Industry Insight

Instagram Secrets Of A Beauty Franchise

In the age of Instagram, franchise brands going after a younger, trendier audience can live or die by their presence. Some products lend themselves particularly well to Instagram just by the nature of the product. Inventive ice cream shops can post colorful, sugar rush inducing photos of their latest creations. Franchised fitness brands can post amazing before and after photos of clients that have achieved impressive transformations. Adventure and entertainment parks share high-flying acrobatic videos of guests doing flips or traversing a ninja warrior course.

All of these businesses are using instagram to promote themselves to their audience, and they can do it for free with the snap of a smartphone camera and 2 minutes spent crafting a caption and #hashtags. However, some are doing it much better than others, and the franchise brands that are doing it the best are able to achieve audiences much wider than their footprint should allow.

For example, Great Clips, a very successful hair salon franchise with thousands of locations has just under 23,000 followers on Instagram whereas the Lash Loft, an emerging beauty franchise offering lash extensions has amassed nearly 31,000 followers from just one singular location. How is this possible?

Well, for one, stunning eyelashes are certainly a bit more “Instagrammable” than basic men’s haircuts, but that is unlikely to be the most important factor. After all, if Great Clips had just 10 followers per location, their following would far surpass that of the Lash Loft. So what makes the Lash Loft’s instagram so appealing?

  1. Selective Content: The brand’s founder, ShellyAnn Bainlardi, is obsessive over her brand and what it represents. This factors into decisions on which photos to post, how often to post, and the captions and hashtags that accompany the photos. It takes knowledge, skill, and experience to curate an Instagram presence that not only speaks to its followers, but regularly attracts new followers.
  2. Real Content: The Lash Loft instagram features real customers and real lash artists rather than just staged photos of models. The account tells real stories rather than relying on stock or professional imagery. By doing this, you not only curate a feed that your followers identify with, but you can achieve exponential growth via the friends and followers of those featured customers and artists.
  3. Celebrity Influencers: The Lash Loft carefully selects its influencers and trades services for promotion rather than paying a hefty fee. Due to the high quality of its brand and service, the Lash Loft has also been lucky to receive free (and unrequested) promotion by celebrities like designer Marc Jacobs and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Hunter McGrady.

By leveraging the huge Instagram audience that the Lash Loft has amassed, the beauty franchise finds itself in a position to scale very effectively into other markets. Due to the high-end nature of the beauty franchise, it doesn’t intend to open thousands of locations like Great Clips, but it certainly has the potential for hundreds of salons in the upscale communities of major cities. And if its Instagram following is an indicator of its ability to attract real life customers, there’s a very bright future ahead.

Joe Sexton is the Senior Director of Development at Oakscale, where he focuses on implementing marketing and sales strategies to drive growth for the portfolio of franchise brands.
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