So, let’s say you’ve got that filled out correctly. So for example, on mine, I’ve got links to our business pages. I say what I do. Again it allows you to put up to nine little pictures in there now, which I would recommend that you do. Put in your cover photo. And I know this may sound obvious, but so many people don’t, or they’ve got a cover photo of like their cat, or something like that. And I’m not dissing on cats.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You’re not a fan?

Ryan Power: Well, I’m not, but that’s by the by. Even if it were a picture of their dog, which I am a fan of, I still wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, unless you are a dog groomer maybe? In which case, have as many dog pictures as you want. Other than that, I’m not sure I’d necessarily recommend it. But maybe I would recommend it as one of the nine photos, that said. Because actually, if you’re a dog person, other dog people will see that picture and that will draw them closer to you. So I’m not saying don’t have any dog pictures, just don’t have it as your main picture, is what I’m saying.

So anyway, you’ve filled out this stuff, okay? You’ve filled it out all properly. I would actually recommend in your cover photo, your banner, having a work-related picture, maybe like a nice picture, if you’ve got some professional ones, of your premises, for example. So that when people see it, when people click on your profile for the first time, it’s obvious who you are, what you do, what you’re all about.

Because, when you are in Facebook groups, and I’m not just talking about your own, I’m talking about other people’s, when you’re in there, which, you know, Facebook have a made a huge song and dance about groups. They want communities growing on Facebook; they want people in groups. They are rewarding group owners by giving them massive reach and engagement in comparison to business pages, so it’s clear that they want to put people in there.

So, they’re encouraging that on all fronts. So when you’re in these groups talking to people, let’s say for argument’s sake there’s a local group and someone has gone on there and they’ve said, “Oh well, my little Ginny came home from work today, and she’s got chewing gum in her hair from this other little cow in the playground, and I don’t know what to do, blah blah blah, can anyone help?” And then as a hairdresser, you jump on and say, “Oh yeah, I know exactly what to do. You do X, Y, and Z.” Straightaway, that person then is going to be like, “Oh my god, thank you ever so much, that’s really kind of you.” I would bet, nine times out of 10, the next thing they will do is click on your profile. They will click on your profile to see who this helpful soul is, okay? Yeah?

Now, when they then go on it, and they see, “Oh, you own X, Y, Z hair salon in the high street,” what are they going to think of you and that business? They’re going to think, “Oh well you’re great, aren’t you?” They’re not going to think anything possibly negative. So they’re going to love that you were helpful. Now, this is not salesy. You’re not going into these groups and spamming them, saying “Oh come and have a haircut with me, I’m great.” I mean, it couldn’t be more of a polar opposite. But these people will click on your profile, not just the person you helped out; I hasten to add. I would suggest lots of other nosy beggars will also be clicking on that and going “Well how come she’s the chewing gum in hair expert?” You know? They’re going to be looking on there; they’re going to be seeing what that was all about.

So then, they can see that, and they can see all about you. That is how you can then start to build a relationship with some of these people because they’re going to be looking anyway! It’s kind of of the point. These people are intrinsically nosy. That is part of what social media is all about; it’s about being nosy. So these people are going to look anyway, so you might as well paint yourself in the best possible light that you can, and give yourself the greatest possible chance of getting some business from it in the long run and building relationships with people, because ultimately as I said right at the top, people do buy people. So naturally, it will kind of go that way.

Interacting in Facebook Groups, a competitive advantage [26:11]

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I love that idea. Because again, Facebook’s encouraging you to be a collaborator. The more you collaborate, other people get involved, and it’s creating that whole discussion. It’s less about shouting about who I am, but also less about, you know when you see people doing product reviews because Facebook is clamping down on that. Use your business page to do those reviews, maybe. How can we leverage forums then for promoting our expertise and all that?

