January 26, 2017
After following my barber from place to place around the Phoenix metro area for five years he moved too far away and it started becoming too time consuming of a drive and wait to get a fresh haircut. I'm a big believer in getting a haircut at least once a week or once every other week. It builds confidence and helps you run a business and your life better if you look good and feel good about yourself.
I needed to find a new barber. Unlike the last time five years prior, I remembered noticing barbers posting their finished product haircuts on local geotargeted hashtags that I would peruse from time to time. I wanted to see the barbers or hair stylists work before actually booking with a new barber or hair salon.
So I opened up Instagram and checked out the hashtag #Scottsdale where I live and work and started scrolling through pictures looking for some of the work of local barbers in my area. Very easily I started finding localized visual content and portfolios if you will of barbers showing off their work and results after cutting their clients hair. This isn't just for barbers, it works well for hair stylists, personal trainers, and other visual products or solutions people want to sell and get attention for.
How Instagram Is Like Google Visual Search
It reminded me a bit of a visual Google search since I had intent on finding barbers with the local #Scottsdale hashtag for my area. Not only did I find a barber I loved, @wendycutshair, but she offered online appointment scheduling with her Genbook account, linked in the URL space of her Instagram account. This was the best experience finding, scheduling, and actually getting a haircut I have had. It saved me time, showed me results in advance, and made me realize the power Instagram has with any visually focused business, service, or product.
Since I run a digital marketing shop, seeing how this process worked made me think of all the other opportunities that Instagram and other social media platforms present based on the parameters of their social network. If you have a solution to someone's problems and you can show how you can fix it in a photo-based approached Instagram can help grow your business. Keeping in mind you use the most relevant and geotargeted hashtags when appropriate.
Instagram Helps Grow or Start Businesses
Another thing I learned from my new barber Wendy, at Blurred Lines Barber Shop, is that the more she posts on Instagram the more her barber shop business grows and the busier she gets. And this all with just the organic reach of Instagram using relevant and geotargeted hashtags — no use of their ad platform powered by Facebook.
It even enabled her to start her own barbershop: When I found her she was actually working for a 10+ chair barbershop and was just one of the barbers there using Instagram to show her work.
There is definitely untapped potential on Instagram for local businesses or startups if they can visually showcase their work.
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