Barry M: How the cosmetics brand uses social media to stand out from the crowd

Barry M angel Laura - beauty influencer

Barry M angel Laura

Beauty has always been the industry that not only survives during economic downturn, but actually thrives during those times. We all run out to buy a red lipstick whether times are tough or not. A good lippy or nail polish are staples that consumers just can’t do without.

In fact, according to stats and research from Mintel last year “as many as 40% of all UK women purchased lipstick in the last year, rising to 48% of women aged 16-24,” while stats for the US revealed that $46.2 billion was spent on beauty in 2015 and is projected to get up to $51.8 billion by 2020.

However, recently new beauty brands have emerged, and much like what we’re seeing within fashion, this new wave of beauty start-ups are disrupting the market. You have Glossier with their beauty products (each product is made with the Glossier community in mind, and ideas for products often crowd sourced from that community, not forgetting the Instagrammable packaging). There’s also the rise of green products that have shed their previous perception as eco=dull and emerged with gorgeous products that are great for the consumer and the environment. These new disruptors are pushing established beauty brands to work harder at staying relevant and engaging with a younger audience. So how do you make your mark in the increasingly saturated beauty world?

We caught up with Caroline Dawe, Barry M’s Marketing Manager to talk about how the UK based cosmetics company (which is celebrating 35 years in the business this year!) successfully uses social media to talk to consumers, innovate and reach a new consumer base.

Hi Caroline, first up, who is your target consumer?

Our target is 16-24-year-olds but as you would expect, our actual consumer ranges from 13-year-olds up through 35. We also get grandma’s on Facebook asking us about lipsticks, so it’s actually very broad. Our Managing Director is much more of the mindset of not ignoring anyone, and making everyone feel welcome within our brand, and that’s an ethos that has been spread through the company.

What’s your Twitter strategy?

We love connecting with our consumer, that’s at the heart of the brand. Reposting and retweeting was never really a conscious strategy, it always felt very natural. We are a family brand and actually years ago Barry himself used to come in and talk to everyone on Twitter, as well as sending free makeup to people if they were having a bad day through Twitter beauty competitions. So the brand always felt very real and approachable instead of intimidating. We love to engage with our audience, retweeting, regramming and reposting- we get sent so many images of our audience using the products which is great because it’s free content, and it’s fun for consumers who love being featured. From a product perspective it’s also really nice for us to see how consumers are using the products in their real lives.

Re: your Instagram strategy, how do you make the products stand out on this hugely visual platform?

When we first jumped on the platform a few years ago, everything was shot in-house, in our office and on members of the team, but we’ve realised how important it is to show off the colours of the products properly, such as the finishes of a nail paint, so you can see all the colours in that formulation. So now we use an agency to help us with the imagery, and the video function has really helped us display the products through quick mini how-to videos.

Consumers are demanding more from their products and they are not afraid to tell you on social media, how do you handle that?

Now younger generations are so straight up, they will tell you if they don’t like something (from colour to quality) and it’s so important for a brand to get it right now and I think that’s great. So it’s our job to really get across what the product looks like and feels like, we’re also conscious of not just showing it on one skin tone. And the feedback helps us to learn too, to really understand what our consumers need and what improvements they would like to see.

What’s your Youtube strategy?

It’s such a great platform, because you have more time – more like 12-15 minutes, rather than just 30 seconds. People will engage more and watch for longer. So it’s a great place for us to show how versatile a product is and explain it in depth. It’s also a great platform for our make up ambassador, celebrity make up artist Adam Burrell, who works with people like Little Mix. He’s such an authority in the beauty world and his tutorials are great. We also have a nail artist called Sophie Harris Greenslade who offers tutorials, so it’s great for us to show off the great colours and nail art how-tos. Youtube is also a brilliant way to reach more people, and harness the power of SEO beauty search terms. We’re planning to grow this platform more as a brand moving forward. It’s interesting to see how our spend has changed as well, before we did ad spend on big TV advertisements and that seems ancient now, as people will watch on their phone or tablet way more now.

How do you communicate the brand’s cruelty free product message?
It’s really nice to work for a brand that you don’t lose sleep over. One that is strict with suppliers and not tested on animals and has always been cruelty free. Plus, because we’re family owned we don’t have to worry about the ethics of a parent company. All of our products are vegetarian and we’re hoping in the near future to make it all vegan (which we can’t do right now because we use beeswax in some products). We also make a point of talking about what goes into the products and we tell consumers which products are vegan, as it’s a common question on Instagram as consumers are more conscious about what goes on their skin.

Can you talk a bit about your influencer’s strategy and the Barry’s Angels?
Yeah, so Barry Angels came about after we decided to work with influencers. We already had the lovely Adam Burrell as our spokesman, but he’s so good that he’s often in demand and very busy and I realized that he wouldn’t have time to do all the things we had planned for social, from Instagram takeovers to videos. So the idea for Barry Angels was born- my assistant and I started to research who might be good to bring on board, people who loved the brand, and loved beauty! We wanted to have a squad, and we were committed to making sure the beauty fans we chose all had completely different looks. We thought it would be cool to have three girls, like Charlie’s Angels and this has really been the year of boy makeup, so we decided to work with 4 influencers in total: Lizzie Jemiyo, Sayan Yildiz, Laura Louise Sproat, and Marc Zapanta. The best part is that they all get on really well and are good friends now. How it works is that they are contracted for the year, producing everything from how to videos for instagram, to themed youtube videos around different looks- from festival fever to halloween make up. They also offer up new product development feedback, so it’s not a cold relationship, we talk to them almost every day.

What’s next for beauty?
Contouring is still about and in terms of sales our contouring products are still performing strongly, our Chisel Cheeks franchise still does very well. But I also agree that everyday daytime makeup is in, people are looking to get that flawless skin, so primers and colour correcting wands are really popular now. Highlighting has really taken off, it’s gone from highlighting to strobing back to highlighting again. It’s all about that flawless skin, light reflecting, glowy and fresh, and I think we’ll see more of that as we move into summer.

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