The beauty and wellness industry has adapted swiftly to life in the digital age. Has your marketing kept up?

Beauty and wellness consumers are turning to online spaces, particularly social media, to learn about products, services, and trends. Social media marketing has never been more important to beauty pros looking to boost their personal brand.

Around 60 percent of consumers who buy beauty products have either followed or visited their brands of choice on social media. About one-third of beauty shoppers learn of new beauty products through social ads. Many direct-to-customer (DTC) beauty brands have flourished with the help of social advertising, creating an alternative to big-league names like L’Oreal and Maybelline.

According to Common Thread’s 2022 Beauty Industry Trends report, “beauty products make up the second-largest product category for engagement across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.”

Clearly, social selling is important to the modern beauty, wellness, and fitness industry. But with so many social platforms and such quickly-evolving “best practices” for each of them, figuring out how to market yourself and your services can feel like a labyrinth.

If you’re new to social media marketing, or have dabbled in it but don’t feel confident in your skills, here are five tips to help you get started and draw your target audience to your account.

Pick One Social Media Platform

It may be tempting to create beauty channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube all at once, but it’s best to pick one platform to excel at.

“We always encourage clients to do one platform, and do it well,” says Sheri Koetting. She’s the founder of MSLK, a marketing agency that serves beauty brands. MSLK has worked with brands in makeup, hair, skincare, spas, and everything in between.

Koetting explains that sharing content regularly across multiple social media platforms can easily sap a beauty pro’s bandwidth. You might end up with mediocre accounts that all underperform.

Business woman looking at social media on her phoneBut which social media platform should you choose? YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are the heavy-hitters in the beauty and fitness industry according to Koetting, and these social networks each have their own flavor.

“The winning formula is to find a platform that matches your personality and message,” she says.

The type of content that performs well on Instagram, for example, is polished and focused on visual style. TikTok, on the other hand, is much more casual. A showstopping image of a perfect “smokey eye” would fit best on Instagram, whereas a how-to makeup tutorial filmed at your bathroom sink in your favorite sweatshirt might go viral on TikTok.

What type of content would you like to create? What best reflects your personality? Find the platform where that type of content is shared regularly, and start your social selling efforts there.

Keep in mind that of the popular platforms for the beauty and fitness industry, Facebook has the advantage when it comes to tracking purchases. Facebook knows who is purchasing online. They offer a classification of audiences who frequently purchase online, vs. those who tend to click but not purchase. This helps you reach audiences who are already primed to purchase.

Create Content That Brings Value

Now that you have the right platform, you need to produce the right content.

The days of relying on sales reps and newspaper ads are fading fast. Today’s consumers don’t want to be advertised to. They want brands to prove their worth by creating helpful, informative content.

The best content informs, educates, or entertains. It gives users something they want, whether that’s a good laugh and five minutes of distraction, or the solution to a problem. Professional marketers call this “providing value” to the consumer, and it works better for lead generation than approaching consumers with an immediate request to buy your product.

What does it look like to provide value to consumers in today’s beauty industry, particularly in a brief social media post? “The consumer has an insatiable desire for product education, so that’s always going to be relevant and important,” Koetting says. Posts that share tips and tricks, how-to videos, tutorials, and troubleshooting for common problems will likely be of value to your viewers.

“Those who give will receive back,” Koetting says. Give your audience helpful content, and you’ll grow a loyal following of potential clients.

Be Authentic

Just a few years ago, mega-influencers on platforms like Instagram and YouTube ruled the social selling landscape. Professional brands looking to raise their profile could partner with one of these influencers, get a product featured on their channel, and watch the sales roll in from the influencer’s massive list of followers.

It’s no longer that easy. For the last two years or so, Koetting’s clients have seen disappointing return on investment when it comes to mega-influencer partnerships. These influencers simply don’t hold the clout with audiences that they once did.

