Building a 65K+ Instagram Following with Super Stylist, Kelly Massias


Canadian-Caymanian Kelly Massias, the babe behind @kellymassiashair and one of Cayman’s most sought-after hairstylist, sat down with Not Your Standard last week and humbly dished on how she used her Instagram following to expand her client base - and receive three coveted industry award nominations along the way.

With a mission of inspiring fellow stylists, this talented beauty and mom of two, juggles school lunches and colour fixes with enviable ease [although she'll give credit to the help of her awesome hubby]. Read on to find out how this local influencer got started, built an online community and put Cayman on the map in the hair world.

1. Why did you set up an Instagram page?

Once I started a family, I decided to work for myself - and I really missed getting feedback from my coworkers. Instagram was a great way for me to connect with other stylists and showcase my work. When people began to respond to my posts, I was inspired to keep at it and it quickly became less about the number of likes and more about connecting and talking shop with others in the industry.  

2. Did you have a strategy or plan for what platform you wanted to use and the types of content you were going to post?

Not really, I knew what hair I liked and what hair I wanted to do so I focused on that. I'm a painter, not a writer and Instagram is very visual so it felt like the best outlet for me personally. I did my research – took note of what hashtags people were using, who they were tagging and which accounts were reposting. Timing was always tricky – I have a family and work a lot so I post when it's most convenient. I could probably benefit from being better at scheduling my posts to times when my followers are most online.


3. When did your account start to gain serious momentum - was there a tipping point or has it been more gradual and organic?

It happened pretty quickly. The majority of my followers are hairstylists and I would get a lot of questions on how I got my results so I started explaining my process, posting videos and tutorials. My pictures would typically pick up a couple of followers each post, but after I posted my first video [BTW: not an easy feat when you work by yourself!] I gained 50-100 followers. I was like wow, ok, people are really interested in my methods and learning more. The Instagram hair game was a little less saturated when I started my account two years ago and I was fortunate to have some of the biggest pages in the hair world follow me from the beginning. In my opinion, getting reposts from influential accounts like these really helped to grow my following.

4. How has social media changed your career? Have there been any particular cool moments or outcomes from it?

Oh absolutely, just having my account allowed people on-island to find me so I instantly got a lot busier – to the point where I'm not able to take on any more clients. My work has been recognised worldwide, which is super cool. Living on a small island, you never think you'd ever be able to play in the same arena as the big shots. But when you have big pages post your work, you're suddenly able to connect with these artists you've looked up to for years. I've been nominated for three @behindthechair #ONESHOT Hair Awards, which 25 different countries enter in. This year there were over 200,000 entries and I was in the top 25 for two categories: hair paint and colour melt. It's pretty incredible representing Cayman on a global scale like that. I've also been approached to travel for education, but with a young family, it's just not the right time for me to do that.

5. How does it feel to be influential to other people?

I like to inspire people. Hearing that my work has helped a stylist who is perhaps feeling a lack of confidence, solve a problem or bring out a creative side someone never knew they had is far more rewarding than any number of likes. I try to be very responsive to comments, questions and DMs because a lot of people get stuck so it's awesome when I can help them figure stuff out. A big moment for me was the first time a new client showed me my own work as inspiration. As a hairstylist, you're used to clients showing you pictures of celebrities' hair, but now at least 80% of my clients are showing work I've done [which shhh! I'm not always super inspired by!]. And if people on-island are bringing me my own work then maybe others are using it as inspiration as well. This is the reason I continue to do what I do.

6. How do you feel about in-genuine content being posted on social media?

Social media is a form of advertising, whether you're promoting yourself or another company. Everyone follows pages for particular reasons. For me, I love to see the person behind the post so if you're posting something that doesn't mean anything to you then it comes across as fake. I've had people send me products, but I would never post a positive comment about a brand unless I truly liked it. I don't use watermarks on my photos, mostly because people can hide or crop them, and I've had other hairstylists pass off my images as theirs, which I find very in-genuine.

7. What would your advice be to be somebody who’s just starting to build a social following?

Be yourself. If you’re trying to do something someone is already doing, it’s not going to work. I think sometimes people get a little bit lost trying to be all things to all people but I find the best accounts are those that have a focus. People are always looking for something that’s new and different. Think about what your particular skill is, what you’re trying to show people and just be yourself. With my page, I don’t want to put myself in a box but there is still a lot of consistency with the type of hair I post. It’s a lot of loose waves and super natural colours but every so often I’ll throw in a blue or something a little different, and I know it’s not going to get as much love because that’s not what my followers like or why they are following my account.


Not Your Standard Profile: Kelly Massias

1. Favourite cocktail? G&T - with Hendrick's Gin and a spring of mint.  

2. How do you take your coffee? At 7am - milk, no sugar. 

3. Words to live by? Good things take time.

4. Advice you'd give your 20yr old self?  You are your own best teacher. True learning is in the doing. 

5. Where are you travelling to next? St. Lucia for one of my best friend's wedding!