by Kayla Quock, Director of Marketing, Traackr
Skincare was the darling of beauty in 2020. According to Traackr’s State of Influence: Beauty report, influencer posts about skincare increased by 39% and audience engagement saw a 164% spike from 2019 to 2020. The interest in skincare stood out even more given that most other beauty categories experienced a steep decline.
Interest in skincare shows no signs of slowing down in 2021, and the competition to win consumer attention among brands is only heating up. TikTok influencers might be the key to building brand awareness, achieving product virality and even selling in-store products.
The power of TikTok ‘skinfluencers’
For consumers sitting at home during the onset of the pandemic, skinfluencers offered the perfect balance of entertaining and educational content. Dermatologists like Dr. Dray, unofficial experts like Hyram Yarbo and entertaining enthusiasts like Young Yuh became consumers’ go-to advisors for how to treat their skin.
While skinfluencers permeated all social platforms, TikTok, with its short, unfiltered and viral videos, became the platform of choice for skincare routines and product recommendations. This still holds true today — Traackr data revealed that TikTok influencer posts about skincare have increased by 16% when comparing the first half of 2020 to the first half of 2021.
TikTok influencers aren’t just great at fueling the skincare trend; they also drive significant awareness for brands. For example, L’Oréal-owned CeraVe went viral, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Dew Drops became a widely shared favorite, and Freck finally made it into the spotlight by boosting the fake freckle trend.
How skincare brands are using TikTok to drive in-store sales
Although TikTok has proven that it’s an effective platform to gain massive — and often organic — brand awareness, most brands are just now beginning to experiment with paid influencer collaborations.
One brand that saw recent success with paid TikTok influencer campaigns was Beekman 1802. The goat milk-based skincare company wanted to generate awareness and drive sales in Ulta Beauty stores for two new products. However, the brand knew that breaking through the noise on ultra-saturated platforms like Instagram would be difficult, especially when competing against more established brands.
“We hadn’t used TikTok before, but we got on it because we felt it had the greatest potential to help us build brand awareness, forge our authority in the skincare industry and attract millennial customers,” said Brad Farrell, Chief Marketing Officer at Beekman 1802.
In January 2021, Beekman 1802 began experimenting on TikTok by tapping its internal employee network to create and test content on its own profile. This phase of experimentation, along with data and competitive analysis from Traackr, helped the brand determine that educational, lighthearted and product-specific content worked best with its target audiences.
Beekman 1802 then partnered with three types of influencers to bring these content types to life:
- Professional experts: Dermatologist Dr. Dustin Portela (@208skindoc) was able to add credibility to Beekman 1802’s products and provide education about how ingredients like goat milk and probiotics affect the skin’s microbiome.
- Non-beauty influencers: Katie Beth Medaner (@cappybears) was well outside the conventional beauty influencer sphere but fit well with Beekman 1802’s values, and had completely unique content.
- VIP catalysts: Beekman 1802 worked with beauty influencer Laura Lee to promote its Milk Drop product feature in Ulta Beauty’s 21 Days of Beauty event. The time-sensitive campaign was successful — Laura posted about the Milk Drops with a one-day only discount code, and the product sold out within a few hours.
The three-month campaign not only rocketed Beekman 1802 to the top of the brand charts on TikTok; it also helped the company sell out two product lines in Ulta Beauty stores.
Building a TikTok strategy that wins
Considering Beekman 1802’s approach to TikTok, the question becomes: How can brands with similar goals actually build a strategy that works?
There are three key pillars to keep in mind:
- Approach experimentation with a scientific mind. Even brands that have been doing influencer marketing for ages still have a lot to learn. Brands that figure out how to experiment in ways that are deliberate and replicable have the potential to unlock the power of new platforms, content types and influencer personalities, as well as stay on top of trends.
- Building influencer relationships based on values and creativity. When picking an influencer partner, engagement data and audience demographics are important, but they aren’t everything. As was the case with Beekman 1802, successful influencer relationships are often built on a foundation of brand affinity and shared values. Similarly, brands that partner with a diverse set of influencers — including those with different backgrounds and interests — will see content that is more unique and more engaging.
- Eliminate guesswork by using data to make decisions. Having standardized metrics makes it possible to understand the performance of influencer marketing efforts, from a micro and macro view. A solid measurement framework will also enable teams to validate current strategies, see how their program is stacking up against competitors in the industry and identify key areas for improvement.