BW Confidential examines how beauty brands can approach social networking and how the media will evolve
ow that Louis Vuitton has posted videos of its fashion shows on Facebook, the term social media may make management at prestige beauty brands slightly less uneasy. Up until recently social media has mostly generated fear.There’s the fear that a democratic medium like the internet is not the place for luxury brands and that social media does not bring a real return on investment. There’s the worry of getting involved in the latest hot new thing, only to be told six months down the line that it is obsolete. And there’s a general panic of not really knowing what’s going on in social media, how it all works and of itbeing a bit too experimental. These fears are legitimate enough. But so is the consumer’s (and increasingly the competition’s) presence on social networks—there are now 87% more Americans using social networking than in 2003, according to Nielsen. This fast-paced growth has more companies asking how and where to participate. The advice has been to take six months to look at where consumers arespending time online and listen to them before beginning to participate. US-based consultancy Direct Message Lab ceo Steven Plous, however, recommends that brands interact with customers as soon as possible and learn as they go. “Companies think that what they start doing in social media is etched in stone and that they will be stuck with it forever. But what they start with will probably be verydifferent six months later. Companies need to be constantly reworking their presence online—people will expect that. If web visitors are asking for x or y and the brand doesn’t react it’ll be ignored.” Content is king Most brands realize that they need to be on Facebook, and are paying more attention to blogs and communities, micro-blogging tool Twitter and video sharing sites (see box, page 7).However, what will make social media work on any of these platforms is the content. “The challenge is to come up with creative, relevant content that is exclusive to the web and that delivers an experience,” says Lancôme interactive marketing director Julie Thompson. It also needs to be fresh. “Brands need to keep their members up to date and tell them about events. They need to have constant animations,otherwise it will not work,” says communication agency Digitas strategic planning director Reynald Sauvet. Content that gets the web user involved, such as a survey or a poll is n n n
Social networking in figures
l Facebook now has
more than 300 million users and accounts for 60% of all social media activity l Twitter is forecast to have between 80-100 million users by the end of 2009 l346 million people will read blogs in 2009 l There are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003 l In the last year alone, time spent on social networking sites increased 73% l Social media ad spending is forecast to increase by 34% in the next five years
Source: Nielsen, Forrester, Technorati, Direct Message Lab
www.bwconfidential.com - November 19-December 2, 2009 #6 - Page 6CONFIDENTIAL
often seen as best. Estée Lauder-owned Origins for example, conducted a survey based on the question ‘how environmentally friendly are you?’ which started a conversation about the brand. The company’s flagship brand Estée Lauder created a buzz through its breast cancer campaign last year by asking bloggers to share a breast cancer ‘survivorstory’. It also sent out virtual pink ribbons via Facebook. L’Oréal-owned Lancôme, meanwhile, set up specific times on its new make-up blog, where users can talk to make-up artists online. The brand also organized live chats with scientists to discuss its skincare products. Asking what users think goes down well. One beauty brand asked users to come up with names for a new lipstick launch, while...