Friends or Enemies: When Beauty Brands Meet Social Media

ChrisSong    March 10, 2016

9 years ago, when I first joined in L’Oréal Group as a PR professional, what I saw my Marketing colleagues doing was paying media, buying advertisement and telling consumers who we are. Today, as consumers turn to social media to seek out beauty secrets, the industry is signing faces for their followings, not just their fame. (Why big beauty brands are courting social media stars) There won’t be any doubt to a marketer that run your social media campaign like your traditional media campaign and you’re likely to see more damage to your brand reputation than benefit and you’ll waste a lot of money doing it. (16 Differences Between Traditional Media and Social Networking)

To more understand the opportunities and challenges of social media to beauty brands, I made a phone interview with SW, a cosmetics brand management expert who has more than 25 years experiences in beauty industry. (To respect SW’s wish of not being mentioned on a public site due to the company rule, I removed his name and company name from this article.)

Recommended by SW to learn how a beauty brand using “right peoples” and “right contents”, at “right times” on a “right place” to do social media marketing, I studied the Anastasia Beverly Hills’ case.

“My customers are so savvy. When I started 25 years ago, I had to teach them – this is the toner, this is cleanser, and so on. They needed to take notes. Now, they know everything! They’ve tried everything out –they saw it on YouTube first, and I have to keep up.”—– Anastasia Soare, Founder & CEO of Anastasia Beverly Hill (Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hill’s shares her beauty routine, by Into The Gloss)

Anastasia Beverly Hills, originally launched as a brow product brand in 1998 by mother-daughter duo Anastasia and Claudia Soare. It didn’t have the brand awareness of peers like Mac and Benefit Cosmetics just a few years ago. Now the brand is the most followed Instagram beauty account with 8.9 million followers with 34% share of interactions (Q4, 2015, source: WWD). The beauty industry average is 1.4 million followers. And the ranking number 2 share of interactions brand L’Oréal Group is 20%.

About 3 years ago, Claudia Soare, the brands’ president convinced her mother to embrace Instagram. Since that, the company frequently repurposed the content of influencers wearing its products and created a huge web of shares and new fans in the process. Last year, the brand released an expanded makeup line, including liquid lipsticks, contour kits and highlight kits, all of which are well-loved on Instagram. The brand’s top posts are exclusively “ground trend driven” (brow shaping, contouring, lip plumping). The content is all about instant gratification. Its fast-paced 15-second tutorial videos show people how to achieve a “smoky eye” look or a perfect eye brow.

For the second quarter of 2015, Tribe Dynamics estimated ABH’s earned media value on the social media platform was $ 46.5 million, versus $ 26.4 million for MAC and $ 17.2 million for Too Faced. (Instagram drives Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Sales)

What secret ingredients make Anastasia Beverly Hills’ social media communications so interactive?

1. High frequency posting

Averaging 62 posts per week and 68,000 interactions per post, Anastasia Soare’s goal is to update at least once every three hours between 7a.m and midnight. “It’s just me and my daughter posting. We pull content, we look for the legitimate artists that we like. I use Snapchat behind the scenes. It’s a lot of work.”

2. User-generated content

Anastasia Beverly Hills is well known for posting user-generate content on internet to allow its fans to recreate beauty styles, inspirations and trends at home. The brand effectively engages with makeup enthusiasts, bloggers and artists by repurposing their photos and videos as a way of attesting to its products and functionality and establishing a personal connection with its followers.

“Her acceleration in the last year is due to how many people are generating content about the brand,” says Conor Begley, cofounder of Tribe Dynamics.” It is not on her own channel,” he explained.” It is on the Instagram channels of other people, who have 50,000 to a few million followers.” (Instagram drives Anastasia Beverley Hill’s Sales)

3. Your comments = your personality

“In the morning my social media takes me four hours just to answer. I can’t answer to everyone, but I go through questions and try. I read my comments. It helps us so much. I used to travel and in one day reach 200 people. Now I put a post up and reach 50,000 people that are all over the world. “(How the 18-year-old Anastasia Beverly Hills brand became the busiest beauty company on the internet)

4. Being a friend with your influencers not a client

“The influencers are my friends. We don’t pay friends. We send them products, and whatever they like, they post. I never ask anybody to talk about it. I want people to be in love with what I make. Everything that I do has to be organic. That’s the reason we are successful.” Said Anastasia. (How the 18-year-old Anastasia Beverly Hills brand became the busiest beauty company on the internet)

Anastasia Beverly Hills works with more than 600 influencers. According to L2, these beauty stars were responsible for 24 percent of Anastasia’s earned media value in the second quarter of 2015, a total of $11.2 million. Almost every single of its posts tags a beauty influencer.

The brand choose what Instagrammers to work with based on their photo quality and makeup artistry, rather than the number of followers.  “We like to promote and support not only the already established artists Amrezy [Amra Olevic], Desi PerkinsChrisspy and Shayla, but also the up – and – coming ones who have a thousand followers. “(How the 18-year-old Anastasia Beverly Hills brand became the busiest beauty company on the internet)

5. A right platform

“We don’t have the capacity to run large-scale global advertising campaigns, and Instagram seemed like a magazine for fashion, beauty and fitness.” Said Claudia Soare, in an interview.

Lessons for Others

There are number of ways brands can leverage social media channels to attract and retain consumers. Here are the advice from SW to beauty brands on doing social media marketing: Understand your consumer journey; understand social conversations, organize a digital marketing team who knows the game; content is the king.

Organization: Anastasia Beverly Hills
Industry: Cosmetics
Name of Organization Contact: Anastasia Soare, Founder &CEO

Authored by: Chris Song

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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