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Mintel Highlights the Beauty in Social Media Engagement

Posted: May 3, 2012

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And it appears Britain’s “voucher culture” is also playing a part in online behavior. With the U.K. economy in recession, consumers are trying to make their budgets stretch as far as possible. As a result, 33% of U.K. Internet users who interacted with beauty brands in the 12 months to January 2012 did so to take advantage of special offers and 33% said they wanted to get free offers and samples. Just over four in 10 (42%) people will interact with a brand online for discounts or information on sales or money-saving tips and this is as motivating for Twitter followers (52%) as it is for Facebook fans (50%).

There are many degrees of intimacy in friendships and associations and it appears that the role of social networking sites is encouraging a greater degree of intimacy between consumer and brand—and also stretching the definition of friendship. Just over one in three people (34%) engage with or share their thoughts on beauty and personal care brands that they already use. But while friendship with friends may be based on trust and mutual understanding, one in three (33%) people only friend a brand or share their thoughts on it in order to save money or get free samples.

“The ‘friendship’ between consumer and brand is not based on positive reciprocity, but on an assumption that they will be rewarded by the brand for being friends with it, liking it or sharing their thoughts and opinions on it,” Richmond comments.

Women are not only more involved in the beauty arena, they are also more likely than men to prove their loyalty online. Nearly three in 10 women who have interacted with or shared their shouts with a beauty or personal care brand track news about brands and products online, compared to fewer than one in four men. They are also more adventurous, with 20% keen to try out new products, compared to just 13% of men.

More encouragingly for brands, and particularly those with aspirational status, tribal behavior also motivates their online visitors. Just over a third of those who interacted with them did so because they already own their label, 22% wanted their friends to know that they like the brand and 14% wanted to be associated with it.