social media presence attract new clients

I Picked My Doctor’s and Hairdresser’s Names Out of a Hat

It’s true. When I moved to Sarasota I had to find a new hairdresser – my first priority. That’s somewhat disingenuous. I did need a haircut pretty badly when I first arrived while I knew it would take some deeper research to find a doctor.

I picked their names out of a hat. In other words, I didn’t get a referral from a friend. I turned to the web. This experience can be a lesson in how important our social media presence is if we want to attract new clients.

Was I Crazy?

I did ask a couple of friends who they used to cut their hair but they weren’t all that enthusiastic. So I went online and searched for “Sarasota hairdressers.” d. Cole Hair Design came up number three and right under it was a Yelp roundup of The Ten Best Hair Salons in Sarasota, FL.

I decided to check them out. d. Cole has a well designed website and many enthusiastic reviews for individual hairdressers that had the ring of authenticity.

They are leveraging social media with 683 Facebook Page Likes and 332 followers on Instagram.

Their robust website has bios of their hairdressers and a portfolio of client hairstyles. I made an appointment and, instead of pulling up to the glamorous shop I expected based on their social media presence, I found myself in front of an old wood frame house.

On entering, though, I was impressed with the décor and my welcome. Sarah, my hairdresser, discussed in detail what I wanted. I was pleased with the haircut and surprised that, in a first for me, the salon took a photo of my hairstyle for future reference. What a smart idea!

Here’s the real kicker. Within a day I received an email survey about my experience and asking for a testimonial. Raise your hands if you ask your clients for feedback and recommendations. Hmmm. Not many hands.

It wasn’t an accident that Google delivered their results on the first page. An active social media presence and a dynamic website all contributed to the salon’s ranking. Even the smallest business can have an impact using social media.

My New Doctor

Choosing a new doctor can be a traumatic experience. Let’s face it: do any of us really know if our doctor is any good? This is a serious question. We can’t really know until we’re faced with a major illness, when we’re depending on our doctor to refer us to the right specialists and prescribe the correct medicines.

First off, as a member of an HMO, I had to check with my insurance company for a current list of doctors in my network (although I’m in a PPO and can go out of network if I choose to).

My criteria was that the candidates had to be Board Certified, graduated from a U.S. medical school, and served residencies at good hospitals. They also had to be affiliated with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, a highly ranked regional hospital

But how they presented themselves on the web did have an influence on my choice. The Intercoastal Medical Group kept popping up. It is a huge group. Some 75 physicians in every specialty.

From some website reviews I expected to visit a factory – in and out – but, to my surprise, my new doctor wanted to meet for a consultation before we scheduled my annual physical. This again was a first.

We spent a half hour (nowadays an eternity) going over my records and health history. I liked him personally, which I think is important. You need to have a rapport and basic trust to share your most intimate moments with someone.

This experience reinforced for me the need to have an active presence on social media. Not only did d. Cole have 332 followers on Instagram, they are following 800 people, all potential clients, as the salon caters to women and men.

The Intercoastal Medical Group has a patient portal where I can view all my records, as can every doctor in the group that may have need to see my records if I’m referred to one of them for treatment. It is comforting to know that all my records will be in one location.

You Need More Than a Presence

But once you’re found through social media,  you’ve got to deliver. I was treated like a guest and not a customer at the hair dresser. My doctor wanted to know more about me as a person and my medical background. He showed real interest. The staff followed through on my next appointments. I felt in good hands.

Now I have to find an ophthalmologist, a gynecologist, a dentist and a periodontist. But those are tasks for another day.

Leave a Reply


  1. So glad you found people who you want to do business with Jeannette!

    For me when needing any kind of service provider, I start with research, mostly online now as you did. This is always followed up with asking just 1 or 2 friends who I know have similar likenesses in who their dentist is, their doctor and hairdresser.

    But in the end it is ALWAYS how I like them when I meet with them and to listen to my intuition about – do I stay or do I go?

    I like that you have a similar mix in your process. Can’t wait to see you hairdo!

    • Patricia — Interesting isn’t it that we’ve come to trust the testimonials of people on the web we’ve never met to help us make our decisions. Personal chemistry — especially with your doctor — is essential in my mind. My hairdo is much as it was before but shorter bangs!

  2. I go through hair stylists like you wouldn’t believe, but every now and again, one sticks. Random selections can often lead to great surprises.

    • Jeri — Maybe I’m unusual, but I went to one hairdresser for 20 years and another for 12 years. I was with my last hairdresser for three years and then moved. I feel lucky that I found someone I like here in Sarasota — although I’m paying $17 more than expensive NY!

    • Joyce — in all the years I was in NY no hair stylist ever took my photo. They have a book with photos of clients and their hair styles. So smart.

  3. Two awesome examples of truly exceptional customer service Jeannette!

    Even though, as you pointed out, their pro-active web presence may have got
    you and others, initially through the door!

    It was and definitely appears to be their outstanding, go the extra mile
    customer service and laser focus and attention on the smaller details, that
    will keep you and others constantly coming back!!

    And I too really like the very clever idea of the hairdresser taking a photo
    of your hairstyle for future reference!

    Great stuff! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Mark — Your social presence may get customers through the door but only good service will keep them coming back for more. I have to admit I was highly flattered when they took my picture. Of course, I looked good I had just had my hair cut and styled!

