The beauty industry has always been a competitive space. Big brands jostle for a place on the consumer radar with expansive campaigns and while the independent and smaller names look for niches and trends to stay in the game. Social media, though, has been a game-changer for all
Until the advent of social media, brand presence for the cosmetics, personal care, and beauty products world, in general, relied on some tried and tested formulas to reach out to consumers. I am not talking about actual campaign content here; I am referring to the media vehicle delivering the messages. Billboards, magazine pages, TV and radio all played their part in brand construction. Social media, while not totally destroying these methods of reaching out to the customer base, has certainly upset their collective applecart.
The rise of the influencer has probably been the biggest change in how beauty products are introduced to the consumer since the golden age of television. In much the same way the face of the megastar did and still does promote from the television screen, the influencer has the potential to raise awareness of a product in a significant way. However, rather than Johnny Depp exuding cool by playing the guitar in a desert, the influencer plays a more active role for the buyer. They test, and they demonstrate good practice. Tips, guides, unboxings, and reviews offer vast numbers of potential consumers a level of trusted insight that was unknown prior to the advent of social media. A quick Google on how important the influencer is to consumers will return a variety of metrics and results, but all of them point to the same conclusions. Social media matters. Younger buyers trust influencers considerably more than ‘traditional’ celebrities when it comes to endorsed products, and around 60% of women follow a beauty influencer. From the perspective of an 8 million-plus audience for numerous online personalities and 20million plus for some, it isn’t hard to see why the major brand names pursue the influencer.
Another attractive aspect of social media is the ability to accurately accommodate customer segmentation. The more visual platforms are, for obvious reasons, the most productive areas. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are all capable of demographic and psychographic targeting to a highly specific market. The convenience of social media as a marketing tool is not in doubt.
On the platforms themselves, communities are formed to explore different aspects of the beauty space at a macro and granular level. Interest in the beauty product space is covered in-depth, and everything from specific product details to international concerns such as ethical sourcing and production are laid bare on social media.
It is perhaps in that last area, though, that social media can have the biggest impact for change. Consumers are not the passive receivers of brand messages they once were. Concerns among all demographics, and particularly the emerging gen-Z buyers, about ethical considerations, are there to be heard. The industry has demonstrated its desire to work hard for better representation of beauty in all forms and to produce products and campaigns that reflect that. The consumers are responding in kind by applauding and giving hard-earned trust to influencers, brands, and products with more inclusive messages. Again, a quick search will reveal staggeringly high numbers of consumers telling brands that ethical concerns such as sustainability, natural products, corporate responsibility, and the desire for brands to generally ‘do good’ (or at least do no harm) is a primary driver in their final purchase decision. Clearly, it is in the interest of any brand name to respond to these calls for demonstrations of responsibility. It is easy to be cynical about these things, but our experience is that the industry is far from just paying lip service to such matters though. It is at the forefront of being the change it and its consumers want to see. Social media is the most appropriate vessel through which brands can communicate their intent and through which consumers can validate their efforts.
Social media is now as endemic in the beauty industry as the retail counter with its makeover chair and friendly representative. While the holy grail for the shopper, the free sample, may not be available on social media, a whole host of other benefits are there for consumers and brands to take advantage of.
If you are thinking of a career change and becoming part of this exciting and challenging industry or are already in the beauty space and looking for new horizons, contact us. We would love to hear from you.