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Social Outbound Engagement and the Beauty Industry

By: Nate Myers and Ron Robinson
Posted: December 6, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • In the social media reality of 2010, the reach and impact of word-of-mouth is exponentially greater today than ever before.
  • It’s not just the amount of time, but the degree of influence social media carries in the buying decisions of American beauty consumers.
  • While there has been some anecdotal success of effective social marketing within the beauty industry, there has not been widespread adoption of a comprehensive social marketing strategy tied in sufficiently to ROI.
  • The first step for an effective social outbound engagement strategy is to recognize that you have two broad consumer groups, each of which necessitates its own strategy to effectively leverage social media.
  • Establish metrics and survey the most relevant social media sites for your business.

All major beauty brands today have digital marketing strategies in place, yet they are still not doing enough to keep up with consumers. Despite significant discussion regarding social marketing, there still has not been sufficient focus on delivering comprehensive social marketing strategies, leveraging its true word-of-mouth potential and tracking its return on investment (ROI).

The percentage of time Americans are spending online has more than doubled over the past few years, while time spent on other communication channels has dropped or remained flat. People now spend more time online than engaged in any other media activity. Concurrent with the rapid increase in time spent online, there has been the recent dramatic rise of time spent on social media channels. Today, social networking is the number one online activity, with people spending more than six and a half times the amount of time on social media as they do on Internet searches. And it’s not simply about quantity of time, it is also the degree of influence that social media possesses for consumers in their purchasing decisions. These trends are even more pronounced in the beauty industry, as women are even more likely to spend their time using online social media and refer to it when deciding which products they wish to buy.

Beauty brands today need to evolve from simply maintaining a social media presence, to one of social outbound engagement, in which brands meet consumers on their terms—in a compelling, interactive manner. The 10 best practices for successful social outbound engagement are:

  1. Recognize the need for separate social marketing strategies for your brand loyalists as well as independents (both of which will be defined later in this article).
  2. Understand how your brand is represented in social media today, and how you could shape that to look tomorrow.
  3. Prioritize social marketing efforts to ensure you are maximizing your net impact.
  4. Engage your target consumers through your social marketing strategy to facilitate discussion with, and among, that target.
  5. Leverage constructive feedback to both improve your products and services, as well as the perception of your brand among influential social channels.
  6. Develop consumer brand ambassadors who can speak in formal and informal online channels in which your brand might not have a presence to independent consumers who are primarily interested in the opinion of other consumers.
  7. Design your social marketing strategy to create a strong, ripple effect to reap the benefits of positive online word-of-mouth.
  8. Align your marketing resources based on what truly influences consumers purchasing behavior.
  9. Integrate your social marketing program with both your traditional and other online programs to ensure a cohesive and compelling customer experience.
  10. Measure and deliver ROI through clear metrics to track and enhance your social marketing efforts.

Through a comprehensive social marketing strategy employing these 10 best practices, beauty brands can cost-effectively realize significant improvements in awareness, spend and customer loyalty. The brands that catch up with consumers through social media will be the ones to reap the maximum ROI through the positive word-of-mouth they will achieve.

Social Media and the American Consumer