Fifth Post: Best Practices for Blogging

Tweeting – Best Practices

Twitter is one of the top social media sites used by businesses today, and has become a necessity for keeping up with competitors throughout a number of industries. Mark Schaefer, the author of The Tao of Twitter, lists the following as some of the best practices in relation to social media via Twitter:

  • Use Twitter search and other listening tools to monitor actual, real time conversations about your brand. Address consumer problems, product issues, and other brand-damaging conversations quickly.
  • Allow Twitter to be a customer service resource. If consumers find it easier to reach you via social media rather than phone or in-store, then be willing and able to accommodate this.
  • Use links and headlines that can drive traffic to your website and other social media channels. Integrating your website with social media is essential because this is where business transactions are conducted.
  • Break through communication barriers with tweets. Try using Twitter for reaching out to make a business connection instead of through calls and emails (which are often ignored).
  • Run special deals and promotions on Twitter, available to only those following your brand.
  • Find new business contacts and sales leads through directories such as Twellow and the advanced Twitter search.
  • Follow current and potential customers. You can learn a lot about your target market and what they like, which will help in evaluating how to best connect with them.
  • Consistent, personal engagement. Use a timing tool to send out pre-written tweets at various times during the day. Reply to as many comments as possible, both positive and negative.

The beauty and cosmetics industry certainly uses these best practices for Twitter. Clinique (@Clinique) beauty and cosmetic brand recently tweeted the following: “Enter for a chance to #win a $500 #Clinique eGift Card*! Write a review at http://clinique.com  to enter: http://expi.co/08uGe”. This is an excellent demonstration of how to successfully offer a promotional contest to their followers, while simultaneously connecting them directly to their company website.

Blogging – Best Practices

The unbiased nature and relatable personalities of popular beauty bloggers have proven to be very influential on consumers purchasing decisions. With thousands of independent beauty bloggers on social media, it has become a smart practice for companies in the beauty and cosmetics industry to team up and try to collaborate with those who are most influential. There are right and wrong ways for a company to approach beauty bloggers in an attempt at working with them:

DO:

  • Refer to the blogger by their name
  • Offer out some free sample products from your brand
  • Be upfront about deadlines (bloggers typically have other unrelated related full-time jobs)

DON’T:

  • Mass send a generic, scripted email
  • Forget to do your research before contacting a blogger – become familiar with their style and content
  • Harass bloggers with multiple emails or contact attempts

One company who has done blogger-business collaboration right is MAC. MAC Cosmetics Company flew nine bloggers out to their Toronto production lab, in order to get their help in developing a line of custom cosmetics. This not only benefits MAC in that they get direct input from real consumers as to what they want in a product, but it also allowed them a chance to be transparent and relatable. This is what social media is essentially trying to achieve between businesses and consumers. The bloggers subsequently praised MAC throughout their blogs, documenting their firsthand experience working alongside the brand.

Do you follow your favorite brands on Twitter? Have you ever entered a contest or promotion via Twitter or another social media application? If so, what was your experience? Please share your comments and experiences.

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Fourth post: Social Marketing Brands and Risk

When a cosmetic brand goes social, they must develop a social strategy that is focused on generating positive online opinions and recommendations from users. Word of mouth has become a far more effective and frequently utilized source of brand image influence, versus traditional marketing methods.  A 2012 study concluded that brands choosing to ignore social media or become inactive on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook risk losing existing and potential customers, and generate an overall negative view of the company from many. The same survey also noted that 44 percent of people have bought something as a direct result of a recommendation on a social platform.

Below are some suggestions from Outmarket on how to best utilize social media in ones business operations:

  • Integrate social media with your CRM system to track and record engagement levels
  • Integrate social media with company website, press releases, emails, and other marketing platforms in order to operate with a cohesive, multi-channel presence
  • Use social media to monitor and respond to consumer’s buying patterns

A study by Constant Contact Research, shows the influence that social media platforms have over consumer decisions:

  • 56 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand after ‘liking’ them on Facebook
  • About half of consumers say they are more likely to then buy a product after ‘liking’ a brand on Facebook doing so,
  • 6 in 10 people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to recommend that brand to a friend.
  • About half of the brand followers on Twitter are more likely than others to then have purchased items by that brand
  • 14 per cent of consumers claim they are more likely to buy a product or service if they see their friends have positively commented or ‘liked’ it on social networks

One example of a brand that’s successfully implemented social media to their advantage is Benefit Cosmetics. Benefit reaches millions of fans online, with a total of 400,622 Twitter followers, 1,649,522 Facebook fans and 9,173,562 YouTube views.

