“A picture is worth a thousands words” has never been more true with the creation of social media platforms providing visual content. Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Flickr, We Heart It… the number of users has grown steadily in the past years. If yesterday runways were the main sources of inspiration, today social networks create the beauty trends of tomorrow!

In this article, we will look at the influence of visual content on social networks and how this brings new opportunities for beauty businesses.

72% of beauty consumers are influenced by social networks*!
Today, Facebook has 2 billions active users, Pinterest 175 millions and Instagram 700 millions daily users. On those networks, a large part of the audience is fond of content related to beauty. As the brain responds better to visual stimulation, the growing amount of visual contents online influences buying behaviours in beauty products.

Let’s take a closer look at numbers related to visual content and beauty…

Businesses have realized the power of digital marketing. As a result, the number of visual content generated each day constantly increases and even exceeds what can be consumed. On the other hand, the challenge of doing marketing online is harder than ever, as the competition keeps increasing. Therefore, brands have to take on the challenge of producing strategic and attractive visual content to retain their consumers and attract new prospects. But what are the opportunities for beauty brands ?     

The way to a customer’s
Consumers look for sources of trust and inspiration on social networks. For this reason, the popularity of influencers has grown substantially in a short time. The influence of bloggers is such that in the space of a few years, they have become models and opinion leader for a whole beauty connected generation.

So why all this enthusiasm ? Influencers create proximity with their community by sharing pictures of their daily lives. The more they share content, the more followers they have, trust them and want to know more. Indeed, attractive visuals, reviews or tutorials shared by influencers allow subscribers to have more confidence in the products (29% for Facebook, 44% for Instagram*).

Brands can learn from influencers to build trust and loyalty with their subscribers :

  1. Be honest : To build loyalty you have to be credible online which goes through integrity in your visual content. Do not embellish the benefit of your products even though photo editing softwares make it very easy.  
  2. Be unique : Find your own voice and identity because your subscribers want to know about your brand, not look at a copycat. To keep your feed consistent, stick to one visual identity.         
  3. Be consistent : Do not generate visual content just to be present online, try to get a powerful voice to reach out to your target.

Last but not least, regularly repost your audience’s content to tie bonds with your customers and turn them into brand advocates. You will be rewarded by the growth of your influence online. Follow those visual content mantras and you will be able to achieve success over the online community.

Online trends drive markets growth
When influencers share visual content about the same product category, it creates new online trends which is then brought into stores. As social networks gather billions of pictures easily noticeable thanks to #hashtags, subscribers are aware of what seems to be trendy online.

Like any other trends, it creates interest and makes subscribers want to buy the products. Did you know that multi-masking (applying multiple skin masks at the same time to address different skin needs) uplifted the market in the UK ? Hard to believe but true, selfies helped boosting the skincare market growth by 22.8% in 2015** !  

Moreover, 65% of buyers who interact with beauty-oriented content agree that they use Instagram to find new styles and tricks*. Resulting from this, online trends really drive markets growth.

Social media competitive intelligence
Image platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are a source of precious information for brands who need to stay aware of the competitors’ initiatives. By monitoring the strategies of competitors on visual platforms, whether to be inspired or to identify key innovations, brands can adapt their communication. Social networks enable brands to be aware of the latest innovations and products on the market, innovative practices and emerging trends.  

From social networks to marketplaces
Picture platforms have contributed to the emergence of new competitors only present online. Niche brands have blown up the sector’s entry barrier as there is no need to invest heavily in online advertising. As a result, these young labels are developing fast on the internet. Visual content platforms enable them to find customers with free acquisition cost per buyer. All those platforms offers the possibility to do pay advertising to enhance brand’s visibility online and attract more customers.

Sometimes, those brands have positioned themselves on new market trends missed by the big ones. Consequently, industrialists have to adapt and sometimes even buy those alternative brands to keep ahead of competition. L’Oreal bought NYX a 100% digital American brand and LVMH Benefit, a cosmetics brand based in San Francisco with 12 millions followers.

According to you, which beauty brand has the best visual content strategy  online ?

Interested in digital topics related to the beauty industry ?
Stay tunned for my next articles!  #BeautyGoesDigital

*Survey conducted by GFK for Facebook in January 2017 on 3648 women aged between 18 and 64 years old having purchased at least one beauty product in the past three months in the UK, France, Germany or United Arab Emirates.  

**Study conducted by A. McDougall, Deputy Editor, Cosmetic Design in 2016.