3x steps to creating social currency in the beauty space

For brands, the challenge of keeping up with the relentless and exponentially-increasing pace of modern technology has never been greater. Consumers have never been so demanding and the competition has never been so ruthless.

Business models are changing in every sector. And the beauty industry is no exception.

For beauty consumers, brand preferences are created at a fairly young age, which means the role social plays in creating deeper bonds is pivotal. Today’s smart beauty brands are investing in social visual storytelling to build hype and engage with fans.

Here are 3 x important parts to the puzzle.

Step 1: Start with a primer

Back in the day, before brands became fixated on social media, YouTube and Instagram were more like fun hobbies that consumers used to engage and connect with peers. Unboxing wasn’t a thing, and lipstick swatching was something your mum did with the sales rep at the Chanel counter in Debenhams.

The online world birthed a completely new industry based on the understanding that people love sharing their discoveries with like-minded communities.

The beauty industry was the perfect candidate for digitalisation and social share-ability, as beauty shoppers tended to buy products based on recommendations. Haul videos entered the scene, DIY make-up tutorials garnered huge audiences and pretty much every consumer found their voice.

Image Source: MilkMakeUp Instagram
Image Source: MilkMakeUp Instagram

More and more marketing budgets began accounting large sums to social, from funding strategies to creating content, community management and customer service.

Acknowledging the need for social investment is the first step, especially as pretty much every element of life continues to move from analogue to digital.

From gifting programmes to influencer activations, once budget is available, marketeers and creatives have license to test and learn what tactics are proving the most effective.

Step 2: Finding a scalable foundation

To realise the full potential of social media, it’s important to properly invest in the attributes that help a brand thrive online.

Four key attributes that drive appraisal are awareness, communication, consumer loyalty and a brand world.

Image Source: Fenty Beauty Instagram
Image Source: Fenty Beauty Instagram


Sitting proudly at the top of the marketing funnel, awareness is key for a brand to be discovered and gain equity.

Think engaging with influencers or developing scroll-stopping content that helps drive recall and gets your brand noticed amongst a sea of lipsticks and illuminators.


Developing a dialogue and forging a direct line of communication with consumers takes time to build but, once done, is priceless.

Communication on social media is multilayered, happening in ways such as liking posts, commenting on videos, tagging other users or direct messaging.

Once established, brands have a way of directly entering conversations and reaching target tribes through well crafted content in real-time.

Consumer loyalty

Creating an emotional connection with consumers is the holy grail to unlocking one of the most coveted feelings from a consumer: loyalty.

When the steps above have been followed and you’re proactively and consistently engaging with a live community of users, those users will be compelled to engage back, with the ripple effect immeasurable.

A consumers positive interaction with your brand can turn into loyalty, and eventually (hopefully), advocacy.

Brand world

The visual nature of social media allows brands to create a hyper-focused world around a core strategy, packaging with a conscious narrative.

A brand aura is not so measured by numbers, but rather the life and meaning it adds to other business activities.

Think of the impact brands like Glossier and Milk Makeup have had on the rest of the category, as well as other sectors.

Step 3: Storytelling

Social brand storytelling is a way for a brand to express its authenticity to consumers, which in turn, creates social currency. Yet still, it’s a widely under-tapped strategy that brands don’t do well at, or forget entirely.

To do so isn’t easy. First of all, it hinges on a brand’s ability to communicate their essence in a relevant and authentic way. Young digital natives are more sensitive to authenticity than any other age group, as they’re bombarded with thousands of messages per day.

Image Source: Glossier Instagram
Image Source: Glossier Instagram

Brands must also be able to influence and connect with a young audience and that calls for a deep understanding of that cohort’s fast-changing trends, hopes and dreams.

No brand has had a bigger impact on beauty in the last couple of years than LOVE favourite, Fenty. The brand, owned by Rihanna, entered the market with a 100% digital campaign largely geared around Instagram and influencer content.

The brand was built on a “beauty for all” concept, launching with 40 different shades of foundation, thereby setting the tone for its inclusive, body positive and diverse marketing.

Combining reviews and testimonies for industry professionals, models, and everyday fans – its unique Instagram strategy drew in 1.4m followers within just four days.

This approach has continued, using YouTube tutorials and other forms of content to generate engagement and hype around each new product launch.

SEEN. has been compiled by LOVE's Culture & Strategy team. Want to say hello, ask questions or question their cultural knowledge? You can send her an email at hello@lovecreative.com. Or find LOVE in all the usual places:

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