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How To Build Exposure For Your Nail Business

Getting exposure of your nail work is such an essential part of building a clientele but how do you do it? Should you build out a Social Media following or should you try some Old School Marketing Tactics? There are quite a few power combinations worth trying out.

Recently, a client direct messaged me for some help. This particular nail tech was a guy just starting out. After a full year in nails, things were looking a little dire.Try as he might, he’d been able to nab only three regular customers. He was having a really hard time cracking the code of marketing and exposure to a potential client base. I was super interested in hearing about his current approach and hoping to constructively guide him towards strategies that would yield better results. First let me say, I have mad respect for anyone willing to ask for help and recognizing that there might be a different way to approach a business that’s feels like it’s in a free fall. It’s this kind of thinking that will allow you to make progress. Sometimes it’s a subtle recalibration that will provide you with just the boost you need.

Our discussion began with me asking some basic questions: How are you trying to build exposure for your brand? How many eyes are you actually getting in front of your work? Exposure is crucial in the beginning stages of your business. I cannot stress it enough. It requires discipline. You will have to get out of your comfort zone and take daily action towards marketing your work. It’s something that should get built into the DNA of your business routine much like keeping a tidy workspace or sterilizing your tools. We went over a lot of different strategies on how to build out exposure which turns out to be based on a lot of social media posts (more on that below) and a few in person cold calls.

So what does building exposure look like? Building exposure for your work requires hustle, hustle, hustle. It’s your livelihood at stake. Building exposure requires that you adopt a “I have nothing to lose” attitude of confidence and courage. At our OWC (One Week Course), you will hear Tracey Reierson, Young Nails General Manager, and many of our mentors, nail professionals just like you, recommend some very straightforward methods:

Build Your Social Media Profile.
When you stop to consider the world we’re living in: how we communicate, how we stay in touch, and how we stay up on the latest nail trends or celebrity gossip; the answer is social media especially Instagram and Facebook. This is today’s equivalent of window shopping. Your social media profile doesn’t have to exclusively be your work; just mostly. Starting out that would be hard. Post about what interests you. Post the work of nail techs with work that inspires you. Post your work on a practice hand. Your social media profile is the best way for people to get to know you. It’s your calling card. So make sure they get to see all the wonderful things that get your creativity going. Social Media offers the kind of exposure that is open 24/7. It’s a sales/marketing force that is free.

On social media, use the “locations” sections on Instagram you can find on search. Type in your city location, click it, and see all the posts in your neighborhood. Basically you can go into all those public local posts and comment on the ones that look interesting with something like , “Love your outfit and would love to complete the look with a set of nails”. Spend an hour a day commenting and promoting yourself doing just that. It will drive people to your profile page; so make sure your profile looks good. You can comment on anything. Posts about cars, a favorite coffee spot, ice cream, Disneyland, the list goes on. Your common interests and local geography are your main point of connection and a conversation starter.

Get On With It.
This strategy literally means you have to get your work ON people. The easiest folks to work on are your immediate friends and family. Try out cool designs on your best friend from school, mothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins, aunties, etc. Schedule them like you would regular clients. It’s nice to fill your chair and have your booth look busy. It’s great because these people will usually be your most difficult clients. In the early stages, you will have to give away your work. It might sound obvious, but try to pick the folks with busy and active lives. If your goal is getting exposure, doing nails for your grandma who doesn’t get out much, just doesn’t count. For this exercise, make sure to plan how many freebie sets you can afford to do a month. You don’t want to do everyone in your family at the same time; spread it out over time. Most importantly make sure you ask them to spread the word on their social media. Make sure you are ready with all your contact info.

Model Call.
While you’re juggling your friends and family freebies; you will have to work to expand your potential client circle. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Scope out the grocery store, the bank teller, the doctor’s office, the yoga studio, your hair dresser etc. Identify the ones who come in contact with a lot of people and/or already get their nails done. Depending on your personality, approaching someone might feel awkward. The easiest way to overcome that feeling is a kind greeting, genuine smile and a
compliment on their hands. Tell them that you are looking for hand models to showcase your work. Let them know your story, that you do nails and are starting out trying to build your clientele. Offer to give them a free set and if it feels right; work out a regular arrangement of discounted manicures in exchange for referrals. The script can sound like this: “I love your nails.Your hands look really nice. I’m a licensed nail pro. I can appreciate beautiful work. I’d love to put a set on for you; if you’re interested. I’m always looking for hand models to showcase my work on my Instagram.” Exchange contact info and in the follow up conversation let them know that you’d like to have creative choice over the model set since you’d like it to be really eye catching (obviously after discussing their lifestyle and taking into account their lifestyle needs). A Model Call, gives value to everyone involved. Neither party is giving away their time. It’s mutually beneficial. While it might feel hard to go after this kind of exposure with strangers, you have to go and push yourself to do this. You have to have that conversation. Other people in the beauty industry are also great potential models especially since they can relate.
*Shameless plug, if you do go after the hairdressers be sure to use our YN Stain Resistant Top Coat. It will blow their minds!

In the end, these are the same strategies that we employ here at YN every single day. We know they work. We are not a mega huge company. We have to leverage what is unique about us and promote it that is why we create so much free content. It’s how we connect. Another important thing to consider is really believing in yourself and being able to convert what you might consider a disadvantage and spinning it into a positive. Or not taking someone else’s no/rejection of us personally. You just have to be your own best cheerleader and keep moving forward with the hard work of self-promotion. Negativity will get you no where. Exposure is a numbers game and you have to keep on the hustle in order to make it work.