Chelle Neff of Urban Betty: “6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business”

Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
Published in
7 min readJun 3, 2020


Whenever you celebrate another person’s success, you draw that same energy onto yourself. I would love for everyone out there to want others to succeed and be happy for them!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Chelle Neff.

Chelle Neff has been a leader in the U.S. salon industry since founding Urban Betty in 2005 and has more than 20 years of experience creating innovative practices in the salon and beauty worlds. Neff has successfully grown Urban Betty’s revenue year after year and today has a space that houses more than 60 employees. So successful was the first location that she opened the second Urban Betty Salon in 2019.

In addition to her work with Urban Betty, Neff is fascinated with Austin architecture. She and her husband, David J. Neff, created The Weird Homes Tour, and their first book, {Weird Homes: The People and Places That Keep Austin Strangely Wonderful}, was released in 2018.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was led to this career path from my sheer motivation to do better in my life. My parents had me when they were teenagers, and we lived from paycheck to paycheck when I was young. I knew that if I wanted to go to college, I would need to find a way to pay for it myself, along with my cost of living. I naturally had a knack for doing hair and art, so when I was 16, I had the chance to enroll in cosmetology school while in high school, and became fully licensed at 18. The beauty school route was much more affordable for me than the traditional college route, so that’s what led me to pursue it. Ten years later, I bootstrapped my brick and mortar called Urban Betty.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

As a business owner of a salon, we leverage Instagram to its fullest! Our stylists use their accounts as their portfolios; we use our Instagram account to repost their work, create brand awareness, and drive in new traffic. We have made Instagram one of our top priorities for finding and retaining new business. We have 42.2k followers, and we have a system and formula which works beautifully! Due to our high volume, last year we hired a marketing director that helps us post several times every day. And in 2020, I launched a series of classes to help brands with Instagram called Betty Bootcamp.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

The most exciting thing that has happened to me since starting my career was founding a second company! My husband and I call our side hustle The Weird Homes Tour. We noticed an abundance of weird homes here in Austin, and we were just nosey enough to want to go inside them. So, we started a tour that happens once a year in Austin. We are in our 5th year, have expanded into five other cities, and wrote a coffee table book. I could never have guessed this would all happen!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In 2002, I launched a website with a terrible logo. At the time, I thought my logo looked good. It was a lady with a city background, and she seemed very cartoonish. Think Sex and the City if it were a children’s book. Not good. We reworked it after a couple of years. I recently found an old scrapbook with my first brochure and the original logo. I showed it to my employees, and they couldn’t believe how bad it was. We all had a good laugh! I learned that you should always be re-evaluating your brand and evolving to stay current.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

I have found Instagram to be the most effective platform that increases our revenue. We consistently tweet, use Pinterest and Facebook, but Instagram outperforms them all. When I listen to our guests, a majority of them come to us because of our strong presence on Instagram. We know that because we ask every new guest over the phone, “How did you hear about us?” And it’s not only guests that we get from our Instagram, but we also attract new talent. Just last week, I was on a training call with another salon owner from another state, and she had heard of Urban Betty! I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. The first thing the younger generation is going to do before they come to work for you is inspect your social media. If it’s lacking, they are going to move on. You have to make it work for new guests and new talent, that’s key to increasing your revenue.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. First and foremost, separate your personal account from your business account. First impressions are everything. You are important, so make your profile present that. If it’s a business account, please set it as a business account. This change will give anyone searching for your business clickable links to your phone number and email. Your profile will automatically display your physical address and website. Don’t forget to have a profile pic that is clean, clear, and happy! Brands should be your logo, and personal pages should have your face as the profile pic.
  2. Make your photo layout beautiful and cohesive. Pick a theme, color, and plan for every single photo and stick with it. Content is critical — post daily. Your photo has a 2-hour lifespan. Your page is only as relevant as your last nine photos.
  3. Post what people want to see. They want to see your personality along with your brand, behind the scenes photos give people a glimpse into who you are. Be careful about posting too many selfies. Sprinkle them here and there if you have to, and be relevant to your brand. Post a “How-To” What can others learn from you? A hairstyle, a recipe, or how to use a particular beauty product.
  4. Give people Inspiration and empowerment. Quotes, travel pictures, & nature photos. And again, try to tie these pictures into your brand subtly. Sometimes it can just be a pretty picture. Don’t overthink it! Always show the world how you are a part of the community. Give the public a sense of being part of your brand and success. Photos of events, promos for upcoming events, upcoming sales, and or contests. Who’s your employee of the month? Who’s your client of the month? I also love to include any philanthropic events in this category, as well. Show the community how you are giving back.
  5. Contests are a great way to gain new business and followers. Tag a picture. Ask followers to like a pic, tag a friend, use a specific hashtag, and/or become a follower of your business to win. Make sure to let people know that a winner will be chosen at random, also be sure to set an end date and ask users to have their profile set to public if using a hashtag. Share a picture. Ask followers to regram your photo with a hashtag. Don’t forget to close out your giveaway after the date. I usually set a reminder on my phone. Loops. These can be great for getting followers. They can be a little trickier to coordinate, however. It would be best if you had several brands willing to give away something. Next, you send out one pic with text to each brand. You then all coordinate a time to post the pic and who will tag who in the photo. It has to be in a particular order that loops back to the original. (via group text or email is the best idea for communicating this) Each contestant must follow that user and then click on the pic to see who is tagged and keep following each user until they loop back to the original user.
  6. The most crucial step is engagement! Follow. You must follow people to gain followers. Like. Like lots of pics. Comment. Tell them why you like the photo. The stats are that if you like three pictures and comment on one, a user is more likely to follow you. I understand that no one has time to sit around and do this all day! So, you can always ask for help. Seek out employees that are young and love to spend time on social media.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would love to inspire a movement of supporting other people’s successes. The world is not one pie for everyone. We each have our own pie! When one person is successful, they are never taking away from you. Your worth and all that you have are based on your emotional well-being and your beliefs surrounding that. Whenever you celebrate another person’s success, you draw that same energy onto yourself. I would love for everyone out there to want others to succeed and be happy for them!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I would love to meet Bethenny Frankel. I love the empire that she has created with her brand. She has had a ton of challenges in life and has overcome them all with laughter and even more success. I am so proud of her!



Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.