As social media has become a necessity for cosmetic companies worldwide, it is important for smaller and growing businesses in this industry to not fall victim to these most common social media pitfalls:

  • Not having a solid social media strategy
  • Failing to develop a unique voice for your brand
  • Being sales-oriented instead of genuine and relatable
  • Not performing cross-channel social promotion
  • Failing to leverage the power of CTAs (calls to action)

If companies keep these points in mind when developing a social media strategy, they are taking the first step towards success. Please comment below. Can you think of any more pitfalls that companies fall into when first starting out in social media?

Third post: Mobile Applications

In the cosmetics industry, there is so much potential for interactive social media applications. Information on the following applications was retrieved here:

Beautylish

This application not only helps one easily discover the latest beauty trends, it offers tutorials for things like hair, makeup, and nails. Users create their own profiles and socialize and share with other users. Products can also be purchased directly from the application.

Perfect 365

Perfect 365 is described as the ‘must-have’ for the biggest fans of photo sharing via social media. This application allows users to edit and enhance their own photos – aka Photoshop!

Total Beauty

Total beauty lets users share reviews of over 45,000 products. With so many different cosmetic products on the market, it can be hard to know which is the best for your money. This application can help to eliminate the displeasure of buying a new product only to be disappointed with it.

These are only a few of the social media applications out there that relate to the beauty and cosmetics industry. Success is seen by frequency of use and amount of activity. L’Oreal’s Facebook page has shown proven success through information sharing and product promotion. Dior  favors the use of eye-catching photography and a vast video archive of tutorials and images. TREsemme has attempted to really connect with users by sharing behind-the-scenes videos and images, letting followers into their world.

The popular cosmetic brand Smashbox (owned by Estee Lauder), recently partnered with Blipper to host a virtual shopping experience at a UK catwalk show. This allowed users to view the fashion show on their mobile devices, while also having the opportunity to directly purchase Smashbox products.

I think one of the coolest applications is L’Oreal’s True Match application. True Match is the product name for one of their most popular foundations. The application is designed to help users find their perfect foundation color match. Matching one’s own foundation can be really hard, and is often a guessing game. To think that an application can analyze your face and choose the right shade for you is pretty cool! If you do not have an Apple brand device, the True Match application is also accessible online.

It seems that the majority of these applications are geared towards Apple products, and aren’t always available for other mobile platforms, such as the Andriod. I would recommend that any brand creating their own cosmetic application should make sure it is accessible via as many different platforms as possible, in order to gain as many users as possible.

Module 5 – Social Media Application

Research has shown that consumers, who are connected to brands via social media sites, are 79% more likely to purchase from them as opposed to other beauty brands with no social media presence (Marks, 2012). Most importantly to beauty brands, is that social media should be treated as a way to connect themselves and interact with people, not just a media platform where they can personify their own message (Yeomans, 2014).

With respect to the cosmetic and beauty industry, Instagram is emerging as one of the most popular social media applications due to high engagement levels and ecommerce-encouraging format (McDougall, 2014). As of early 2014, 93% of top beauty brands were present on Instagram, compared to 63% only 7 month prior (McDougall, 2014). This shows how fast Instagram is growing. The recent launch of Instagram ads and video could soon find the social media application generating more revenue than Twitter (McDougall, 2014). Users images of a brands products can help them to push sales when linked to hashtags or shared on other social media applications or even the companies website, demonstrating real-word uses of their product.

MAC is one brand that should be noted for their success in social media, thanks to their seamless integrations between in social media channels and brand website (Yeomans, 2014). Brands such as Dior and Chanel followed closely behind MAC, due to their video and image based content. Other brands worthy of nothing are L’Oreal, Givency, and Clarins, who are at the top of their game despire showing lower levels of social media shares amongst followers (Yeomans, 2014).

Estee Lauder’s digital blog, resembles a magazine in that is has stories about beauty, style, iconic models, and even baking, as well as product reviews and recommendations (McDougall, 2014). Visitors are welcome to post their own videos reviewing an Estee Lauder product, where users can then give feedback as to whether or not such videos were helpful (McDougall, 2014). Estee Lauder forms partnerships with popular bloggers and vloggers, helping them achieve the fourth largest e-commerce presence in a variety of countries globally (including the US, UK, and France.) (McDougall, 2014). Blogs are important tools, as they are twice as likely to drive product purchases than magazine ads (Mincher, 2013).

