In 2018, the U.S. beauty industry generated a record-breaking $89.5 billion in total revenue. Needless to say, consumer demand for hair care, skincare, and makeup products is high, particularly in the U.S.
In recent years, the success of the beauty industry has been aided significantly by social media influencers on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Within a single year, 86% of the most-viewed beauty videos on YouTube were made by influencers, compared to 14% by beauty brands themselves, demonstrating the power beauty influencers hold in exposing audiences to the newest beauty products and trends.
Here we’ll break down exactly what a beauty influencer program is and provide tips and examples to guide your next campaign with beauty influencers.
Most simply, a beauty influencer is a social media user who is well known for his/her expertise on the topics of skincare, hair care, and makeup. Popular beauty influencers amass enormous audiences who come to trust their beauty advice and product recommendations. Influencers within the niche create content of all types but maintain an overarching focus on beauty.
A beauty influencer program is a collaboration between a beauty brand and one or more beauty influencers, in which the influencer(s) create sponsored content advertising the brand’s products or services on social media.
Beauty influencers are well equipped to promote beauty brands due to their credibility in the beauty category, the trust they’ve established with their audiences, and their ability to market to audiences across several social media platforms (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Musical.ly, et. al.).
Instagram and YouTube are the two primary social media platforms used for beauty influencer partnerships. On both, brands can work with beauty influencers to achieve a variety of marketing objectives (e.g. branding-related, sign-ups, online sales, etc.). To accomplish such, brands can apply influencer marketing strategies, tactics, and content formats to drive specific results.
For additional beauty influencer program resources, see our guides here:
Below, we break down the main formats beauty influencers use to create sponsored content applicable to both Instagram and YouTube.
1. Complete Makeup Looks
Frequently, influencers showcase a brand by capturing a complete makeup look and listing the products they used. On Instagram, influencers will often post of photo of their finished makeup look and list the products they used in the photo caption.
Comparably, a complete makeup look on YouTube frequently takes the form of a tutorial because of the platform’s longer video capability. A beauty influencer will show viewers how to apply a complete look from start to finish and list the products used in the video description box, often with links directing the brand’s website.
On both Instagram and YouTube, this type of content is an excellent option for brands who want to market multiple products in a single image or video, while showing viewers how their beauty product looks once applied.
Giveaways are another common tactic used in beauty influencer programs. A sponsored giveaway typically includes a selection of a brand’s products that users can enter to win. The influencer then creates content that showcases the products and invites using to enter by taking specific actions such as following the brand’s official account, commenting on the post, and/or tagging friends.
The giveaway format can be executed on both Instagram and Youtube. Giveaways are an excellent way for beauty brands to gain social media followers and get consumers excited about their product offerings.
3. Beauty Favorites
Beauty favorites videos are another common format used to advertise beauty products. Typically once a month, beauty YouTubers will highlight a selection of beauty products that they have especially enjoyed that month.
By sponsoring a favorites video, brands can leverage strong personal recommendations from influencers to help drive sales for a particular product.
Similar to a favorites video, beauty influencers use the haul format to show users a range of products they purchased from one or more beauty brand, typically on YouTube. In this format, influencers implement a straightforward product placement to showcase a brand’s products.
The haul format is particularly useful for brands interested in calling to attention to the packaging, look, or feel of their products since in this format, influencers often focus on the appearance and presentation of a product rather than demonstrating its application.
Enlisting beauty influencers to attend highly-trafficked events is a great way to raise brand awareness. In this type of beauty influencer program, influencers are paid to appear at a brand’s booth or party at special events such as Coachella or BeautyCon and document their experience. Influencers typically publish sponsored content before, during, and/or after the event to highlight their appearance.
By aligning brands with popular influencers, this strategy is an effective way to boost a brand’s presence at a particular event. However, it may not be as effective for driving sales of specific products.
1. Maybelline Advertises With Model Roz
Model and beauty/fashion influencer, Model Roz, has amassed over 7.5 million Instagram followers and consistently keeps followers up to date on the latest fashion and beauty trends. Roz recently traveled to New York in partnership with Maybelline for its #MaybellineItGirls campaign and published nine sponsored Instagram posts documenting her trip.
By showcasing her time in New York made possible by Maybelline, Roz positioned the brand favorably and emphasized a wider Maybelline experience characterized by luxury and access to exclusive events.
2. bareMinerals & Fleur De Force Team Up
Last month, popular beauty YouTuber Fleur De Force ran a makeup giveaway in partnership with bareMinerals. De Force published one sponsored photo that showcased an artfully displayed spread of bareMinerals products and instructed her 813,000 followers to comment and like the photo for a chance to win.
The sponsored giveaway is well-timed to coincide with both the holiday season and as a bonus “surprise” giveaway to Fleur’s followers after a series of holiday giveaways. In addition to her brand and specific product endorsement, Fleur encourages engagement from her followers by asking them to tag “who [they’re] most excited to give a gift to this year.” By organically weaving in the spirit of the holiday gift-giving season, Fleur is able to promote the sponsored content beyond her existing followers by making the social share/tag about each fan’s favorite person.
3. Sephora Collaborates With Beauty Expert Shaaanxo
New Zealand beauty YouTuber Shannon Harris of the channel Shaanxo maintains an impressive three million subscribers. In partnership with Sephora, Harris created a sponsored unboxing video that showcases her newest Sephora purchases. In the video, Harris opens, tests, and discusses a variety of products, giving viewers a strong sense of Sephora’s diverse product offerings.
In the nearly five minute long video, Harris candidly shares specific details about each product, giving her followers the information they need to make a purchase decision. Additionally, she expresses positive opinions of each item. Due to the built-in trust she carries with her audience, these opinions are likely to instill confidence in the quality of Sephora’s product offerings and incite purchases.