QVC is boosting its digital and social selling strategy with a focus on the beauty category.

In conjunction with the channel’s first-ever “Black Friday in July,” which launches exclusively on Facebook Live and the brand’s digital platforms today, QVC is taking a social-first approach to programming. Similar to promotional blitzes like Amazon Prime Day, QVC will be running 12 straight hours of original programming on Facebook Live — the most livestreamed original content QVC has broadcast on the platform page in a day, so far. On Facebook, the company has nearly 2.7 million followers and 2.9 million likes.

Representing the beauty category in the marathon includes industry sellers like Beachwaver’s Sarah Potempa, Laura Geller and Mally Roncal, who will not only sell products digitally, but will also showcase how-to tutorials live on the brand’s main page. (Other categories in the programming are electronics, apparel, accessories and home.) The event is streaming the brands’ segments on the main QVC Facebook page, versus its separate Facebook page for prestige beauty, BeautyiQ, to attract more interest and eyeballs. Tatcha’s Vicky Tsai, a longstanding partner, will be promoting the worldwide launch of the brand’s Kissu Lip Mask on Facebook Live, as well, a first for QVC. QVC customers will be directed to the brand’s e-commerce site to shop.

While other retailers like Sephora and Ulta have focused their social media efforts on Instagram, most recently embracing the launch of IGTV, the QVC customer is typically between the ages of 35 to 64 and most regularly uses Facebook, said Rob Robillard, vp of integrated beauty for QVC, HSN and Zulily. “Black Friday in July” is a bigger push in beauty for QVC, especially considering the exclusive Facebook Live Tatcha launch, tied to National Lipstick Day.

“Ninety percent of women who join QVC are here one year later,” he said. “Once she gets into this model, she is loyal, and on average, she is buying 25 products per year.” And those women are buying online, too: 69 percent of QVC customers now purchase on digital platforms, according to the brand.

QVC has streamed on Facebook Live in the past, but the number of hours of live original content for “Black Friday in July,” not just a simulcast of the television broadcast, is unprecedented. QVC said that since 2017, it has seen a 108 percent increase in video views and a 240 percent increase in minutes viewed on the platform.

It’s a smart strategy, said Mary Beth Keelty, PMX Agency chief marketing officer, referring not only to QVC’s digital and social strategy, but also the “exclusive advice and guidance” they provide on Facebook Live:

“As a brand, QVC has an exceptional level of longevity and relevance with a very engaged, loyal following, and they’ve been very thoughtful in expanding that audience connection to digital channels,” she said. “The beauty space is unique in that it really relies on that extreme level of passion, engagement and excitement from followers. Beauty consumers, perhaps more than any other, want to engage and interact with brands, influencers and experts directly.”

QVC, which reached $8.8 billion in annual revenue in 2017, is investing in its growing global e-commerce business. For the first quarter of this year, it saw 50 percent e-commerce penetration and 66 percent mobile penetration. QVC has also recently created dedicated teams focused on enhancing its digital-only product assortments to drive discovery among customers.

“The narrative or the story is as important as the product. It’s education and entertainment,” said Robillard of the Facebook Live strategy. “What Amazon is to Google, we want QVC to be that to Facebook.” Lipsticks and lip care is a growing category for QVC. The company sold 1 million lip products in 2017, which prompted the exclusive Tatcha lip mask launch on Facebook Live, he said. The brand will also introduce an additional Facebook Live program in step with their regular Friday evening “Beauty Night” this week, similar to their successful home program “In the Kitchen with David.”

This will continue a level of trust, according to Keelty.

“Having a multichannel destination for curated content, videos, tips and access to beauty experts is exactly what their followers want,” she said. “It gives beauty brands the chance to break through and really story-tell around their value and perspective to customers.”