This is one of the most common questions we are asked by clients and prospects and the answer is a simple, resounding, universal yes. The main reason suppliers to cosmetics and personal care manufacturers even ask this question is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not having control and fear of the resource implications of doing it right.
Although entirely understandable given the speed, scale and nature of the social media revolution, on the face it, these are irrational fears. And it’s important to overcome them or you could be at major risk of losing out.
The target audience – beauty product manufacturers – are all over it. Social media is their new stomping ground. It’s the virtual Paris, Milan, London and New York of the cosmetics world. So now that they use social media to interact with their customers as if it were second nature, it is reasonable to assume that they too would be open to connecting with suppliers via the web. Assumptions aside, the use of social media to promote in-cosmetics 2012, including a live ‘twinterview’ proves that manufacturers are in fact active and interested.
But what are the benefits and perceived pitfalls of entering the social media space for suppliers?
Let’s start with the benefits:
- Building brands – having a presence and, crucially, providing valuable content for users online, enhances awareness of your brands and enables you to position them effectively.
- Reputation management – monitoring all that’s being said about you and being able to respond swiftly and appropriately is a PR dream. You can take control, have your say and shape perceptions. That’s a powerful position to be in.
- Building relationships – if you could find a way of getting information directly to your market AND hearing their requirements, challenges and feedback without breaking the bank, wouldn’t you grab it with both hands? Now you can.
- Creating competitive advantage – giving your audience a reason to interact with you online and come back to you for more is the trick. Use your best creative minds to find those reasons and keep them fresh, exciting and unique.
And a few words on those misunderstood fear factors:
- Fear of the unknown – people are worried that they don’t understand social media and how to make the most of it. The reality is it’s really not that difficult. It’s online PR and it’s two way. That’s all. The same principles of PR apply, it’s just the way in which content is made accessible that has changed.
- Fear of no control – this is perhaps the biggest misconception of social media in my view. People often feel that users of social media have all the control. It’s simply not the case. If you choose to listen, you can hear everything people say about you and you have an incredible opportunity to take control by responding, interacting and changing their views.
- Fear of resource drain – social media should become integral to the way in which you communicate. Not an add-on, or marketing thing. If you develop a clear strategy, put some simple controls in place and then empower and encourage staff of all departments to listen and engage, it’s not as overwhelming as you might think.
For us, social media in b2b marketing is all about distributing content. Your audience is only ever going to want to engage with you if you provide them with useful, relevant information and tools that will help them to succeed.
Building content development into your marketing or PR plan and using a social media strategy to disseminate it, generate feedback and engage is the smart thing to do. And in the world of beauty and cosmetics, social interactions come naturally and should be embraced, not feared.
If you want to discuss social media more or have any questions, get in touch.
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