Beauty Store Business

SEP 2017

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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Page 44 of 75 | September 2017 43 BEGINNER'S BASICS Newbies, take note. If you're serious about building an IG following, do your research first and foremost, before you post. Snoop what's working for similar, larger accounts in order to get aesthetics-inspired. "Cohesive feeds that showcase compelling images tend to garner a stronger response," explains Lauren Rouchou, social media manager at Lineage Interactive, which manages posts for Planet Beauty. She's a fan of VSCO, an app providing filters that feature the high-quality, artsy look of film. "I love that vibe—while simultane- ously recognizing it's not for everyone," she laughs. The trick is to land on what works for you. One of IG's hottest features is called "Stories." Over 200 million users dig it daily, as it lets you post a bunch of pics or video clips that play like a slideshow, rather than being limited to a single shot. Much like Snapchat's "My Story" function, each IG gallery magically disap- pears after 24 hours. But in terms of still versus moving images, the stats don't lie: Although a whopping 40 billion photos have been uploaded on IG to date (and roughly 282 million selfies!), videos still get two times the engagement of photo- graphs, say SimilarWeb researchers. The best time to post for most engagement is, for whatever reason, 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, according to experts at software marketing company WordStream. The most popular filters are Clarendon, Gingham and Juno/Lark. And chew on this: Pizza is the most widely Instagrammed food, ahead of steak and sushi. DO YOUR HOMEWORK Next, learn as much as possible about your audience. "Using data collected from our Instagram analytics page, we're able to view the demographics of our viewers, broken down by gender and age," reveals Rouchou. "Furthermore, we can determine the best times of day for sharing, according to when users are most active on the site." Such research allows stores to strate- gically steer material to achieve optimal impact. Aside from numbers, there are two additional ways to learn by listen- ing. "Spend time immersing yourself in your community, and they'll reward you by telling you exactly what they wish to see," advises Meghan Gentz, senior manager of social media and content at CosmoProf Beauty. "Our followers are open, both about what's lacking and what may be overdone." The practice called "social listening" is a second method by which research- ers gather information. Examine the suc- cessful behaviors of other brands to glean deeper insight on what resonates with similar audiences, and thus more expertly curate your own content. STICK WITH WHAT WORKS "We are of the learn-by-doing philoso- phy," Gentz says. "We dove in headfirst upon initially embarking on the task of creating an engaged social presence." By testing different types of content at various times of day, CosmoProf Beauty pros were able to land on a natural rhythm that suited their members—and they've stuck to it since. Their specific formula for success revolves around two important rules: Highlight the stylist and showcase stunning work. "Trends may change, but celebrating beauty professionals remains our constant," Gentz says. Planet Beauty's marketing masters discovered that the combo of cold, hard data plus insightful reads that showed where their audience was most reacting led to the generation of visuals that gar- ner top results. Rouchou says, "We know what performs well and what may fail, so we highlight what we're certain of." EMBRACE CHANGE Continuous research into viewers' ever- shifting tastes and habits is an integral part of evolution, without which brands grow stale. "It's essential to keep eyes and ears open to what's trending any given day on social media," Rouchou says. The IG app itself is likewise constantly improving, so those not keeping au cou- rant with fresh developments run the risk of missing out. For example, developers recently rolled out the carousel feature, allowing users to tack multiple pictures to a single post. "In terms of market- ing, that's been a total game-changer," Rouchou says. "Novel tools further help us leverage our communications." POST POSITIVE In worlds both virtual and real, no one likes a downer. "Always give offer- ings a positive spin," Gentz urges. "It's discouraging—and, ultimately, self- destructive—to follow someone with a negative or cynical attitude." Don't stingily guard secrets; uplift fans by sharing them instead. "Trends and techniques are forever advancing," Gentz says. "As a group, we only stand to benefit by swapping knowledge." Finally, never underestimate the thrilling power of authenticity. Embrace that fact that no one else can quite produce the same image that sprang from your mind. UNDERSTAND AUDIENCE APPETITES Even the most decadent dessert can turn you off after too many bites—we're all familiar with the concept of overdoing a good thing. But where's the sweet spot when it comes to frequency of image sharing? Here, the experts differ. Planet Beauty pros stick to a strict, twice-daily diet. "At maximum, we update feeds two "Facebook and Twitter tend to be fast information platforms—people grab their news and go. But Instagram is visual, which means users are likely to linger on the page or take time browsing through images. From a creative standpoint, it organically fosters a community of likeminded individuals who love aesthetics." –Lauren Rouchou, social media manager, Lineage Interactive Courtesy of Planet Beauty

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