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Unlocking the potential of social media in cosmetics

By Guy Montague-Jones , 05-Jun-2009
Last updated the 26-Oct-2009 at 12:15 GMT

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Social networking sites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are all places where companies can open up a dialogue with their consumers, but according to innovation agency Maddock Douglas few cosmetics firms are taking full advantage of their marketing potential.

Raphael Viton and Nick Kinports from Maddock Douglas spoke to Cosmetics Design to explore the potential of social media in cosmetics and explain its pitfalls.

Viton said social media marketing strategies work best for “high involvement” categories where information, feedback and testimonials from trusted sources play an important role in buying decisions. He said this being the case for beauty products makes social media “perfect for cosmetics”.

While many cosmetic companies have some presence in social media, Viton said very few are truly committed and many approach it in the wrong way.

“Only a few brands in this space (e.g. Clinique, Aveda) are generating decent rates of advocacy and outreach, most others are merely dabbling,” said Viton.

Some smaller brands are exploring social media more effectively than their bigger rivals.

Viton said: “The big beauty brands should be fearful of the "challenger" brands leveraging social media to get a significant foothold on market share.”

Kinports added that too many brands have an old fashioned mentality and are unwilling to use social media as a means of opening an honest and authentic dialogue with consumers.

Wading into social networking sites and posting fake product reviews is not the way forward. Kinports said this damages credibility and trust which are the values social media can help companies to foster.

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