Sephora Shows How Social Media Engagement Can Be An Inspiration
Right now on social media, everyone is looking for the next big thing. Clients need to feel like they are spending their budgets wisely, and maximum ROI is what’s required to justify a lot of agency work. We’ve found a campaign that perfectly symbolises the impact of going back to basics. Going back to the customer.
Sephora does not struggle for fans. On Facebook, it has over 15 million fans and on Instagram over 10 million. So there is a huge pool of potential engagement there to dip into.
But the real reason why the new Sephora campaign works revolves around the fact that the company knows its audience. It recognises what they stand for and what resonates with them. And this is the key factor in the impact of the campaign.
So what’s it all about?
Sephora launched the campaign on 31st of January 2017 and it centres on a series of short videos that feature five different women.
Each of the women is different to the rest, which just goes to prove that demographics can be diverse.
One of the videos features a woman who refuses to dye her gray hair. So she’s making a statement. There is also a transgender woman. The basic message behind the campaign is that women of all types can stand out and express themselves.
All the videos are connected to a longer, 45 second spot that reinforces the message the videos are aiming to convey.
How it works
Well, the company is essentially reaching out to loyal fans. It does this by recognising what those fans are all about, and then creating content around those principles. Allison Stiefel, VP of campaign and content marketing at Sephora, had this to say:
“We have a very active and engaged audience that are constantly sharing and supporting each other, beyond product. With this campaign, we are encouraging a deeper conversation with our followers about what beauty means to them, celebrating each other and ultimately give a voice to how we can all ‘beauty together.’”
The ‘deeper conversation’ thing is kind of key when talking about marketing and social media. The tone is set with a clear use of a hashtag (#neverstop), so immediately the campaign looks like it is starting a conversation.
The five beauty stories may showcase women who are very different from each other, but they are united through that hashtag.
Then, the quality of the content shines through. A common cause, uniting an audience. The company knows its own principles, and exactly how those principles map onto their audience.
Moving aside from the Never Stop campaign for a moment, consider how Sephora uses Facebook generally, and you will understand the extent of the company’s grasp on the demographic.
In this post, the theme of empowering women (in this case female entrepreneurs) is to the fore. The post focuses on a woman who has her own brand, and has been helped with an accelerator program run by Sephora. But most importantly, the main message of the post is that Sephora and its millions of fans ‘define the future of beauty’.
Unsurprisingly, Sephora has put a lot of work into this, historically. For years now the company has been gathering information about its typical customer, or ‘her’, and what she would want from the marketing experience.
In 2014, Sephora VP of Digital Bridget Dolan, had this to say on how Sephora approaches its marketing:
“Early on we realized that if we were going to differentiate ourselves from other beauty retailers we had to be true to our customer and see what was most important to her. Every decision that we make has our customer at the center. I think a lot of companies say that. But we really mean it. We think about, “How will this impact our customer?” “What’s the right thing for our customer?” Then we think, “OK. Hopefully it’s also the right thing for us.” And in some cases it’s not and we still do it anyway.”
So Sephora talks to the customer, and it knows what to talk about because it has surveyed the demographic and taken a real good look at what the customer wants.
Sephora also noticed that the majority of the fans are on Facebook and Instagram, so made sure that the content was well produced visual content.
Lessons to learn?
Sephora has made a masterpiece out of their social media work. From hashtags done right, to the platforms their audience is active on, every step has been focused and effective. The lessons a brand can learn are simple. Make sure you undertake market research effectively and know your demographic. Once you have a clear idea of what your audience likes you can then think about how to present it to them.
Sephora knows which platforms its audience likes to be on, and this helps with ensuring that the content is in front of the right eyes. To get the extra assurance that your timing is right, look at your metrics to pinpoint best posting times.
Finally, be like Sephora with your client’s accounts, and focus on creating the content that your audience likes. Check the metrics again, and find out which posts and topics resonate the most with your audience.
Sephora hasn’t actually done anything ground-breaking here. All you have to do to get on the same track is get to know your audience and what it likes. Then, give them plenty of it. It’s basically customer-centric marketing at its most pure.