Brands Turn To Social Media During Quarantine
With the current restrictions caused by COVID-19, brands are having to find new ways to engage their customers, without the usual face-to-face interactions that characterize a visit to a physical store.
With people adjusting to not having access to salons and beauty services, Pinterest has noticed a large increase in searches for self-care and DIY beauty treatments. Their own data suggests that between March 11th and March 24th, searches for “self-care checklists” and “spa days at home” have seen increases of 102% and 105% respectively. Searches for “temporary hair dye” saw even bigger numbers, with a 441% increase between March 9th – 22nd.
Pinterest has noted that the vast majority (97%) of searches they see are unbranded, which could afford retailers a unique opportunity to target these users with content driven by current DIY trends. According to Rachel Goodman, head of Beauty Partnerships at Pinterest “Topics that already existed on the platform, like recipes, self-care, skincare, and hair care routines, are being engaged with even more so now because people need that [type of] inspiration so badly.”
According to Statista, 32.5% of Pinterest users believe they will lengthen the amount of time they spend on the app while quarantined at home. Despite the app seeing record levels of engagement, Pinterest itself has reduced the ad prices by 20%-30%, according to Mark Zamuner, CEO of Social Media agency Two Nil.
One firm who regularly uses the social media site is haircare brand Aveda, whose purely organic posts provide inspiration and education for users looking to replicate services they would usually avail of in an Aveda Salon. The company has seen a double-digit increase in engagement across its digital sales channels during mid-March and early April, which was when they pivoted their content strategy to cater to the DIY market.
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Instagram Live is another social media feature that brands have been keen to utilize since customers started quarantining. Instagram itself hasn’t given specific growth numbers for Livestreams, but parent company Facebook has reported that as of March 24th, Live viewers in Italy doubled in one week.
American Eagle is one of the retailers that has embraced the feature since the quarantine started, averaging two live streams per week on their Instagram account. They’ve collaborated with Influencers and Content creators, tasking them with DIY projects like customizing an American Eagle jacket. 19 million people have tuned into their 10 live streams so far, and they have experienced a 100% increase in visits to their profile. Finding the best times to go live has been an important part of their success, typically basing their times on the work from home schedules of the audience.
Tik Tok has been one of the break-out apps of the past year, and according to Sensor tower, was the No.1 most downloaded app during March, with a 98.4% increase in year-on-year downloads.
Now TikTok influencers are following the same tried-and-tested strategy used by their counterparts on YouTube and Instagram, by launching beauty brands off the back of their influence on the app. Twin influencers Shanae and Renae Nel were the first to make it past the post with their “Gloss Twins” line. The pair has 1.2 million followers on Tik Tok, where they share videos of them dancing, lip-syncing and more. They have applied the same marketing tactics as other influencer focused brands, promoting the products on their own profiles, while also sending products to fellow Tik Tok stars for reviews and promotions.
The twin’s products are being produced alongside Florence Adepju, founder of MDMflow. He also works with the twins at Fanbytes a talent agency focused on Gen-Z influencers. Adepoju has mentioned that two other clients of the agency have beauty brands in the works.
Retailers selling Non-Essentials break online sales records
Despite the current uncertainty faced by retailers in the wake of COVID-19, some US-based brands have experienced their best ever online sale numbers. Home goods, athletic goods, and loungewear have been the three verticals seeing the biggest increases in online sales as of late.
Brands selling home goods like Furniture, Decorations, and more have likely benefitted from the fact that people are spending more time at home and taking greater notice of their surroundings. LD Shoppe is one of the companies that has seen record sales. During a 15% off sale held in March, levels of revenue were up there with the numbers they experienced during Black Friday sales. Currently, the firms’ overall sales have tripled year over year. Another company in a similar situation is The Sill, the potted plant specialist has seen a 50% increase in online orders compared to the months before the COVID-19 breakout. This can cause problems though – they now have a shipping delay which can be as much as 14 days in some cases.
With more people working from home, loungewear and athletic clothing have seen a massive boost. One example is NOBULL, a company that makes work-out apparel, who has experienced a 50% increase of sales year over year during mid-March to mid-April. Athletic Equipment retailers have noticed a similar surge, with skateboard & bike helmet company Thousand enjoying an 80% increase in sales during the last week of March.
Richer Poorer has reported selling three times the number of sweatpants during March than they did in the entire year of 2019. However, like many of the other companies experiencing much higher levels of sales, they have found it hard to fulfill all their orders quickly due to the restrictions put in place by the government.