5 Min Read |
Now more than ever, beauty brands of all sizes are making use of what they view as their strongest asset- the enthusiasm of their customers. It’s a good thing too, as the current global situation continues to put restrictions on what brands can do in terms of their marketing.
With visual social media platforms such as Instagram showing no signs of slowing during a pandemic, and work meetings continuing to go ahead on video platforms such as Zoom, beauty brand advocates with plenty of time on their hands have been helping their fellow consumers to put their best face forward and experiment with new looks despite limited opportunities to show themselves off in the flesh.
The cost-effectiveness of leveraging brand advocacy has led to a disruption of the beauty landscape. In a world previously dominated by a few big players, hundreds of smaller, newer and successful brands are basing their entire marketing strategy around social media and the unique advocacy each brand inspires.
Let’s first explore what brand advocacy is, and why it’s important to make it the cornerstone of your beauty marketing strategy.
What Is Brand Advocacy?
In the digital age, a brand advocate is an enthusiastic customer who regularly creates and shares social media content centred around your product (User Generated Content or UGC for short), and/or positive reviews about your product. UGC can be artistic, funny, informative, moving and much more, basically as diverse as the creators themselves.
By tracking down these brand advocates and the UGC they create using social listening and User-Generated Content platforms, brands can supercharge their marketing strategies and make their marketing spend go further. When licensed correctly, UGC created by brand advocates can be placed at crucial points in the purchase path, republished on social media, and re-edited into larger campaigns, for example.
Why Is Brand Advocacy Important For Beauty Brands?
It’s hard to beat a recommendation from a well-trusted individual such as a friend or family member. With social media, our social circles have grown beyond these simple real-life circles to include friends and like-minded individuals all around the world. Positive UGC by brand advocates has the power to be viewed extensively through social channels, hashtags and easily searchable content, before it is even republished by a brand. According to a study by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust organic, User-Generate Content more than they trust traditional advertising.
In an industry which has historically been notorious for smoke-and-mirrors advertising and expensive influencers and celebrity endorsements, a consumer-led marketing strategy is the holy grail of beauty marketing, and currently the best way to organically and cost-effectively grow a brand. Simply put, get more people talking about you, and you can increase your reach without growing your marketing spend. By leveraging UGC, beauty brands can go viral as your favourite memes, at the same time showing off product applications.
Brands such as FENTY Beauty have built their brand on social media, giving their fans clear instructions and embracing relatively new platforms such as TikTok.
Another reason brand advocacy is important for beauty brands right now is that advocates are able to easily share what was previously an intimate moment of TLC or the careful construction of a makeup look from start to finish. The brand Frank Body realised that body scrubs are a fun, visual thing to do but very private, so their solution was to encourage brand advocates to post playful body-positive pictures of themselves in body scrub, as well as before and after pictures to show how their product has helped their acne or stretch marks.
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Before I get clean, I like to get a little dirty with @frank_bod 😼 Imma be real, my skin STAYS dry even in the summer and I always need to make sure I’m staying on top of exfoliating away dead skin and hydrating hydrating hydrating…did I mention hydrating? 😅 This month I’ve been alternating using three of @frank_bod’s amazing, natural, vegan, paraben & PEG free scrubs with The Shower Scrubs Kit. Each scrub battles dry skin, scars and marks using only coffee and natural oils to keep my skin soft & hydrated and shower time a fun adventure! The Kit includes: – 1 x Original Coffee Scrub – 1 x Coconut Coffee Scrub – 1 x Express-O Scrub – 1 x FREE tote bag & reusable box Be sure to check out the ingredients listed in each scrub to learn a little bit about how amazing Mother Earth is…it’s my favorite part of using @frank_bod 🥰🌱🙌🏽💛 #thefrankeffect
The new marketing juggernaut that is Glossier burst onto the scene off of the backs of its early brand advocates, the Glossier Reps. Although these reps received commission from sales from their own rep pages, they were selected because they were already brand advocates, creating great content around Glossier. Despite winding down the rep programme in recent years, a quick google shows that this is still a community that many consumers would love to be a part of.
Glossier and its customers show that UGC can be every bit as on-brand and slick as content created in-house. Glossier’s simple visual branding complements its blank-canvas style look of ‘no make up make up’, and by encouraging engaged consumers to share their own looks it relinquishes a little bit of branding control for the better. Glossier’s boxes are every bit as Instagrammable as the looks they inspire, cannily encouraging UGC that is unique to the consumer, but with branding heavily featured.
How To Encourage Brand Advocacy In Beauty
The key to achieving a strong brand advocacy strategy is to encourage and maintain a sharing culture.
Firstly, find your brand advocates through using a platform that allows you to easily separate those who follow or mention your brand passively, and those who are positively sharing your brand.
Encourage the creation of UGC by asking questions, giving clear instructions (e.g. hashtags, demonstrations), or asking consumers to share their stories. Try and give your brand advocates tasks that resonate with the values of your brand to provoke a larger, more authentic response.
Finally, reward your brand advocates ethically, and encourage and maintain brand advocate communities using UGC community platforms. This gives brand advocates a place to meet like-minded people and the chance to be part of an exclusive club. If this is done well, you’ll have people falling over themselves to be a brand advocate.
Brand advocacy should be a cornerstone marketing strategy for beauty brands, pandemic or not. Cost-effective and almost self-propelling, your marketing spend goes further. By diversifying content creation and embracing the creativity of your fans, you’ll find your marketing strategy can weather whatever the world throws at it.
About the Author: Toby Britton is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Miappi. Toby has been involved in the creative and communications industries since the mid-nineties when he started working for independent TV production companies in the production of documentary films. In 2001 he transferred his film making skills marketing and advertising before starting to focus on digital projects. It was these agency-side projects that led Toby to start the business that would evolve into Miappi. Today, Toby oversees the design, development and marketing of Miappi.
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