Eric of @barbershopconnect is a social media master in the barbering industry, but in my interview with him at his hotel during Barber’s Lab, an event he hosted in London. I got the chance to hang out with the exceptionally cool Eric all day – in fact, I was his driver.
So, how did the social media King get started? “With a slow shop,” he admitted with a laugh. “Back then, I was using Facebook much the same way as everyone else – looking at ex-girlfriend’s pages. Then I started to see all of these barbers who were super involved with Facebook, and they were better than me. I started stealing their haircuts to put on my page to show how good these guys were, and suddenly everyone was coming to me to see other barbers work. That started back in the days of Myspace, and that’s where it all started.”
With half a million followers on Instagram alone, Eric’s simple beginnings on social media are excellent evidence of working your way up to something greater. Though, I had to ask him, how does he have any time for barbering? Eric responded that he had a chair in his house that he moved that was free, and initially, his friends would come over to raid his fridge and he would give them cuts there. After he got tired of his food being eaten, Eric gave away the chair for free as well. Now, he admits he doesn’t really do cuts for anyone anymore. “It’s a 24 hour job just maintaining posts – from the time I wake up to when I go to bed, I’m posting from my phone all day.”
Maintaining his incredibly high number of posts and content is understandably time consuming. I followed up by asking him what his style was when he was still actively barbering. Eric responded, “I started out learning from my friend, so we were just competing in the shop, trying to be better than the guy next to you. With social media coming along, now there was a higher amount of people to compete against and push you to better your skills.”
Eric didn’t get to where he is now just on pure luck, of course. When it comes to deciding what to repost on Instagram, he has a set strategy. “It’s not always about the best haircut. Sometimes, I focus on things that are interesting and will get people talking. Like when I posted a South Style Fade, people were asking what on Earth the style was and questioning my choice, but that style is huge in Texas!” He laughs, “I just think it’s so cool how all these styles from around the world can come together.”
“Can you give some ninja tricks for people looking to increase their Instagram following?” I asked. Eric grinned, “My tricks? Timezones, for one. Whether it is people who just got off work or woke up in the morning and grab their phones. I mean, it’s called social media, so you gotta socialize! Don’t be silent – people love when you respond to them, and that’s what it is all about, having a conversation.” When it comes to the best time-zones to post content on Instagram, he advised: “2pm in New York is 10am in L.A; L.A is big on social media, so I try to post then. I try to hit 10am in every time-zone, especially to the big three for the market, New York, L.A and London.”
Eric doesn’t just post to Instagram, of course. Like most social media gurus, he takes advantage of multiple platforms: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. “Snapchat though,” he chuckles, “that’s more a platform for sixteen year olds, so not as big on that one. Instagram is for us middle ages and so, Facebook – your grandma, your aunt are on it. No one wants to be on Facebook anymore because it’s for old people!” Blunt, for sure. What about products? “We have some T-shirts and some basic stuff right now, but we’re working on it,” Eric tells me.
The event that provided me the opportunity to hang out with Eric was a fantastic one, for sure. When asked about what the purpose behind his Show Case Barber Lab was, he explained, “I just wanted to come over here to meet people in person that I really admire. They’re seeing the fade game online, and barbers are seeing the kind of cuts we’re posting about here in China. Now, people are wanting cuts from all over, and it is really building up our culture to the entire world. People from all over are PMing me from all over to show their work! It’s crazy to me – they’re coming from places I had never even considered before. It’s a blessing, really.”
So, what is next for Barber Shop Connect? Eric stated he wants to see more of his culture spread worldwide. “I love the states, I love New York, but I want to physically meet people and spread that culture. I want to see the world. The best thing about barbering is that I can go on vacation and meet people in person everywhere.”
I know that I am just as excited to see barbering culture spread worldwide, and it is one my personal goals to travel and meet barbers from all over as well. I don’t know if I’ll meet anyone who is like Eric, however.
To keep up with what he is doing, follow his Instagram @barbershopconnect.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, and head over to Larry’s https://instagram.com/larrythebarberman and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email Larry at email@example.com
USEFUL BARBER LINKS
Barber’s Resource: https://www.instagram.com/barbarvoo/
Barber Videos: http://www.barbers.tv
http://www.larrythebarberman.com ( My Online Store )
Barber Blogs: http://www.frequency60hz.com/blog
Hair Clipper Converters: http://www.frequency60hz.com