This is because consumers increasingly want product recommendations and reviews from people who seem just like them. Mega-influencers are beginning to seem too much like celebrities. As a culture, we’re weary of slick sales pitches and big names that back mediocre products. Your social media followers are more likely to trust you and purchase your product or service if they feel that they know you—the real you. This is especially crucial for your Gen Z audience, who prefer things less polished and more raw.

Women leading a livestreamThis is why it’s important to pick a platform that matches the type of content you love to create. Consumers love authenticity.

Instead of shelling out bucks for dubious reach, here’s a new way to think about influencers. In the vacuum left by mega-influencers, micro-influencers are beginning to slip in. Micro-influencers are those with about 10,000-50,000 followers. They often have more interaction with their followers, Koetting explains. Find a micro-influencer whose style aligns with your brand and partner with them to create authentic content, with the agreement that this content can be used later in paid advertising. This is a very cost-effective way to get lifestyle content and utilize the reach of social media users who have very engaged followers.

As you interact with your fans make sure that your content fits your personality. Be honest and genuine about your products. If you partner with influencers, make sure they have a reputation for honest practices. Be yourself. Your followers will appreciate it.

Don’t Neglect Paid Advertising

Social media algorithms change frequently, and those algorithms determine who sees your posts, and how often. As platforms are flooded with more and more content, space on your followers’ timelines is at a premium.

This means that when you post a regular piece of content, the number of followers who will see it via the normal algorithm—what’s called “organic reach”—is low.

“Organic social reach has really become very hard,” Koetting says. “We see brands spending too many resources on organic reach without any return on their investment.”

The answer, according to Koetting, is paid reach. Paid reach refers to the number of people who will see your content if you pay the platform to advertise or boost it. Paid reach has become a hot social selling tool.

And we’re not talking about hundreds of dollars in advertising costs. Koetting says that even small monthly investments of $10-$50 to boost a post can make a huge difference in how many followers see it. She advises her clients to create a posting cadence that will be easy to keep up with, enough to keep the channel active and professional without sinking tons of time into it, and then select stellar posts for boosting each month.

Koetting’s advice to pursue paid over organic reach may seem controversial, but she’s not the only social media marketing expert to say this. Josh Sample, founder of Drive Social Media, told Forbes as far back as 2019 that “the return you get from organic content is not trackable or scalable, and the conversions can be slim. Based on our experience of helping clients with paid social, the capabilities brands have access to with [paid content] are extensive, and the benefits far exceed anything you would normally receive with organic content.”

Still, you don’t want to ignore organic reach altogether. Check out ways to boost your organic reach and implement some best practices. Just don’t spend all your valuable time on it.

Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

Collaboration with other beauty professionals can be a great way to expand your social network. By creating shared content, you’re building relationships with one another’s audience.

Beauty professionals collaborate on social mediaThe beauty and wellness industry in particular is rife with opportunity for collaboration. Here are just a few examples:

  • A hair stylist and a makeup artist create a series of “looks”—elegant hair and makeup for bridesmaids, edgy styling for a night on the town, etc.—and share them as a series of Instagram photos to inspire their audience.
  • Two nail techs film a YouTube tutorial on nail designs for the holidays, each creating their favorite style using the other as the model.
  • A makeup artist and a lash technician film a how-to TikTok on makeup techniques after eyelash extensions.

You don’t have to limit yourself to professionals in your immediate area. The ease of sharing photos and videos online makes collaboration possible from across town or across the country. Find another beauty pro whose work you admire and propose a team-up.

Loyal clients will often be willing to help create content for your page, or post shareable content about you on their own account. Identify a few of your social media followers whose content style aligns with your brand and reach out to them to inquire about potential collaboration.

You Can Do It! Vagaro Can Help

With a few tricks and best practices, even pros who are new to the social selling game can begin to grow a healthy online following for their personal brand.

Vagaro's Apple Maps booking integrationAnd remember, you’re not alone! Vagaro has tools to get you started on your social selling journey.

Contact Vagaro today to become one of our beauty pros and access the support you need to grow your business.