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How This One Nail Salon Has Mastered Instagram Marketing

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In just two short years, Passion Nails owner Kimberly Bo has managed to get her nail salon up and running — all while amassing over 20,000 followers on her business’ Instagram account (@passionnails781). These six master tips have helped fuel Passion Nails’ Instagram and *business* success.

Mastery Tip 1: Learn why people use Instagram.

Kimberly opened Passion Nails in Lynn, Massachusetts with a limited budget. She tried various “free” social media channels to get the word out about her budding business, but found Instagram was the best fit for getting people interested in her salon. “With Instagram, clients get to see what we do all day. And most customers like to see more than read!” she joked (with more than a kernel of truth).

Indeed, when a photo is worth a thousand words — something few people have time for these days — a visual medium like Instagram is a perfect fit for a visual business like Passion Nails.

Mastery Tip 2: Strike a balance between fun posts and strictly business posts. (But do both.)

When many marketers hear, “Don’t sell, sell, sell on social media,” they take that warning to heart. But then they don’t sell at all.

Kimberly has figured out how to balance this. She shares lots of #nailporn photos with her followers — something that they crave. But she also intersperses them with a list of her nail techs’ open booking times. For every open-booking time image she posts, she gets several questions and appointments.

two instagram posts from passionnails781

Mastery Tip 3: Get your employees involved.

If your team works together offline, it should also collaborate online. “This business grew with my crew,” Kimberly admits. “Without them, there would be no Passion Nails. So I want my followers to know who my employees are and that we all do the same work.”

All Kimberly’s nail techs are encouraged to post to their individual Instagram accounts to grow their own client loads. This approach has worked so far for her employees.


Mastery Tip 4: Maximize your toolset.

When your favorite social media channel “changes something” or adds a new feature, take a deep breath. Try it out. See what it might do for your business.

When Instagram launched its direct message function (called “Instagram Direct”) in December 2013, Kimberly saw this feature as a great way for clients to contact her. “I love Instagram Direct. It works wonders for pricing and questions,” she effused. For her business, Instagram Direct has become yet another way for customers to contact her on her mobile device. “My customers text, call, DM, everything. My devices run out of batteries pretty quickly!”

call out to Instagram Direct on passionnails781 post

Mastery Tip 5: Remember social media is a two-way street.

Don’t be the business that thinks social media is just a bullhorn for you to inform others. Flip the horn around and listen to what your target audience is saying — either through monitoring hashtags, reading your posts’ comments, or asking questions to solicit responses. “My followers are very supportive with great feedback,” Kimberly mentioned. “They always give me ideas, like the new ‘diamond ring’ design trend. You can’t run a nail salon with the same old designs, so they help me keep things as fresh as possible.”

Mastery Tip 6: Get over the “I don’t have time” mindset.

Small business owners are strapped for time. But somehow Kimberly has figured out how to effectively manage her business while keeping in touch with her Instagram followers throughout the day. So what would her response be to her fellow business owners who say they don’t have time for Instagram?

“Social media is here to stay. And it really helps. You need to get on it even if you don’t think you have the time.”


Kimberly Bo (top, center) with her Passion Nails crew. (They're all wearing blue for Memorial Day.)

Kimberly Bo (top, center) with her Passion Nails crew. (They’re all wearing blue for Memorial Day.)


Has your small business found success on Instagram? Let me know in the comments!

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