Social media has dramatically transformed the relationship between brands and their customers, and the cosmetics industry is no different. Today’s consumers expect brands to have an online presence on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and this is likely to be consumers’ first interaction with your brand, before they ever see your own landing page.
For beauty and cosmetics companies, this presents some significant challenges, but this new, informal and direct interaction with consumers also opens up a whole new world of exciting marketing opportunities for an industry that is inherently personal.
A Wide Reach
Thanks to the explosion of social media and digital marketing, it is easier than ever to get marketing messages out there and to start building a loyal following. Not only that, but effective use of social media can be a uniquely cost-effective approach to marketing, giving you instant access to a wide – even global – audience, while offering the opportunity to target your specific consumer base. Alongside traditional marketing approaches, print ads, billboards and TV advertising, there really is no comparison.
Setting up a few social profiles, though, is just the starting point. This form of marketing is only effective for brands that are active and consistent in their online approach. This means regular and relevant posts and interactions, responding promptly to consumers, and creating a consistent online brand persona across all media channels. High quality content is also essential, otherwise you risk undermining the authority of your brand from the start.
An Opportunity to be Creative
With so many cosmetics brands starting to explore these new marketing possibilities, the challenge is to find a way to be unique and to stand out from the crowd. The trend towards brand storytelling – creating a whole narrative around your brand that resonates with your customers – is a particularly effective tool for beauty and cosmetics marketing, as this can be such a personal and emotive industry for consumers.
The rise of social and multi-media platforms also opens up plenty of new, creative ways to present and demo beauty products. Tutorial videos and online demos are a great way to reach your target audience, connect with them in a very direct way, and show your products in action.
A Sense of Community
One of the greatest advantages of marketing through social media is that it’s just that – social! People like to be part of a group, and to share in something. By appealing to a certain demographic and growing a loyal customer base, it is easy to create a sense of community online. This is particularly important when it comes to marketing beauty products as people can become quite emotionally invested in the quest for the right products for them, and this can depend on endless variations in skin type, colouring, lifestyle, and personal preference.
As a consumer, it can be hard to know whether a product is right for you, whether it will suit you or work well, without trying it out, and that’s where consumer-to-consumer feedback and reviews come in. People generally find it easier to trust their fellow consumers, but creating a space for this to happen helps brands to build a sense of trust and integrity.
The great news is that those brands that put the effort into cultivating a strong online following tend to find that their customers will start to do a lot of their marketing for them. Reviews and comments, Likes, sharing and blogging are some of the most powerful tools available to today’s marketers, and this word-of-mouth approach is perfectly suited to the personal and social nature of the beauty and cosmetics industry. More and more, people are posting photos of them buying, using or wearing the products they love, and using platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to share video reviews or make-up tutorials.
In Conversation with Consumers
The immediacy of social media platforms in bridging the gap between cosmetics brands and consumers is ideal for gathering instant and direct feedback, and a real-time understanding of what your customers want. Engaging with an online community that is focused around cosmetics and beauty will help brands to identify and pre-empt upcoming trends and stay ahead of the game, rather than being reactive and always trying to catch up with the latest developments.
Social Media Influencers
One of the best moves a cosmetics brand can make is to utilize social media personalities or influencers, such as beauty bloggers with a strong following. You can “piggy back” on the following and the trust they have built up by collaborating with them and encouraging them to feature or review your products. It is important to choose the most relevant personalities, though, and not just anyone with a strong following.
New platforms are always emerging and trends are ever-changing, but it is important to make best use of the platforms that are most appropriate to your target audience and that work for what you are trying to achieve. For example, Twitter might be highly effective for connecting with potential customers and generating an initial following, but Facebook is more suited to creating a space for followers to share views, comments and reviews and generate a sense of community. Perhaps the greatest challenge for beauty and cosmetics marketers is keeping up with this fast-paced digital landscape!