3595 N Shiloh Dr Suite 2
I am so utterly impressed with Manely Curly Salon's branding and social media. I'm going to try to highlight some of my favorite things, but it's one of those situations where the more I analyze it, the better it gets.
Disclosure: This post is going to be a bit personal and girly. But there's still some good nuggets of social media marketing wisdom to be found.
First, how I found Grace Heffron and Manely Curly Salon.
To be honest, I don't remember.
Which means the chances are they came across my feed because their social media is amazing.
They caught my attention. I try to ignore ads and adsy type posting. Typically it's pretty easy, because ads and posts aren't targeted enough to catch my attention. But I can't ignore Manely Curly Salon.
So what caught my attention?
Gorgeous curly hair.
See, this summer I decided to take the plunge and own that my hair is curly. I've been researching curly hair products, processes, cuts, etc. I did "the big cut" this summer, and it was ok, but it was mostly just to get the dead stuff off and lighten the weight on my curls.
But I am ready for a big girl curly hair cut. And I don't know where the heck to go. I'm still relatively new to the area, and how do I know someone knows what they're doing?!?!
One of my first salon experiences was awful! I wanted a "Rachel" and I got, as my dad put it, a "Goldie"... as in Hawn. Since then I have always been nervous about finding a new stylist. (Yeah. It's been over 20 years, and I'm still not over it)
I had one stylist pass away. I had another completely quit doing hair due to health issues. So now I am left without someone I trust. And I have completely different hair. So I am terrified.
Anyway, I'm looking for a curly hair specialist. Someone who knows curly hair. I don't even know where to start. But they found me.
And they've hooked me.
Manely Curly Salon knows their target audience- young(ish) curly-haired women.
The value and quality is seemingly flawlessly proven over and over.
So I go to see if they have their prices listed.
Now, I've not spent more than $65+ tip on a haircut... and that felt exorbitant even though it was at a luxury salon. (To be honest, she wasn't that great, but I kept going to her because of my fear of finding a new coiffer.) But I would have no problem paying that for someone who can do to my hair what Manely Curly does to their clients.
They even have an introductory cut!... for $140?!?!?!
But y'all. I have absolutely no doubt it is totally worth it. The fact that they have an initial, more expensive, 90-minute, new client cut tells me they will provide a phenomenal service. And there's only a few openings in the next four months. So I am not the only one who is convinced.
So I have new hair stylist goals. But back to marketing.
Lessons to learn from Grace Heffron and Manely Curly Salon:
Well done Manely Curly!
Hashtags can be a powerful way to increase your reach, but when done haphazardly, they can do more harm than good. And hashtags perform differently on different platforms.
Today, we're talking about how to use hashtags effectively on Instagram.
First, the logistics of how hashtags are used on Instagram:
The ONLY hashtags you should have on your IG posts are ones that are relevant to the topic at hand. On other platforms, hashtags can be used for added meaning and snarkiness, but for IG it can hurt your reach, because:
You can just slap a bunch of hashtags together. It might work. And at first, that's absolutely fine as you develop your brand, your voice, and your social media skills.
But to really improve your reach, you can optimize your posts by choosing strategic hashtags. You can hire someone out, and there's software to help you, as well.
But I highly recommend going through the research process yourself first, so you can better understand what you want as well as what you're looking for in hiring someone or signing up for software. Here is a free and more manual way I approach hashtag research when I first start working with a target audience.
Step One: Brainstorm related words, topics, keywords, and phrases based on your target audience. What is your target audience interested in? What else are they interested in? Where is the overlap? (BONUS TIP: Keep this list for content ideas, too.)
Step Two: To start researching a potential hashtag, type it with the hashtag into the search bar on IG (don't hot enter). A dropdown will pop up with the hashtag you entered, how many posts that hashtag has, and related tags with their number of posts. (BONUS TIP: Write down the relevant related hashtags that have at least 1,000 posts for research later.)
Step Three: Click on the hashtag you are researching. You will be directed to a page that highlights the top performing posts with that hashtag and then the most recent posts with that hashtag. Check them out. Do these look like posts you would have? Do they seem relevant to your target audience?
Step Four: Learn from those who have hashtagged before you. What types of posts do they have? What is the engagement on each of those (reactions, comments, conversations)? What other hashtags do they use (write those down and research them)? Visit their profiles and see how they are doing, what they post, how people interact with them, etc.
Step Five: Keep track of the hashtags, noting related hashtags, number of posts for each, types of posts found, etc.
