The necessity and value for brands to have a social media presence has been covered extensively. Social media can work wonders for brand awareness and is a cost-effective form of brand engagement and marketing.
While many big-name brands have been successful with their social media strategies, there is one small brand that stands out in terms of its social media success. That brand is Glossier. Unless you are a woman who is “into” beauty, it is likely that you are unfamiliar with Glossier. In what follows, I will share what this relatively small brand has done to gain a huge cult following in just a little over two years, and how it built its brand solely with Instagram.
Who Is Glossier?
Glossier, a highly sought-after and affordable skin care line for women, is the brainchild of founder Emily Weiss, a former styling assistant for Vogue magazine.
Bothered by the experiences she had with beauty brands that she felt were talking “at” her, as well as the lack of context for real women and real experiences when beauty shopping, Weiss started a beauty blog in 2010 called Into the Gloss to give real women a place to connect with each other and get inspiration. The blog offered makeup advice and insight into the beauty routines of some of Hollywood’s famous faces, many of whom Weiss interviewed. With more than 1.5 million views per month, Weiss saw incredible success from Into the Gloss and decided to capitalize on it by launching Glossier.
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The moment Weiss announced the creation of Glossier on her blog, the hype around this new brand started immediately, garnering 13,000 Instagram followers before any of its products were launched. In just over two years, Glossier has become one of the most talked-about brands and has gained a dedicated fan base, all from one social media outlet: Instagram. But how?
With 464,000 followers, Glossier’s Instagram focuses on upholding a relatable tone to help further express the brand’s identity and values along with using photos of real Glossier employees and followers, making it easy for “normal” people to relate and connect with the brand.
However, the two most important things that Glossier has done to become so popular on Instagram are its constant use of two-way communication between its product team and followers and the way the brand incorporates user-generated content into its posts.
As a consumer following brands on social media, I have noticed that there is often a lack of two-way communication between a brand and its followers. I have posted comments and questions on various brands’ Instagram and Facebook pages and received no reply. Why is there such a lack of engagement? I am sure there is a social team for each of these brands whose job is to “engage” with their followers, but for some reason they don’t feel the need … perhaps because they think they have plenty of followers. If your brand doesn’t see the value in engaging with your social media followers on a daily basis, then you should take note of how Glossier has built its brand entirely by engaging with them.
For example, consider the image below of a two-way conversation between Glossier and a few of its followers. This is just a small snapshot; there are so many of these examples. You can see that the products team has done a great job answering questions and addressing concerns about their products since it looks like there were a few people who were unsure if the products were right for them. You can see how things were handled to ease the minds of the people asking questions. You also might have noticed that the product team was honest. Glossier prides itself on being transparent and authentic, and conversations such as this have played a huge part in making them a multimillion-dollar company.
Social media is not merely another set of channels to broadcast a brand message, like advertising of old. Rather, it is a platform for two-way dialogue and engagement between a brand and its followers. If you use it as a broadcast-only channel, you will be disappointed in the investment. On the other hand, if you think of and use social media as an engagement tool, you will be thrilled with the results – just as Glossier is thrilled with theirs.
The second thing that Glossier does on social media that many brands could use to great advantage is leverage user-generated content. Glossier is continually posting Instagram photos of followers who use its products. This has played an integral part in why its products sell out and why there was once a 10,000-person waiting list for a product called Boy Brow. It’s no wonder Glossier relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing: People trust reviews from real people. Social sharing is a very powerful tool for its brand, and brand loyalty is no joke with Glossier.
This beautiful person is a “real” person – not an unrealistic model. Image Source
Leading by Example
As you can see, Glossier’s social media game is impressive and will only get better from here. However, one brands’ social strategy may not work for others since it all depends on your audience and whether your tactics make sense.
All I can say is that if there are any takeaways from this, it is that engagement is everything if your brand wants to be successful on social media.