Article by: Perry Romanowski

Cosmeticsdesign.com reports that a recent study carried out by The Allstate Corporation showed that US Adults are heavily connected on social media outlets. 51% are on Facebook, 28% on Google+, 13% on Twitter, and 12% on LinkedIn. And Youtube gets a whopping 4 billion views a day!

These “media” outlets provide an excellent opportunity for small brands to compete with the big brands. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of starting your own cosmetic brand. It’s extremely difficult to compete with the big brands.

But here’s a secret. Big companies haven’t figured out social media. They do not know what makes someone popular or what causes something to go viral. They are in the same boat as almost everyone else. In fact, big companies have the added problem of being successful with traditional advertising. This new social media stuff is as foreign to them as it is to everyone else.

Buying online

In the past people were a little skeptical of buying products online. Sites like Drugstore.com and Beauty.com have been around for a while and have been doing a steady business, but more and more sites are popping up and consumers are taking notice…and buying. A recent survey showed that 62% of consumers now shop online regularly. That’s a pretty good market and one in which a start up cosmetic company can compete against the big guys.

What social media?

But to build a useful social media presence that helps build your brand and ultimately lead to sales, you need a few key things.

1. A website – This is the face of your brand. It helps sell your product, convince your fans you’re worth buying and can even lead to direct sales. Without a website, it is much more difficult to build a new cosmetic brand.

2. An email list – One part of your website should be a free newsletter or something that allows people to give you their email address. These are the people who will most likely be your first customers. You can give them offers or ask them questions about new product development. This is a key part of any online strategy.

3. Social networks – While social networking sites are great they can also be a complete waste of time. You need to have a strategy for building up your presence and using it to build your cosmetic brand. To that end there are some key ones to join. You should have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It also makes sense for professional reasons to be connected on LinkedIn.

Next steps

So if your dream is to eventually start your own brand, you don’t have to start by creating a product. Start with a name, a logo, a story and then a website. Build traffic to your website using your social media profiles. Then when you have enough people interested, create your brand.

Remember spend time building products that people want and you can’t help but have a successful cosmetic product line.

4 comments

  1. Eliza

    Thank you so much, Perry for the link!
    Marketing research is tougher than I thought, imho. From what I read I didn’t see numbers/statistics that differentiate between a first time purchase of an unknown product from an unknown brand and a repeat purchase of either a known product or a known brand. The survey you mention focuses on huge and very well known established web shops like Amazon & Sephora or the online sales of big brands.
    My gut says that making free samples available is the key. But am still to find hard data on this matter…
    Any literature is very welcome 🙂
    Thanks again!

  2. Eliza

    Hi Perry,
    This is interesting, do you happen to have some numbers that support the hypothesis that social media helps selling more small brands of cosmetics online?
    Just recently I finished a small marketing research and the numbers so far are not really in favor of people buying new cosmetic products online. Most of the people (potential customers) I interviewed wrote/said that they actually preferred buying new cosmetic products that they can actually feel, try and smell in a real life store, rather than simply by visual information (like a web shop).
    I was somehow disappointed by this unexpected reaction, so I was wondering: what is your take on this?
    Thanks as always! 🙂

    1. Perry

      Hello Eliza,

      An excellent question. The evidence I have is a combination of surveys I’ve read about and my own personal experience of selling beauty products via my beauty blog. Granted I don’t sell my own products but other people’s brands (big and small).

      It is easy to read too much into surveys and what really matters is what people are doing. It is undeniable that people are buying products online whether they say they want to touch them or not. I firmly believe that the best place to start growing a brand is online. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try offline avenues of distribution but online is the faster and easier route.

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