From Estee Lauder to Clinique – the biggest beauty brands in the world have been heavily building on their digital presence over the past five years, particularly on social media.
In contrast to this, one of the most talked-about new brands on the block, Glossier, has been built on digital from the very start.
Now with over 320,000 followers on Instagram, it has attracted a loyal and dedicated customer-base in just two years since its launch.
Here’s a bit more on how it has used the platform to build hype and engagement with beauty consumers.
From blog to ecommerce brand
Glossier was founded by Emily Weiss – a former styling assistant for Vogue and the founder of the online magazine Into the Gloss.
Borne out of the realisation that most beauty brands were out of touch with how women interacted with make-up – Into the Gloss focuses on giving relatable advice and insight into the beauty routines of famous faces.
On the back of its success, Emily launched Glossier – an ecommerce company selling a limited and ‘holy grail’ range of skincare for women.
The hype around Glossier was feverish from the start.
Garnering 13,000 Instagram followers before the products were even launched on its main ecommerce site – it built on the blog’s existing authority to entice consumers in early.
Instead of images of the products themselves, most of the teaser posts were designed to establish the brand’s now-recognisable aesthetic, as well as help determine it.
An early Instagram post of four different types of of pink bubble wrap encouraged users to vote for their favourite shade.
Overall, it rolled out over 125 Instagram posts prior to launch, including everything from logos to flowers and colour swatches of its now-famous ‘Glossier pink’.
Not only did this help to build excitement, but it also meant that consumers could play a part in the brand’s evolution.
Relatable tone of voice
Choosing to largely bypass traditional offline marketing, Glossier relies on Instagram to reach and engage with online consumers.
Instead of simply posting images, it also uses its distinct tone of voice to further convey the brand’s identity and values.
Glossier’s tone of voice is one of the brand’s most-loved characteristics. In a recent panel discussion at Web Summit, it was cited as a great example of how to effectively engage with an audience.
So, how exactly does it speak?
Quite simply, like anyone who might buy its products.
Using a casual and cool tone across all its channels, this extends to Instagram, where emoji’s and short and snappy copy is included in most captions.
Direct connection with consumers
Unlike brands that use Instagram as a one-way promotional tool, Glossier uses it to start two-way conversations with consumers.
It uses the platform to continuously measure feedback, even taking comments into consideration to shape and inform product launches.
The Milky Jelly Cleanser was launched a year after Into The Gloss published an article titled: “What’s Your Dream Cleanser?”
But as well as requesting information from users, Glossier also makes sure that it answers back.
It is not unusual for Instagram followers to receive direct replies on their comments.
Not only does this extend the brand’s reputation for great customer service, but it creates a personal and memorable moment for users and in turn helps to increase brand loyalty.
Encouraging user-generated content
Lastly, Glossier’s dedication to Instagram can even be seen in the design of its products – purposely created so that consumers will want to take photographs of them.
Understated and minimal, the products are lusted after for their appearance as much as they are for their practical purpose.
While Glossier has been accused of capitalising on hype by some naysayers, using its ‘cool girl’ brand status to dupe consumers, there is no doubting the excitement it generates.
Often likened to Apple product launches, its latest make-up release was met with unprecedented demand. Its eyebrow gel had a waiting list of 10,000 – unheard of for such a young and small-scale beauty brand.
If you type in the hashtag #glossierpink on Instagram, you’ll be met with thousands of images from fans documenting the famous hue.
In the increasingly digital world of beauty – this kind of user-generated content can be far more valuable than traditional marketing.
What’s more, it demonstrates just how powerful a strategic brand Instagram presence can be.