Social Media in Beauty Industry

Posted: August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

A Different Standard of Beauty: Winning the Loyalty of the Indian ConsumerSocial Media Marketing for the Beauty Industry: Reaching Your Audiences
A Different Standard of Beauty: Winning the Loyalty of the Indian Consumer
As leaders in the beauty industry, we have a shared mission: to convince consumers, specifically women, that they can transform themselves into the outward beauty ideal — with the aid of our products, of course. Don’t we?

I’m going to step out on a limb here and say, no, our mission is entirely different.

Anyone can sell a hot trend, a gimmick, a quick fix. The real challenge, the true task at hand, is to empower women with the knowledge and tools to express their innate beauty to the world, no matter where it may be, every single day. Unfortunately, we have some pretty powerful forces working against us.

From the earliest days on the playground, little girls learned what is pretty and what is not. Before we even need training bras, standards of beauty are established by our environments and reinforced by our mothers and grandmothers, who teach us their own beauty ideals. And, just in case anyone is as strange as I was to believe her auburn hair, green eyes, fair skin and tomboy tendencies could be beautiful, Hollywood steps in to destroy such absurd notions and remind us that beautiful is tall, thin, blonde and busty — period.

This is not a strictly American phenomenon. I have traveled the world and talked with women struggling to meet the standards their societies have set for them. Across cultures, women are striving for their own ideal of beauty, and are willing to do nearly whatever it takes to achieve it, from skin-lightening treatments in India to eye-shaping plastic surgery in Asia. Tapping into this demand in other cultures is a no-brainer for global brands.

But foreign manufacturers have learned the hard way that simply implementing traditional Western business models with traditional brands and benefits fails in other societies. This has proven true in India, especially. As one of the fastest-growing beauty markets in the world, global brands and manufacturers are eagerly seeking to win the loyalty of Indian women. The failure to understand the daily, often pragmatic needs of these women has sabotaged the efforts of many leading manufacturers to tap into a unique opportunity to establish a remarkable level of brand loyalty.

India’s woman is unique. She relies on generational age-old beauty secrets and places a high level of importance on aesthetics and daily beauty routines. She likely lives in cluster, multigenerational homes and communities that share a variety of resources, cultural practices and wisdom geared toward refining 4,000-year-old traditions. Change, new products included, is often met with skepticism.

There is a real opportunity in India. As leaders in the beauty industry, we can realize the kind of brand loyalty that spans generations. Great. But ultimately —what does this accomplish? What does this do for our Indian consumer? Simply talking about selling products is selling women short everywhere.

What I am most interested in is empowering the Indian woman with products that provide convenience, safety, health and dignity. I want to reach Indian women with the message that beauty does not exist as a single standard, no matter what Hollywood — or Bollywood, for that matter — may say. Women everywhere have the right to enhance their own standard of beauty in a way that makes them confident and proud of who they are. Why can’t we be the ones who tell them so?

# # #

Elle Morris has beauty in her blood. As Vice President and General Manager of LPK Beauty, both clients and friends know her as a “beauty junkie” with an innate understanding of how the notion of beauty translates from culture to culture. Throughout her career she has helped to build and revitalize beauty brands around the globe, working with partners in North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe and India. At the HBA Global Expo, she will be speaking on Wednesday, June 29th, in the session Reaching the Indian Consumer.

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Social media makes beauty a breeze
It’s no surprise that the beauty industry is big business. There are currently 750 plus unique beauty brands.

If that’s not astonishing, how about the fact that there are 250,000 plus beauty salons in the United States?

And people are buying into it, literally.

In the U.S. alone, $59 billion is spent annually on beauty products and services. That number multiplies by more than five times when you account for worldwide sales, which come out to an incredible $250 billion per year.

These companies, along with independent beauty professionals, are realizing the importance of social media in relation to the beauty industry. Social tools like YouTube, blogs, and Pinterest are certainly keeping us connected, but can they also make us more beautiful?

Hair- and makeup-related videos have exploded on YouTube. In the top five searches on YouTube, as well as Google, women are looking for beauty tutorials, advice and information. Beauty gurus record videos such as “How to create the perfect smoky eye,” “How to curl your hair with a flat iron,” and “How to duplicate celebrity looks,” and upload them to the popular video-sharing website.

Once uploaded, these videos have the potential to receive hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of views. A beauty video can go viral in a matter of days or even hours, racking up views due to people spreading the link through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others. YouTube users can watch, comment and post video responses.

This environment provides an interactive virtual experience for what was once confined to makeup counter consultations and “playing beauty parlor” at sleepovers. Instead of lamenting that you wish you knew how to apply the perfect red lip, you can now visit YouTube and find a slew of step-by-step video instructions.

The beauty community Makeup Alley is also becoming an increasingly dominant source of beauty product information.

Makeup Alley users can create accounts, post photos, rate products, comment, interact with one another through message boards, and more. Products are rated on a scale of one to five “lipsticks,” so that users can learn about products before buying, and rate and comment after making purchases.

Pinterest is another social media tool creating beauty frenzy. Users can create boards for different makeup and hairstyle inspirations.

Because Pinterest is a community that encourages sharing and “re-pinning,” photos have the potential to be spread across a large audience over a short period of time.

If the photos are properly linked, that means traffic back to the sites and blogs to which the photos originated.

Blogs are the most powerful source of beauty information, and are two times more likely to drive buyers to making a purchase than magazine ads. Writers of these blogs, or beauty bloggers, post about products, tutorials, recent trends, techniques, and more. Links to posts are spread via Twitter and Facebook, and photos from these blogs are “pinned.”

Businesses that promote via their own blogs have the capability to provide information about their products and services to a willing and interested audience.

Another route a company can take is to enlist the assistance of beauty bloggers. By giving these bloggers a product or service and asking them to write about it, companies will receive publicity and attention from the blogger’s audience, who may be intrigued enough to visit the company’s website and possibly make a purchase.

What does this mean for boutiques and beauty business owners?

Great things.

There are many opportunities available through these online resources if you are willing to jump on board. Get involved with the appropriate social media outlets available to you and your business. This will strengthen your brand and online presence, creating fans and followers.

In addition to developing interest and reputation for your products and services, it will also convert to sales.

As the popularity of social media networks continues to rise, let your business lead the pack by joining forces with social media as soon as possible. Through doing so, your company will stand out above the rest — and look more beautiful than ever.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 8:26 pm and is filed under Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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