The cosmetics retailer explains how its video strategy changes for each social media platform and why, plus how live video fits in.

Benefit Cosmetics LLC knows the recipe to make live videos build brand awareness: a large scoop of entertainment, a splash of education and a whole lot of personality.

The formula is working so far for the cosmetics brand, No. 996 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Second 500 Guide. Every Thursday since April, Benefit has produced a 30-minute Facebook Live broadcast that it calls Tipsy Tricks. The show consists of a host drinking a glass of wine, while giving a makeup tip, talking about products and fielding questions from viewers. Anywhere from a thousand to several thousand viewers tune in to the weekly live broadcast, says Claudia Allwood, senior director of U.S. digital marketing at Benefit.

“Our live videos are a great way to showcase our brand and to educate our consumers,” Allwood says.

“It also gives us a forum to ask and answer questions.”

Facebook launched Facebook Live in April to enable users to shoot video of themselves. The videos appear at the top of their friends and followers’ news feeds when it’s live. Once a retailer finishes filming the live video, Facebook publishes the video on the retailer’s page in the video section. A consumer can then watch the video at any time and it will have a small label “was live” on the top of it.


The Tipsy Tricks host Stephanie will sometimes have a guest, such as makeup artist James Charles, or Benefit employee on the show. The host also will ask audience members what they are curious about and answer all questions, even if they are off topic, Allwood says. All while she is drinking wine.

“On Facebook you’re killing time, so we wanted to make it fun,” Allwood says.

The show’s host gives product recommendations and lets consumers know where they can purchase the item, as Benefit products are sold at several retailers’ websites and stores. The host also directs viewers to the Benefit website.

The retailer, however, does not tie the Facebook Live videos to any return-on-investment metrics, Allwood says. Facebook Live videos are to build the Benefit brand, educate consumers and answer questions, not to drive sales, Allwood says. Benefit mostly measures this via number of views, but it also looks at how many consumers have liked the video or made a comment on it.


To encourage consumers to tune in during the live event, Benefit produces a Snapchat Story the day of the segment, giving the social media users a view behind the scenes of Tipsy Tricks and reminding them to tune in. Benefit also promotes Tipsy Tricks to its 4.7 million Instagram followers on the day of the show.

“If we tell her too far in advance she won’t care or remember,” Allwood says.

While the videos attract a few thousand viewers during a live segment, the videos garner far more views after Benefit posts the segments on its Facebook page, which has 5.6 million likes, Allwood says. The archived videos reach 14,000-60,000 views, she says.

In addition to Facebook videos, Benefit posts videos to its YouTube channel. These videos, unlike the whimsical Facebook Live videos, are makeup tutorials on how to create a certain look—how to create the ‘90s Grunge look, for example. Benefit will sometimes pay an undisclosed amount to social media influencers, such as makeup artist Chrisspy, to use Benefit products to create a look on YouTube. Viewership on such videos range from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands, Allwood says.


The retailer has had its YouTube channel for a few years and started making it a priority about a year ago after it saw just how many consumers watched the videos, she says.

Benefit created an in-house studio to film the YouTube videos, and this is also where it films the Facebook Live videos. Benefit produces four to eight videos each month in its studio. The studio consists of two full-time employees—a content manager and video producer—plus a freelancer who helps with lighting, footage and the shot’s composition. The content manager looks for trends in fashion and cosmetics, and uses words consumers search for on Google to determine the video’s content. Benefit also uses some of its YouTube videos on its website. Benefit films Facebook Live video on an iPad.

While YouTube offers a live component, it’s not the right platform for its brand, Allwood says. Consumers search for tutorials on YouTube, and the videos live on the site, generating views for years. Tipsy Tricks is like a lifestyle talk show and that fits with a live Facebook audience on the social media site for entertainment, she says.

Benefit also produces daily videos for Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, with specific content for each platform, Allwood says. For example, consumers on Snapchat are more likely to enjoy silly and longer content than consumers on Instagram, Allwood says.


Benefit uses Instagram videos as a way to tease product launches on Snapchat or remind consumers about the Tipsy Tricks live video that day. On average, 50,000-60,000 consumers view Benefit’s Snapchat stories, which often feature new product launches.

“It can all have the same message and the same theme and work well together in the same ecosystem, but it can’t be exactly the same,” Allwood says.