  4. I’m in the market for a primary physician again and I dread the search! You had a great experinece, it sounds like. For a hairdresser, when we moved here, I looked for women whose hair looked great and asked them who they used. That worked very well.

    • Beth — It is traumatic to find a new doctor. I had a positive first experience in the consultation. Fingers crossed that it continues to work out. Good idea to ask women where they go their hair cut. I thought of that but I was in a rush!

  5. Wow! I am completely impressed with this approach. The worst part of any move, in my opinion, is putting a posse back together. I know this because I keep moving!!! I never ever thought to try this. I’ve done plenty of checking online AFTER I have gotten names, but this is fantastic! And what a case you’ve made for social media and it’s growing importance in every part of our lives!

    • Jacquie — In the case of finding a hairdresser, there wasn’t too much risk in checking online. When I saw their Yelp reviews and that that Yelp rated them one of the 10 best hairdressers in Sarasota, I figured how far could I go wrong? And I was pleased.

  6. Great post, Jeannette. I agree with you. I’ve found chocolate makers based on their social media activity and so far, I haven’t been disappointed by the quality of the products that the innovators are delivering. Savvy with social media may just be a good indicator of a business owner who is innovative, creative, and up on trends.

    • Doreen — I agree, that a business owner’s use of social media does indicate someone is innovative and understands how important it can be to attracting new customers, especially if you are in the retail business.

  7. Wow, how unusual to have two such great experiences! I’m calling you if I’m ever in the area and need a recommendation. 🙂 This is a great example of the power of good old fashioned customer service, being leveraged in the new age of social media.

    • Meredith — Funny. I don’t know any hairdressers in Idaho! But I bet there are good ones there, too. I got lucky, but I always new there were others to try if I wasn’t happy with my experience.

  8. Jeannette, this is a great approach to finding professionals. Also good to know customer service still lives in some areas.
    Keeping a photo of client hairstyles is a super idea, especially when you’re a new client.
    One thing that really stood out for me here was their use of the email survey – just another example of all you have to do is ask.
    Once I really get my Etsy shop up and running well, I’m going to use that.
    BTW – are you still enjoying warmer climes?

    • Lenie — I’ve never received a survey from any hairdresser I’ve ever used (at least in the internet era). So I was impressed and glad you like the idea for your Esty shop. Yes, I’m still enjoying Sarasota and the warm weather. It’s a wonderful place to live and I never thought I’d say that being a died-the-wool New Yorker for so many years.

  9. When I moved, I had to pick my doctor and my barber without any info about them.
    As for my doctor I was limited to those listed on my insurance plan.
    Makes me wonder how we survived getting doctors, barbers, shops before the internet and all the likes, yelps and all the other reviewing that goes on there.

    • William — of course, nowadays we’re limited in who we can use as our doctors because you have to choose from your insurance company’s approved list. Then, after I established my criteria, I found that a number of doctors were no longer taking patients. So it is a bit of a crap shoot.

  10. Hairdressers and physicians are two groups of people I wouldn’t expect to see have an active online presence. I’m impressed with their use of the Internet, especially the hairdresser. Your experience certainly points out there is value in having a web presence and using social media effectively for all types and sizes of business.

    • Donna — so true. You can ask three or four different people for referrals and they will all be different, so the Internet is a good a resource as anything.

  11. I’ve been through similar searches Jeannette. While living on a small island does limit options it can still be a challenge finding new resources. In fact a couple of years ago the hairdresser I’d been going to for a very long time moved back to the mainland and I found a new salon by searching online reviews. Of course I literally had to go with the luck of the draw when it came to the hairdresser, but I really lucked out with her because she’s incredibly talented.

    • Marquita — isn’t it funny how important our hairdressers are to our lives? I’m so glad I lucked out on my first pick in my new city.

  12. I loved your outcome. The social media got you to make a call but the most important thing that both the hair dresser and the doctor made you feel important. This is something that gets lost in the shuffle. We all want to get the business but to maintain the business is really more of a challenge than getting the business. It boils down to giving outstanding customer service.

    • Arleen — yes, even doctors need to give outstanding customer service. Now potential patients can read reviews of doctors, so they’ve got to be much more careful and pleasant with their patients.

  13. Funny, I never thought to look at my Doctor’s social media presence. Not so funny, I will never need a hairdresser (or a barber or a hairbrush). I wouldn’t think twice about checking Yelp! for a restaurant review and jumping over to the website to check out the menu. Need to start to rethink this digital world.

    • Kire — yes, you can even get reviews of doctors now. Yelp used to be the source for restaurant reviews but they’ve expanded to other service providers.

  14. So glad you found a hairdresser and doctor you like in Sarasota, Jeannette.

    You are so right that an online presence is essential for all businesses nowadays.

    What impressed me was that your hairdresser sent you an email survey. Have never had that experience anywhere in the world. Not even in London despite going to a famous and fashionable hairdresser. Chapeau to d. Cole Hair Design! All hairdressers should follow suit.

    • Catarina – I agree about the email. Such a smart idea. My first also. They could get feedback and follow up if there was a problem, or possibly get a testimonial from me.

  15. Glad you found people you liked. Having moved to a new town 2 years ago, I went through a similar process. It’s v. stressful changing doctors, but I have found a wonderful doctor. But certainly for other professionals I always look on Soc. med. to see what people’s ratings are. You can tell an awful lot by people’s comments on Yelp – the good and the bad.