How to Build, Maintain and Grow a Social Media Community for Your Beauty Brand

- 5 minute read
Digital Content Specialist​

Gemma Elgar is a Digital Content Specialist at Foundation where she creates and executes content strategies, including site copy, blog content, and more. She also conducts social media campaigns for our clients, and has spoken on a panel about creating sensitive campaigns for niche audiences.

Given the nature of beauty as a collaborative, community-led category of social media, brands that cultivate their own communities often see high levels of post engagement – and for good reason.

Community marketing gives a human touch to your brand, allowing the brand name to participate in conversations as a peer to its customers. Not only that, but improving the relationship between brand and existing audience has been found to drastically improve conversion rates. For example, Superdrug saw conversions increase by as much as 60% from users who engaged in their community.

So, what is community marketing, how do you get started, and why maintain your social community as a business? Keep reading to find out.

What is Community Marketing?

Image showing the torso of a person in a blue sweatshirt holding a mobile phone.

Community marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating a tightly-knit network of your audience, all while securing your brand at the centre. The nature of the beauty industry lends itself to this type of marketing as it’s generally full of creative, collaborative individuals who want to share their passion and their work.

This creates what feels like a neutral platform for brand and community where they can share their ideas and directly communicate, meaning that the audience can tell the brand what they want, and the brand can respond.

This kind of marketing strategy is great for customer retention, as it creates a sense of belonging among the audience. More cost-effective than finding new customers, focusing your attention on the ones you already have is a great way to keep your brand as their first port of call for their beauty needs.

Types of Community Marketing

There are two types of community marketing: sponsored and organic.

Sponsored Community Marketing

Sponsored communities are created and monitored by the brand itself. These are most often the branded social channels where the brand publishes content, and through which customers can directly reach out to ask questions.

Organic Community Marketing

Organic communities do not have the benefit of brand control. Instead, these communities are created by customers’ organic interactions with one another. These have the potential to be beneficial or detrimental to a brand, depending on the nature of the discussions.

How to Build a Community on Social Media

Knowing Your Audience

Image showing three people sat around a table drinking coffee and using smart phones and laptops to share content with one another.

Creating your community starts with knowing who it’s for. Nail down your brand message, tone of voice, and target audience. Your social community is an opportunity to share a consciousness with your fans, which, when at its strongest, will intrigue new people to check it out.

Research your customer personas and understand how they think and speak – and use tools like SparkToro to find out where they’re hanging out online and who they’re likely to follow.

Not only does this let you understand what it is that your audience wants, but it can also allow your brand to become an active member of the demographic you’re trying to entice by tailoring your content.

Choosing Your Platforms

Image showing a person using a laptop open to a grid-style photo sharing website.

Part of knowing your audience involves knowing where you’ll find them. The kinds of beauty community we’re discussing can be found on all sorts of social platforms, but some lend themselves to it more than others.

For example, platforms like Mastodon and Reddit focus on the use of community groups, categorising users’ posts by topic. R/MakeupAddiction, for example, is many beauty users’ first port of call to get genuine advice from other beauty lovers; a quintessentially organic community.

Again, SparkToro is great for driving learnings about where your audience will be hanging out.

By nature, the beauty community also thrives on picture-based platforms where people can share the before and afters of their skincare routines, the creativity of their latest makeup look, hairstyle inspiration, and more.

This makes the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Lemon8 great for developing the creative side of your beauty brand’s community, where as Reddit and Mastodon can help you embrace the discussion side.

As mentioned above, there are different benefits to each platform as they fall under the category of organic or sponsored community marketing. Embracing both methods can be the best way to fully engage with your social communities.

Maintaining Your Audience

Image showing a woman holding up two sweatshirts, trying to decide between the two.

Being part of your brand’s community needs to be worth the consumer’s time. What are they going to get out of being involved? Whether this is spendable points, discounts, tutorials, or other rewards, there should be something beneficial for the user to entice them in to joining.

Now that you’ve gathered your audience, you need to keep them satisfied by engaging in different types of community marketing. Some of these might include:

  • ‘Ask me anything’ sessions and Q&As
  • Chat channels
  • Competitions and giveaways
  • Sharing resources

Again, you might find that certain tactics lend themselves better to certain platforms, or that this can be a good opportunity to change things up. For example, hosing a Q&A as a one-off Instagram live session can be just as engaging as an ongoing, open question and answer channel.

Whether the community is sponsored or organic, you as the brand need to actively engage with your customer base. Sharing user-generated content to your brand’s page, tagging users, replying to comments or posts you’ve been tagged in – all of these go towards helping your brand become an active member of its own community. Not just an active member: the most active member.

Read more: The Latest Look: Why is User Generated Content So Important?

Case Study: Sephora

Image showing the top of the Sephora Beauty Insider Community website.

One brand that has created a particularly strong social community is Sephora. The Sephora website provides a surplus of longform content giving beauty advice, as well as focusing their strategy on video content. Their 1.37M YouTube subscribers is nothing to sniff at, especially when that isn’t even the only place they share their video content.

Where Sephora stands out, however, is with their website space dedicated to building community. Titled the ‘Beauty Insider Community’, this section of Sephora’s site is broken down into topics like ‘skincare aware’ and ‘haul stars’, where customers can ask and answer relevant questions, share photos, and more. You can even filter by ‘unanswered’ to find our where your advice might be most needed.

This community really hits the best of both worlds when it comes to sponsored and organic. The layout of it feels like an organic community lead by users, rather than the brand; exploring the different pages feels much more like scrolling through a subreddit than the official Sephora site.

However, the fact that it is part of the official Sephora site means that the Sephora team are still able to have an overview of the community’s discussions, get involved themselves, and quickly catch any potentially negative conversation regarding the brand name.

Create Your Community with Foundation

Whether it’s a rewards system, access to events, user-generated inspiration or something else still, it’s important to have a base to your community that will bring everyone together under your brand’s name. At Foundation, we can help you with the best digital strategy for your brand and your social community.

Get in touch with our experts to find out how a partnership with Foundation could improve your business.

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