Every year, South by Southwest descends upon our city bringing techies, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and creatives. For almost two weeks, Austin hosts and facilitates panels, networking, concerts, and film showings. That, and free tacos. Lots of free tacos.
This year, we were super excited to attend the Naturally Social panel and learn the best practices for hair and beauty blogging! The panel was moderated by loc’d lady Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey of Youtube, and the panelists were a supergroup of ladies who are on top of their social media game: Patrice Yursik of Afrobella, Kristin Braswell, Editor-In-Chief of Carol’s Daughter’s Transitioning Movement, Myleik Teele, founder/CEO of curlBOX and Jamala Johns, founder/photographer behind le coil.
If any of you are thinking about hair or beauty blogging, here are the major lessons I learned at SXSW!
All five ladies agreed – the key to truly engage with your readers or viewers and build a community around your brand is to be true to yourself. That’s where the magic happens. For example, Myleik uses Instagram to share pieces of her life, and we get to know her more and more with each photo! Franchesca is an actress and comedian and her sense of humor always shines through in her hair videos! We can all tell when someone isn’t being herself, right?
Be a genuine fan in the space
What kind of vlogger doesn’t watch other vloggers? How can you run an incredible natural hair blog if you’re not also a fan of other writers in the blogosphere? Don’t go into online media just for Internet fame. This goes back to being authentic! Engage with your counterparts in the community: collaborations, guest posts, and comment on your social media she-roes’ videos!
Think about how you critique products
Afrobella and Myleik both interact specifically with hair product brands. Afrobella tries products for review, while Myleik offers a hair product subscription service that many curlies review on their Youtube channels. If you want to get into hair or beauty product reviewing, do not bash products! There is a constructive way to critique a brand and provide your community with honest feedback. Brands realize that not everyone will love their products – that’s okay! But when a brand looks through your past videos and notices you are rude and negative, they will probably not send products your way. As Myleik said, “Bashing one brand is bashing the entire industry.”
It’s not always about products, but personal style and expression
Jamala Johns created one of our favorite sources for hairspiration – le coil. We could scroll through that site for days! She reminded us that natural hair isn’t just about products and techniques – it’s a part of us and our personal style. Her photos capture the diversity in natural curls, coils, and waves and the people who rock them! Hair is just one part of the way we present ourselves to the world. The photos Myleik posts on the curlBOX Instagram are a good example of how natural hair can be incorporated into a glammed out sense of fashion!