Although a relatively new phenomenon, over the space of just a few years, social media marketing has gone from being the domain of the pacemakers to now seeing social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs incorporated into most brands’ marketing plans. And then came along the rise of ‘self-style social sharing’.
While social sharing is nothing new, social sharing image platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Polyvore are becoming increasingly popular and now boast millions of daily users. Combined with the trend for street style photography where ordinary people share their own individual styles, it presents enormous potential for beauty brands.
To put the idea of self-style social sharing into practice for brand potential, let me give an example: Back in 2009, Burberry launched its Art of the Trench website, which allows consumers to upload and share their street-style photos with their own take on an outfit featuring a Burberry trench coat. Burberry was definitely on to something; according to digital agency Made by Many, Burberry experienced an 85% sales increase in trench coats. This is particularly poignant given that back then, luxury brands in particular were hesitant to embrace social media for fear of losing their exclusivity and aspiration.
Fast forward to now and Jimmy Choo has just announced its new 24:7 Stylemakers initiative. Along the same premise as Burberry’s Art of the Trench, Jimmy Choo 24:7 Stylemakers goes one step further, by allowing consumers to click through from the image that has been shared to then buy the product featured direct from the Jimmy Choo website.
This kind of engagement is invaluable: consumers are directly interacting with a brand and promoting its products. They are spending their own time and effort creating these looks, to become part of a community to inspire and be inspired. They are showing the product in real life, instead of as a pack shot or on a model. What’s more, these consumers will then share the image through their own social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, thereby increasing potential traffic to the brand’s social sharing platform.
So far, it has largely been fashion brands to capitalise on self-style social sharing, but I think there is huge scope for beauty brands to do the same. While fashion bloggers photograph Outfit of the Day (OOTD) blog posts, beauty bloggers photograph Face of the Day (FOTD) and Nails of the Day (NOTD) blog posts, to showcase their own beauty looks and the products they used to achieve it, and this is exactly the premise that beauty brands can adopt on their own turf.
So to maximise the full potential of the social stratosphere, it’s no longer enough to simply converse with consumers; to truly embrace ‘social’ opportunities, brands and retailers need to give their consumers the platform to display their own interpretation of the brand's products to the world.