Catherine Mitchell, director of brand and communications, PLANOLY
It’s no secret that the beauty industry is a supersaturated market. The sheer amount of competitors from celebrity and big name legacy brands alone can feel daunting. In recent years, thanks to social media marketing, it’s now possible for anyone to create the next beloved beauty brand. To truly stand out and build community, brands must be dedicated to and engaged with their audience as well as understand that true connection and brand loyalty don’t always develop overnight.
PLANOLY sat down with Catherine McMahon, the social media manager of We Are Fluide, a mission-driven beauty brand, to discuss how brands can use these four strategies to grow their brand by addressing the social aspect of social media content.
Be inclusive — brands should involve the communities they are representing
In 2021, it’s not enough to stand out — beauty brands need to stand for something. There are several opportunities for next-gen beauty brands to use social storytelling as a vehicle to engage their customers responsibly.
Building diverse teams and hiring representative creators and models is crucial. It’s one thing for a brand to say they represent a certain community, but if they don’t walk the talk by making this evident within the company itself, people notice that shortfalling. Conversely, when brands work with the people they seek to represent and support by hiring those types of people, they take one step toward backing their words with action.
We Are Fluide knows this well — the brand was created to uplift, amplify and celebrate Black, POC and LBGTQIA+ faces and voices who are vastly underrepresented in the beauty industry. To set themselves apart, Fluide is made up of a team that is as diverse as the models and values they represent. It’s important for them to work with the queer communities they seek to represent and support through hiring and featuring models, photographers and videographers.
Another way brands can work to back their words with action is to turn to their followers to give them the opportunity to participate in campaigns to support the brand’s mission and values, as well as help the audience feel a deeper connection to the brand by seeing themselves in campaigns.
For example, Fluide celebrated this year’s Trans Day of Visibility by putting an open call to their Instagram followers who identified as transgender to ask if they’d like to participate in a marketing campaign. Most of the people they hired as models had never modeled or had their makeup done professionally before. It was a truly connected experience and an important call to action to recognize, respect and demand equality.
Humanize product posts with user-generated content
With user-generated content (UGC), there comes a natural trust and authentic quality that makes beauty products feel more accessible. UGC offers another way for audiences and brands to be inspired by the ways makeup, for example, is used for creative and unique looks as well as how it’s experienced by individuals and relatable people.
For new brands without many organic posts from followers, finding a way to get products into their hands is key. Fluide has found sending their products to their local queer communties and those they admire to be invaluable for generating UGC.
While using branded images can be stunning, it’s also equally important for audiences to see beauty products used on people just like them. Once brands start spotting UGC for their brand, they should regularly repost tagged content to their Instagram Stories and Feed to thank those followers for sharing. It is important to always ask for permission and credit creators for their work before sharing UGC.
Integrate community marketing into video content strategies
From TikTok to Instagram, video content has become central in the social media marketer’s playbook. Video content is especially prevalent in the beauty industry, where video tutorials and testimonials are virtually everywhere.
One way to utilize video is by establishing a recurring video series to help build consistency and get followers to recognize the brand. Reels and TikTok videos can help beauty brands showcase ways to use their products as well as entertaining and behind-the-scenes content. It’s important to think about the copy, the visual experience and how the content will be perceived by the brand’s audience.
Fluide created an Instagram IGTV series, “Queerie,” where they interview and talk with various members of the LGBTQIA+ community, discussing everything from current news and politics to incredible initiatives and projects by the community.
Social media evolves quickly, but brands shouldn’t feel pressured to jump on every trend. Finding ways to create long-lasting connections and content that resonates for longer than a quick fad or trend is much more effective. Being attentive to what the brand’s audience wants and needs as well as their pain points and what the beauty brand can offer them is also important.
Establish clear content buckets to ensure the content is reaching the right people
Some social media content buckets include the brand’s product, the model or campaign photos, tutorials and entertaining and educational videos. Once content buckets are established, batching content will help save time, curate aesthetic content and prioritize post quality. Fluide works to share their mission of creating inclusive makeup experiences in each of their campaigns, and by using a scheduling tool, like PLANOLY, brands can visually plan and schedule content in advance.
From this, brands can then create campaigns that align with their mission and that reflect their audience to create an inclusive experience.