Beauty Store Business

NOV 2018

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Page 55 of 67

54 November 2018 | so when a brand does approach an ambassa- dor, the groundwork has already been laid or a personal relationship. Smart brands contact inluencers only with speciic opportunities: those tailor-made to match the tastemaker's niche interests. Relevance is critical–and this paradigm extends both ways. "Brands should avoid working with bloggers who have not previously expressed interest in them, as well as bloggers likely to spark controversy, which can alienate a portion o the brand's consumers," Begley suggests. Engagement Over Followers Credibility is essential when a brand is selecting an expert to partner with. "Legitimate inluencers have a presence on multiple blog sites and social media, with measurable audiences and engage- ment," says Mike Froggatt, intelligence director at Gartner L2. "They should be able to provide a benchmark, plus a projected range o engagement per campaign, so brands can set their own expectations." Powerhouse macro inluencers typically have close to 1 million genuine ollowers; thus, they can garner widespread exposure or a beauty group. But bigger doesn't necessarily equal better. Smaller-scale micro inluencers– those with 10,000 to 100,000 supporters– mustn't be overlooked. "They tend to enjoy higher engagement rates rom comparatively close-knit, passionate ans," Begley says. The key, according to Froggatt, is to look or inluencers who reply back to ollowers' comments, since that's a true engagement driver. Breanna Armstrong, director o social media and digital marketing at manuacturer rep. irm The Kirschner Group, echoes this notion o valuing an inluencer's level o engagement over number o ollowers. "An inluencer with 1 million ollowers who only gets 2,000 likes on an image won't be as persuasive as one with hal the ollowers who draws 20,000 likes," she says. Patiently Play the Long Game Remember that results can take time. Brands that do best are those in it or the long game. "An inluencer's ollowers oten visit a page several times beore they notice a brand tag, then actually click to ollow it," Armstrong explains. "Campaigns sometimes require inluencers to post once a week or a month or request packages that can be spread out." O course, popularity comes at a price. Because inluencer marketing has become so prominent, this realm is getting crowded–especially in the beauty sector. Fear o missing out drives some brands into hasty alliances with inluenc- ers whose viewpoints don't necessarily match the company ethos. For brands, long-term planning and patience are essential when it comes to choosing the right partner. LEGAL DISCLOSURE Questions regarding ethics and regulation are on the rise in this still-nascent channel. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently started calling out inluencers who hadn't disclosed Instagram posts that were, in truth, paid advertisements. Any "unair or deceptive acts or practices, in or aecting commerce, are declared unlawul," wrote the FTC. This means that by not labeling a paid endorsement, social media mavens might not only lose trust with ollowers–they could incur retribution rom the agency created to protect American consumers, too. A study conducted by digital data collection group Lightspeed Research ound that only 11 percent o marketers are aware o or possess an understanding o the FTC's rules. More than hal said they were either not aware o or unamiliar with its policies, while 23 percent admitted to being only "somewhat amiliar" with the guidelines. Further, the agency has begun putting the onus on brands themselves. Companies must ensure their inluencers' compliance with regulations, and any brand endorsement not substantiated by act is open to enorcement rom the FTC. But most marketers ind it easy to be transparent. Marketers can easily deine posts and play it sae by using clear hashtags (like #spon, #sponsored, #ad, #paid or #partnership) or by using the paid partnership eature on Instagram. In act, Bloomberg reports that in the one-year timespan between July 2015 and July 2016, the number o properly labeled Instagram posts jumped rom 120,000 to 300,000. "Every brand and inluencer is dierent," Armstrong says. "I brands make the eort to get to know inluenc- ers and embrace them as amily, and inluencers enter into principled long-term business partnerships, the results truly go a long way." ■ Francesca Moisin is a beauty and haircare writer based in Rockport, MA. "Apart rom loyalty, brands should seek out inluencers with engaged and growing ollowings and those who create varied content rather than simply posting product shots," advises Conor Begley, coounder and president o Tribe Dynamics. "The typical margin or engagement on Instagram is approximately ive percent," notes Breanna Armstrong, director o social media and digital marketing at The Kirschner Group. "The goal is to work with an inluencer with 10 percent or more engagement, so posts lead more tra… c to platorms." "Inluencer marketing, when done right, can expose retailers to new audiences and potential buyers," says Mike Froggatt, intelligence director at Gartner L2. "Given the correct partnerships, properly vetted or authenticity and credibility, these can directly drive increased awareness, sales and other orms o conversion." Conor Begley Breanna Armstrong Mike Froggatt Courtesy o the inluencers Though influencer fraud has yet to be fully defined, the most traditional characterization refers to fake followers—using bots to artificially inflate follower counts or engagements as defined by comments, likes and shares. Here are the top scheme signs to be aware of: • "Avoid experts who have separated their personal accounts from their influencer accounts," Froggatt urges. Uniformity should exist among an influencer's audience. Private accounts are a red flag for fake followers. • "One of the better signs of an account with fake followers is a large discrepancy between audience size and follower engagement," Begley reveals. • Similarly, when accounts draw in a large number of likes but low comment rates, this is a clear indication of users paying for boosted engagement. • Comments that consist of a single word or emoji are more than likely fake. • Abbreviations like "fb" (follow back) or "lb" (like back) indicate users looking for additional followers—they'll like the content of anyone who likes theirs first. FENDING FRAUD

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