A common challenge for every small business owner is finding new customers.
Yelp, Facebook and Instagram are typical solutions.
Yet the competition is fierce.
More than 740 hair salons are listed in Palo Alto and surrounding areas on Yelp.
Hairstylist Vanessa Garcia was looking for a way to stand out when she moved to a new Palo Alto salon over two years ago.
She unintentionally found a unique tech trick using the professional social network LinkedIn.
Garcia started searching LinkedIn profiles to contact old clients, and realized she was quickly gaining access to new networks of people.
So the self-proclaimed “Silicon Valley Hair Diva” began clicking on profiles of random individuals.
Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn alerts users when someone has viewed their profile. Each click became an instant referral back to her profile.
“As I started clicking on their profiles I realized people were looking back,” Garcia said. “I had this idea to when they look back to add them as a friend or email them.”
Soon new clients began booking appointments. Garcia even hired her cousin to simply click on new profiles to keep new people coming in.
“Honestly I didn’t think it was going to work,” Garcia said. “All of a sudden I was just getting an outpouring of people who said ‘Oh, I saw you on LinkedIn.”
She now believes 50 percent of her new customers are from LinkedIn. She had a total of 374 clients.
Customer Nicole Turner learned about Garcia’s business after a LinkedIn click. She says having a hairstylist look at her profile was a compliment.
“I was like she must like my hair,” said Turner, who had just moved to the area and looking for a stylist. “If anything I thought it was flattering and so convenient because I was really in desperate need.”
Garcia has a full load of clients these days, and she partly thanks LinkedIn for the success. But she’s always open to welcome new customers.