Digital
Writer: Windchimes Communications - Thursday, Jan 10,2013 8:14 PM

Guest Column: Social leverages beauty industry

<font color=red>Guest Column: </font>Social leverages beauty industry

Social media is emerging like wildfire, with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube growing by leaps and bounds. The beauty industry has realised the advantages of social media and is using this platform to market and engage new customers. Many reputed beauty brands have already taken a leap into the bandwagon and have successfully leveraged social media to connect, engage and interact with consumers, current and prospective, thereby building strong relationships.

Beauty is a worldwide phenomenon, with a multitude of brands making name and building reputation from the consumers wanting to look pretty. Beauty is slowly turning into a breeze in social media and people are happily buying into it.

Have you ever wondered that social platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and blogs do keep us connected, help us gain knowledge, etc. but can they make us beautiful too?

It’s very much apparent that whenever somebody talks about the possibilities of social media for the beauty industry, all faces light up. This lighting up indeed is followed by a series of questions with raised eyebrows as to how to handle it? What about the monetary aspect behind it? How to do it properly?

Well, one perfect start and a premium marketing strategy will speak for itself in the long run.

Women are very much passionate about their beauty, looks, beauty products and overall skincare. This is a strong point for the entrepreneurs who want to get into the league of leveraging their brand through social media. One thing that has to be kept in mind for sure is giving great experiences to your consumers; yes, and this is the key!

Beauty industry is very competitive as every brand aims to stand distinct from the crowd, creating a social brand identity. Social media plays a vital role in uplifting and highlighting your brand’s strengths and forte to the world.

Integration of social media strategy into the marketing mix when focussed in the right direction generates brand awareness, attracts more fans to your product and thereby increases customer loyalty.

Word-of-mouth endorsement, when it comes to selling beauty products is incomparable. Target audience for this sector being women, they always admire the first hand personalised experience of any product. Beauty Brands such as Lakme, Ponds, Be Beautiful, Avon, etc. to name a few, have embraced the power of social media in a way that increased their graph of brand awareness and customer loyalty. Regular interactions, enticing product updates, contests, freebies, etc. are a few activities through social media that create engagement.

Studying the growth happening online, there lies a great potential for the beauty industry to craft online communities of fans and attract the authentic customers for your brand. They can basically help you promote your brand. ‘User generated content’ here holds high power as when it is about beauty products and cosmetics, an advice or commendation from a user or consumer does a great job.

Beauty industry is also realising the importance of communication with their customers through social media. Besides, social media is also generating revenue for this industry like never before. Analysing the current scenario, blogs are more likely to drive product purchases than magazine ads.

When we talk about fans and followers, we can clearly see how the reputed names in the beauty industry are racking up the fans on these social media platforms.

Many international brands are doing a great job via this platform. MAC Cosmetics, Sephora, Maybelline, L’Oriel Paris, Estee Lauder, Revlon, etc., have a great fan base that not only follows these brands but represents the complete brand.

The top searches on YouTube and Google tend to be from women searching for beauty information.

Integrating the beauty and social

People do share about beauty online. Social networks today, enrich a complete brand experience for consumers. Product recommendations, opinion building, sharing interests, etc. is a common happening that is spreading online on social networks. The strength of word-of-mouth is clearly illustrated through the way people share views about beauty products online. It influences the consumer behaviour towards the purchase of any product.

Facebook

Top barnds such as MAC, Lancome and Unilever surfaced as leaders on Facebook with powerful campaigns. Dove and P&G, being next, also used Facebook as the CRM tool.

Focusing on community and engagement and not sales is sure to give you fruitful results. Reward fans on a regular basis. Create a communication plan. Interact with your customers and provide them support on a regular basis. Let us take you through snapshots of what a few brands have done.
  
Below are the snapshots of what Lakme Salon, Be Beautiful, Pond’s India, Dove, Avon, etc.

Twitter

For an engaging Twitter experience for your customers in just 140 characters, you need to take into consideration a few techniques.

You can release special codes and discounts via Twitter. Crowd sourcing is a new untapped resource which can be thought of too. Customer service, interactions and regular tweets on your products through your brand profile on Twitter builds your brand identity to a great level.