Ryan Power: Well, I think that there are two main ways that you do that. The first way is, as we just touched on using your personal profile in, not even necessarily industry-related groups. It could be in any sort of group. And in fact, what I would recommend is that you just go and hang out casually in whatever groups you think your dream client is also hanging out in. So that’s where I would go off and hang out, where I think beauty and hair business owners will be hanging out also. And I’m not going to go in there and shout, “Oh, look at me!” In fact, I probably won’t even post anything in there. All I would do is I would merely comment if I think I can be helpful at some point.

So again, you might be waiting a long time for that golden post to come along, that you can think right, that is my area of expertise, I’m going to go on there, and I’m going to leave a really, really helpful comment. But a couple of things can happen, and this is also interesting. When you go on, if you’re going into the groups with the intention of just trying to get clients, or make some money somehow out of it, then you’re probably going to come away disappointed. But if you go in with the attitude of, I just want to offer some help, and I just want to chime in as helpful as I possibly can, then those clients will find you the other way, you know, afterwards.

So you will go in, and you will just be helpful with appropriate comments. And this is the other thing, you know. Facebook as you’ve probably seen, when you’re in a group, and you’re scrolling down, it only shows the first two, normally, comments. However, many comments are on there; it only shows you the first two, a snippet. It doesn’t show the great, long trail.

Now, the comments that it shows are often those, well it’s those that it deems are the most “relevant,” and again I’m doing the little flying bunny ears there, the most relevant ones. Now, of course, Facebook’s algorithm is a fiercely guarded secret, and while we don’t know exactly what they determine to be the most relevant, I’d say the person who gets the most likes on their comment is probably a pretty decent indicator, to begin with.

If you’ve gone in and you’ve been super helpful on a post, and a load of people have liked it, well what’s going to happen is to start with, your comment is then going to be displayed to anyone else that goes in. Secondly, a notification will be sent to everyone who has commented before you. Ooh, that’s handy, yeah? And thirdly, you’re just going to come across as like, this really cool, helpful guy or gal, which again as we touched on earlier, will result in a load of people then stalking you. I mean, looking at your profile!

So you’ve got a load of real benefits to that. Now the other way that you can do it entirely, and I would advocate doing in addition to, is having your own group as well. So, you mentioned Killian, that you obviously get invited into other people’s groups and stuff, which is cool. One of the ways that a load of our clients are having real success with is the idea of having like a VIP membership community, let’s say. So the purpose of this will be, you set up your own group, link to your business. But again actually, I would recommend being present in there, because now, if you’ve got a grouped linked to your business page, you can comment in the group as the business, as it were. But personally, I’d rather do it just as me, for the reasons we’ve already sort of discussed earlier on. They know you’re in there, they can see that you’re the admin of the group. What are you trying to hide, really? You might as well just comment as you, I would say.

So, as I say, you can set that up. And one of the ways I would recommend that people consider, and one of the ways a lot of our coaching clients have had success, is to set up as like a VIP group. And the point of this is, it’s a group for your best clients. Now that doesn’t mean anyone who’s ever heard of you. This genuinely means your best clients, i.e. paying customers of yours.

And the purpose of this, first and foremost, is to make them feel special. So again it’s this idea of you know something, or you’re part of a group or a community in which other people aren’t. And actually, in terms of you know, social proof and so forth nowadays, actually a lot of people hunger for that. It’s that “Oh I’m part of this little secret society almost.” And you’re not. So I’ve somehow got one over you. I don’t know how it works out, but it does.

So people really, really appreciate that. And it gives you an opportunity to, what I say, give little hugs to your clients. And what I mean by that is, you can give them stuff that other people don’t get.

Now, that doesn’t mean discounts. I am not talking about giving discounts in your group to your best clients, that would be bonkers. It would also be the kind of the easy thing to do. Whereas if you give it a bit more thought, it gives you an opportunity to give a lot more value to your clients. So for example, if you’ve got some last-minute availability, you put it in your VIP group, because they’re the people that you want coming back in. Or, if you’ve got some new products in and you’re looking for some people to test them for you, then they would be the ones. Or, if you’ve got some free samples, they would be the people. If you’re going to do an open night for VIPs only, it would get advertised in there.

