Social media was made for health and beauty brands. It seems no other industry harnesses the power of social media (Instagram, in particular) quite like the health and beauty industry does. You only have to look at the content of brands like Dove and Glossier, and the sheer amount of followers their content reaches, to see just how significant a role social media plays in their business.
But a seven-figure follower count isn’t necessarily proof that a brand is getting its social media right. Let’s look beyond the numbers at what makes a great social media presence, and let’s do that by looking at The Afro Hair & Skin Co.!
The Afro Hair & Skin Co.
Founded by wellness and beauty expert Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka, The Afro Hair & Skin Co. crafts natural, organic health and beauty products for afro-textured hair and melanin-rich skin. They’ve won a bunch of awards for their ethically-sourced products, and have earned recommendations from beauty editors at Vogue, Stylist, Forbes, and Essence.
Their follower count may not match those of health and beauty behemoths like Dove and Glossier (though 11,000 Instagram followers is nothing to be sniffed at!), but the care that goes into hand-crafting their products, and the authenticity with which they do it, shines through in every single one of their posts.
Let’s start by taking a look at some of those posts, shall we?
What stands out to me is the visual consistency in these posts – the earthy tones, the calming mood, the understated simplicity. This not only helps with brand recognition in the long-run, but matches the company’s brand identity and beauty philosophy.
Earthy tones help communicate a commitment to using organic ingredients, as does bathing their products in gorgeous natural light. Displaying them beside real herbs and plants emphasises the fact nicely, too.
The soothing atmosphere reflects their products’ replenishing qualities, and aligns with their belief that treating yourself with kindness – taking time for yourself – helps you to feel energised, happy, and loved.
The stripped-back arrangements, too, often centering and championing Black women, tell you exactly who these products are for and that true beauty comes from being comfortable with who you are.
Real beauty is an energy that you put out into the world. The way that you treat yourself can have a directly positive or negative impact on how you view and interact with the world.The Afro Hair & Skin Co.
If real beauty is the energy that you put out into the world, then clearly The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is putting real beauty into their social media!
Let’s stick with visuals for a moment while we talk about authenticity.
Authenticity is important for any business but it’s maybe more important for independent businesses, like The Afro Hair & Skin Co., whose originality and uniqueness is part of their appeal. The Afro Hair & Skin Co. convey their authenticity through social media superbly, and in two simple ways – one fairly obvious, the other very subtle.
First, Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka isn’t afraid to put herself in her Instagram posts. Whether concocting a special formula or lovingly hand-crafting a pretty gift box, Ibi ensures her company isn’t faceless. She lets her audience know who is behind the work and the products they love.
Her presence adds a personal touch to her company, again aligning with her philosophy of self-love and beauty-through-confidence. By offering her real unfiltered self, she shows that she trusts and values her own products – and this helps create a trust with her customers.
Second, and I can’t emphasise enough how much I appreciate this, The Afro Hair & Skin Co. posts infrequently. Now, that may seem counterintuitive, so let me explain myself.
The Afro Hair & Skin Co. doesn’t post so infrequently that their posts go unnoticed as you scroll Instagram, but they don’t flood your feed like some brands do either. Posts appear every few days, each one given enough room to breathe.
Personally, I find this extremely calming (not to mention confident on the company’s behalf), and a world away from the social media oversaturation of some more mainstream brands. The Afro Hair & Skin Co. doesn’t demand your attention or shove their products in your face – they don’t have to. Their products speak for themselves.
Now, I understand that this social media infrequency may be a matter of manpower. But even if it is, then that in itself is real and authentic. Their infrequency tells me that there is a person behind every post, not a self-scheduling machine. Each post feels special; time and care goes into every one, almost as if they’re handcrafted, and they go out only when they’re ready to go out, just like gift boxes.
We’ve talked a lot about visuals, but social media isn’t just a visual medium. Engaging copy and memorable tags are every bit as important as eye-catching pictures when it comes to attracting an audience.
In these two posts, we again see The Afro Hair & Skin Co. living their values, but this time through copy: first, using their platform to spread positivity and kindness, and second, educating their audience about how their products are made and how natural ingredients work.
The informal tone of voice here lends the posts yet more authenticity and the wonderfully alliterative #PurePlantMagic effectively establishes brand awareness and a sense of community among users of the hashtag.
On that point, The Afro Hair & Skin Co. uses social media to champion and uplift others.
Here they are shouting about Black female artists and illustrators while spreading light and love!
You only have to dive into the replies and comments on posts like these to see how much the #PurePlantMagic and #GreenBeauty community appreciates and enjoys this kind of content; it fosters a sense of togetherness and support that, again, speaks to the company’s philosophy and values.
Real Beauty Manifesto
It seems fitting to close out by drawing attention to the Real Beauty Manifesto. Founded in 2015, the Real Beauty Manifesto aims to unite natural and organic beauty brands in support of a more holistic vision of health and beauty.
As they make clear on their website, The Afro Hair & Skin Co. subscribes to the ethos of the Real Beauty Manifesto, which can be distilled into six values:
We can all agree that these are excellent and admirable values to run your business by – but communicating and applying all six of these values in and to your social media, well, that’s what turns good social media into great social media, and what makes The Afro Hair & Skin Co. stand out amidst a sea of other health and beauty brands.
What can you learn from The Afro Hair & Skin Co.?
So, so much!
- Live your values…through your social media! – living your values should be par for the course, but incorporating it into your social media elevates your brand immeasurably. Make sure your social media reflects who you are and what you stand for.
- Personalise your social media – if you’re not camera-shy, show your face! Having a face to put with a name gives your brand personality and creates trust.
- Quality not quantity – one great post that connects meaningfully with your audience means so much more than 100 posts your audience scroll past without a second thought.
- Social media isn’t just visual – it’s multi-faceted, and each component requires as much care and attention as any other.