Below are the most popular cosmetic brands, ranked by their social media scorecard index. The score is determined by research done by Stickyeyes, an online marketing specialist. They based their scores on how brands engage with others via social media, their benefits thanks to these interactions, and the use and frequency of all social media content (Hewitt, 2014). To increase ones score, the brand needs to utilize all major social media applications to the best of their ability, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Resources

Hewitt, M. (2014, Apr 23). MAC cosmetics runaway leader in cosmetics social engagement report. Stickyeyes. Retrieved from: http://www.stickyeyes.com/2014/04/23/mac-cosmetics-runaway-leader-in-cosmetics-social-engagement-report/

Infinigraph. Cosmetics Industry. Retrieved from: http://smo.infinigraph.com/portal/industry/cosmetics.html

Marks, M. (2012, Nov 29). How has social media influenced the beauty industry? Examiner Online. Retrieved from: http://www.examiner.com/article/how-has-social-media-influenced-the-beauty-industry

McDougall, A. (2014, Feb 25). A picture’s worth 1000 words… Instagram boasts beauty brand opportunity. Cosmetics Design USA Online. Retrieved from: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Market-Trends/A-picture-s-worth-1000-words-Instagram-boasts-beauty-brand-opportunity

McDougall, A. (2014, Sep 04). Estee Lauder’s digital drive pays off with personalized blog. Cosmetics Design USA Online. Retrieved from: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Market-Trends/Estee-Lauder-s-digital-drive-pays-off-with-personalized-blog

Mincher, S. (2013, Aug 19). Infographic: Social media & the beauty industry. Digital Sherpa Online. Retrieved from: http://www.digitalsherpa.com/blog/infographic-social-media-the-beauty-industry/

Yeomans, M. (2014, Apr 10). MAC’s social media strategy leading the way, say digital experts. Cosmetics Design USA Online. Retrieved from: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Market-Trends/MAC-s-social-media-strategy-leading-the-way-say-digital-experts

Module 4 – Social Media Tools

Post One – Social Media Tools

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all social media sites popular with businesses in the cosmetics, or beauty, industry. This industry primarily sells products and services related to skin care, cosmetics, nail care, and hair care. Because beauty, in this sense, is very visual, Instagram is a popular tool based on the appeal of photo-sharing. Instagram allows users to share photos, or “selfies”, and utilize hashtags in order to connect with beauty brands. Instagram has proved to have the most engagement and the highest rates of converting browsers to shoppers, however, it is still somewhat underutilized by businesses (McDougall, 2014).

Sites like Twitter and Facebook allow a company to put a voice and a personality to their brand, stimulating engagement between themselves and consumers. Facebook will often offer incentives in exchange for “liking” their company page, which is a smart way of getting existing and potential customers to sign up for updates on their products via the Facebook news feed (Retourne, 2011).

Twitter is a good resource for interacting with other customers regarding how they feel about a product, which helps to influence purchasing decisions. Customer feedback is a strong factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy a new product, which can be observed via Twitter. Customers can ask other Twitter users what they think about a certain product, and gain their feedback in helping them make purchasing decisions (Retourne, 2011). It shows a level of trust and transparency when a company is willing to put themselves out there for possible criticism via a site like Twitter or Facebook, and shows the company trusts in their brand. For both Twitter and Facebook, its important for the company to interact with their customers, such as replying to questions or posts by users, and not just consistently pushing sales of their brand.

YouTube is filled with video bloggers, or vloggers, who base their channels on beauty-related content such as product reviews and tutorials. According to a representative for YouTube, about 75 hours worth of beauty content is uploaded to YouTube every day, and makeup how-to’s are the most frequently searched item on the platform (Lieber, 2014). In order to take advantage of YouTube’s impact on the beauty industry, cosmetic companies will often send free products to popular vloggers, in hopes that they will post a review of their products. This means companies must be confident in their products and their ability to get positive reviews (Lieber, 2014). Companies should also market via YouTube by advertising on popular beauty vlogger pages, as well as develop their own brand page which offers tutorials for their products.

Resources

Lieber, C. (2014, May 22). Clicks, likes, cash: How YouTube beauty starts threw the industry for a loop. Racked Online. Retrieved from: http://racked.com/archives/2014/05/22/youtube-beauty-stars.php

McDougall, A. (2014, Jul 15). The power of Instagram – Beauty top 10. Cosmetics Design USA Online. Retrieved from: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Market-Trends/The-power-of-Instagram-Beauty-Top-10

Retourne, J. (2011, Apr 27). Just how important are Facebook & Twitter to beauty brands? Your Beauty Industry Blog. Retrieved from: http://yourbeautyindustry.blogspot.com/2011/04/just-how-important-are-facebook-twitter.html

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