It’s coffee date Q&A time! The blog where I share a bunch of answers from questions I’ve asked a business owner around how they use social media for business. Any industry, any answer and anything goes on this coffee date …

The idea is that we can all take some inspiration from each other on this business-owning journey! Using social media for a business isn’t something that can be templated and there is no process we can pass around amongst each other, but there’s still plenty to glean from listening to what other business owners do in their business.

Meet Harley.

I met Harley at a hair and beauty industry networking event around 2018, we had instant good chat and I then trusted her with my brows – frankly that makes us BFFs and she probably knows more of my secrets than most. Something to be said for the confidentiality pack between you, your brow technician and your hairdresser! But we here to talk about what Harley built right?!

From working in a salon whilst studying, to running appointments in her home salon and then to opening Hive + Co, a collaborative salon in the city centre, Harley has used social media to establish and run her business and is a master at the branded grid and building an engaged community.

So much so that she is hosting an event called “Spilling the tea” will fellow industry business owner, Sammy Dey, on Sunday 12 June talking all things self employed life in the beauty industry and “spilling the tea” on all that entails (indulging a couple of guest speakers, like moi!). Read all the details and book your ticket here.

But first, let’s talk social media for business with Harley!

Tell me about your business.

My business is Hive + Co – Collaborative Salon – established in Oct 2019. A freelance salon space for like minded collaborators to run their own hair and beauty businesses. A collaborative, community based salon it’s all about supporting each other on our self employed journey under one roof. Currently myself and 7 other collaborators are based at Hive on Holburn Street offering sevices from nails, hair to Microblading brows.

Talk us through a typical day-in-the-life of Harley.

As a new mum my work life balance and routine has changed quite emm dramatically in recent times. A typical day in my life as a working mother who owns her own business includes, getting up to get both of us ready taking my partner to work and Sloan (baby boy) to the childminder. On the way to work grab a peach iced tea or hot chocolate because I’m a non caffeine unicorn (rare) once I get to the salon I open up, organise my room for a day of several brow clients whilst also taking social media snaps for the hive and collab stories or my own brows with Harley page. Rebooking of clientele, cleaning of the room and stock ordering are a few more items from my to do list. Collecting Sloan from the childminder feeding bathing him and then reading work emails, paying invoices and LIFE ADMIN! 

Tell us how you use social media for your business.

I have both Facebook and Instagram for Hiveandcollab but 95% of the effort goes into Instagram currently. I use it to promote the collaborators work, their availability for clients, supporting fellow industry specialists, communication with clientele and sharing booking links. Client interaction is great on Instagram stories which really help me make any small business changes from working hours to what they’d like to see offered in the salon. I also use social media (especially through lockdown) to make connection with local businesses as I love sharing their work, pages or even collaborating on events. 

Is social media your primary marketing channel for your business?

Yes 💯 for our business being appointment only, social media is the number one

How do you find content and inspiration for social media?

Content can vary from collaborators work to interior pictures of the salon – sometimes I find it hard to have a mixture of content rather than the same kind of pictures over and over again. Reels are becoming a great way to snapshot the ‘day in the life’ or ‘how to’ for clients to watch. Sometimes images are getting lost where as reels I feel are being promoted better. It’s just going to take time to adjust to videoing more rather than purely taking images. I go through waves of inspiration with social media, one day I’m full of ideas thinking I could be a digital marketer for a massive brand with the amount of creativity I have and the next I feel like a deflated balloon hahaha!

I don’t put pressure on myself to come up with next level content anymore. Stick to my core basics and then use Audio sounds and music to spice it up! 

What’s your favourite social media channel and why?

Instagram but close second is TIKTOK! I love TikTok because one, it saw me through lockdown and two, it’s full of creative people doing creative things and I feel there is a lot of support on the platform for others. People lives have changed quite wildly because of blowing up on TikTok because they showed the world how to do simple things like put a straw in a can the right way! Very relatable app I feel.

Name one of your favourite brands or businesses to follow on social media.

I think my favourite accounts are Jamie Genevieve, love her blogs and consistent grid vibes as well Robyn Park Interiors she is a local interior designer who has a very good brand identity I can tell her stories a mile off which for me is important (kinda like yourself Suz) very ‘brandy’. 

How do you switch off from social media?

Being honest? I don’t really overly switch on, I think people sometimes need a detox because they are heavily involved in social media taking lots of content in daily can be overwhelming but for me it’s like the daily newspaper and I try not to read into it as much. So I don’t really switch off from it, I don’t feel the need too. Not sure if I am crazy obsessed or if I’ve found a happy balance of having a good relationship with social media? Got to take the good with the bad, it’s not always a perfect place but as a social person in real life or online I can live both lives quite happily. 

If you could give us one top tip for using social media for your business what would it be?

Brand identity game needs to be strong, keep it clean and simple, have some banter don’t take everything too seriously (it’s insta not real life) and lastly if you make time for it, then it’ll make time for you.

Follow Harley on Instagram and Hive + Co here. You can book tickets for the “Spilling the tea” event on 12 June here.