The beauty and cosmetics industry is huge, and people are spending more and more each year on makeup and skin care products. The beauty influencer community is also huge. In 2017, Forbes released its first list of the top 10 influencers in the beauty category (while we quietly released our own list of the top 25 to follow). The combined reach of the 10 biggest beauty influencers? A whopping 135 million subscribers. But how does one leverage the power of beauty influencer programs?
If you’re a cosmetics company or a brand that’s in any way connected to beauty, you might be wondering how you can use the reach and engagement of a beauty influencer to boost your brand. Here’s your guide to putting together and running a beauty influencer program that works.
In the simplest of terms, a beauty influencer program is a partnership between a brand and one or more beauty influencers. The program can consist of a single campaign or a series of campaigns. Although many cosmetics companies work with beauty influencers, your brand doesn’t have to be in the beauty industry to take advantage of the reach of a beauty influencer.
As long as your brand is seen as a good fit for the influencer, and as a product or service that will resonate with the influencer’s audience, you can work together.
Types of Beauty Influencer Programs
According to the 2017 State of the Creator Economy (SOCE) study, visual influencer marketing programs tend to be the most popular among marketers. The SOCE also found that influencers and content creators are beginning to prefer short-form and visually focused platforms and content.
That works out well for beauty influencers, the majority of whom are on YouTube or Instagram, or a combination of the two. Given the nature of beauty products, beauty influencer programs tend to be very visual. Here are a few of the more common types:
- Sponsored tutorial video on YouTube
- Brand collaborations
- Sponsored Instagram photo
- Giveaways (who doesn’t want free products?)
- Sponsored Instagram story or video
- Discount offers and coupon codes
A Few Good Examples of Beauty Influencer Programs
How have beauty influencer programs or campaigns played out in the real world? Here are a few examples of successful programs:
Zoella and product placements
Zoe Sugg, aka “Zoella,” has nearly 12 million YouTube subscribers, and was “Forbes'” top beauty influencer for 2017. Although she has now authored several books and otherwise branched out, she earned her fame through haul videos, during which she shows off products she has purchased. After a haul video goes online, Google searches and sales for the items often spike. As her fame increased, more and more products became sponsored, netting her around £20,000 per video.
Subscription box service Ispy is an interesting case. Started by beauty vlogger Michelle Phan, its goal is to get as many beauty influencers as possible creating content about the brand, helping to build trust with current subscribers, and to get more subscribers on board. Ipsy is acting as a sort of go-between for brands, customers, and influencers. Brands that partner with Ipsy give the subscription service products for free, in exchange for the promise of promotion and future loyal customers.
New Zealand-based vlogger/influencer Shannon Harris is no stranger to partnering with big cosmetics brands. She’s done a series of videos for Clinique, offering viewers her opinions on the products and demonstrating how to use them.
Beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill collaborated with Becca Cosmetics to produce a highlighter collection known as Champagne Pop. The first release of the products sold out pretty much instantly, leading to future collaborations between the vlogger and the cosmetics brand.
How to Partner With a Beauty Influencer
How do you find a beauty influencer to work with? An influencer marketplace might be the simplest option. With a marketplace, you can search a database of influencers who not only have a track record of success, but who also want to work with brands. Before you reach out to influencers, there are a few things to do first:
- Check out their social media profiles. Do their current posts align with the type of message you want to send to your customers? Do they actively engage with followers, or ignore comments?
- Look at what other companies they’ve worked with. Does the influencer seem to work with any company that comes his or her way, or is there some discernment going on? How have followers and subscribers responded to other sponsored posts on the influencer’s feed?
How to Measure Results of Beauty Influencer Programs
Once you’ve found an influencer to work with and have started your program, how do you measure success? There are a few key performance indicators to look at that will let you know if your beauty campaign is a success or flop:
Sometimes, you can see how well an influencer program is working by taking a look at the sales of the product featured by your influencer. Case in point: Beauty/fashion blogger Arielle Charnas posted a SnapChat about a Peter Thomas Roth mask. Within 24 hours of her story, the brand sold more than $17,000 worth of the mask.
Coupon code redemptions
Another way to measure how successful an influencer program is to give each influencer a customized coupon code to share. You can see which influencers help convert the most customers by tallying up the number of coupon codes used.
Track and follow links
If you’re working with a vlogger, you can have the influencer put links in a video that you can track. You’re able to see how many viewers end up on your site after watching the vlogger’s video.