Social media is a crucial marketing tool but few companies are ready - study

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Social media, Marketing

In the first of a two-part article we look at new research that finds the beauty industry needs to take maximum advantage of opportunities provided by social media as a means of brand advancement.

Consumer behavior has evolved rapidly in recent years, and as traditional media marketing tools such as print publishing and television continue to return flat growth at best, the internet is looking like an increasingly seductive alternative for brands.

However, although beauty and cosmetic companies recognize the growing importance and influence of social media as a result of this increased internet use, a newly published white paper from beauty social marketing consultancy (​) finds that these companies have varying degrees of digital marketing strategies in place.

Indeed, a recent report is cited in the paper from Heishman-Fillard and Harris Interactive that finds Americans are now spending more time online than engaging in any other media.

Internet usage surpasses all other mediums

The Beautystat report underlines this fact by pointing to recent research showing that the average US consumers spends 17.8 hours a week surfing the internet, while watching television only accounts for 14.0 hours a week and time spent reading newspapers averages just 2.9 hours.

The Beautystat researchers point out that if these figures were reflected in beauty companies’ marketing budget, the internet would already be commanding the biggest slice of marketing spend – something that is clearly not happening yet for the vast majority of businesses.

“Social media, simply put, is the most engaging channel available for consumers today,”​ the report states. “The brand that learns how to swim best with the social media current will be the one to maximize the tremendous Return Of Investment (ROI) it has to offer.”

To gauge the degree to which companies are taking advantage of social media, has compiled key figures reflecting how much engagement there is amongst the top ten beauty companies in the US for the two leading social media channels, Twitter and Facebook.

The figures show a big variety in the way different brands have tapped into social media, with this disparity showing up even among those brands marketed by the same companies.

Big disparity in approach to social media

The research figures show that the Estee Lauder brands really underline this difference, with the company’s Bobbi Brown brand having one of the highest engagement scores, at 5.3 percent, while its Ojon brand had the lowest engagement score at 0.0 percent.

But the highest score was for Avon Products, which had an engagement rate of 6.9 percent, reflecting the concerted effort the company has made to tap into social media websites, a means of marketing that fits in neatly with its direct sales approach.

However, the Beautystat research suggests that Facebook and Twitter are just the first step towards establishing a social marketing strategy and points to the fact that the second phase should concentrate on Social Outbound Engagement.

This important stage of the social media strategy should include a clear plan that should culminate in a high ROI, and is best targeted by following a ten point plan, outlined in the paper by the researchers.

This ten point plan will be clearly outlined in part two of this article, which will be published on Cosmetics Design later this week.

Related topics: Market Trends

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