Is social media really on fleek?

Marketing through social media influencers 2/3 – Beauty

Are the words contour, strobing, cut-crease, on fleek, and falsies part of your vocabulary? Does your idea of baking involve a beauty blender and translucent powder? If yes, it’s fair to assume you actively watch makeup tutorials on YouTube. Therefore, you have been exposed to one of the beauty industries very clever marketing strategies: advertising through beauty gurus.

This image shows a variety of brands and products which are often used in YouTube beauty videos. Source: Pseph from

With millions of subscribers successful full-time YouTubers, who make a living from their videos, are more desirable partners than celebrities. Their large followings make them the ideal candidates for brand endorsement. Which is why there are many industries taking advantage of the power and effects of consumer-to-consumer communication and the influence of social media talent. Including the fashion industry. Content creators have the ability to make or break a products success by sharing their thoughts and experiences with their social media audiences who trust their recommendations.

Engaging and teaming up with beauty YouTubers allows beauty brands to gain exposure, publicity and ultimately customers through word-of-mouth. Cosmetic companies have unique and intimate ways of engaging gurus with their brands. Collaborations, meet-ups, public relations (PR) packages and luxury trips are all ways of enticing YouTubers and their audiences.

YouTuber NikkieTutorials and cosmetic brand Too Faced recently collaborated. Nikkie’s The Power of Makeup video went viral last year and has over 32 million views. It inspired the #powerofmakeup challenge and her subscriber count has increased from hundreds of thousands to over five million since. This video inspired the collection.

There are months of anticipation and promotion before releases. It’s not unusual for products to sell out quickly with high demand for a restock. Mecca, Sephora and Ulta stores stock a wide range of high end cosmetics including the YouTuber collaborations. They often organise meet-ups for the gurus followers. Some fans have even caught planes and stayed in hotels to attend.

Other 2016 collaborations:

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Too surreal😭

A post shared by J A C L Y N 😜 (@jaclynhill) on

Beauty guru Snapchat stories usually include unboxing their mountain of PR packages. Sharing products on this platform and in videos followed by the words “this was sent to me by…” attracts viewers to the brand. Some companies I’ve never even heard of before, but I guess that’s the point? Occasionally extra products are sent for giveaways and often discount codes are provided for viewers.

Brands often include additional quirky items like flip-flops with summer collections and shells for beach inspired packaging. This aesthetic makes YouTubers want to show viewers. Luxury brands are more extravagant. Marc Jacobs PR boxes have mini TVs which automatically play videos when the box is open.

YouTubers have also shared the luxurious PR trips hosted by cosmetic brands including Too Faced, Benefit, Urban Decay and Jouer on Instagram, Snapchat and in vlogs (video blogs). Brands fly YouTubers to a destination, give them exclusive access to new product ranges and provide them with gifts and exciting opportunities.

Benefit flew gurus to Las Vegas for a circus themed brow collection launch.

Urban Decay had a Ruby Rose meet and greet in New York at their 100 lipstick vault launch.

Too Faced flew gurus to their LA headquarters, gifted them their new collection and organised helicopter rides .

YouTubers are currently in Paris for Jouer’s new collection launch.

What are your thoughts on the relationships between YouTubers and cosmetic brands?


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