Social Media Delivers ROI, or How I Crowdsourced My Haircut

by francine Hardaway on June 27, 2011

Every once in a while the value of social media is driven home to me in a spectacular way. I’m always asked by my old offline friends whether my online friends are really my friends, or how I can share so much of my life with “complete strangers.”

That always makes me wonder who they think my online friends are: a random gaggle of strangers? Or a carefully selected group of people from all over the world that I have grown to know through repeated conversations on social platforms? It’s the latter, and in a pinch I bet I could depend on my online friends as much as I could my friend IRL.

Case in point. On Saturday I was in Elizabeth Arden getting my “routine maintenance” before going to London. This is no small expenditure — a cut and color at Arden runs about $200. So I usually try to avoid the cut: “oh, just trim the bangs,” i say.

This time the hairdresser said I should “go short.” I took this as marketing spin for “I want to upsell you to a haircut from a trim.” Having never had short hair in my adult life, I was dubious. “Short hair is for old ladies,” I told him.

“Nonsense,” he said. “Get on your iPad and Google celebrity hairstyles. You’ll see.” The long and short of it is that I got on Google images and found four pretty cool short hairstyles. And that’s after I discarded Jane Fonda‘s.

But there I was about to make a big decision alone. So I did what any normal high school kid would do: I uploaded the four photos to my Facebook profile, and to Twitter, and asked my friends to vote. I thought it was pretty funny.

But I got a surprising number of serious opinions, excluding the one from the snarky guy who told me to can my hairdresser (you know who you are) LOL. And after I had asked people to take time out of their Saturday afternoons to vote, I felt I had to honor their choice.

So today I am Annette Benning.
And I love the way I look.

More important, when I posted my new Twitter and Facebook avatars, I got tons of positive reinforcement and feedback. More than I would have gotten before the advent of social media.

Positive feedback, engagement, and support may be very difficult to quantify, but they constitute enormous ROI for me as an individual, and likewise would for any brand. I feel like I got people to interrupt whatever else they were doing and reach out at least for a minute to help me make a decision.

Now if I could only figure out exactly WHY I can get people to engage with me, and bottle that and sell it to “the enterprise,” I bet I could be famous like Brian Solis.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ian McGee June 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Don’t sell yourself short — I don’t even know what kind of haircut Brian Solis has! 

Your new look is great!

Ian McGee June 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Don’t sell yourself short — I don’t even know what kind of haircut Brian Solis has! 

Your new look is great!

hardaway June 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm


Sent from my iPad

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