3 Tips for Community-Led, Beauty Brand Storytelling on Social

For social media success, follow our three tips for community-led beauty brand storytelling, uniting people, tools and technology.

A colorful eye shadow palette from a beauty brand.

Beauty is a hot category for social media content and brand storytelling today.

It’s not hard to see why: 84% of Millennial beauty purchases are influenced by social media now, as Ipsy co-founder Jennifer Goldfarb recently noted at Shoptalk.

If you’re managing a brand and looking to ignite awareness and adoption in the social beauty sphere, it’s not enough anymore to have a cadre of influencers, an active brand presence and a robust following on social media. As the industry dynamics, media landscape and content consumption habits have changed, it’s now imperative to harness all of the people in your community, along with sophisticated tools and technologies, to help you create and distribute quality content at scale. As Goldfarb also proclaimed, “Creators are the heart of communities.”

Are you maximizing yours?

Whether your products are sold direct, online, through retail partners or via your owned retail stores, your entire community—founders, employees, beauty artists, customers and more—are the authentic brand ambassador voices that can forge timely, relevant content to make your beauty brand rise. And new social features and technological advancements such as Greenfly are here to support those communities in amplifying your message.

To find social media success for your beauty brand, follow our three tips for community-led brand storytelling — bringing together new ways of thinking about people, tools and technology.

Close-up of woman's lips as lipstick is applied.

1 – PEOPLE: Move beyond paid influencers.

Paid beauty macro-influencers with large followings are probably core to your brand’s social content strategy at this point, whether they’re compensated through products, advertising or cash. And they likely have added brand value, particularly if your focus is on younger buyers. A recent Yotpo study found that among the factors that convince women to make discretionary beauty purchases, GenZ is most influenced by influencers or celebrities (34% of respondents) and a brand’s popularity on Instagram (32%).

However, it’s essential to expand your thinking on who can best promote your brand via content today, as consumers look to social to discover, research and even purchase new products. Many issues including fraud and often low levels of transparency, authenticity and content control have tainted the allure of transactional, pay-for-play content creators. As a result, macro-influencers with more close-knit connections are rising in influence, as well as user-generated content, which has become a staple of peer-to-peer recommendations. From that same Yotpo research, Millennials were found to be most swayed by customer photos (36% of respondents) and customer videos (31%). Similarly, among GenX buyers, customer photos (28%) and customer videos (19%) rise to the top of influential factors for discretionary beauty purchases.

Beyond these external groups, savvy beauty companies are looking inward for new and distinct brand voices to generate content and amplify it. They’re focusing on nurturing stronger, long-term relationships with their internal community members and harnessing their brand enthusiasm—activating them to create content with an authentic, more personalized filter and share brand content among their curated social followings.

The opportunities to receive and distribute compelling content via these trusted, valuable brand stakeholders are many, no matter what sales channels are in place. Beauty companies that have owned stores can tap into their professional make-up artists and associates. Brands that distribute products through global partner retail outlets and salons can turn to those store associates and stylists. Online-only and direct-to-consumer brands can leverage their sellers, along with in-house estheticians and pedigreed experts. All beauty brands can add their founders (celebrity or otherwise) and corporate employees to the content mix as well.

Furthermore, many beauty companies sell products now through multiple channels. They can thereby take a hybrid approach, leveraging many facets of community-led content for greater reach and consumer connection across digital and in-store forums. Each of these groups has a vested interest in and advanced knowledge of their brands and followers to match social content with what consumers are looking for in the marketplace.

Beauty brushes and other tools in a cup.

2 – TOOLS: Harness the stories format.

The types of social content these groups can produce and disseminate are changing as well, and are quickly becoming core elements of brand content plans.

Many social platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have developed their own visual stories features as more immersive experiences than what traditional feeds can provide audiences. The stories format was practically made for community-based beauty content and brand storytelling. Its full-screen, mobile-friendly and video-centric aesthetic is ideal for crafting content on the go. Stories are growing across all platforms; on Instagram, they’re on track to surpass in-feed content sometime this year.

Stories offer ideal spaces for experimenting creatively with in-demand content from all corners of a brand community. This content can include stylists’ product tutorials and lookbooks, experts’ beauty tips, associates’ in-store event highlights, customers’ stories, and corporate employees’ less-polished, “make-up off” glimpses of their brand offices. All content that consumers crave today.

With 500 million daily users and growing, Instagram Stories has the most impressive reach and potential impact for beauty brand storytelling right now as more consumers make story-viewing a regular habit. In fact, an Awesomeness and Trendera study found that beauty videos were the top type of videos that female teen smartphone users in the U.S. watch on Instagram Stories (31% of respondents). A Delmondo research report indicated that the highest completion rate for Instagram Stories (69%) was seen with stories having two to ten frames, so brands must use their stories time wisely—filling them with their most interesting content to keep people engaged before they drop off.

Stories across platforms are also are helping to drive more engagement and faster purchase cycles, with features that allow consumers to swipe up for more information, participate in product polls, shop directly within content and more. With community-led content, there are even more opportunities to move consumers quickly along their purchase journey.

Three lipsticks in neon lights.

3 – TECHNOLOGY: Utilize an advanced content platform.

Finally, advanced technology is in place today to bring your community members and social brand storytelling together.

Greenfly’s content collaboration and distribution platform makes it possible via one central hub for brands to manage large communities and interact with them to create and share timely content that can be sent to brand social channels and their own.

Greenfly helps beauty brands activate their valuable advocates, strengthen those relationships through content collaboration and efficient communication, and ultimately, drive exponential growth in social reach and engagement. Whatever your brand sales channel or market focus is, Greenfly can ease the challenge of rapid social content creation and distribution at scale, and streamline your entire social content workflow.

In practice, the Greenfly platform can ingest photo and video content created by your various beauty community stakeholders and route it into organized portfolios for distribution to brand social teams or other community members. These Greenfly Galleries can be accessed and shared via the Greenfly mobile app so content can be amplified quickly across social stories or feeds.

Brand teams can segment community content contributors—such as stylists or employees from particular store brand lines—into groups to address their specific communication, content and approval workflows. They can interact with one or many contributors at once through requests and messaging originated within the Greenfly app—removing the complexity of text and email chains, spreadsheets and FTPs.

Social teams can connect with any of their community members to request that content be shared to their social channels or request new content be created for beauty brand social and digital channels. This content can include behind-the-scenes store moments, product comparisons, themed looks, tips for product use and much more.

The platform also lets teams immediately view content results; they can see which community members are sharing content and how that content is engaging others on social media.

A photograph of a woman having lipstick applied to her lips.

CASE STUDY: Community-led, brand storytelling success.

One of Greenfly’s retail store customers was looking to scale timely, relevant digital content to its consumer audience. To support this effort, the social team turned to Greenfly to activate the company’s community of several thousand store associates.

With Greenfly’s platform, the company harnessed the store associates and enabled them to own the brand story by creating authentic digital and social content. Stories increasingly became a focal point of the company’s content strategy, with content requests designed to create snackable, mobile-first videos and photos.

This approach helped to satisfy content creation demands; it also allowed store associates to have more direct communication with the corporate office, a stronger brand connection, and the opportunity to be featured on the brand’s social media channels. With Greenfly, the company saw an exponential increase in organic social reach for its content.

By prioritizing these tips that unite people, tools and technology, your beauty brand can harness community-led brand storytelling for social media success.

Are you looking to scale your beauty content on social? Contact us at Greenfly.

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