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fired over foursquare 4sq

I originally wrote “Fired Over Foursquare” March of 2010. It went viral and I became a national blogger.

Original Fired Over FoursquarI had worked for Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa from 1993 to 2008. When I needed a change I went to work at a brand new “Blank Salon,” a wonderful salon. I worked at “Blank Salon” for a few years and was very happy but then a particular “Social Media incident” happened. The incident was enough to make me leave so it was a no-brainer that I went back to the new location-ed Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa, where I will continue to work until I die. I will state here that I was always welcome at Joseph Michael’s events and parties, even when I was working at “Blank Salon.” There were no bridges burned when I went to work for “Blank Salon;” and, I believe, that I’m still on good terms with “Blank Salon,” now that I do not work there as well.

Of the few years that I had worked at “Blank Salon,” I blogged about the salon and had written pieces for my, then, boss. I also made mention on my Facebook page and my website whenever we got a new product in, or a new stylist, because the salon had no social media presence other than the occasional piece in print. Since my boss had no website, I felt I was doing a pretty good job at keeping his brand out there. I was very aware that my name, my brand, and my Social Media efforts brought in new clients which he had even given to his newer stylists when I was too busy to accommodate them.

Fired Over FoursquareThe first inkling that my boss had an issue with my 3 years of Social Media endeavors while I worked for him, was when I was a guest artist for “Haircuts for Haiti.” It was an event that I brought up and he had turned down so I attended the Chicago-wide event with my previous salon, Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa. I could have donated my time in any number of salons but why not work in the salon I was comfortable with? Of course I blogged about the event and posted the event on Twitter and Facebook but my boss became enraged. He did not like the linking of one of his stylists with another salon, in print or internet-wise. Basically (foolishly?), I laughed. I have never thought of another salon as competition–we are all in the same industry and must help each other to raise the bar. Right?

The first cease and desist came when my boss noticed that, when I checked in on Foursquare on Facebook, the Googlemap would be the address to Bodhi Spiritual Center. Bodhi is where I had been the leader of what is called the Green Ministry. To make matters worse, sometimes my website,, would show up and screw up the Google geo-locator to his salon as well. It took the salon manager to figure out that I had innocently put my salon’s work number in all three of my listed jobs as Hairdresser, Writer, and Green Leader in my Facebook profile. So, whenever I checked into Foursuare on Facebook, the Foursquare address and number for the salon merged and matched with Bodhi’s web-link or mine. This is what you might call a “bug” and Facebook and Googlemaps have got that one fixed so this cannot happen to you. But, back then, my boss was bugged off! He accused me of espionage and tinkering with Googlemaps, “secret coding,” and all kinds of other things that he and even I didn’t understand. I didn’t laugh that time. In fact I apologized to my boss when we fixed that glitch and I let him know that I would have fired me if I had actually thought an employee actually did what he had accused me of. In retrospect, I think he was afraid that I’d slag him in the Social Media world–which, I hope, no one thinks that I’m doing now.

I was Fired Over FoursquareThe parting of the ways from “Blank” salon (Fired over Foursquare!) came when my boss asked me to remove any mention of his name from my website. Instead, he wanted me to put a link to his new, and first, up-and-coming website. He also asked me never to mention his salon’s name on Twitter or Facebook, nor check into his salon on Foursquare. No phone number to where I worked was to be placed in my job listing on Facebook, but I was allowed to put his website link in. All of this was to position and posture himself as sole administrator and director of his newly trademarked “brand.” Oh yeah, he would not put my link,, on his new Facebook fan page nor his up-and-coming website. He said that he was afraid that people would think that he was in the mafia because his last name was Italian. (Note: if you have a salon staff member who owns a respected company with excellent web traffic, and you don’t put that link in one of your salon’s webpage, you need to get yourself some SEO classes.)

To abruptly tell you what happened next: I was Fired over Foursquare. The real version is that he and I decided that I would work two last weeks, like any other profession, and then I would amicably leave.

In all fairness, I believe that my then boss had been poorly advised by a “social media specialist” who was very close to him. I’m not new to the “Social Media world” and the top social media managers in Chicago are my best friends. But in 2010 there were so many people trying to manage social media for companies and they had no idea what they were doing. Even today there are businesses that don’t understand what social media is and how it can enhance your business, and they are scrupulously taken advantage of.Fired Over Foursquare again!

But what happens when you work for an employer who may not understand how social media works or what it is? I know an aerobics instructor who is not allowed to Tweet, Facebook, or blog about his work and he cannot contact his clients in anyway shape or form through the internet. How does he get new clients or keep the ones he has? Of course the employer has not caught up with how Social Media can help their business and they are using antiquated reasoning while trying to handle their own brand. And yet, I guess it is in their right to try and do so.

When I originally left Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa they gave the name and number of the new “Blank Salon” to the clients who called and asked for me as well as gave the clients the option to stay at their salon with a “new client” special. And many of my clients did stay at Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa as it is wonderful salon environment. In either case, the clients got to choose, and they were welcome where ever they felt comfortable.

But when I left “Blank Salon” to go back to the new-location new-salon, Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa, the clients that had not received my “I’m moving back home” postcard were not given any idea where I had gone to when they called. They were just told that their stylist would contact them. Is it in the rights of the salon owner to issue such an order to his desk staff: to not tell clients where their stylist went to. Has this happened to you: has your stylist just “disappeared?” Has this happened to you: did your salon refuse to tell your clients what salon or spa you moved to? I believe those days are over. Salons and staff may part ways but the clients will always be able to find the salon or spa person they want, where ever they work. This is what Social Media is about. It’s about transparency and communication. A client can now reach out and find their stylist, or even a new stylist via a Google search, Google+, E-mail, Text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and CitySearch. But these things are not Social Media, those are only the platforms in which they perform on. Social Media is the open communication between Salons & Spas & Baber Shop & Med Spa owners and managers, their clients, and the service professionals such as stylists, colorists, make-up artists, massage therapists, facialist, make-up artists and manicurists.

4sq2So get with the program small and big businesses. Learn your Social Media skills. Harness the power of your own employees and utilize what your potential clients are using to find where they spend their dollars. Are new clients finding you? Are you keeping the clients you have happy? Social Media is there to help you keep your clients happy and introduce you to new clients. And it has to be okay if you work in a salon where the owner doesn’t “get it,” I suggest that as an employee or contractor, you do the very best that you can with social media and you’ll be the busiest in you salon. They’ll catch on.

This was on my Facebook wall the first day I had left Blank Salon:  “Hi Jon-David,   I just called to make a haircut appointment with you and found out that you are no longer at “Blank Salon!” I hope everything is OK with you! Have you gone somewhere else? The receptionist had the nerve to ask if I wanted to see someone else!!! I said I’ve been with Jon-David for like 16 years!! I would love to hear what is going on. Please email me back when you can. And also – I’m hoping that you are somewhere else – I need a haircut!!”

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Twitter for Salons and Spas: 10 Minutes a Day Wins New Clients and Customer Satisfaction

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