Scaling Influence to Drive Marketing Efficiency for Luxury Beauty Brands
Reading time: 7 min
If you’re building a luxury beauty brand, now is the time to ensure your influence stands out.
We recently hosted an intimate roundtable event with some of the luxury sectors’s leading beauty brands in attendance. Partnering with Duel we hosted over 20 brand leads for breakfast at the Conduit London, featuring an incredible panel of experts where we took our guests through a deep dive into Scaling Influence for Luxury Beauty Brands.
Setting the Scene
The beauty sector is exploding, with a new beauty brand emerging every single day, according to Vogue Business.
McKinsey & Company’s ‘The Beauty Market in 2023’ report unveiled a solid recovery for the beauty sector, following the tumultuous pandemic era – with 6% year-on-year growth projecting a robust $580 billion valuation of the market by 2027.
In this article, we cover off our tactical strategies discussed at our Beauty Roundtable Event, created and endorsed by our Social & Influencer team at VERB and our talented event partner Duel:
- Driving the Efficacy & Efficiency of Influencer Marketing
- The power duo that is Influencer Marketing & SEO
- Social Advocates playing a key role in unlocking scale with Duel
- Utilising UGC
- The pitfalls to avoid with beauty brands and their Influencer Marketing
- Scaling whilst maintaining control over Brand and Content
Driving the Efficacy & Efficiency of Influencer Marketing
In this constantly evolving industry, one fact remains evident: consumers in the beauty world often find themselves confused.
In the whirlwind of ever-changing trends and new products, the average customer grapples with uncertainty regarding their cosmetic choices. Notably, popular Google searches, as reported by Sheerluxe, reflect this confusion, with inquiries ranging from the relevance of miracle ingredients to the proper use of products. For instance, questions like ‘Is the smokey eye still in style in 2023?’ and ‘What are the benefits of using vitamin C serum on your face?’ continue to be asked today.
This is where the power of impactful influencer marketing comes into play. According to GWI, high-net-worth shoppers actively seek out online experts as part of their customer journey. They consume content from specialised individuals, closely follow brand social media updates, and seek recommendations across various platforms.
It’s essential to recognise and leverage this growing demand for digital-first expertise for your brand. By inviting influencers into your inner circle, you can empower them to educate their audiences, bridging the gap between informed beauty knowledge and your brand community. The key to enhancing brand resonance and fostering advocacy lies in generating more of this type of content.
To level up your luxury offering, creating content by the following guidelines is essential:
- Meet your customers where they are, fulfilling their needs.
- Harmonise marketing across your owned, earned and paid channels.
- Serve up relatable, lo-fi and human-led content for your community to connect to.
- Boldly innovate and reject the mundane, whenever possible.
Why Social Advocates play a key role in unlocking scale
Every successful brand relies on the endorsement of customers who genuinely adore them. By offering brand enthusiasts outstanding experiences and opportunities for meaningful connections, you can cultivate widespread Brand Advocacy.
Here’s an intriguing fact: revenue generated from Social Commerce like this is projected to more than double from $492 billion in 2021 to $1.2 trillion by 2025, according to research conducted by UM Agency. Simultaneously, consumers are increasingly inclined to make purchases from sources they trust. The Edelman Trust Barometer for 2022 revealed that only 24% trust advertising, while a significant 92% trust recommendations from friends, experts, or professionals.
To tap into the untapped and underutilised resource of social-native Advocates, micro-influencers, and niche communities that your luxury beauty brand possesses, consider providing them with a sense of belonging. Advocacy programs serve as the fuel for kindling intense brand loyalty that extends beyond conventional boundaries.
Luxury Influencer Marketing & SEO
There is significant value found in creating a powerful duo between your influencer marketing team and your SEO department. As our own SEO Account Director, Becs Jackson, can attest to this.
As the dynamics of social media and search engine optimisation continue to evolve, Becs asserts that “the focus has shifted from the content you have on your website to how users interact with your social media.”
With the rise of AI, search engines now consider all brand signals in their rankings, including your social media presence outside of your website. If your website and social platforms are not optimised with valuable content that drives engagement, Becs says “Google has advanced to the point where it recognises this, and you may risk not being visible to users.“
So, how should influencer and SEO teams collaborate to achieve the greatest impact?
