Beauty brands have found themselves in a unique position in the last decade. The dominance of huge brands with global television advertising budgets, armies of models and celebrities is being disrupted by niche and independent beauty brands borne on and grown via social media featuring real people and influencers.

With 69% of UK beauty buyers saying they are active on Facebook, and 80% of Instagram users following a business of some kind, social platforms are without doubt key to marketing. The new media landscape also fits with wider shifts that have seen the traditional definition of beauty evolve and us as a society championing individuality and empowerment.

In fact, 2018 saw niche beauty – or independent beauty – become the fastest growing sector of the beauty market largely due to social media in which smaller brands build each other up and support one another and messaging being authentic, real and accessible.

So what do health and beauty brands need to know?

Capitalise on the ‘now’ trend for self empowerment

According to a 2018 study done by Facebook regarding beauty and health marketing, beauty

products used to be about making yourself look better for other people, whereas now the trend of using makeup as a self-empowerment tool is what’s driving engagement. 7 million posts are tagged with #bodypositive on Instagram.

Posts that are aspirational, imperfect and have an element of raw honesty and empowerment take on permanent resident on the platforms as does content that illustrates the day to day live of people championing their imperfections in unedited, candid ways.

Think multi channel

With Instagram being the number one place for beauty influencers to share and promote

products – and where 25% of UK beauty buyers go for inspiration and product information – it is easy to get locked into this single platform and social media tunnel vision. But it all counts.

Having a fluid and professional ecommerce website with proper SEO is an important part building an online presence too.

And for a brand to fully permeate the social media environment and build up as much traction as possible, brands should make sure they have a presence on a variety of platforms. Just like traditional marketing a company wouldn’t solely rely on billboard ads, the online strategy shouldn’t just rely on one website or channel.

With beauty videos and makeup tutorials generating 164 billion views annually on YouTube this is one key place for brands to solidify or shape their image. Expanding onto multiple platforms increases market penetration and allows brands to target niche groups on specific channels.

Use influencers in your ad creatives

Whilst not always clear how ‘all’ influencers drive direct sales and many brands have found that highly paid influencers don’t always shift products, influencers are extremely powerful when used in ad creatives.

According to a 2016 Google report, 70% of millennial YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over that of ‘traditional celebrities’. Studies have shown how the majority of most viewed beauty videos are published by influencers and only a minority of official brand content receives the same amount of reach and engagement.

The good news is you don’t have to have the most famous or biggest influencer to make an impact in an ad, it is more about showing a ‘real’ person who has some influence demonstrating and endorsing a product. One of our favourite forms of creative for beauty brands is what we call the ‘testimonial mash up’ which features micro influencers demonstrating and talking about products.

Built intimacy with customers

“For brands, it’s all about engaging with communities in a very human way. Tapping into these

interactions can help build stronger connections and loyalty.” (Facebook report 2018)

One of the unique aspects of social media as a tool for marketing is the ability to develop

intimate relationships with its users.

More people want to be a part of the products they buy. Yes a health or beauty product may help you look good but who makes it, what is in it? How does the company engage with its customers?

The way we do this at Bolt Digital is to feature founders and behind the scenes of companies in our ad creatives, and make sure our brands reply to every single comment on ads or social posts one by one. Social platforms allow companies to put a more human face on their products and this is something you must take advantage of.

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