If you scour the internet, it's pretty hard to find any concrete statistics about how many sales are directly generated by social media each year.
I've done a lot of posting and asking around and while most consumer brands use social media as part of their marketing strategy and understand its important, it seems a very small percentage can confidently say that it actually drives sales.
BECCA Cosmetics is definitely not one of those brands.
BECCA's marketing strategy is not only social media-focused, they are keenly aware of the sales it generates and continually optimize and strengthen their campaigns. In fact, they recently launched their new BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection via social media and it sold out in an astounding 75 minutes.
Of course, I had to know how they achieved this, so I swung by the BECCA headquarters and picked the savvy brain of Robert DeBaker, the CEO. (Oh, and if you want ALL the details, you can see the full video below.)
Bob wasn't shy about sharing his team's strategy. "I wish I could give you the Harvard Business School Study," he joked. But it appeared that their success boiled down to letting the customers themselves drive the brand's story.
Companies that are less successful at social media generally post content focused on fancy new products, tantalizing sales, and attractive company updates - all in an effort to get potential customers to take out their credit cards and buy. What they haven't considered is that they are not in control of the story anymore because (as Bob pointed out to me) the customers
1) are tired of being told what to buy
2) don't like the story brands are telling
3) not only want to be part of the story, but want to be captain!
These facts cannot be ignored. The BECCA team fully began to understand this when they noticed the impact a particular social influencer was having on their brand.
One week at a board meeting, they were reviewing charts and noticed a significant spike in sales. They couldn't figure out why until the following week when they found that a blogger named Jaclyn Hill posted about their Shimmering Skin Perfector. A few weeks later, Hill posted about them again and there was another spike in sales. So Bob and his team decided to reach out to Jaclyn to say thank you, of course...but also to learn from her.
Jaclyn is a social media sensation who has generated over 3 million fans on YouTube by posting tutorials about an array of makeup looks. Because of her commitment to providing value to her audience (and not selling anything) she has developed a very loyal following. Her fans talk candidly to her about makeup, ranting about what they like, love, and hate. The side effect of Jaclyn's job is that she now has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the desires of the makeup consumer.
So BECCA, Sephora, and Jaclyn partnered to create a new series of products (TheBECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection)--taking into account all the feedback gleaned from social media. They planned to announce these products at an exclusive event, hosted by Jaclyn and attended by other top influencers, and media, but release the product to the public in weeks following.
Well, Jaclyn's fans wanted the product then and there; so she asked BECCA and Sephora to make a limited edition product available in an effort to show her audience that they had been listened to. The brands obliged and allowed fans to use a hashtag to buy the product via social media.
The SnapChat announcement was released from the event and the product literally sold out in 75 minutes--leaving those who didn't make it in time counting down the days until they could get their hands on one.
The moral of the story, folks? Listen to your customers and adapt. This isn't the old days when you could take out a TV commercial or a print advertisement and tell people what to buy. Your customers have multiple platforms with which to talk back to you - they're telling you what they want. Believe them and act accordingly!