“Your SEO team should be feeding data to your influencer [team], to your content [team]”, Becs explains. “Have a look at seasonal trends and keywords. What are your users searching for?” Use socials to give customers the answers they’re after, while designating a similar FAQ section on-site, and you’re onto a winning strategy.
User Generated Content (UGC) is currently enjoying a well-deserved spotlight. Although some of the UGC produced for your luxury brand may align with your aesthetic, the majority is often deemed as not fitting the bill.
Utilising User-Generated Content (UGC)
How can luxury brands effectively incorporate more low-fi UGC content? Becs suggests, “Integrate it onto your website. Why keep these things separate?“
This advice might raise eyebrows in the luxury brand world, but it’s firmly rooted in research. The mere presence of UGC on your website can significantly impact your bottom line. Power Reviews discovered a 3.8% increase in conversion rates among site visitors exposed to any form of UGC. What’s more, when these visitors choose to engage with UGC, their conversion rates are a remarkable 102.4% higher than the average.
“Don’t keep your on-site performance completely isolated from your social channels,” Becs says. “They should be working in harmony.” This presents an opportunity for luxury brands to challenge the conventional and position themselves as leaders in innovation.
Concerns about the quality of authentic UGC are largely unfounded. According to TINT‘s ‘2023 State of Social & UGC’ report, authentic UGC is perceived as more trustworthy than staged content.
Ollie Smith, Head of Growth at Duel, has observed the same trend across Duel’s collaborations with numerous brands. “The content quality might be subpar,” Ollie acknowledges, “but it converts exceptionally well because customers are real individuals who want to see products being used by real people.“
Real people, real products, and conversion success – a winning combination.
The Pitfalls to Avoid with Beauty Brands and Influencer Marketing
There’s a dilemma within the realm of luxury influencer marketing – the conventional playbook often necessitates substantial investments with uncertain returns. Even the most astute brands can find themselves ensnared in a few common pitfalls, adhering to outdated practices.
Based on Ollie’s extensive experience, these are the prevailing ways in which influencer success often goes off track:
“A lack of personalisation. Many brands adopt a ‘spray and pray’ approach, failing to establish clear and well-defined objectives.“
“Overemphasis on Reach. While Reach is valuable for enhancing brand awareness, what happens next?“
“Numerous brands are constrained by senior decision-makers who lack a nuanced understanding. They tend to believe that influencer marketing equates to finding the largest possible audience. Consequently, they face difficulties in gaining approval to collaborate with more down-to-earth content creators – individuals who create authentic content that genuinely engages and performs exceptionally well – simply because it doesn’t align perfectly with the brand.“
To steer clear of these potential pitfalls, adhere to these guiding principles: prioritise personalisation, evaluate marketing outcomes in terms of Earned Media Value, and advocate for the inclusion of smaller creators who can deliver substantial impact.
Scaling whilst maintaining control over Brand and Content
At established brands, it’s of utmost importance to strike a delicate balance between upholding the brand’s identity and branching out to foster growth. Maintaining awareness of how your brand is perceived in most interactions is essential. It’s also an area where every brand has less control than they might assume.
“I completely understand the concerns surrounding brand image,” Ollie acknowledges, “but you can’t dictate what people say about you, so why not enlighten them about it?“
Although it may be difficult to loosen the reins on brand guidelines in pursuit of growth, these spontaneous discussions are already taking place. “They’re happening within social circles,” Ollie recognises, “whether it’s on social media or among friends. These individuals are championing your brand – perhaps not always in the manner you prefer, but why not bring them closer to the brand and educate them, so that when they do advocate, it’s done in a more authentic manner?“
“What some brands tend to overlook,” Ollie conveys, “is that you cannot expand as a brand, and you cannot stay relevant, unless there is genuine passion and affection from your customers.“
Luxury beauty Brand Builders, pay close attention. These tactics hold the key to expanding your brand and significantly boosting the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
If you aren’t already working with Influencers, there is ample opportunity to take your beauty brand to the next level. At VERB we have a dedicated team of Social and Influencer Marketing experts and we’d be happy to support you in your next campaign. Please get in touch with us if you’re interested in any Influencer Marketing or SEO work, we’d love to hear from you.