The beauty industry has always been one of the most competitive commercial spaces vying for our attention.
Before the rise of social media, beauty brands relied on major above the line TV, outdoor and even radio campaigns to target their audience and sell their products.
Fast-forward to 2020, and the beauty industry has been completely re-imagined. As the first brands were up-taking social advertising, they were completely reshaping the beauty industry to what we know now, bringing a whole new set of opportunities and challenges with it. Technology has allowed beauty brands to transform the way they market their products.
As we know, social media has the opportunity to target more niche audiences, create custom audiences or if you want to, target broadly and gain awareness. When comparing this to the previous TV campaigns, the cost to do this is minimal, and far more impactful.
This can be exceptionally helpful for smaller or start up brands that don’t have a huge advertising budgets, and those without physical stores.
When we look at brand awareness, discovery rates and general surfing for new products, it is clear the channels like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter have the greatest impact.
Beauty consumers are 41% more likely to discover new brands or products via ads seen on social media, and 47% more likely to discover new products via organic updates from pages and channels they follow.
*Source: Rival IQ - Q1, 2019
When comparing industry and consumers, beauty buyers are more likely to find brands or products via google reviews, comments on social media, influencers or celebrity endorsements.
45% of consumers of the beauty industry said they look to consumer reviews and do online research prior to purchase.
In conjunction with this, 50% of beauty consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product based on positive comments and online reviews from customers.
Influencers and celebrities endorsements as a marketing medium has ramped up after success after success with this strategy.
As a result, the beauty industry has uptaken this and an astonishing 86% of Australian beauty brands have worked with influencers or celebrities as a part of their mark.
So which brands have kicked-butt with the social media mix?
With 234.5 K followers on Instagram, Zoë Foster-Blake has created Go-To Skincare, initially launching in Australia in 2014.
Go-To is the 7th most followed beauty brand in Australia. That's not including Zoë's personal following, which is currently sitting at a very respectable 651K followers.
Zoë Foster-Blake and her own Go-To skincare brand says:
“For Zincredible, I did something we haven’t done before, which is talk to our customers about it on the go-to skincare Instagram, as well as my own personal Instagram almost a year before it came out, and then again gradually building up to launch. I’d championed physical SPF for so long, so they knew it had to be coming, but I think taking the customers along with us presented us with a chance to make it a more meaningful product launch for everyone. They felt part of the journey, even invested in it, in a way.”
When this product was finally released, there were 33 bottles sold every minute for the first hour and over 400,000 people were online on the site over the first 24 hours.
This, we can see, is a brand that got it right.
U.S online beauty brand Glossier also says that Instagram is the key behind its growing success.
The brand boasts a loyal and engaged fanbase on Instagram of 2.8M and regularly shares user-generated content which has even helped them re-design their product branding
As the beauty industry is product based, social media can only go so far into completing the customer journey of actually using the product - Or can it?
Recent additions to social advertising for beauty brands have been incorporating AR, VR, and filters. This drives the consumers in-store, to purchase the products and have the full experience.
Kylie Cosmetics was the first to launch VR for Make-up products on Instagram, allowing users to try on 6 different shades of lipstick and nailed it.
4.3 Million uses in the first 24 hours and a 17% increase in lipstick sales. Since then, brands like Maybelline, NYX and Huda beauty have launched their own VR of make-up products.
Social media has put the brand-consumer connection at the forefront.
Social media has changed how beauty brands market products to consumers, it’s also changed the way brands build a connection with their consumers.
Beauty buyers were polled and found that 1 in 5 asked questions, or commented on their favourite beauty brands' social media over the last month, and 1 in 14 shared a brand's post.
From buying TV spots, to having on-going communications with their top consumers all over the world, there is no doubt that social media has evolved the beauty and cosmetic industry.
However, as Uncle Ben said:
“With great power, also comes great responsibility”
For the beauty industry, this means two things:
This creates pressure for brands to be continuously engaging with their communities with the brand TOV and giving all the correct product information.
Social and environmental issues
Social media gives people one of the biggest platforms to speak out about issues they care about — and there is a real pressure for brands to enter the conversation. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of how their behavior is impacting the environment, making them then ensure their buying products that meet align with their beliefs.
Social media and the beauty industry together have also been instrumental in bringing awareness to issues of diversity and inclusivity — including race, body positivity, sexuality and gender.
Championing beauty gurus like James Charles, Jefree Star and Nikkietutorials as LGBTIQA+ allies.
L’Oreal has also been at the forefront of ‘beauty for all’, being one of the first international beauty brands to include foundations and palettes that suit POC.
The impact social media has had – and continues to have – on the beauty industry is significant.
Social media gives beauty brands the opportunity to speak to millions of consumers around the world, to capitalise on trends, and create them, themselves however need to have the right strategy and planning in place, in order to not be left behind.
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