The Social Balance: Beauty Brands vs Customers

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The Social Balance: Beauty Brands vs Customers

Things have changed. When many of us entered the beauty industry, it was a glamorous world where brands announced launches to  unsuspecting customers and products materialised from production lines without having to ask “What would you like?” and “What are your thoughts about this?” And it wasn’t THAT long ago!

It didn’t seem to matter whether it was a premium or budget brand: the company believed its role was to dictate how the relationship worked. They knew best, and the more fashion orientated the range was, the more essential it was to ‘educate’ one’s customer so that they would become a follower. Ingredients weren’t listed, so you had to buy-and-try and hope that your skin, and your beliefs, wouldn’t be offended. The only choice that a customer had, was whether they would go ahead with the purchase or not.

Social media has now changed the way that beauty companies do business; at least for most of them. Cosmetic users want their opinions heard, acknowledged and acted upon. For those companies who still choose to tell-and-sell, they will be losing out.

Knowing Why A Customer Buys

In our retro blog Listening to Social Media is Good for the Beauty Business we describe the importance of knowing why a customer buys. Every decision a brand makes needs to favour their customers’ interests as much as their own:

  • How they use your products (Function)

A company has to have the best product so that it’s desired; a customer wants to buy the best product to meet their needs.

  • What the product means to them personally (Meaning)

A company will seek loyalty for all their creative efforts; a customer wants the essence of the brand to have meaning for them.

  • Why they want to be associated with your brand (Belonging)

A company needs to create a range that reflects their values; a customer wants to buy a product they wish to be associated with.

Every beauty company loves repeat customers for long term products, plus those who are willing to try promotional launches. In return, a customer now seeks to build a relationship with the brand. They want to be allowed into the community – so why do many beauty Facebook walls not accept posts? They want to ask questions – why do beauty Twitter accounts still just broadcast? They would love recognition for repins – but few beauty Pinterest accounts go out of their way to follow or like repinners.

Why are there still brands that think they can have it all their way? Or is it that they just don’t understand social conversations? Reciprocity and sharing are at the heart of social business and for those who embrace it and invest in it, will grow bigger and stronger. Involving and listening to your customers is good business.

This Is How To Do It

We love the Twitter campaign Christmas #EscentualWish where, to thank their customers for another wonderful year, Escentual have asked for tweets with most coveted products (with a product link). Seven lucky recipients have been granted their wishes. The genius part was “To give you a little inspiration; we’ve asked some of our beauty and fragrance blogger friends to make their own Escentual wishes” which were published on their website. Result? They thanked their customers and learnt what their favourite products are; they exalted leading bloggers AND drove sales to desirable products via recommendation. The campaign went instantly viral – it was loved.

This is how social media works for business.

Are you a brand that shares our thoughts? How are you building long term relationships? Are there social sites that work best for you? We’d love to hear your comments.

Kathy Wrennall

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