So you’ve got this opportunity to help harvest that even more. And one of the keys, really, to growing your business, certainly, is making sure that you are maximising, ethically, of course, but maximising your returns from each client.

And by that I mean that means making sure that they are taking the appropriate products which are most suitable for them, making sure they’re coming in to see you as regularly as they should be. It’s our job as marketers to remind them to come and see us, and not the other way around. It’s not their job to remember to come in and visit us. We’ve got to be forward-thinking with that.

So again, this is a wonderful way that you can do that. Plus you can genuinely make them feel special. You can genuinely give them stuff that other people don’t get. And because of the way the algorithm works, your posts within a group are going to be seen by a much, much higher percentage of people than they are if you’re posting on your business page. Plus, it means again you can peel back some of the layers, and you can be more personable in the group because they are your homeboys and homegirls in that group. Because they are the best of the best customers. They’re the ones that you want to be building relationships with. You want them to be as close to you as possible, and clinging onto them for dear life, and treating them like the VIPs that they are.

And in a Facebook group, it gives just the dream platform to do that with. And it’s free! It’s completely free! I mean, how good is that? Everyone moans “Are people going to see my posts on Facebook anymore, I’ve got to boost it all?” Not in a group, you don’t. It’s free! If you keep the engagement up, if you post regularly. If you’re posting stuff that they like and that they’re responding to, and actually, a couple of little tips: don’t just make it all about your business, because it’s going to get real boring real quick. You see so many pages that it’s just like, oh an here’s another picture of a shelf of products. It’s like oh come on; you can do better than that because that is just boring. Even your best customers think that’s boring. There are only so many ways you can angle a bottle of Olaplaex, to try and have different lights or different filters on it. No one is finding that interesting anymore.

So scrap that. You’re much better off putting up a picture of your dog asleep on the floor or something. That is going to get loads more interaction. Or cat if that’s your preference. But that is going to get far more interaction and bring people closer to you.

Sprinkling your personality into your salon’s business page [34:18]

Ryan Power: One of the other things I always recommend people do that I teach is that you really want to be posting at least three times a day on your business page, to keep the algorithm going. And I’ve tested lots, and that’s what we kind of find is the sweet spot, is three times a day.

And people are saying to me, “Three times, what am I going to post! I can’t even think of one thing to post today, let alone three.” And the reason why is because again, they’ve got this idea in their head that it all has to be about their business. And it doesn’t at all. In fact, it shouldn’t be, because again, people are going to get bored real quick.

Instead, feel free to post about stuff which has got nothing to do with your business whatsoever. I don’t know how to… Maybe someone can clear this up for me. Mammay? Meme? Mimi? I don’t know, how is it even pronounced, does anyone know?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: A meme.

Ryan Power: Okay, it’s a meme.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, it’s definitely a meme, yeah.

Ryan Power: Definitely a meme, right, okay. I’m glad we cleared that up. Anyway, if I see something that I think is funny, in my feed, then as far as I’m concerned, that can go on my business, because my clients will find that funny as well. And if they don’t, then we’re probably not that good a fit for each other. So, therefore, it’s kind of again almost, you’re putting stuff out that the people who are your people, you’re going to draw them closer to you. The people that’d be like “Oh my god I can’t believe he posted that, that’s outrageous,” it’s like, we ain’t going to get on anyway. If you think that is so unfunny that you’re going to throw your toys out the pram about it, then we’re never going to work together anyway. So you might as well just close the door quietly on your way out, you know? So I think that straight away, as I say, that you’ve got to get over that idea, of I’ve got to be posting about my business, business, business. You haven’t. And if you did do that three times a day, as I say, people are going to get bored real, real quick. So you’ve got to do other stuff as well.

And actually I always think, you’ve just got to get some more personality in your page. So many of these pages are so personality-free, it’s like a personality-free zone. When really, people want, as I said, right at the top of the call, people want to know more about the person behind the business. They want to know more about you and what makes you tick, you know, and why you set up your business and why you do what you do and all those things. And who will you style for, and what they like to do, and what their favourite pizza toppings are, and what bar you like to go out to after you finish on a Friday. You know, all that normal stuff that you would talk to your friends about, people want to know that.

