The Beauty Influencer World and Why It Matters

5 Min Read |

There’s little doubt social media influencers have a tremendous impact on marketing products. From makeup, fashion and beauty, to travel and everyday consumables, influencers are a tremendously effective means of targeting large and niche audiences, with strong engagement, and eventual increase in sales figures.

Yes, it may seem that every “influencer” with a social media account is vying for the likes and favorites of other users, and that opportunity to partner with a strong brand with a #sponsored post. True influencers have developed an inspiring persona, sharing stories and values to dedicated, engaged followers, who perceive these targeted posts as authentic; they get it. The third-party, independent validation of social media mavens with anywhere from a few thousand to millions of followers, speaks volumes to followers, as consumers crave to see which products work and how they can be applied in real life. How does the product appeal to them, without the impersonal feeling of a scatter-shot corporate advertising campaign?

We live in a world of hyper-personalization, highlighted more than ever in the beauty industry. The advertisements of old are a less effective means for the consumer of the future, who is empowered, socially conscious, savvy and efficient. With so many different beauty options for each individual’s style and beauty ambitions, a single brand campaign simply cannot be relevant to a majority of its potential consumers. This is where beauty influencers come into play, hitting a significant number of niche, increasingly-diverse target consumers and categories.

For brands with decades of market dominance, this concept seems to be a foreign territory, where new brands are born on social media. Legacy beauty companies have institutional marketing departments, processes, and commitments (retail partners, for example) that need to stay relevant. New brands on social media, are directly in touch with changing consumer expectations and, without heavy overhead, have greater flexibility to meet those needs. When it comes down to the final campaign push, those with the most authentic, targeted messages will thrive in today’s social-focused consumer society.

The rise of niche communities has found consumers joining together into smaller lifestyle groups, expressing themselves through their product needs and wants; all of whom are all more engaged, more informed and positively opinionated. These groups can be categorized into those who share specific information on skin disorders, allergies, skin tone and hair types, or simply for brands they love; passion is high in all of these sub-target audiences. The beauty industry is one of the few that has such a strong number of different targets, which are not solely based on location, income or age. A 50-year-old woman and 25-year-old man are following the same beauty influencer for tips, and you’ll need to understand the wide variant of overlapping traditional demographics. 

So what does this all mean? The best shopping experiences are tailored to the consumer’s personal preferences.

Simply put, it’s not necessary to utilize the entire population of social media users for an all-out campaign to raise awareness of a product or brand. That’s not an effective use of time, money or worth the risk to reputation. Building a social media influencer strategy with the gatekeepers of these communities is key to building an engaged and passionate customer/follower.

Of course, you cannot simply approach these highly respected and adored community leaders cold. A relationship must be developed; trust on both sides to ensure messaging is on point, while keeping the brand’s image and voice strong. Your research will also unveil the potential for competitive, fierce brand ties and exclusivity, which you’ll require and/or want to avoid, depending on the situation. Your select influencers are a new-found authority on what is beautiful. The large brand’s corporate message no longer decides what the consumer needs or wants.

The biggest advantage of having an influential social media account personality is their authentic story and real-life applications with the products. They’re not solely showing the products or trying to sell consumers. The connection deepens as these unique personas earn a passionate following, without pushing a threatening corporate message. They’re reaching a wider segmentation of audiences, rather than sticking to tight demographics. These posts will vary, but their voice and tone are on-brand with the help of your influencer. They’ll discuss why they’re choosing this shade/color/blend, and how to actually apply the product. Perhaps a fun or inspiring anecdote will accompany the post.

When it comes to messaging, rather than pushing out a campaign to the consumers directly, creating social-first editions through influencer distribution will help build a stronger, more engaging program. Soft launches of new campaigns can be monitored – social listening – to see what hits and what misses. Convey the message, using tactical items to bring the community back into the conversation. Social media can help maintain a strong message, with real-time adjustments, before a large brand announcement. Let your targets fine-tune the message for you.

Social media has been around for more than a decade, but marketing and advertising teams have only scratched the surface of these platforms and their dedicated users – billions around the world. Understanding how to use these platforms to your advantage, growing a following and building excitement for your products through social media influencers takes comprehensive strategy, dedicated partners and true vision. Those brands ignoring the needs of social users will lose their stake in the industry to those taking complete advantage of the medium.

About the Author: Martin Stoll is the founder and CEO of Sparkloft Media, a social-first agency, leading insights-driven and human-centric conversations and content for clients around the world. Stoll focuses on the continued fundamental changes within social media, and its impact on all aspects of our lives, personally and for organizations of all sizes and industries. Sparkloft Media is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with offices in Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Miami.