Step Six: Once you have a good selection of hashtags that have posts consistent with your content, select a handful of high volume hashtags, medium volume, and low volume to use on your posts. If you only pick hashtags with large numbers of posts, you're more likely to get lost in a sea of other posts. But if you also have more specific hashtags with a lower number of posts, you're a big fish in a smaller pond. (BONUS TIP: If you're using a spreadsheet, you can categorize each hashtag and use Concatenate to feed relevant hashtags into one string for easy copy and pasting.)
STEP SEVEN: Use, test, switch around. Don't use all the same hashtags all the time. Algorithms typically don't like copy and paste and other lazy tactics. Select a handful, then use different hashtags relevant to the post that will hit different sectors of the target audience.
Keep in mind, platforms are constantly changing. What is true in this article could be undermined next week. But in general, conscientious selection of hashtags are going to yield better results than cheap and quick fixes. Truly seek to serve your audience and you are more likely to reach them.
1327 S. Main Street
Favorite Brands gives me an outlet for sending kudos to businesses I think have done great things with their branding. It could be one aspect--their social media, website, a process, etc.-- or, like this one, it could be the consistent, in clear messaging to a target audience in all aspects of the brand. Have you seen some good branding in NWA I should take a look at?
About a month or two ago, I started seeing ads from a new boutique. I'm not a boutique shopper, so I ignored the ads. But after a while, I started paying attention. I realized this was a POSH THRIFT STORE... & I love me a thrift store... for a few reasons.
1) Items are usually cheaper.
2) It reduces/reuses/repurposes waste.
3) I know what the garment is going to look like after it's washed... & if it will still fit my long arms & legs.
But this thrift store gives back--unlike some corporate thrift stores with a name that makes you think they're in it for the sake of good will.
Beautiful LIves is a non-profit thrift store that shares their profits with organizations that serve vulnerable women & children. They have several stores in NWA. It's a gorgeous, boutique with gently used clothing at great thrift store prices.
But their branding, y'all!
If you don't already know, you'll soon find out, I preach a lot about branding being more than just the colors & logo. I believe the FULL brand is any impression you make on your target audience, all the way to the bathroom.
Yes, their colors and logo are clean and rich, while still being gentle, but their power lies in the FULL brand. There is a lot I could focus on, but I want to call your attention to two ways they've created clear, cohesive messaging of their Core Values:
Worth- Not only are these affordable thrift store prices, but they don't have exorbitantly higher prices on designer brands. This clearly communicates 1) every item has value, whether it's from Walmart or Free People & 2) quality items aren't reserved for the privileged. Both of these further reinforce the worth of the individuals they serve, both their shoppers and the women and children their profits help provide for.
Hospitality- A relatively large portion of their store is reserved for comfortable seating, drink service. and personal amenities (in the bathroom you can find feminine products, a changing station, baby wipes, and so on). They communicate clearly they want their customers--all their customers--to be cared for, relaxed, valued.
They know who their target audience is & they have accommodated them from logo to gotta-go... to-the-bathroom-now. And their Core Values of generosity and gentleness come out in even the most mundane aspects of their business.
1327 S. Main Street Bentonville, AR 72712
Ozark Empire Fairgrounds and Event Center offers over 100,000 square feet of indoor space, 76 acres of land, and ample parking for a variety of events. The facility is home to the Annual Ozark Empire Fair and over 100 other events year round.
I had the opportunity to meet Aaron Owen from the Ozark Empire Fair. I took a look at the social media his wife, Jennifer, does for the business.
I won't say branding a business that literally exists to make people happy is easy. Because I don't think it is. In fact, it may be MORE challenging because you have to get outside your assumptions to make it the most powerful! And the assumptions surrounding a business like this would be hard to get past, based in personal experience, testimonials, and even history. They are core to our identities!
And on the lower levels of marketing, that's ok. When you're starting out, it's ok to work off assumptions to get going. When you are ready to grow, though, you need to be able to step outside where you've been to get to where you want to be.
When I first started checking out Ozark Empire Fairgrounds' social media, I was delighted by their Instagram! Their Insta-game has got SO MUCH good going on! Lots of color, quirky angles, and great shots of the sights and sounds we associate with fairground fun! Even without the countdown of # of days left, I wanted to BE THERE!!!
Here are some of the things they are doing right!
🙌 Developed hashtag #OEFPhotoo)--Users generated content for this hashtag. Everyday one would be selected for Fazoli's Photo of the Day. Wish I knew more about how they managed this. Looks like it was successful!
