10 Steps To Creating a Killer Hair Salon Competition

hair salon competition

The beauty and hairdressing industry is on the rise. In the UK alone there were almost 45,000 beauty and hair businesses operating in March 2020. Despite the effects of the Covid pandemic, a survey in 2021 showed that the vast majority of business owners in the sector were confident about their survival and intending to grow further.

The UK is a small country and the chances are that wherever your salon is located, you will have plenty of competition around you and this means that it is more important than ever that you focus on your marketing just as much as the quality of the services that you deliver to ensure that you truly stand out in the crowd.

Why Competitions?

In 2023 the cost of living crisis has become a very real problem for many household across the UK and it can be difficult for people earning a modest income to justify spending money on themselves for a new haircut or beauty treatment. These people will constantly be on the lookout for a bargain.

Running a competition where you give out a heavy discount or a free treatment is a great way to attract new people into your salon during these financially troubling times. 

When it comes to personal care, brand loyalty is huge. For example, when somebody finds a hairdresser they like, they’ll often be hard pressed to go elsewhere even if the cost is lower –  but when things are tight that loyalty can wane! This means that the time is ripe for poaching customers from your competitors! And if your salon can provide a better quality of service and offer better value than their previous stylist, then you might just earn yourself a new customer for life!

But the benefits of a competition actually go further than that; they can also boost your social media engagement and following. Any business launched within the last few years will already know the importance of social media marketing; it simply cannot be ignored in 2023, but as the big players such as Facebook and Instagram have caught onto this, they are also getting a little sneaky and making it more difficult for businesses to connect to their audiences without having to shell out for advertising.

Facebook in particular have been gradually lowering the percentage of people who will see your content over the last few years. But one factor that can really help counteract this is user engagement. What is engagement? It is when a viewer of your content interacts with it in some way – clicks the thumbs up button, posts a comment, or shares the post with their own audience.

The more that a person engages with your content the more likely they are to see your content in the future without having to be targeted by a paid advert

And of course, if your current followers are sharing your content with their friends then you’re able to reach a brand new audience and hopefully pick up a few new followers that way.

Competitions done right

Step 1: Follow the rules

Whatever you do with your competition, one thing to be very careful of is the ever-changing Facebook promotional rules. It’s possible that at the time you read this post, something we’ve suggested below may actually be against the terms so do check the latest guidelines before creating your competition. 

It’s best to do this as a first step as you don’t want to waste time on an idea that you can’t actually implement.

Step 2: Work out the technical stuff ahead of time

A contest should always have a set time-frame. Be sure to decide how long you will run the competition for and specify the closing date very clearly in any of your marketing materials. Don’t change this part way through the campaign as you would actually be breaking the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines by doing so which of course is not good for business!

Similarly, make sure you figure out all the terms and conditions of the promotion before you start it and have that information clearly available. You’ll need to ensure that participants know exactly how to enter, how the winners will be chosen and notified and depending on the platform, you may also need to include some kind of extra terms here. For example Facebook require that you include an acknowledgement that the competition isn’t sponsored or endorsed by Facebook themselves. So check these kinds of details for any site you are running on.

Be clear about how winners will be chosen, how long it will take after the contest ends for a selection to be made, how the winner will be notified and how long they will have to claim the prize. 

Step 3: Capture attention quickly

Human attention spans seem to be decreasing year on year, especially on the very scroll-friendly social media apps. If you want your contest to get noticed in the blur of the news feed you need to ensure that it stands out. Create a strong graphic that is formatted for your chosen platform. If using multiple channels you’ll almost certainly want to create different versions of this image for each platform to ensure that it renders correctly and looks good on each one.

Write a short, snappy headline that also grabs the attention. Whilst you don’t want to SHOUT, having the odd word emphasised can draw the eye without annoying your audience. 

Step 4 – Utilise Hashtags

Whilst you can only directly share your competition with your own audience (unless you pay for advertising which is an entirely different topic), you might be able to reach new people with creative use of hashtags that people could be searching for or are trending. 

Spend a little time on research here to find the best hashtags to use. Don’t go overboard though – nobody likes those posts with a mile long list of hashtags at the end of it! Just pick a handful. 

salon hashtags

Step 5: Beware the tire kickers

With any kind of marketing, one thing to always watch out for is to be wary of the ‘freebie seeker’. There are some people who will simply never pay for a service. If you give something away completely free you might end up attracting those kinds of people who will never genuinely pay for your services in the future and you are wasting your marketing time and budget on these kinds of people.

