In the second of a two-part article focusing on this area of growing importance, we look at the type of social networking websites to target, the ideal consumer profiles, how to engage users and cultivate brand ambassadors, how to leverage negative comments and enhance the effects of a campaign and, ultimately, how to enhance the Return On Investment (ROI).
Social media is already firmly on the radar for most major beauty brands, but the significant disparity in user engagement reflects the fact that few companies have had the time to establish focused strategies to target this growth.
In a recently published report covering the area of social media engagement for beauty companies, the team of experts at Beautystat.com (www.beautystat.com) recommends that such a strategy is essential in order to create essential visibility within this ever-evolving and fast-paced medium.
This is a synopsis of Beautystat's ten point plan:
1) Think for Two
The first point is to Think for two, that is to say that there are two broad groups of consumers: Loyalists, who have brand affinity and are easiest to target; and Independents, who use different products on different occasions and switch brands easily.
2) Know Your Social Shadow
Establish the most relevant social media sites for your brand and business. The best way to do this is to identify where the brand is most commonly identified online, who is talking about the brand and what is being said to establish the most favorable destinations.
Discover which particular social media channel is going to be the most effective by prioritizing based on the best anticipated results in relation to the amount of resources available.
Clearly establish what can be done to foster participation and dialogue concerning the brand and products, and how the brand leaders can become involved in those dialogues. Likewise, consider social media content that engages and motivates consumers to become more involved in the brands.
5) Leverage the Negative
Identify negative comments that are constructive in nature and look to remedy the situation through direct assistance, in turn validating that the criticism is valued and constructive. This turns a negative comment into a positive experience, which ultimately reflects better on the brand image.
6) Cultivate brand ambassadors
Cultivate individuals who will communicate enthusiasm about the brand through blogs, communities and friend networks. To implement this successfully involves clearly identifying appropriate ambassadors, then motivating, enabling and facilitating them to carry out brand support.
7) Turn Online Social Ripples into Waves
Social media is a word of mouth medium which should be harnessed to maximize the initial ripple effect. Beautystat.com identifies three principle characteristics to do this: Creating contents of value and interest; Sowing the seed to engage interest; Motivating the sharing of information.
8) Align Marketing Resources
Ensuring that resources are allocated according to priority target channels, considering the best allocation of these resources for the brand according to the target audience.
It is crucial to deliver a consistent, cohesive brand experience that is in tune with the specific audience for the social media channel. This means it is also important to verify that a social media campaign ties in with a campaign used in, for example, print advertising.
10) Deliver the ROI
Some of the best methods to ensure the investment will see a return include comparing returns from campaigns in traditional media, minimizing customer operational costs associated with the campaign, tracking actual sales from promotional codes etc., linking names of social media campaign followers and build up a database.