And for me, I think there’s been a shift in that, certainly in terms of encouraging people to do it. Because there’s also what I would consider being a huge misconception that people feel that clients want to deal with like, big companies. Bigger companies, I will go as far as to call them faceless companies in many ways. And a lot of people therefore try and almost make out that their business is much, much bigger than it really is. So that they will, you know, always use the term we, even if it’s only one of them. You know? It’s not; you’re not fooling anyone! When they come and see you, it’s going to be really, really obvious! So why not just be a bit more open upfront about it. The same as the people who have no images of their business on their website at all, because they’re maybe ashamed or embarrassed. Well, they’re going to find out when they get there! People are going to find out the moment they walk in your door.

So you might as well manage that expectation, and love you for what you have at that point, and do the most with what you can. Don’t try and hide behind something else, because all you’re going to do is get people’s expectations up and then disappoint them. So if it’s just one of you, and you’re in like, a stock room, and that is your business, then that’s fine. You know, you’ve got your place in the market, and some people will be delighted to still come and see you. Don’t pretend that you’re some 20-room, you know, spa with 58 staff, only for then people to turn up and wonder if they’re in the right place. Because people will do that once, and they’ll never come back. And you’re never going to build a business that way.

So I think that people need to embrace what they truly are a little bit more. And I think that that kind of flows in a lot with the whole concept of what we’ve been talking about throughout really, and that crossover between business and personal. Because ultimately, for most of us, we are our business. Even if we employ staff, we are still our business. And most people they would say, you know, if you cut them they will bleed their business, you know? And we’re all the same in that respect, and we go on holiday, and it’s not really a holiday, because you’re checking your flipping phone every two minutes just to make sure the place isn’t burning down. And while you do delegate things over, a lot of people still deep down believe that well they never quite do that as well as I can do it, even though they probably can and much better. You know?

So I think that we are all intrinsically linked to our business in that way because everyone does view it as their “baby,” in inverted commas. And therefore, why wouldn’t you want to shout about that? You should be proud of your business, and what you have and what you stand for, I think.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely. And to be honest, there’s this one last little thing that I’m going to add to the Facebook groups, because it’s something that I actually do in work, and the secret’s out I suppose. But the Facebook groups, especially if you have a blog or you do a lot of content for your salon, your spa, it’s a great place to get inspired. People are sharing their problems. Like that chewing gum problem, how do I do this? It’s a perfect place to get inspired and then grab that topic, write a blog on it or create a video on how to do this. And there you go, that’s a piece of content that’s not promoting, “Hey, come to me because I’m awesome.” It’s an educational piece of content that can help other people, and then you can share it again through social media and put it back into that group, for instance, if you don’t want to write a comment. It’s just another opportunity I suppose there to create more helpful and educational content that doesn’t have to be salesy.

Ryan Power: Totally agree. And again it’s the idea of help first, and the customers will come afterwards, as opposed to just everything you do being an out and out pitchfest, which ultimately would just turn people off, as opposed to attracting them.

And also as well, you know, it’s a long-term game. Let’s again go back to the chewing gum example. That person isn’t necessarily going to phone up and book an appointment with you the next day. But if you do become friends with them online as a result of you helping them, for example, it might be that in nine months down the line they get let down at the last minute by their hairdresser, or there’s their cousin’s wedding, and they need wedding hair last minute, something has happened, are you going to be top of their mind? Well, you’re going to be somewhere in their mind, aren’t you? More so than if you hadn’t connected with them. And when you help people out, you know, there is that little law of reciprocity which does say people that, they will want to kind of balance that up at some point subconsciously. So there’s every chance that they will come back.

Or what can happen is that then when the person, you know, a hair girl’s mom, is in a conversation outside the school the next day, “Oh well this really helpful person helped me,” they might then go and become a client of yours, because she’s out now telling everyone how helpful you are, even though all you’ve done is you know, just share a bit of your advice.

