Beauty brands must understand that social media is an infrastructure used to connect people and interact, and not just a media platform to distribute their own messages, according to an industry expert.
Richard Stacy, Social Media Consultant at Stacy Consulting, says this is the most common mistake, to treat it as we do the media, and that we must look at the way in which people actually use social media rather than the way brands would like them to use it.
“Social media is a powerful tool – you need only look at how stories break on twitter before traditional news outlets and how people increasingly conduct their lives online, to see just how much has changed in the digital age,” he tells CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
“For the cosmetics industry, social media is a tool that should not be ignored, but there is still some confusion over how to maximise sites to create relationships that hold real value for brands.”
Suited to B2B
Another common mistake highlighted is to assume that social media is in some ways better suited to B2C rather than B2B marketing.
“Across the board the best examples of effective use of social media are coming from the B2B sector, whereas the B2C sector is by-and-large spending its time churning out vast amounts of content that no-one ever ‘engages’ with,” Richard explains.
The reason for this is that social media is conversational, and there is much more to talk within the B2B specialist and expert environment.
“Whereas the credible conversation that can take place between a consumer and a beauty brand is relatively limited, especially in comparison with the conversation that is taking place between consumers about beauty brands from which such brands are explicitly or implicitly excluded,” adds Stacy.
In order to connect properly with the audience people within the social digital space should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an audience, says the social media guru.
“Organisations will therefore only start to create value from social media when they harness its power as a way of connecting individuals rather than distributing messages.”
Therefore the key is to base strategies on listening instead of pouring irrelevant content into the space in the vain hope that some of it will create the feeling of ‘engagement’.
If done wrong, social media can waste time and effort on activities that yield no value to business. However, if done right, social media can make business more efficient.
“Perhaps the most important watch-out is that because social media is such a powerful business process, it has a tendency to change the way in which businesses operate once they start to deploy it effectively – and most businesses don’t like to change,” ends Stacy.
Richard will be speaking at in-cosmetics in Hamburg, on 3 April at 12:30- 13:15, offering clarity on where social media activities are best placed as distinct to those that are a waste of time.