5 Influencer Marketing Best Practices All Beauty Brands Need to Know
Influencer marketing is a $21.2 billion industry, with beauty brands and creators dominating the space. No longer are beauty brands dishing out their marketing budgets on expensive commercials and billboards. Instead, they’re building relationships with influencers to promote their products, establish trust, and drive sales.
In this 2-part series, we’re exploring influencer marketing strategies tailored to beauty brands. In this first part of the blog series, we’ll walk through 5 influencer marketing best practices that we’ve put together after closely watching hundreds of successful campaigns on Aspire. Let’s get started.
1. Lean into short-form video content — especially on TikTok.
A couple of scrolls into your TikTok FYP, you’ll find a creator sharing a review on their new favorite lip products or making a #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) makeup tutorial that feels like you’re on FaceTime with a friend. This type of “lo-fi,” short-form video content is taking over, as a growing number of no-frills TikTokers share simple selfie-style videos created by using platform-native editing software. And consumers are soaking it up — in fact, the hashtag #GRWM has over 181 billion views on TikTok.
Not to mention, 40% of marketers say short-form video has the highest return on investment when compared to other types of content. And while this may be true for most industries, short-form video works particularly well for beauty brands because people want to see quick reviews and tutorials on how beauty products look on real people in real-time. For example, this creator’s before-and-after video trying out Color Wow’s Dream Coat Supernatural Spray garnered 3.3 million likes and over 22,000 comments such as, “The way I immediately went to the Sephora app and purchased this,” and “This is the content I want from influencers.”
TikTok is a great channel for beauty brands to invest in because it's extremely effective for driving urgency and immediate sales. Creators are often organically sharing about their favorites in makeup, haircare, skincare, and beauty tools, and activating their audience to “run, don’t walk” to purchase the products they love. Time and time again, this has led to influencers driving viral sales for beauty brands, with products selling out both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Plus, now with the launch of TikTok Shop in the US, brands and creators can drive even more sales directly through shoppable content on the TikTok app. Creators can even join TikTok Shop’s affiliate program to connect with sellers, share their products in their videos and livestreams, and earn a commission on their videos.
2. Move beyond the traditional partnership.
Don’t be afraid to experiment working with creators from different niches to see what works best for your brand. As long as you give creators enough creative freedom to weave in your brand into their content in a way that aligns with their personal brand, these unexpected partnerships can bring amazing successes.
For example, while it’s obvious for skincare brand Olay to work with creators who are dermatologists or beauty enthusiasts, the brand branched out and worked with workplace comedy creator Corporate Natalie in an ad that generated millions of views and thousands of engagements.
Additionally, step outside of your content comfort zone and collaborate with influencers to try out a new style of content, such as livestream reviews, co-branded kits, or influencer-guided newsletters. By doing so, you can bring creators into your broader marketing efforts.
3. Segment creators by their superpowers.
Not all creators serve the same purpose for your brand. So, build strategic partnerships with a wide variety of creators and segment them by their superpowers:
- Content experts: These creators produce eye-catching content that easily engages and captivates audiences. Collaborate with them to source a goldmine of branded content and repurpose them across all of your branded channels.
- Sales drivers: These creators are powerhouse salespeople who can talk about your products in a way that drives bottom-of-funnel actions. Give them unique affiliate links or promo codes to streamline the path to purchase and supercharge conversions.
- Product partners: These creators hold power in the industry by being an expert in the space — think dermatologists, aestheticians, professional makeup artists, and the like. Work with them to co-create products, build trust in your space, and gain a competitive advantage.
The bottom line is: find creators with varying audience sizes, main platform of choice, content styles, industries, and more, and leverage each of their superpowers to meet all of your different goals.
4. Activate both gifted and paid creators.
Product seeding, or product gifting, can go a long way, especially if you’re a brand on a budget. Gifting products is a great way to build relationships with macro-influencers (who you may not have the budget to engage in a paid partnership), generate content with no upfront cost, and gain product feedback.
To ensure a return from your product seeding campaign, you should gift products with intention — rather than “spraying and praying” — and give clear options for how creators can engage with you should they like the product — whether it’s a specific branded hashtag they can share on social, an email they can reach out to for future partnership opportunities, or even a unique affiliate code that offers them the additional incentive of revenue sharing.
That being said, product seeding success isn’t always guaranteed. That’s why we often recommend that beauty brands activate both product seeding and paid campaigns, and split your budget between the two.
Paid partnerships will ensure that you get the content you’re looking for and can help you secure larger creator partners. When running paid campaigns, it’s critical to understand the full value of the paid partnership so that it becomes a cost effective channel. This means not only tracking metrics like impressions and engagement, but also branded search volume once their post goes live, affiliate link clicks and sales, and content performance when repurposed in an ad. This is the best way to ensure you’re supplementing the seeding campaign with more established creators who can effectively drive impressions, sales, and more.
If you’re unsure of how to take this approach, talk to our Agency Services team to build and execute a tailored strategy for your next campaign.
5. Build a full-funnel influencer marketing strategy.
More beauty brands are shifting away from social-only partnerships. Instead, today’s savviest beauty brands are running integrated influencer marketing campaigns, with each initiative focused on different stages of the customer’s journey:
- Traditional influencer marketing campaigns: Beauty influencers today have more trust than ever before, as the rise of “lo-fi” content has led to more authenticity. Creators in this space are showing the flaws in their skin, sharing tutorials on how they improved their acne scars, and overall creating less filtered, more relatable content. That’s why a traditional #ad still drives significant impact for beauty brands and creators, especially for awareness and engagement.
- Influencer-affiliate program: Beauty influencers are strong sales drivers, constantly selling out products online and in physical retail locations just by sharing their reviews and tutorials via their social channel. By implementing affiliate marketing into your influencer marketing strategy, you can create a frictionless path to purchase that drives immediate revenue everyday.
- Influencer content in paid ads: Beauty content is not only effective on organic channels, but paid channels as well. By leveraging influencer content in your paid ads, you can boost your ROAS and lower CAC. In fact, studies show that brands achieve 30% decrease in CPA, 53% higher CTR, and 2.9x conversion lift when Partnership Ads are used in a campaign.
By implementing a full-funnel influencer marketing strategy, you can effectively guide consumers from initial awareness through to conversion and even post-purchase engagement, maximizing the impact of your influencer program across the entire buyer’s journey.
Be sure to check out part 2 of this series, where we highlight 3 examples of beauty brands running amazing influencer marketing campaigns. Read it here.
Need more influencer marketing tips for beauty brands? Watch How Beauty Brands can Leverage Creators to Drive Business Growth on demand.