The Beauty of Instagram: Part 1
For the past few years, YouTube was the place to be if you want to break into the beauty guru game, and was the premier destination to discover which beauty products were worth buying. Self-produced videos of makeup tutorials and product reviews were so popular that beauty vloggers like Michelle Phan gained minor celebrity status.
Beauty and cosmetic enthusiasts determine their purchase decisions on user reviews. If you have a cosmetic company and Phan gives you a good review, or even simply used one of your products in a look, sales were guaranteed.
Unfortunately, the popularity of those videos and their creators has resulted in a flood of YouTube “beauty experts”, which has diluted the quality of the YouTube beauty community. In addition, more and more mainstream cosmetic companies are paying popular vloggers to be spokespeople; drawing the authenticity of product reviews into question, and it’s no surprise that many beauty enthusiasts have gone in search of something better.
That something better is Instagram.
Part of the appeal of beauty vlogging to fans was the perceived level of intimacy. Questions asked in the comments of one video would often be answered in the next video and followers would be asked to decide what look or product should be featured in a future video, but even with these interactions the fans were still basically just an audience.
Instagram takes the intimacy of YouTube and amplifies it. Creating quality beauty-based content for YouTube requires special equipment and a lot of time, in contrast all it takes to create quality content for Instagram is a digital camera and internet access; both things that are features of most cell phones.
This means that users are no longer separated into the active and passive categories of content creator and audience. On Instagram, everyone is both.
The ease of creating content for Instagram also means that it tends to be more candid. Sure, you can follow your favorite beauty guru on YouTube and be notified when each of her edited and polished videos is posted, or you can follow her on Instagram and get her early morning #NoMakeup selfies and snapshots of her adorable dog sent straight to your personal feed.
These candid glimpses foster intimacy, and intimacy enables trust. That’s where Instagram becomes especially valuable from a marketing standpoint.
(Almost) Instant Marketing
In addition to making it incredibly easy for users to create and publish content, Instagram makes it equally easy to categorize and search for specific content. The moment a picture is posted with your brand’s hashtag it becomes a piece of marketing for you.
All it takes is a click and prospective customers have access to reviews, mini-tutorials, inspirational images and more, and it’s all user-generated content. I’ll explain the immense marketing potential of this in my next post, The Beauty of Instagram, part 2.