Beauty Brands must develop their Own Relationships Online

Beauty Brands must develop their Own Relationships Online

Beauty brands are buzzing in social media. Facebook and Twitter inspire the purchasing decisions on beauty products for 34% of would-be buyers.

The latest research from Mintel confirms what we’ve all suspected for some time; the Internet is becoming increasingly powerful at influencing buying behaviour in Britain:

  • 15 million Brits have interacted with beauty brands online – that’s 1 in 4 people
  • Almost 10 million people visit beauty websites
  • Just under 9 million go to Google to research brands and products

Clearly this presents a big opportunity for beauty brands to connect with their customers; the best have instigated social media programs on local and global platforms. Social media competence can now be linked to shareholder growth.

But many brands struggle to embrace the ‘social’ element of social media and still prefer to ‘push’ marketing messages. L2 Think Tank, in their Facebook IQ Index, reports that 20% of the 100 leading prestige brands don’t engage in two-way conversations and 33% prohibit postings on their Facebook wall.

A common strategy is to identify people who are already influential online and use them as conduits to their target audience. Doing this initially makes sense. Brian Solis, in The Rise of Digital Influence, says that “a brand borrows the social capital of that individual to appear approachable and desirable to their followers.”

Start Acting Like Influencers Do
Whilst effective in the short-term, long-term success requires brands to own the relationship with customers. If brands want to be truly influential online, they need to start acting like the influencers they woo.

People who have risen to the status of online influencer through blogging or a prominent presence on social media platforms understand the importance of creating a two-way relationship with their followers and fans. In the current frenetic climate online of ‘Like Me, Follow Me, Share Me‘ it’s still crucially important to build the relationship before asking anything of their network connections. Brands need to ‘pull’ more than they ‘push’.

Inspire Others To Take Action
Once loved, a reciprocal relationship will develop with their community, which offers value to both parties. This, of course, is nothing new. What we are seeing is the transference of interactions from offline to the online world. And like the offline world, real influence is your ability to inspire people to take action.

Influence is, therefore, not just about how many Followers you have on Twitter or Likes on Facebook. The numbers may look impressive, but are meaningless if the community is stagnant or not engaged.

According to Mark Schaefer, named by Forbes as one of the top 50 social media power influencers, there are three factors that will help brands achieve, sustain and retain influence:

  • Social Proof – the size of your community or positive sentiment
  • Content – the value of the information that you share
  • Reciprocity – what you do for others in return for what they have done for you

The binding element is value. The more valuable you are to your audience, the greater the value they will bring you.

It’s fabulous when it’s done well

With all of these communication tools, the way that beauty brands communicate with customers has irrevocably changed. Brands need to let customers know that they are listening and responding.  Allow fans to comment, then reply/repin/retweet something that will have meaning to them.  Reciprocity is powerful and will have greater value than you imagine.

Kathy Wrennall

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