Power Retail talks to Naomi Shepherd from Facebook Australia, to learn how beauty brands can leverage platforms like Instagram and Facebook to boost brand awareness and increase conversions.
More than 210 million consumers across the globe are connected to a business in Australia through Facebook. Instagram, has also been rising in popularity in recent years, becoming a viable e-commerce channel with 44 percent of consumers having purchased a product they saw on Instagram. As these digital channels further evolve into effective sales and advertising channels, breaking through the noise to stand-out on social media is more important than ever.
Naomi Shepherd, the group industry director of Facebook Australia says platforms like Facebook and Instagram play a key role in the discovery of makeup and skincare products.
“Forty percent of makeup shoppers and 37 percent of facial skincare shoppers said they would use a product in the Facebook family of apps to discover new products – so it’s no wonder we’re seeing beauty brands create cool and unique campaigns in this space,” she says.
“Across Facebook and Instagram we have a variety of formats that brands are experimenting with – from full-screen Instagram Stories to Facebook Instant Experience, where people can watch videos and photos, swipe through carousels, tilt to pan and explore lifestyle images with tagged products – all in a single ad.”
Shifting Patterns in Social Media Usage
According to Shepherd, 36 percent of makeup and 30 percent of facial skincare shoppers use online channels to evaluate products. As digital commerce continues to evolve, she believes shoppers are shifting away from going in-store to look at products, and are instead looking for innovative mobile-friendly virtual application apps and how-to videos.
“We’re constantly speaking with brands to create new formats aligned to their needs. For example, on Facebook and Messenger we’ve launched Ads in Stories, which provides brands with a new full-screen, immersive, sound-on and interactive format,” she says. “With 62 percent of people saying that they’ve become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story, this is a great opportunity for businesses to connect with their desired audience,” Shepherd continues.
New features in Instagram are also starting to take off, with shoppers now able to shop products directly from their social media feeds.
However, the way consumers shop for beauty products will continue to evolve. Presently, a large portion of shoppers go in-store to make a purchase, but as younger generations start leaning towards convenient online shopping journeys, from discovery to purchase, this will continue to change.
“Take the recent Black Friday sales for example, where it was reported that purchases made on smartphones this year totalled 35.5 percent of all sales compared to 29.1 percent last year,” Shepherd explains. “Brands and marketers that understand what drives discovery and how to remove barriers through to the point of purchase will see success across generations.”
The Adoption of Social Commerce by Beauty Brands
Over the past few years, social media channels have made heavy investments into new technology that streamlines the purchasing process for digitally savvy consumers. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest have all established some form of social commerce.
At Facebook and Instagram, for instance, Shepherd says that beauty brands have been high adopters of social commerce functionalities. “Beauty is a highly visual sector, so we’re seeing brands in this space adopting creative formats on Facebook and Instagram to reach new and existing customers,” she explains. “For instance, in Australia, Go-To Skincare uses Instagram to demonstrate how its products work and take consumers beyond the packaging to show off different textures – from its smooth SPF lotion to its foaming facewash.”
Shepherd also believes that Tasmanian-based brand, Spiritwoods Botanicals leverages Facebook and Instagram to successfully showcase its products. “Spiritwoods Botanicals uses moody and natural images to showcase the raw Tasmanian ingredients from its luxury apothecary range,” she explains.
Beyond the curation of engaging content, Shepherd says brands are using social platforms to promote their products to broader audiences. For instance, she believes Facebook Ads Messenger is a useful tool for better targeting audiences by segmenting customers by age, gender, location and those that have actively interacted with the brand before, to ensure all content is getting in front of the most relevant audience.
Facebook Marketing for Beauty Brands in Action
While Facebook is inundated with campaigns from a number of online and offline brands, Shepherd says that to standout, marketing efforts should extend beyond simply making a post. One of her favourite recent campaigns, for instance, was run by L’Oreal Australia.
The company was looking to drive sales of its La Roche-Posay Toleriane with women over 25. Using bright and bold video ads on Facebook and Instagram, L’Oreal highlighted that dermatologists were recommending the product for people that suffer from sensitive skin. “Once people engaged with the video ads, they were followed up with a Facebook Instant Experience that provided additional information about the product and a call-to-action to shop at selected retailers,” she says.
“Ultimately the campaign resulted in a 16 percent sales uplift over its duration – which really shows the power of reaching customers on mobile in an engaging way.
How Beauty Brands Can Replicate the Success of L’Oreal Australia
To succeed with your social media marketing, Shepherd says brands should be focussing on mobile commerce. “Shoppers are shifting to mobile to discover, evaluate and purchase beauty products, so it’s all about creating engaging online content that’s right for your audience.”
To take advantage of consumers shopping from mobile devices, Shepherd advises beauty brands to make their marketing mobile-first, offer demos that are aspirational and practical, and to bring the in-store experience online.
“Create immersive experiences in which shoppers can try on, shop for and share products. Many businesses are experimenting with virtual reality where people can apply makeup from home to see how it looks before purchasing,” she says.
“Inspire and educate people about new makeup trends, how to apply them as well as the products needed. People are constantly discovering new products via Facebook and Instagram, so create content that differentiates your brand, is compelling and speaks to shoppers’ needs.” And, finally, she says that brands should be taking steps to ensure their shoppers feel confident purchasing online. “Offer easy messaging communication with brand experts to answer questions and provide personalised product recommendations based on skin concerns and complexions. Ensure that there is enough product information and that there are enough reviews and videos for shoppers,” Shepherd says.