Five to ten years ago, people barely even knew what social media was and now it is dominating the headlines and people’s lives. Case and point: Time Magazine named Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, “Person of the Year.” Bloggers are now reaching more people than some traditional magazines, making social media a major player in the media world. Good social media can make or break a company.My sun care company Beautisol is a great example as it was founded and is continuing to flourish through social media.
I am a licensed aesthetician who has been in the skin care and cosmetics industry for nearly 16 years. I have worked in the medical as well as the professional skin care arena in both sales management and education. I grew up in this industry and have loved every minute of it. What’s interesting is, social media gave me a voice that was louder than my own. Social media helped me to continue to build my credibility and expand beyond my local demographic and reach for little to no cost. It allowed me to create Beautisol, take input directly from readers and potential customers as well as to shape my company moving forward.
Creating my blog, Self Tanning Queen, allowed me to interact directly with readers to get valuable feedback about the sunless tanning market as a whole and what customers desired or wanted improvement in, product wise. I in turn, was able to help provide solutions to my readers accordingly. After deciding to start Beautisol we were able to create a boutique brand with very little start up costs compared to other traditional skin care or cosmetic companies.
Social media allowed us to find our customers and to listen to them directly. We opened our company to them allowing them to directly interact with the Beautisol brand via Self Tanning Queen, surveys, Facebook pages and or Twitter. Our readers and customers helped shape Beautisol so they were able to create their perfect brand that they could relate to or learn from. For us it was a win-win situation. Social media allows us to interact with our loyal brand advocates who, in turn, talk about and recommend our products to their friends and nothing is more powerful than word of mouth marketing.
However, there are definitely challenges when it comes to social media. Just because you create a blog, put up a Facebook page and create a Twitter account does not mean your customers will find you. You have to spend the time to reach them, create content people want to read and get involved. You have to be open and willing to share your life with the outside world. You have to be willing and able to put in the time for your customers to get know you and trust you especially as a new brand. Another challenge is the ability to personally keep up with your blog, twitter account and facebook pages during the start up phase and continuing to maintain the voice of your company and brand throughout—scalability is always a huge factor. Social media teams or interns can help with some of that, however some of the most effective social media guru’s or leaders of large corporations that do it well, do it themselves.
Case and point: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com. He has 1.7 million followers on Twitter alone who want to listen to what he says everyday. Now that’s powerful. We could all learn a lot from him and how he also continues to use social media effectively to help build his brand and customer loyalty.
Social media is not going away and will continue to be an effective tool for getting your message out to your target audience. The key is a solid strategy, communication and consistency.
As with any marketing campaign, social media also requires time, effort, consistent messaging and most importantly listening to what your customers say and want and then providing a solution for them. By using social media effectively, it can continuously build brand awareness and strengthen your company as a whole.
About the Author
Sinead Norenius is a 16-year beauty industry veteran and licensed esthetician who founded and formulated Beautisol, a sun care brand. In addition to creating Beautisol, she is also the editor-in-chief of SelfTanningQueen.com.
Norenius combined her expertise in social media and the beauty industry to found the International Fashion and Beauty Bloggers Organization (iFabbo). She can also be found on twitter @selftanqueen.
Norenius is a member of the National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers, Distributors and Associations (NCEO) and has worked with beauty lines including St. Tropez Tan, True Cosmetics and Yon Ka Paris.