People used to peek in store windows or flip through catalogs to get an idea of the current trends, but thanks to social media, that dynamic is changing.
In a survey conducted by Twitter and Annalect, nearly 40 percent of respondents bought a product because an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube recommended it, while 20 percent said they shared something that caught their eye on these platforms. This means that some digital content creators have as much, if not more, clout than the traditional celebrities we’ve previously approached to help us make our purchasing decisions.
However, this change in dynamic is not surprising—there’s no better tool than social media for content creators who want to develop some prestige within niche communities. The sheer number of eyeballs on these platforms boosts your chances of finding an audience. After all, an influencer coming right into your living room to show you her beauty haul is something your run-of-the-mill blog just can’t offer.
Plus, as Fashionbi’s recent case study points out, the beauty and fashion industries used to be the exclusive domain of supermodels and designers. These days, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter have opened the doors to all kinds of voices. It’s telling that some of today’s biggest beauty brands, like Benefit and Urban Decay, found their niches early on through these online channels.
While all social media platforms have a certain pull when it comes to creating buzz and helping brands get noticed, there are three that carry authority: Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. Each platform presents a unique aspect that can help elevate brands to the next level, and it’s no wonder they’re frequently turned to in this regard.
Snapchat offers a fast fix
Beauty is an ephemeral experience. Snapchat best captures the behind-the-scenes experience by letting you see an influencer shop for a product, try it on and then step out on the town. Its quick-fire nature allows brands to use influencers to reveal top-secret tips and educate consumers about how products work. You only get 10 seconds, but that might be all you need.
The platform also offers a way to create immediacy around live events. For example, when beauty-obsessed consumers around the world couldn’t attend Beautycon Festival LA, they could go to Snapchat and click the Global Live button, which gave them a glimpse of their favorite stars behind the scenes and also allowed for discovery of new personalities to follow.
Finally, Snapchat goes beyond curated images to create a playful live-action vibe. For instance, paleo chef George Bryant is a white-hot hit as @cookingcaveman, and he could have taken YouTube by storm. Instead, he utilized Snapchat, where he shows off his unique prehistoric-style recipes.
Instagram has ‘the look’
Instagram is where professional makeup artists and digitally astute brands really shine, offering so many opportunities for composition and flair that you can’t help but get noticed. While Snapchat is all about immediacy, Instagram can serve as a brand’s professional lookbook.
For example, Instagram’s seamless aesthetic helped capture our brand image—glamorous, stylish, fun and diverse—through the content we did with our HALO room for Beautycon Festival LA.
Instagram makes it easy to see everyone’s interests and organize them for personal reference. For instance, beauty blogger Sophie Hannah Richardson used Instagram to build an audience of almost 90,000 followers by taking snaps of her OOTDs (outfit of the day), then progressing to higher-quality style pictures. She tagged brands and was regrammed, winning over users looking for something unique and different.
Facebook is going Live
In fact, a study by Slate found that 38 percent of visitors don’t even make it to the end of the first paragraph before bouncing to a new page. This is why Business Insider posts videos that last no longer than three minutes, giving followers the instant information they crave and letting them start a conversation by leaving comments.
With Facebook Live’s streaming capabilities, you can extend your reach far beyond your real-life customers to audiences you’ve never even considered. For instance, National Public Radio livestreams short video content to a private Facebook group on personal finance. Instead of receiving impersonal news blasts, its 10,000 members can watch live broadcasts from finance reporters.
And there are other ways to capitalize on the live accessibility. Our brand’s fans, for example, can use the comments section of Facebook Live to start real conversations with their favorite content creators, as illustrated by our Chatroom IRL, which made its debut at Beautycon Festival LA.
What it all means for marketers
Our particular niche industry—beauty—is undergoing a massive change, shifting from exclusivity to inclusivity. Instead of using makeup to cover up, people are now using it as a means of self-expression.
To thrive, brands must harness social media to find their own niche. Employing these nuanced methods of targeting, marketers can bring new people into the fold with more inclusive, engaging content.
Kevin Gould is an active angel investor as founder and CEO of Kombo Ventures. He is also a founding investor and strategic advisor for Beautycon Media, a global community of content creators redefining beauty.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.