Why it works - Glossier’s social media - Matchstick Creative

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Why it works – Glossier’s social media

It’s time for the social media edition of our ‘Why it works’ mini-series. Next up, our Content Marketing Executive Amber has chosen to delve into the beautiful world of Glossier, a skincare and makeup brand that has gained rapid success thanks to its social media channels. 

Glossy what?

When I think of iconic social media channels – I think of Glossier. Glossier is a beauty brand like no other and its social channels are a great representation of that. The brand has been praised for going against the grain when it comes to their marketing, often being referred to as unique, organic and genius. 

After raking in a whopping 2.6M followers on Instagram and 102.1K on Twitter (and counting), they must be doing something right. Let’s find out how Glossier has built its social media empire from the ground up. 

Lookin’ good 

A huge part of Glossier’s social success is down to their visuals. Glossier’s social feeds are authentic and consistent – and consistency leads to brand recognition. Anyone who is familiar with the brand would be able to point it out, regardless if the logo was present. 

So, what is it that makes Glossier’s visuals so appealing? If you take a look at their Instagram, you’ll be met with a feed that is sleek and unique, complete with splashes of millennial pink and dashes of sparkle. The images range from product shots and model selfies to dreamy sunsets and cute doggos. Glossier doesn’t try to impress you with over-the-top images bursting with every colour under the sun because it doesn’t have to. The simple, understated beauty of the feed is enough to grab your attention. 


Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

Sean O’ Connell, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Their aesthetic is so well-loved that their customers often try to emulate it. I’ve noticed that a lot of people take selfies after using Glossier products and seem to copy the colour palette or photo styles that can be seen on their feed. This seems to be partly due to the tribal-like nature of the community (which we’ll get into later) and also because of people hoping for Glossier to share their content. 

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@itsnicoleelise wears Pro Tip ✔️

A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on

The loyalty that Glossier’s customers have for the aesthetic is probably why they were able to gain a social following for their second brand, Glossier Play, without even showing the products. Glossier enticed its audience with bright, fun shots alone. 

Glossier knows its audience; it’s no accident that their packaging is very Instagrammable. Their stores are now Instagrammable too, with soft pink interiors, flattering lighting and selfie mirrors – each one a picture-perfect paradise. 

I must admit, I’ve snapped a photo of a sunset before and thought – ‘that’s such a Glossier-esque picture’. I know a company’s branding infiltrating our natural world may be a little sad, but it’s also pretty damn impressive. 

The appeal of being real

The ‘less is more’ approach doesn’t just appear in how they structure their feed, ‘less is more’ is also a key part of Glossier’s messaging. The brand puts a strong emphasis on natural beauty. Glossier makes this message clear by reiterating it in their captions and campaigns as well as showing it through their images. 

Glossier launched a campaign centred around realness. ‘Feeling like Glossier’ featured staff members and fans of the brand speaking on what it was like to feel like them and how that tied to their relationship with makeup. The concept of focusing on feelings over looks and not product-bombing is a great example of the subtle marketing that has led to Glossier’s success. Who knew that inner beauty could benefit the industry of outer beauty?

The realness that the brand preaches is refreshing and attainable for the audience. A lot of makeup brands give off the message that beauty is aspirational and you can achieve it by using their products. Glossier tells you that you’re fine the way you are, their products are simply there to highlight what you already have. 

There’s a growing trend on social media, particularly Instagram, of people getting sick of perfection. Social media seems to have sprouted a whole new beauty standard of being virtually ‘flawless’. These beauty standards have become so popular that individuality is getting lost; a lot of influencers seem to be essentially morphing into the same person. The never photoshopped, anti-Kardashian, down-to-earth beauty that Glossier represents is extremely refreshing for a lot of social media users. 

As well as their emphasis on realness, Glossier is also diversifying beauty standards with their inclusive marketing approach. Their social media channels and campaigns all feature people of different ethnicities, ages and genders. Anyone can fit with Glossier’s standard of beauty – and that’s the appeal. 

Community

Glossier has also used social media to build a strong community of fans. Social media is a place to connect and Glossier encourages their fans to connect with them, other fans and people who are new to the brand. One way Glossier does this is through its use of brand reps. Their brand reps are encouraged to show Glossier’s products and promote their new releases on their social channels in exchange for affiliate links (the person makes money from people using a certain link to the Glossier products). 

Glossier brand reps are prevalent on YouTube, flaunting the products in makeup tutorials and reviews. But again, the brand avoids overselling. Glossier reps sometimes barely mention the product at all; they simply use them and let you make your own mind up.

Unlike rival brands, Glossier doesn’t mind products from other companies getting mentioned with theirs. In fact, their own YouTube channel includes videos of fans and employees getting ready with a mixture of Glossier and products from other businesses. Acknowledging that people are fans of other brands shows that they aren’t afraid of competition; a subtle and bold move all in one. 

Their confidence doesn’t end here. Glossier also isn’t worried about negative reviews popping up on social media. When someone mentions them in a negative tweet or tags them in a dissatisfied Instagram post, they don’t try to cover their tracks and over-apologise. They simply offer to direct message the person so the issue can be resolved. 

Glossier also listens to their audience. And I mean really listens. Many customers complain to beauty brands on social media about anything from packaging to formulas and all they get in response is a ‘thank you for your feedback’. As part of the Glossier Play range, Glossier released Glitter Gellée, a wearable glitter that you could put on your eyes. The company has since received complaints about Glitter Gelée’s non-biodegradable glitter, leading to Glossier discontinuing the product and vowing to make more sustainable business decisions in the future. 

What can you learn from Glossier?

  • Looks matter – Well, on social media they do at least. Make sure your Instagram feed is looking up-to-scratch and doesn’t stray off-brand. Your colour palette, messaging and industry should ideally be clear. 
  • Consistency is key – Your visuals, tone of voice, brand values and quality of customer service need to be consistent across all of your social channels. Different people are looking at different social platforms, so each one needs your attention.
  • Don’t just pay lip service to your audience – If you say you’re going to look into something, look into it! Let your audience see that you are taking action to improve your product or service. 

Looking to beautify your social media?

Our social media experts can get your channels in top form and achieving results. Let us know what you need help with and we can get started. Follow Matchstick Creative on Twitter and Instagram for #socialmediainspiration.