Launching Product with the Right Social Media Relationships

Hélène Heath
November 7, 2018
Lasted Updated On

If you tuned into to our Instagram Stories last week, you know that our director of customer success, Jenny Pratt, spoke at the Decoded Future conference with beautyblender's director of digital marketing and social media, Christine Stern.

They discussed the smashing success of beautyblender's new foundation launch, where the team leveraged their social media relationships to create palpable buzz. Below is a recap of the strategy and how they measured the results.

Social Media Relationships

beautyblender is an iconic brand in the world of cosmetics. You'll find nary a makeup toolkit that doesn't contain a bright pink sponge. The cult applicator has a major following, both on social and irl, and the company has recently taken its next giant business step by foraying into actual makeup with the launch of its first-ever foundation, Bounce.

The beautyblender marketing team is a savvy bunch. For starters, the brand is a Dash Hudson family member, so you know they're smart cookies that are constantly optimizing their social activities. Secondly, they've built an incredible visual social narrative around the fact that their tool is an indispensable makeup staple, building strong relationships with authoritative beauty industry voices along the way.

beautyblender used social channels to craft its story from the company's very inception, starting super early on with MySpace (RIP). Founder Rea Ann Silva was seeking to democratize an applicator for which most brands would have sought professional artists' endorsement, and she began gifting any beauty enthusiast making their fanaticism known.

This resulted in hot pink egg-shaped sponges in every budding influencer's toolkit by the time Instagram and YouTube tutorials came along. See—smart. In a world where these social media relationships can make or break a brand, having the foresight of getting in early on the influencer action enabled beautyblender to skyrocket to icon status.

When businesses are making these connections with social stars and creating authentic, tight, mutually beneficial relationships, it's an invaluable asset for getting the word out on products, launches, and retaining brand relevance. And when the executives want to see numbers to track the value of their spend, there's Dash Hudson. Christine's team turns to DH's Relationship IQ tool to measure the value and return of all those fostered social media relationships. Again—smart.

If you're unfamiliar with this feature and you're a social marketer, meet your new BFF. beautyblender's team uses this solution every day to assess which influencers are working in what global markets, what their earned media value is, what campaigns performed best, and who saw the most success within an activation. "It lets us see who moves the needle where," Christine says.

social media relationships

A Special Launch

When it came to fulfilling founder Rea Ann Silva's lifelong dream of launching a foundation (Bounce) to go with her amazing sponge, leveraging all those fostered social media relationships was a no-brainer. It proved to be an incredibly effective tactic, facilitated through a three-part strategy and an immersive in-person experience dubbed 'The beautyblender Bodega'.

The first phase came in the form of teasers. Christine's team was looking to generate hype and curiosity by piquing the audience's interest with the idea of "beauty's next power couple," aka "the iconic sponge with the next iconic product." For this rollout, they teased pairs like Kim & Mario and Kanye & Kanye (lolz).

The second phase involved shooting beauty tutorials with some of beautyblender's micro influencers, social media relationships the team deems just as important as the big names. They didn't know they were coming to try the new foundation, which made for a nice surprise and delight moment on camera. The crew was able to capture those genuine reactions in real time before shooting the makeup videos, which added to the feel-good vibes.

The third phase was all about tying together the idea of the power couple and educating the audience on Bounce through content captured by the product development team. This multilayered approach was punctuated by beautyblender's first ever physical retail space, the Bodega pop-up in New York City—art-directed to the utmost immersive degree of social shareability.

The beautyblender Bodega opening was a big Instagram affair, where basically all of the brand's social media relationships came out to support their favorite makeup-tool-turned-actual-makeup. The team hosted a VIP soirée to celebrate the launch of the Bounce foundation, which made more than a dent in their growth. It ended up being beautyblender's highest growth moment on Instagram ever, which they attribute to their instagrammable props (life size hot pink foam sponges!) as well as all of their relationships coming together at once for the first time to bring the story of Bounce to life.

Every detail of social shareability was thought through, from leveraging influencers to encouraging the creation of UGC, to an in-person meet and greet with makeup artist superstar Mario and beautyblender founder Rea Ann.

Social Media Relationships

When it came to measuring the results, data sidekick Dash Hudson was there with all of the essential metrics. "Using Dash Hudson was kind of like watching our beauty Super Bowl," muses Christine. Seeing the numbers roll in live made the whole experience palpable—a really exciting moment for the team that had worked so hard to put all of this together.

The Dash Hudson analytics enabled beautyblender to monitor all of the activity throughout the launch while helping the team nail definitive numbers. Like the the fact that the Instagram account grew by over 100k followers in the span of two weeks, received over one million organic views on a single video, and reached over 25 million users in two and a half days. BA-BAM.

social media relationships

Hyping a hot product launch with Instagram can be a make-or-break moment, and leveraging social media relationships that have been built and fostered through time can be hugely critical to the activation's success.

To create strong ties with influencers, brands have to go after those who feel authentic to their image and that they can see going the distance with. Random one-offs never drive good results, nor is just going with who's hot right now for that sole reason.

The proof is in beautyblender's über strategic product launch. Believe the numbers.

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