To say that social media has forever altered the face of the cosmetic industry (pun very much intended) would be an understatement.
Social networks give businesses the means to engage with their audience in a direct way, thus reducing the need for intermediaries such as retailers, modeling agencies, and even advertisers. Some companies are finding it difficult to adjust to this new landscape, while others are embracing the changes wholeheartedly.
Nonetheless, the simple fact of the matter is that social media is now an integral part of the cosmetics industry, and you either have to learn how to use it or get left behind.
While there is a wealth of information available online on the topic of social media, it might be a bit more difficult to find content that explores how they have impacted the cosmetic industry in particular. So in order to contribute to this small, but nonetheless growing, pool of information, we have created a short, introductory primer on the topic.
Instead of going into details, we have opted to provide an overview of a number of instances which showcase how cosmetic companies are using social media to interact with consumers, strengthen their brand, and promote their products.
Social media has given cosmetics companies a new channel for engaging with their existing customers, as well as means of acquiring new audiences. Previously, these companies had to rely on intermediaries such as retailers and media companies for their b2c interactions. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are cutting out these middlemen from the equation, allowing cosmetics companies to exercise a more hands-on approach with customer management. If you are in need of advice on how to run an Instagram account, or even a Twitter profile, make sure you do read up on the subject, and not just wing it – it can have dire consequences.
Cosmetics companies can now see how an audience is reacting to a particular PR campaign by browsing the comments section on leading social networks, solicit opinions regarding future products, as well as offer round-the-clock customer support.
As of 2018, social media providers have gathered more than 2.5 billion people in their platforms, giving them the ability to track and publish their online behavior. These large data-sets have in turn made it possible to map out various sorts of trends, some of which have immediate relevance for cosmetics companies. The ability to directly monitor purchasing patterns for cosmetic products, popular makeup styles, or seasonal preferences regarding color, has been nothing short of a game-changer for the cosmetic industry.
With the power to see trends, also comes the potential to influence them in more or less subtle ways. By knowing where things are heading in the future, cosmetics companies can now assemble their product lines and promotional campaigns with a greater deal of confidence in the results.
Social networks brought about the emergence of a new kind of celebrity: the social media influencer. These individuals attract a large following simply by voicing their opinions, expressing their tastes, and sharing content they like. Their ability to influence big groups of people makes them powerful allies for cosmetics companies because the cosmetic industry is one largely based on appearances and perceptions.
There are several ways for a cosmetics company to develop a relationship with an influencer. One is to establish a sponsorship deal, whereby the person in question would explicitly promote company products. Another one would be to offer perks to brand advocates, which are individuals who are already doing a kind of promotional work for your company, free of charge.
Another way in which cosmetics companies can leverage social media to their advantage is to use them as a means of expanding and distinguishing their brand like Auralia do. The process of branding boils down to disseminating a clear and consistent narrative about what a given company is all about, across as many channels as there are available. The fact that social networks have built-in features for publishing content makes them an ideal vehicle for cosmetic companies to express the values they hold, as well as the ideas they promote.
When engaging in branding on social media, a cosmetics company should take into account which content format is best suited for each platform. Instagram is geared towards images, YouTube works exclusively with videos, and Facebook allows for a little bit of everything.
Social media users had initially flocked to these networks because they offered an alternative approach to creating, consuming and sharing content. More specifically, they were trying to get away from sterile, corporate-looking articles, images and videos, in order to find something more relatable and authentic. Fortunately, there is nothing stopping cosmetics companies from creating the kind of content that matches the tastes of the modern audience.
There are numerous tried-and-tested content creation strategies that a cosmetics company can employ to better engage with their intended audience. One of the more popular ones involves posting images of regular people wearing makeup in a natural setting, to show how cosmetic products look in practice. Another would be to offer tutorials and video-guides on how to apply and remove makeup. The key is to present cosmetics as something that is used by regular people on the street.
Finally, social media can be used as a channel for explicit advertising. Each network has its own rules and guidelines for creating ads, monetization, and targeting. YouTube plays ads in front, behind, and during videos, Facebook displays sponsored posts in the newsfeeds of their users, and so does Instagram, LinkedIn offers the option to send sponsored mail, etc. Ideally, a cosmetics company should use all available means of advertising in order to reach out to the widest possible audience.
Advertising on social media provides benefits such as increased brand awareness, more inbound traffic, improved search engine rankings, higher conversion rates, better customer satisfaction, and improved brand loyalty, to name a few. As far as paid advertising goes, it is also one of the more cost-effective options, especially when compared to advertising on traditional media.
Cosmetics companies stand much to gain by incorporating social media into their overall business strategy. With the right combination content, advertising, and audience outreach, a cosmetics company will go a long way in ensuring that its future is one defined by long-term growth and success.
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