And actually, I think the other thing that it comes down to as well, is I think a lot of people maybe underestimate or underplay their level of expertise. Because we all know stuff actually that Joe Public on the street definitely doesn’t know. So, even though you might think it’s obvious, that doesn’t mean everyone, certainly people who work outside of your industry, they might not deem it to be quite so obvious.

Killian Vigna: I absolutely loved your groups’ bit there, about like a salon having their own group, because we talk about loyalty with your clients and how with social media, with emails, there’s just so much noise that is really hard to reach out to our clients. But by setting up that group page for your salon, you have your most loyal clients; it could be 200, it could be 300. Like, bear in mind, some salons could have thousands of clients on their books. But you’re able to reach everyone straightaway there. And you’re able to offer them so many more perks, like the example you gave… If you’ve got a last-minute cancellation. If you send an email out to rebook people in, what are the chances that they’re going to see? Probably a lot less lower than getting a notification to say that Ryan has announced in his salon’s group that he has a cancellation, who wants to book it? Then put your booking link in there.

Like, you covered so much there, but I think it’s absolutely amazing, and that should definitely be one big takeaway from this conversation. Ryan, look, listen, that’s been phenomenal.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So many golden nuggets there!

Ryan Power: Well, I’d like to extend my thanks for having me on. It’s been great chatting with you both. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed not just today’s chat but our previous ones as well. It’s been awesome, so thank you!

Killian Vigna: Ryan, you’re a bundle of joy and a bundle of energy. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Thanks very much for joining!

Ryan Power: I will look forward to receiving your friend requests soon, which obviously I’ll ignore!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Right after this episode.

Killian Vigna: Closer friends.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, thank you so much.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [43:37]

Killian Vigna: So that was Ryan Power on the blurred lines between your personal and business personas, and like I was saying, two big things I took from it were, basically all salons, create your own groups. Create business groups for your business page, that you can have your most loyal clients in. But also, don’t be afraid to make your profile public, and I think that’s going to have to be a giant step that I’m going to have to take. I think you’re already well used to it at this stage, Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I am, yeah, 100%. Although in saying that, I am on Instagram and LinkedIn, I suppose, much less on Facebook. So, something to consider for my part anyway.

So in terms of the next few things coming up I suppose for the second half of the show, we have the Thrive Sessions happening next week, and as mentioned in previous episodes, Phorest is a proud sponsor of the Thrive Sessions. So it’s happening on March 24th and 25th in Seattle at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. I’ll be hosting a workshop there on both days during lunch, and it’s called “Lights, Camera, Post: Basic Photography Skills for a Standout Portfolio.” Anyone who attends will be getting a light lunch and will be provided with an Instagram ebook. Now, if you want more information on this or pricing, you can head over to

And then later, in April, it’s the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, and that’s happening on April 15th, it’s a Monday. The conference is from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and it’s followed by a networking reception. It is all taking place at the Dalcy in Chicago, and we have quite a few announced speakers already, so Scott Buchanan, Stefanie Jackson, Jay Williams, Neil Ducoff, Marlo Boyle, and Heather Yurko. And all the information around the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow can be found on the website,

Oh, and before we sign off for today, we have the #30Days2Grow Salon Challenge, the third edition, kicking off on April 1st. And it obviously goes on throughout the whole month. So if you haven’t signed up for that yet, do head over to our Facebook page, Phorest Salon Software. We’ve been posting about this quite a bit already. So, the challenge kicks off in less than two weeks.

And if you’re still undecided on why you should join, we did have interviews with participants from previous years. So, we have Episode 41 with Lilac Miller and Episode 74 with Katrina Sutherland. So, do check those episodes out. It’s definitely going to have a massive impact on your business and this year the theme is all about growing as a solid, unified team.

So well, that’s all we got for this week! And as always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode or have any suggestions, send us an email at, or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show. Otherwise, have a wonderful week, and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related Links

Beauty Business Superstars – Coaching For Beauty Businesses

Book a consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub

Salon Owners Summit: The Roadshow, April 15, 2019


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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