Instead, you want to offer a really good prize for the winner(s) of the competition, but perhaps go for a hefty discount rather than an outright freebie for this reason.

Make sure that the prize is something that can only be claimed in your premises – not some product that can be mailed to them in the post. You want the winner to come into your salon, get a taste of your service, become a loyal customer and tell all their friends about you.

Step 6: Encourage real engagement

Many competitions that you’ll see online are rather basic and will have instructions such as “share and comment on this post to participate”. What you often end up with here is a whole bunch of one word comments on your post such as “shared” and a bunch of shares with absolutely no context. These shared posts then end up looking like an advert in their friends feed which often get ignored.

Instead, ask your followers to get a bit more creative in order to enter the competition. Maybe ask them to write a little bit about why they deserve to win. Or you could ask some kind of question which would be really useful info for your business such as:

  • What’s your favourite treatment that we provide?
  • How could we improve our salon?
  • Would you recommend us to your friends? If not, please tell us why!

Another idea might be to ask them to leave a review of your salon in order to enter the competition but this can also enter into muddy waters. Don’t just ask for 5 star reviews as that begins to slide into a kind of bribery. Instead, ask your existing customers to leave a genuine review, and make it clear that entrants will be chosen at random. 

One neat trick may be to encourage engagement and at the same time offer a really targeted prize that your followers will want by asking them to vote for a prize in the comments. If you do this kind of thing, you’ll need to be very clear about it in the terms. 

Step 7: Expand your reach

Whilst it’s always good to get your previous clients back into your salon, you also want to be continually finding ways to bring new clients in. A competition can be a way to achieve both of those things in one hit. Why not split your prize into two parts – the winner gets one part for themselves, and then can choose a friend or family member to win the other part. Some examples:

  • A discount for you and a friend
  • A cut & blowdry for you & mum on Mother’s day
  • Treat a friend and get a free treatment on your birthday

Step 8 – Promote the competition

There’s not much point in running a competition that nobody enters! You need to get eyes on it and you’ll likely have to push it quite a few times to get adequate engagement. 

If you’re following the steps in this post then you’ll already know the duration of the competition so decide on a posting schedule to continue to promote the competition throughout this period. You need to find the right balance here – often enough to keep it at the forefront of people’s minds but you don’t want to do it so much that it begins to annoy them.

If it’s a long competition and you’re likely to put out many posts over time then consider changing up images and text in order to keep it looking fresh and avoid the old “banner blindness” syndrome where people don’t even see the content anymore because it has become too familiar.

Here are some other ways that you can promote your contest:

  • Blog about it
  • Send out a newsletter blast
  • Create some flyers and hand them out to anyone who comes into the salon
  • Ask your staff to share the post to their personal pages

Step 9: Choose the winner

Once the competition ends you now have to pay up! Your terms will have stipulated the details of how a winner is chosen and so on so ensure that you stick to the rules that you set out there. Your winner will either be an existing customer, or somebody new who has not used your service before. How you proceed at this point will depend.

Existing customer – If the chosen winner is an existing customer and you already have a point of contact for them such as an email address or telephone number then you can contact them directly and ask them to get back in touch with you to claim the prize.

New customer – If the selected winner is somebody new then you might have a harder time reaching out to them if you don’t have their direct contact details. In this case you’ll want to use the social media platform that the competition was held on to contact them. For Facebook or Instagram you can tag them for example and ask them to get in touch.

In either scenario, your winner now needs to get in touch with you to claim their prize. What should you do if they don’t do that for some reason? Well you could just declare the competition void but that’s rather a wasted opportunity as in the last step outlined below, the winner of your competition now presents another opportunity for promotion.

What you can do here is specify that if the initial winner does not get in contact within a specific time, that a new winner will be selected instead.

Step 10: Post-competition promotion

Now you have a winner who is ready to claim their prize… but we’re not quite done as now you have a new event to publicize! If your winner is going to be coming into your salon for a new haircut then make sure you take some photos of the before and after. If you’re going to do that you’ll also want to mention it in the T&C’s in step 2 so that any participants know what will be required. 

So now you can create a new blog post, and a new post on social media to squeeze out that last bit of juice from your campaign!

salon marketing loudspeaker


Competitions are a great way to market your services and there are many ways in which you can utilise them to keep them interesting. Think ahead of time and plan out a series of competitions that you can run throughout the year to coincide with special events. 

If you need any help with any aspect of your salon marketing then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts here at Salon Guru.