February 2, 2019
The beauty industry is facing a monumental shift. Beauty products are evolving, toxic ingredients are swapped with cleaner ones, and celebrity endorsements are no longer the only form of beauty marketing.
Historically, the industry’s go-to was getting a celebrity to promote your beauty brand. L’Oreal has worked with supermodel Karlie Kloss, Lancome with actress Julia Roberts and Dior recently announced Cara Delevingne as the face of their new lipstick line. In fact, highly coveted starlets are still sought after by big brands ‘till this day – but you’d know by now that they’re not the only options.
Influencers Are on a Rise
Big brands are looking towards influencers to promote their products, such as Chiara Ferragni (Lancome) and Jenn Im (Colourpop).
Chiara Ferrangni is the new face of Lancome. Credits: @chiaraferragni
While both (influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements) are not the same thing, they do overlap – both strategies have the intent to get the audiences to buy a certain product.
The term ‘influencer marketing’ saw a steady growth on Google over the past year. Other terms like ‘influencer rates’, ‘influencer marketing effectiveness’ and ‘how influencers can help your business’ were popular too.
It’s no surprise that brands are looking for influencers to work with. They have better-targeted posts as they speak directly to their audiences. Some will help to boost your brand image with creative campaigns. Most importantly, they’re cost effective – you pay a much lower fee, and you get better results… win-win situation, right?
It’s Not As Clean Cut
Yes, studies have shown that authenticity was the main reason why consumers trust influencers. After all, many beauty influencers first started out by reviewing products and giving their honest opinions.
However, the same study also revealed that personalisation is also a strong determining factor. Audiences want content that is relevant to their ‘unique interests’. Brand owners often make the mistake of reaching out to any influencer with a high following, not taking engagement rates, interests and other brand affiliations into account.
The terminologies are often just glanced upon too, even though it’s important to know the differences. There are three types of influencers, primarily:
Macro-influencers: Influencers with a larger following, but do not have celebrity status. They have the capability to help your brand attain a higher reach. But in most cases, they may not bring in high ROI.
Medium-influencers: These influencers have a strong influence in getting the audience to act, while at the same time elevating the status of a mass brand. Their influence, however, may not always generate high sales.
Micro-influencers: In stark contrast with macro-influencers, micro-influencers have a smaller, but more concentrated target audience. In other words, they can get their audience to act upon your CTA.
How to Ensure You’re Working with the Right Influencers
Here are 3 key concerns to address before you reach out.
Understand where your influencers are most active
Source: Vietnamese-American beauty vlogger, Michelle Phan on YouTube.
Most beauty influencers are on YouTube. In 2018 alone, views for beauty related videos increased by 38% to 169 billion, a far cry from what the industry used to be before.
Back in 2008, beauty vlogger, Michelle Phan was one of the pioneers of the beauty community on YouTube. Millions of viewers wasted no time to purchase the items mentioned, which led to a sudden propel in sales for a discontinued eyeliner from NYX Cosmetics.
Since then, many others jumped on the bandwagon, creating content that can be up to 30 minutes long. These include the likes of Jeffree Star and Jaclyn Hill, who upload videos on a weekly or monthly basis.
Soon, beauty influencers started compacting their expertise to bite-sized pieces: Instagram.
The Instagram influencer marketing industry may not be as big as YouTube but it is still worth more than $1 billion. Viewers can consume content quicker on Instagram. Influencers just tag or mention brands on their profile and the message gets delivered instantly. Alternatively, they upload short snippets of tutorials on the social media platform.
Naturally, both platforms have different demographics as well. Does your target audience prefer to watch lengthy videos with extra details or a short snippet that gives key information?
Identifying your target audience, as well as theirs, will help you to identify if the influencers are the right people to work with.
Understand the influencers’ key interests – as well as their followers
Beauty influencers don’t just have one interest, they can have as many or as little. The same goes for their followers.
Working with social media influencers is beyond beauty product placements and advert posts. Brands are now selling an experience, which is really just another form of brand exposure. Since you’re not directly selling a product, audiences will be more than happy to consume the content, unknowingly buying into the lifestyle. An example is the #TrippinWithTarte campaign.
Trippin with Tarte vlogs on YouTube.
Beauty influencers like Desi Perkins, Lauren Kurtis and Chloe Morello were sent on a sponsored vacation by Tarte Cosmetics, featuring glamorous villas with luxurious products. These holidays were heavily documented across social media with hashtags like #TrippinWithTarte, garnering thousands of likes and views.
However, this method of marketing may face the risk of undesirable results if the wrong influencers are selected. For example, sending 10 influencers to a yoga retreat may be fun for them, but their followers may not be able to resonate with fitness at all.
A quick way to identify if it’s worth creating a brand experience for the influencers is to see if they’ve worked with any other industry, aside from your own. Study the engagement rates and compare it with their usual content. Chances are, you’ll be able to notice a key pattern, then you can work from there.
Think of a win-win collaboration
Aside from sponsored vacations and tutorials, influencers have also infiltrated the beauty scene with exclusive product collaborations.
These influencers play a large role in the creation and production of such collaborations, from product testing in the manufacturing factory (widely documented on social media) all the way to making tutorial videos featuring the products. This gains the trust of their fanbase, showing that their collaboration stretches further than just slapping their name on the packaging.
The Jaclyn Hill and Becca Cosmetics collection were undoubtedly one of the most successful beauty collaborations. What started out as an indie brand skyrocketed into a $200 million brand, with their successful collaboration to thank.
Back in 2015, Becca Cosmetics partnered with Jaclyn Hill to release an exclusive highlighter, a product that gained extreme momentum. Jaclyn Hill’s presence on Youtube was also starting to take off then, and the collaboration was the right step for both parties. 25,000 units of the highlighter were sold out on Sephora during July 2015 – in just 20 minutes. The highlighter that was initially a limited edition product became a permanent line.
Working with the right influencer led to a win-win situation. Both Becca Cosmetics and Jaclyn Hill gained millions of news fan after the campaign.
Again, this draws back to selecting the right influencers with similar interests. Have they expressed a desire to own a makeup line? Have they already collaborated with another brand? What were the results?
Understanding this will definitely help your brand embark on a win-win partnership, or at least, avoid making a costly mistake.
All in all…
In order to succeed and maintain relevance, brands must take precaution when working with influencers. Most influencer marketing failures usually stem from a lack of understanding behind the influencer used.
It boils down to relying on solid data when it comes to selecting the right influencer to work with. A particular influencer may have an abundant of followers but are they aligned with your brand? Remember, follower count does not equate to impact.
Former affiliations and interests of influencers are incredibly crucial in order to build a trustworthy marketing strategy to tap into the target audience of their followers.
For a more thorough understanding behind influencers and their followers, click here for an exclusive report that showcases the data of the top influencers in Singapore, a country that ranked second on Google Trends’ list of countries with a high interest in influencer marketing.