Many consumers can’t scroll through their Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube feeds without seeing an ad for a makeup tutorial or new face cream to try. Skincare retailer Cosmedix is one of those brands vying for shoppers’ attention on social media and its overall goal is to generate reviews from real people that use its products.
“We believe the consumer should know exactly what they’re using, as well as why they should be using it, and strive to live up to that in all forms of content created,” says Christine Monaghan, vice president of digital for Astral Brands, the parent company of Cosmedix.
Founded in 1999 by two aestheticians, Cosmedix’s products are free of specific ingredients (such as artificial dyes and fragrances), cruelty-free and used by professionals in spas. Shoppers can purchase its skincare products on Cosmedix.com, as well as on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc., No. 1 and No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000.
Cosmedix’s sales, both from the web and third-party retailers, were up 92% year over year in the first quarter. Much of that spike is thanks to its relatively new social media influencer program, Monaghan says. “The third-party voice and genuine review are what drive sales from an influencer post,” she says. “So with the review, the other benefits follow. We never ask influencers to say something particular; we just want them to be genuine about their experiences with the products.”
Cosmedix began using Mavrck’s influencer marketing platform in 2017 to grow its customer base and extend its reach, Monaghan says. “We wanted to leverage an authentic campaign of micro-influencers that truly had passion for the brand and skincare industry.”
A micro-influencer is an influencer with a smaller audience compared with a more well known or celebrity influencer. The skincare retailer manages about two influencer campaigns per month through Mavrck’s platform, which allows Cosmedix to use a database of influencers in aligning categories. It fills out a template with its product information, goals for the campaign, target audience and the kind of influencers it wants to promote its products—for example, if Cosmedix would prefer a fitness influencer or beauty guru. Then, Mavrck invites influencers to participate in Cosmedix’s campaign and finalizes the selection. Lastly, Cosmedix sends its products to the influencer and watches for the posts and reviews to start appearing on Instagram.
“With each product, we keep in mind usage recommendations, price point and skin need. From there, we build out a target audience,” Monaghan says. “We also prefer a strong engagement rate over a strong following—although both are key.”
Typically when building out a campaign, 200-plus influencers apply. Cosmedix then narrows it down—based on the specific product category—to between 25-40 influencers. For example, if it is an acne product, it may choose an influencer who has been vocal about struggling with their skin texture. “About 3/4 of those who we ship product to through Mavrck do post,” Monaghan says.
So far, Cosmedix’s efforts are paying off. Per every 100 Cosmedix influencer posts on Instagram, the retailer on average receives: 3 million impressions, 34,000 engagements and a 572% return on investment from purchases made as a result of an influencer post. Cosmedix declined to reveal how many posts are created per campaign.
Cosmedix plans to continue using Mavrck to grow its influencer community, as well as to create Pinterest-specific content. “Instagram is great for sharing favorites or new launches, but Pinterest provides a nice home for sharing a regimen and/or how to use a particular beauty tool,” Monaghan says. “It requires a little more communication between the brand and influencer. It also does require a little more work on the influencer side.”