You’ve probably heard a lot about influencer marketing, it’s a hot topic in the beauty industry and there are a lot of positive and a few negative stories that we can all learn from. Many savvy brands are collaborating with beauty influencers and achieving enviable results! Influencer marketing can be a highly effective PR tool in the beauty and wellness industry for raising brand awareness, gaining trust and credibility as well as driving sales.
At Kendrick PR, we believe in the power of influencers and in this article, we explain the key areas of influencer marketing and share plenty of our expert tips to help you decide if this activity is right for your beauty business or brand. Let’s get started!
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is similar to traditional ‘PR’, in that it provides ‘social proof’ of a brand, service or product. It is primarily a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from “influencers” – i.e. people who are viewed as experts in a particular niche, who have a dedicated social following. The critical point with influencers is that it’s not just about high follower numbers – it’s about the level of engagement with those followers i.e. how many of them take ‘action’.
It’s all about trust
When used correctly, influencer marketing can be hugely beneficial as it allows brands to tap into the trust that social media influencers have built with their audiences. By using their authentic recommendations, a brand or product can generate consumer engagement, boost sales and more.
Authenticity and transparency is critical with influencer marketing because audiences do not want to feel mislead. In recent years, social media platforms have clamped down on disguised advertising, where influencers do not appropriately disclose whether they have been paid for a post or recommendation. Today, influencers have to be very clear when they have been gifted or paid by a brand – you may have noticed Instagram influencers including hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored in their captions. This transparent approach maintains the credibility of each influencer which in turn is great for brands and their marketing objectives.
The rise of the Social Media Influencer
Influencer marketing (IM) has grown and developed hand in hand with the popularity of social media platforms. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and now even TikTok are the main platforms for this activity thanks to their highly visual and engaging nature, for imagery and videos alike. With over 240 new platforms and IM agencies popping up in the last two years alone, and 37% of businesses in one recent survey now dedicating budget to this tactic, IM is a business trend that’s here to stay!
For beauty brands, the highly visual and experiential elements of new products can be brought to life by partnering with leading social media influencers who can leverage their legions of actively engaged followers to take action (i.e. purchase). Some beauty brands, such as Charlotte Tilbury and Glossier focused almost all of their early marketing budget on social media ads, influencer collaborations and videos. This strategic and bold approach helped to rapidly grow their sales and create cult products which were spread largely by social media influencers, social shares and word of mouth.
How beauty influencers work with brands
Beauty influencers primarily showcase their own blend of expertise – whether in skincare, facials, makeup application, lifestyle/wellness – alongside product recommendations from brands they love. As a result, the most influential and powerful beauty influencers have come from a variety of backgrounds, such as:
- Makeup artists E.g. Lisa Eldridge
- Clinical aestheticians E.g. Caroline Hirons
- Facialists E.g. Michaella Bolder
- Dermatologists E.g. Dr Sam Bunting
- Models E.g. Ruth Crilly – A Model Recommends
- Brand founders E.g. Trinny Woodhall
Successful social media influencers regularly engage with their followers to bring them interesting content – be that a ‘how to’ guide, showcasing how to use and combine products, providing advice and information whilst also sharing their authentic beauty recommendations and experiences. At Kendrick PR, we have worked with several of the top beauty influencers for our clients, to help launch new products and create engaging campaigns – our team know how to create the right partnership at the right time and achieve the best results.
Unpaid and paid collaborations
Brands work with beauty influencers in two different ways:
- Proactively send products to sample and trial in the hope that they get an unprompted or unpaid mention in their posts
- Enter in to a partnership whereby the influencer agrees to a variety of social outputs (e.g. grid image or video, Insta stories, Reels, Tiktok video or a YouTube tutorial etc) in exchange for a fee.
