A simple guide on how social media marketing can be used to grow small businessDecember 14th, 2020 by Socially Powerful
When it comes to social media marketing strategies, Australian-based beauty company Glossier has proved to be one of the most successful in the past decade. Glossier’s ability to transform a small beauty brand around ten products into a global tech/beauty empire worth over a billion US dollars is worth taking notes on for any brand when thinking of using social media marketing in their business plan.
The popular beauty brand’s success can be defined by a carefully curated ecosystem simply based off of the aesthetics of inclusivity and relatability. Glossier: a line of natural beauty products with a mission to democratize beauty, was not perceived by social media users as a product, but a concept. A concept that followed direct-to-consumer branding, perfectly filling a gap in the very crowded beauty market that’s usually tied to third-party retailers. A gap that proved a need an opportunity to provide feedback and in-depth product information
The Glossier approach is one worth noting when thinking of how to grow a small business using social media community management and social media services. This is why we outlined a guide on how to use social media in your marketing strategy, taking a few cues from Glossier’s unicorn status success.
A guide to content marketing and creating a social media strategy for small businesses:
- Content over Commerce:
Four years after its initial launch in 2014, Glossier has achieved a multi-million dollar social media cult-status. By combining social media services like influencer marketing, social video services and community management with branding, the beauty mogul is the perfect example of content being more effective than commerce. Glossier’s success began with a blog called Into the Gloss set up by its founder, Emily Weiss. Into the Gloss not only gave Glossier credentials, but it started forming the brand’s target audience. The blog had already gained over 184K followers on Instagram by the time Weiss launched Glossier. Weiss started the blog in 2010, with the intention of creating a community (who weren’t salespeople) that could share how beauty products look and be used.
- The ‘E’ in E-Commerce stands for Emotions
Emotional-commerce started as a response to the glossy, perfected content that was funnelled through social media landscapes when Influencer Marketing first exploded. While most brands began their social media marketing journeys to publish perfect content others, like Glossier, published ‘people-powered’ content. Weiss used social media to do more than sell, she used it to start discussions with consumers.
“I really just wanted a brand that I could be friends with.” – Emily Weiss
Emily Weiss, who first began her mission to launch her beauty vision as a blog called Into the Gloss, used social media services like Instagram to optimize her brand’s message, and accessibility. This set Weiss’ brand up to already have the same relatable, quirky and real tone of voice as her blog. Imagine a place you could review and purchase a beauty product? This type of review was a new concept to Ecommerce, for it wasn’t just a 1-5 star option, it meant selfies to show how things are applied or look, reading other reviews, asking questions and engaging with brands. This was the concept of Glossier, a place that could use emotions to sell products.
Their Instagram did more than post about their products, but it posted wallpapers, horoscopes, quizzes, tips and product reveals. Glossier made people want to read their content or be on their mailing list.
- Fit into your customer’s lifestyle
When it comes to growing a business, another thing to take from Glossier is valuing customer relationships. Any social media marketing plan that primarily focuses on revenue is dangerous because, if you base your strategy on customer relationships, revenue is sure to follow. When it comes to something as personal as beauty, customers don’t necessarily want to be told what to do or buy to look ‘pretty’. Weiss knew the importance of building customer relationships through her blog, where she would read what her audience was writing, and find answers to their questions.
This is the same mantra she exhibited for Glossier. She wanted it to be a brand that was malleable and imperfect, once that allowed each customer to feel included and that their voices could be heard. Into the Gloss would ask readers (back in 2015) questions like, ‘what would be your dream cleanser’ to figure out what customers want from particular products. This raw type of dialogue on social media at that time was perceived as refreshing. Not using sales-y lingo allowed Glossier to be trusted by consumers.
- Redefine word of mouth selling
There’s a reason that traditional word of mouth marketing has stuck around for so long – and that’s because it works. Glossier again exhibits the perfect example of this, it launched a referral scheme that each had a personal link to the consumer, so it was easy to keep track of where sales were coming from… and how. Glossier is the perfect example of how big a small brand can grow, thanks to social media. The beauty brand proves that there is huge power in cult-following and that you can’t create social media hype without one. Peer to peer recommendations is not outdated, just hard to identify when it comes to social media marketing
Glossier was one of the first beauty brands to prioritise UGC (user-generated content) in their community management strategy. This instantly made Glossier’s followers engaged with the brand’s content, and interested in their products to be a part of the community’s discussion. Seeing how users were applying and wearing Glossier products on their own feeds also advertised the products to new audiences. Then, resharing this UGC on Glossier’s own feed sparked more interest for users to try the products. Glossier essentially used their own followers and community as their own influencer marketing campaign. This amplified the brand’s ethos of a ‘people-pleasing ecosystem’. Using your own fans or followers to build your own brand awareness ensures authenticity and validation within your brand.
- Be Across All Social Media Channels
Glossier’s success can also be defined by their cross-channel content. Their unique tone of voice isn’t exclusive to Instagram, but popular on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. For any brand, having a presence on as many social media platforms as you can is key. UGC in the form of social video services has become increasingly popular when it comes to customer engagement. Social media video content makes up for the vast majority of the content on Facebook as video recordings are much easier and cost-effective than it used to be. Being across all channels helps build consistent brand awareness. Communicating with your customers on multiple channels will help your brand reach new audiences. Multiple channels mean multiple audiences and potential customers at different points of the purchasing cycle.
The Glossier approach to cross-channel marketing was so effective because their offline and online behaviour was cohesive. Being across multiple social media channels means knowing the difference between the content that’s funnelled through it. For example, Instagram stories are good for daily engagement with your community and giving them little insight into casual conversations your brand may be having. Youtube video content is more in-depth and specific to product reviews or application videos. Cross-channelling can also help your brand build a good online representation when it comes to customer service. Community management services are a key factor in Glossier’s social media strategy. They’re quick to reply to comments across all channels and monitor their online community daily.
It’s important to keep in mind also that not all social media are the same. Glossier’s cross-channel marketing was so successful because they chose the right social media platforms for their products. For a brand like Glossier, success is found in knowing that a platform like Instagram or Pinterest is worth investing more time and labor in versus LinkedIn (a platform usually targeted to business services). This is why it is also important to see which platforms your competitors are on and investing most of their time in. Being a cross-channel brand also means knowing which blogs or influencers you want to identify with, to help you reach your target audience. Letting your community direct your influencer marketing strategy like Glossier did creates a thorough understanding of your own target audience.
Weiss’ strategy of using social media to create a conversational dialogue to millennial consumers. Since everyone is interested in ‘Beauty’ to a certain extent, the carefree ease and aesthetic appeal of Glossier was destined to be a social media success. More specifically, Weiss’ social media strategy that gave every individual the credential of being their own beauty expert allowed the Glossier brand to be so much more than beauty products, but a lifestyle and lived online experience.
The overall takeaway when analysing Glossier’s use of social media marketing services is that no matter what size your brand is, social media community management and social media services can provide incredible advantages. The Glossier approach emphasizes the importance of having more than just product knowledge of your brand, but knowledge on how to deliver your customers real, authentic value. Social media marketing services shouldn’t be picking just one type of media, it should be fusing videos with guides and infographics and many other types of content that your audience won’t be tired of engaging with. Content shouldn’t be thought of as something that’s posted once and completed, but an ongoing online identity that refreshes itself daily. Just one social media account can turn a small, unknown brand into a global success. Any time invested in a social media marketing strategy has the potential of long term success.
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