Google+

We believe a beauty brand’s presence on Google+ keeps the consumers updated with the content or discussion from the thought leaders in social media and marketing. Google+ is expected to gradually roll out more features for brands in times to come.

So, if you are on Google+, you standout in the Google search. Retaining customer loyalty is another advantage wherein, you as a beauty sector on Google+ reflect both social and search influence through your actions and activities on this platform. You can, therefore, appear in the search results by sharing keyword related posts about your brand or product.

YouTube

Video sharing websites are flooded with beauty or hair and make-up related videos such as ‘how to get a perfect eye makeup?’ ‘how to straighten or curl your hair?’ or maybe ‘how to get that star or celebrity look?’

After you upload them, these beauty videos have the potential to receive millions of views. Beauty video holds great possibility of going viral in a very short time as people will be sharing it via other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. interested users can watch, comment and post their responses on the videos. This is very helpful for the brand to reach out to the world.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great social media tool that creates a lot of beauty noise visually. It’s a complete visual treat to the eye as consumers get to see what they love and pin it. They can create boards for a variety of styles they like, for makeup and other such beauty related material. For brands it is a very essential tool as Pineterst encourages the sharing and re-pinning of photos enhancing the possibility of them spreading worldwide audience over a very short period. Photos can also be linked to the websites and blogs.

Blogs
As compared to the magazine ads, blogs hold great power in terms of the beauty information they provide. Purchase graph also is more likely to rise. Beauty bloggers post about the brand, its products, trends in the market, tutorials, beauty tips and techniques and a lot more on topics to which users are more likely to relate themselves with.

Beauty industry or companies can take another beautiful route of enlisting the reputed beauty bloggers and giving them a product or service to blog about. This will help your company receive a huge amount of publicity not only from the blogger’s audience but beyond that too. There rests an immense chance of them visiting your website and maybe making a purchase.


Best practices for beauty brands online
Beauty industry needs to:

Get visual: Be it Facebook or Twitter, pictures speak a lot and get a lot more response than the textual posts only. You can try updating a trendy haircut, or a smoky eye makeup, your latest salon equipments, or some nail art, etc. People love the visual treat a lot.

Engage fans: Communication, when done in a two-way process goes a long way. People generally start talking about your brand. You can start asking questions and engage with your fans or consumers. Start asking questions, conduct surveys or start getting feedback on your products and services.

Keep it casual and have fun: Social media is not designed to keep it all corporate, so ensure you design your posts, tweets, pins and updates in a way that reflect your brand identity and your business on the whole. Whether your brand deals in cosmetics, spa or hairstyling, you should keep it in mind to display your brand standards.

Cross promotion: This is where you need to take into use all your social media handles. You can include the links into your social media accounts, website, etc. Placing a signage on your salon windows, style stations help a lot too. You can also state the link on your business cards, encouraging people to follow you on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

Track the results: Keep a regular track of the responses your brand is getting on the social platforms it is present on. Types of posts, time and day, social media promotions, everything can be measured. A consistent analysis of the same will help you plan out your online strategy accordingly and drive more and more traffic to your spa, salon or store.

Beauty industry embraces a huge scope in terms of growing through social media. Brands need to be honest when they speak out their brand or products to consumers; the sole reason being people. Yes, people nowadays are too much into online research before they head to purchase something. So you as an organisation need to listen, talk and then share valuable brand information. Fan following reaches to its peak when you showcase your passion and expertise in the beauty product you are talking about. To create that special beauty buzz, contests and giveaways are very effective. What we mean to say is that the strategy with which you move ahead should make your fans talk about you and love your brand.

Social media marketing is the talk of the industry nowadays. Amidst the innovations and developments, beauty and personal care companies must work towards growing their channels of communication with their consumers. Creating applications that sync with the technology today will go a long way in leveraging the beauty sector.

In this industry, where every new day witnesses a brand evolving with a strategic social media plan and gaining successful outcomes, what is your take on the beauty sector going social? Will this sector touch the graphs of success leveraging it through social media? Will it stand out as the one-stop-shop for all beauty needs post identifying their business niche in this crowded market segment?
 

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