5 benefits of working with beauty influencers
Whether you opt for a paid or unpaid collaboration (or a mix of both!) with your chosen army of social media influencers, doing it well can enhance your brand’s PR and marketing in several key ways. Below are five benefits of influencer marketing for you to consider:
1. Improved Brand Awareness
Studies show that consumers need up to 8 ‘touchpoints’ with a brand before they buy – this means seeing or hearing about the brand multiple times, across multiple platforms such as print media, social media, blog, email, friends’ recommendations etc. Beauty influencers provide a valuable way to showcase your brand on an online platform, like Instagram, where your target customers are already spending their time. Plus, social media is highly engaging, compelling, and visual – not to mention SHAREABLE!
2. Build Trust Quickly
Beauty influencers can act as a mouthpiece or voice for your brand messages. They can help you reach your target audience in an authentic way and help them to understand your brand, service, or product easily. If you’re new to a particular market, influencers can be an effective way to quickly spread the word about your best features.
3. Create Strong Partnerships
When you work with an influencer, you are aligning your brand with them – tapping into their reputation, ethos, and visibility – which can open the door to more partnerships and opportunities down the line. Once your brand has been connected with the right audience it’s an opportunity for you to build a deeper relationship and drive loyalty.
4. Drive SALES
Beauty influencers are great at showcasing the look, feel and experience of products virtually in an engaging way. This creates desire among consumers and prompts them to find out more, pre order or simply to BUY! Their role is to shorten the consideration process and push considerers through to a purchase. Sometimes the sales they generate are unprompted and organic, but often brands give influencers an added incentive to push sales E.g. a unique promotion code for their followers.
5. Target specific niche audiences
By working with the right beauty influencer, you can ensure you connect with the PERFECT audience for your brand, product, or service. It’s important that you find the right influencer with the right audience. With so many influencers out there, you can be very specific in who you will be reaching with your activities, giving you greater ROI in the long run.
Tip! For a smart, targeted approach consider micro-influencers (with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers) as they tend to have highly engaged audiences.
Mistakes to avoid when working with beauty influencers
Unfortunately, there are a few pitfalls associated with influencer marketing especially for brands who are new to this form of PR. Below our experts share their top three tips to ensure next beauty influencer campaign is a success:
1. Don’t be lured by huge followings
Focus on their engagement rate and not the huge follower numbers, any credible beauty influencers will happily provide statistics on their engagement rates. As a benchmark we consider a 2-3% engagement rate to be quite good, with 4-6% excellent – make sure you check this for every potential influencer so you can assess how to get the best bang for your buck.
2. Make sure paid partnerships are clearly identified to audiences
If you’ve paid an influencer for an activity, this MUST be clearly identified on the platform, either using the paid partnership tagging feature on platforms like Instagram, or ensuring they use the #ad #paid #gifted #sponsored hashtags in the caption. Hashtags must also be at the top of the caption, not buried down where people are unlikely to see them. Influencers who don’t disclose paid content risk having their accounts blocked and your brand could receive backlash from a lack of trust.
3. Watch out for freeloaders
Our Kendrick PR inbox is awash with influencers asking for free products in return for posts – the key is to look at their true ‘influence’ and assess whether this is worth your ROI. Will you access your target customer? Will this be a worthwhile cost investment? Also – look at their feed – if it’s all back-to-back paid posts, there’s likely to be low engagement as people tend to disengage from someone who is ‘advertising’ all the time, with no organic and authentic, unprompted content.
Is it time your brand invested in Influencer Marketing?
Today, influencers play an integral part in a brand strategy especially in the aesthetics, beauty, and wellness industries. The ultimate goal of influencer marketing is to develop a targeted strategy which pairs carefully selected influencers with your brand, creating an authentic relationship which delivers over and over again. Choosing and onboarding the right beauty influencers for your brand can feel overwhelming but they can help you to significantly grow your brand.
Our team of beauty PR experts have a wealth of A-list celebrity, VIP, and influencer connections which we leverage as part of a bespoke influencer marketing strategy to create invaluable coverage opportunities for our clients. If you want further support to tap into the power of influencer marketing – without the scattergun or mass-market approach – please do get in touch and schedule your complimentary discovery call with one of our accomplished PR experts.