Attempting to conquer the beauty niche on Instagram can be a daunting task; there’s so much content out there it’s easy to feel like there’s no room for you. But there is – there’s always room for more. If you can provide the right content to the right audience, there’s no reason you can’t join the Instagram beauty beasts!
Regardless of your niche (with maybe the odd exception), as an affiliate marketer you should by now have embraced social platforms and incorporated social strategy into your regular promotional activities. This is never more important than for those of you in the beauty niche.
Social media platforms and the beauty industry go hand in hand for two key reasons. The first is that beauty products and trends are best demonstrated through visual content such as images and videos. As you know, this type of content is ideal for social platforms, especially those built specifically for it like Instagram.
The second reason Instagram and beauty are perfect partners is the aspirational nature of beauty marketing and how social outlets elicit the required emotional responses from the consumer to said marketing.
ASPIRATIONAL MARKETING: Show Your Audience ‘The Dream’
Aspirational marketing is about creating ‘the dream’, so whether ‘the dream’ be clear skin, bigger lips or fewer wrinkles, you as the brand can present this dream visually to your consumers and subsequently generate the desired positive emotional reactions.
This example from Lush demonstrates aspirational marketing on Instagram – the home of aspirations! They gave one of their products a little extra publicity to push sales near Valentine’s Day. See how Instagrammers reacted to the romantic-bath-with-a-sexy-partner dream on the right of the image. Kourtnie22 demonstrates the desired emotional reaction best by simply commenting: ‘I want this!!’ – this is the reaction you want to create with your beauty promotions.
INDUSTRY INFLUENCERS: Get to Know the Beauty Bloggers
If you have ventured onto Instagram in the interest of your beauty affiliate promotions, you will surely have noticed that the platform has an abundance of beauty bloggers and influencers driving sales and brand awareness to huge audiences. Now it’s unlikely you’re going to get Huda Kattan of @hudabeauty to promote your page, but you should familiarise yourself with these industry favourites as doing so can have a huge effect on your own performance.
The people following and interacting with your niche’s industry influencers are those who are likely to do the same with your own account. By simply following the influencer and liking and commenting on their posts, you can extend your reach and boost your following. Instagrammers looking for relevant brands and peers to follow will look at influencers’ comments and follower lists.
Cheeky tip – occasionally unfollow and refollow influencers to get back to the top of their followers list. Just don’t do it too often or your account will soon be suspended.
Influencer follower lists and comments are not just a good place to be found but also a good place to do the finding yourself. Be proactive about finding your audience – don’t just let them find you. Comments are particularly good for this; see who’s asking questions about products or looking for advice.
If someone’s asking the same type of question it tells you immediately that they are consumers of relevant products and so could be a valuable follower for you. Check out their account and interact a little; once you’ve done this they’re highly likely to do the same to you and if interested, will join your growing list of followers.
Influencer accounts are a treasure trove of inspiration and if you only spend a few minutes browsing each day you could gather a varied portfolio of ideas to influence your own posts. It’s so easy to do: spend a couple of minutes after reading this scrolling and screenshotting, and then drop them all into a folder which you can browse next time you need an idea for a post.
Use the Data
As well as acquiring content ideas from your influencers’ posts, you can also find useful data to help you identify what your audience want. Compare different types of posts in the feed, take note of the ones getting the most likes and comments; can you see any trends? You may see, for example, that product images are more popular when combined with other lifestyle imagery, or perhaps step-by-step demos are preferred. Use this data to make different comparisons and take note of any particularly popular posts.
AUTHENTICITY: Make it Personal
Social consumers are increasingly looking to actually connect with brands; you are unlikely to satisfy the intelligent, marketing-savvy social media user of today with just pretty pictures of products. You need to communicate a voice and personality to engage this audience and authenticate your brand.
The easiest and probably most successful way to add personality is to use your own. If you feel comfortable doing so, and if it is suitable for your particular beauty sub-niche, put yourself out there and be the face of your beauty brand. Regularly feature in your own images and actually test products on yourself as well as any other volunteers you can gather!
You’re possibly now thinking, ‘Nope. Not for me!’. Perhaps you’re not keen on putting your face to it or maybe you’re not a suitable fit for your chosen niche. That’s fine. You can still maintain a personal presence on the platform without showing your face.
Engage with your peers, competitors, influencers and potential customers through comments. Do so on their posts as well as your own; it’s also important to reply to any questions and show appreciation for comments where appropriate. You will start to build a relationship with your audience which should mean a lower turnover of followers.
Your posts themselves can communicate your brand’s personality too. Memes and inspirational quotes are regularly used by brands to align with particular ideologies. Share with your audience those that you feel accurately portray the personality traits you want to communicate.
See how these three consecutive images on Nargis Fakhri’s (@nargisfakhri) feed successfully communicate a strong, female personality with spiritual, fun-loving traits.
CONTENT IDEAS: Which Posts Work?
As previously suggested, a great way to identify the types of posts which are going to work well with your audience is to look at their relative success on influencer and peer accounts. The following, however, would be my initial recommendations.
Evidence: Before and after pictures, testimonials, demos
The visual nature of both Instagram and beauty products means that evidence is both easier to provide and increasingly expected by consumers. Before and after pictures as well as testimonial posts permit you to showcase your product’s results. Create your own by using the product yourself, if appropriate. See if the merchant has testimonials on-site or in the network that you can use and also encourage your customers to share their results – who can argue with user results?!
Show your audience how the brands you promote fit into their lifestyle, or more accurately, the lifestyle they aspire to have. Situate a product in a scene with items which demonstrate a particular moment. See this example from XYZ Collagen which tells the viewer how easily XYZ will fit into a sophisticated woman’s morning routine (well that’s what I take from this image anyway). XYZ associates itself with Vogue by simply featuring the magazine alongside the product and the cup of coffee. The image tells a story: you imagine yourself applying your moisturiser and flicking through Vogue with a strong coffee while it is absorbed. Making the product a minor aspect of a general lifestyle shot means people feel much less like they’re being sold to, so reactions should be more positive.
Finally, once you’re on the way to having a decent following you can increase engagement with the occasional competition post. ‘Follow and like’ to win or ‘like and regram’ to win competitions are successful in the beauty niche; just make sure the prize is worth it. If you speak to an affiliate manager, tell them your plans and showcase the value of your Instagram account – they should be able to arrange a free sample with the merchant. If not, you can weigh up if you think the cost of the product is worth the uplift in engagement and a possible increase in followers too.
There’s a huge pool of potential customers on Instagram looking for results and ready for recommendations. If you’re promoting within the beauty niche, especially if you have an authority site, you can’t turn your back on these customers so sign up today, start following those influencers and get ready to conquer the beauty niche on Instagram.
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