💥 Patriotic design themes (without being confused as a political campaign) reinforces the American pastime of the county fair.
🤡 A bit of behind-the-scenes/get to know our people creates community feeling, reinforcing the wholesomeness of the activity.
🥖Capturing the sensual aspects of what makes the fairground special--merry-go-round, carnival food, rodeo... You can almost smell the fried food!
🧵 Historical photos, multi-generation shots- A bit of nostalgia goes a long way in making the fair an annual event for families.
🤝 Tagging sources! Increases reach, and you should always give credit where credit is due! This is unfortunately a massive issue in social media right now.
As I said, it's great! I love it, and I love going to their IG.
But it can be SO MUCH MORE!
Considering how many tens of thousands of people come into their events, there should be more than just 1,000 followers.
And let's talk about why it matters.
There's the obvious--the more people who come into the event(s), the more money the business makes from admissions.
But the secondary goal is to provide a reason for their vendors to come to their fair. It's a symbiotic relationship--the vendors provide the experience, the event center provides the crowd. Essentially, the event center is a marketing source in of itself.
So, the bigger online presence they have, the better they can serve their vendors, not only by bringing in customers, but also by providing additional marketing services (that could be paid opportunities or increase demand and, therefore, rent space pricing.
It's important to note that their Facebook following is much larger (44,237 followers and 91,962 check-ins!!!). I suspect the Facebook focus was much earlier and much more comfortable to the owners.
But Facebook is a different game... and a different audience.
Even if it's literally the same people looking at the same images on both platforms. When Jane Doe is on Facebook, she is one audience. When @JaniDoe is on Instagram, she is a different audience.
Different expectations. Different objectives. Different reactions. Different results.
The benefit of IG is that it can attract younger audiences who are focused on experiences with their friends and families, less on nostalgia and more on nostalgia-in-the-making, whereas Facebook is more... practical and real (more, not completely, lol). Facebook typically leans more toward community building, Instagram toward sensuality. Chasing the ideal. Living in the moment. Which is the perfect place for a fairground to wallow.
That's not to say the differences are cut and dry, but they're nuanced.
So why should OEF amp up their IG?
For this industry, the reach for images, lifestyle, and experiences can go much farther on IG than on Facebook. Especially with the development of hashtags and relevant IG communities.
To improve their Insta-game, I would highly encourage:
And a side note... the website looks like not only a different business, but a different industry altogether.
I totally acknowledge the website audience is completely set apart from the social media. The website is for vendors and people interested in the other services they provide.
But I would still yet like to see it updated with cohesive branding across all platforms. And I would love to see fresh, vibrant branding that can easily be placed on their social media marketing!
This would be a super fun account to work on, wouldn't it?!?!
Downtown- Bentonville, Arkansas
When your daughter's 13th birthday happens to be during a pandemic, you do what you can to make it a special day. So she met a masked friend, got "trashed" at Trash Creamery in Downtown Bentonville, and then walked around downtown, socially distanced, taking glamour shots with the incredible murals. They had fun. Whew!
But let me tell you about Trash Creamery. First, they’re awesome. Basically, they have a ton of junk to put on #icecream. Almost literally trash. Potato chips even. Their ingredients are mind blowing, but their preconceived combos are downright titillating.
But what I really want to talk about is their branding. And when I say branding, I don't mean just a cool logo and color palettes. (Although, Trash has those down, too. Look at them! They're AWESOME!!!)
Branding is way more, and they know it.
Their use of vintage 80s images is smart and fresh (not stale and cheesy as so often is the case). They use the icons of our childhood and make jokes out of them that are either timeless or modernly relevant.
Before covid, they had more decor, utilizing real estate even on the napkin holders to reinforce their brand. They still have great decor (see images), and they currently have an igloo of ice cream containers... which besides being fun, also clearly communicates you can get ice cream To Go with very little melting.
The store is bright and clean, fresh even. Which is good for a food place anyway, but is very consistent with their brand. And the customer service is just as light, friendly, and a bit quirky as the overall theme.
Their social media game is a beautiful collection of food shots, people having fun, funny vintage memes, and a lot of color consistency.
Their website is nothing to be impressed by… except that their lack of focus on it is actually really smart. Their target audience will find them and reviews easier on Yelp, social media, and these outlets through Google. So there's no reason to keep up a website as long as you are everywhere you actually need to be and have ensured your brand is consistent across all these places.
I'm a huge fan of their food, their service, and their branding... AND the fact that it's super cohesive.
I 💜Trash!!! ✌🏻🤩🐷🍨