Beauty influencers, and the passionate online communities centered around them, have become major marketing forces for skin care brands. These influencers, who use platforms like YouTube and Instagram to record their experiences with skin care and beauty products, have become so important that over 84% of brands are now expressing interest in working with them. Studies show that collaborations with influencers bring in double the dollar value of traditional celebrity endorsements, and their YouTube videos reach 92% of makeup users.
With so many brands competing for the attention of influencers, the advice below can help you stand out from your competition and maximize the results of your efforts.
1. Understand that it’s personal. Beauty influencers don’t generate views by acting like traditional spokespeople. Instead, they build an audience by inviting their viewers to spend time with them as mutual fans of beauty products. They have a personable, informal approach that emphasizes interaction with their followers. This helps viewers feel as though they being given personal access to certain parts of the influencers’ lives. For example, UK beauty influencer Pampered Wolf filmed her own first Botox procedure and frequently invites her mother to join her videos as a model. This intimacy promotes a feeling of trust that translates into a strong marketing influence, similar to the trust consumers have for their friends.
2. Know that influencers say what they really think. They earn their following by showing how a product actually works in the real world, on a real person. Their viewers trust the influencers to steer them away from disappointing products – something a manufacturer wouldn’t be expected to do. Prominent male beauty blogger Alex Rivera describes himself (and his peers) as “a warrior for the middle-class using drugstore makeup.”
3. Find the right fit. Know your market and what they care about, and then use that information to select which influencers you want to reach. Some trends that are growing in importance with consumers are social inclusion, sustainable ingredients and authenticity. A good influencer for your private label skin care brand will be one who is interested in your product on a personal level.
4. Look for engaged followers. You don’t necessarily want the influencer with the most followers, you want the one with the most active community. Even though a “micro-influencer” will have fewer subscribers than a large name, those followers will take their suggestions more seriously due to the sense of community the influencer has cultivated. The “sweet spot” for follower-size relative to interaction has been estimated to lie between 10k to 100k followers.
5. Focus on long-term awareness. The earliest influencer marketing attempts involved promoting a single product once. However, marketers have since changed their focus to favor building brand awareness over time. Once again, it is the power of having an authentic relationship with a buyer that results in more sales. For online entrepreneurs, a social media influencer can serve as a proxy for their customers. If you earn that influencer’s trust and enthusiasm, their followers are more likely to at least give your product a try.
6. Think of influencers as part of your team. Influencers themselves have to pick products that will be the most interesting to their followers. They often will be receptive to being paid or receiving free samples in exchange for giving a product exposure. (In these instances, they are required to conform to FTC guidelines about disclosing the nature of these endorsements.) But if an influencer is seen as being motivated only by money, they will lose their perceived authenticity and, with that, their following.
Some strategies to engage influencers without turning them off are to invite them to give feedback on your products while they are still in the development stage, offer them advance access to yet-to-be-released products and meet them in person at industry events. Above all, show that you are familiar with them and their community.
7. Give them ideas for engagement. Many influencers appreciate being part of a challenge or project that will promote them as an industry expert while also attracting more followers. For example, L’Oréal’s Beauty Squad, made up of eight influencers from different backgrounds, not only promotes the brand to followers, but also benefits influencers with increased exposure. Olay also had a successful 28-day campaign with beauty influencers, and it resulted in a 20% gain in social media engagement for the brand.
Understanding influencers as individuals and offering them products and campaigns that will grow their following will help you gain access to their powerful marketing potential.