Using social media effectively can help sell products to the right audiences, encourage users to post about a brand and connect with “influencers” who persuade their army of followers to buy products.
In the area of direct-to-consumer beauty products, New York startup Glossier has established itself as one of the top skincare brands in the US.
Founded by Emily Weiss in 2014, the company has developed many popular skincare and make-up products and used a novel approach with influencers to get people to talk about its brand. The company has flipped the typical influencer marketing script by launching products sent to nontraditional influencers and instead sent to 500 “ambassadors” who are either highly engaged with Glossier online or have bought the most products. Those fans help spread the word about new products and have become influencers in their way by having a flashy new product first. Weiss has spoken publicly about its strategy to treat regular customers like influencers, and the company frequently reposts customer photos on its Instagram account, which has more than 2.5 million followers. The company has raised $186 million in venture capital to date and is valued at more than $1 billion. Glossier is currently working with YouTube sensation, Peter McKinnon.
Innovative food company Banza’s first product was pasta made from chickpeas. It was higher in protein and lower in carbs compared to wheat pasta. Brian Rudolph, founder and CEO, bet that if he could get the product in influencers’ hands, they’d spread the word that his pasta was good. Rudolph reached out to journalists and big names in the social media world by sending emails and asking if people wanted free samples. This approach eventually gained traction, and most influencers who tried the product endorsed it to their fans. Today, Banza is available in grocery stores around the USA and besides chickpea pasta, they also sell chickpea rice and chickpea mac and cheese.
When they became ready to promote their brand, they decided to focus on a single demographic profile and work with influential female women who are into fashion and still in college.
The chosen influencers created videos highlighting the unique products available at Society6, which college-going girls can use to decorate their dorm rooms. The company wanted to build the idea that these products could help in personalizing their living space.
“Every corner of your home and your everyday life should feel like it’s authentically you – so come discover something from us that goes way beyond the “box store blah.” We offer you the opportunity to customize your life with unique products and designs that speak to you”, – the brand’s website says.
Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante dropped out of college in 2013 and founded direct-to-consumer fashion brand MVMT. Their mission was to disrupt the watch industry via stylish, less pricey watches. The Los Angeles-based company kicked off with a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $200,000, then used influencer marketing to spread the brand’s products to new people. The duo used a two-prong approach:
1) Paying popular Instagram influencers to showcase its chic watches.
2) Sharing customer-generated content that used the hashtag #jointhemvmt, which has been used more than 150,000 times.
MVMT now sells more than just watches, including sunglasses and accessories, and it has more than one million Instagram followers.
OTBT (Off The Beaten Track) designs and sells women’s casual and travel shoes. It’s a young, vibrant brand that has quickly grown in popularity despite only launching a few years back. Much of this success can be attributed to their influencers and influencer marketing strategy.
OTBT’s Instagram officially launched in January 2015, but its actual influencer program only began in 2017. The team decided to focus on micro-influencers with accounts of 5,000 followers or less. Since they started the program, they increased their influencer community from a handful to over 400, 200 of which signed on in 2020.
“Social media accounts for approximately 44% of our gross e-commerce revenue, with influencers providing an estimated annual reach of 750,000 potential customers. They generate most of our lifestyle and content while also creating brand exposure across the country, especially in the southeastern US states.”