JOAH Beauty uses vendor Social Native to connect with influencers for organic and paid TikTok content. The retailer, which was founded in 2018 and started using TikTok in late 2020, has grown its following on the popular social network to more than 7,000 in just a matter of months.

Cosmetics retailer JOAH Beauty tapped into social media network TikTok late last year. So far, it’s building its following by showing the transformation of its products through authenticity, something the other social channels don’t quite achieve, says Xue Li, marketing director at JOAH Beauty.

The brand manufacturer sells Korean-Beauty inspired cosmetics online at Joahbeauty.com and through CVS stores. Since late 2020, JOAH Beauty uses a mix of organic and paid strategies on TikTok to grow its customer base, says Li. For now, that customer base is on TikTok, she says.

“We follow the consumer, wherever she’s shopping and spending her time,” Li says. “That’s where you want to go. You don’t want to just go somewhere because it’s cheaper or it’s more premium. You want to go where the consumers are engaged and where they’re discovering things.”

Li says the retailer likes promoting its brand on TikTok because its more natural than other social media channels like Instagram, which she thinks is staged and retouched. “TikTok came into popularity because it doesn’t feel that way,” Li says. “It’s short, it’s funny, it’s entertaining. It straddles the line between entertainment and marketing in a way.”

“On Instagram, it’s more of a casual browse and a visual impact that’s more static,” Li says. On this channel, retailers should aim for stopping power with a beautiful image, she says. On TikTok, though, JOAH Beauty aims for less-staged videos that show the transformation of its products in video form.

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TikTok outpaces all other social media channels in time U.S. consumers spend on the platform, according to mobile and app data analytics company App Annie. U.S. users spent an average of 21.5 hours per month on TikTok in 2020, compared with 17.7 hours spent on Facebook, the second-most used social media channel that year.

This means that while there are a lot of users on TikTok, there’s also a lot of competition for retailers to get content in front of the correct audience.

In terms of success on TikTok, Li says that it’s best to work with influencers or content creators who are “fully genuine.” By this, she means creators that come off “natural” in their videos and that stay true to their channel’s brand. 

The consumer brand manufacturer receives more sales and higher conversion from two specific types of influencers, Li says. The first are influencers whose audience follows them to see what they use, buy and wear. The second are those influencers who have built an audience of people that wish to see trending products and not necessarily entertainment.

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@joahbeautyHere’s how to apply Golden Daze Sunless Tanning Drops!☀️ Available exclusively at joahbeauty.com! 💕 ##joahbeauty ##tanningdrops ##beautyhacks♬ original sound – JOAH Beauty

A recent campaign featuring JOAH Beauty’s tanning drops was particularly successful because of this, Li says. Showing the transformation of consumers prior to and after using JOAH Beauty’s products have helped drive sales, Li says.

One video posted in late April received more than 118,000 views and 14,000 likes so far, and another received more than 145,000 views and 17,000 likes.

@joahbeauty@morganalisonstewart shows you how to use our Sun & Seoul Collection to create a bronzy, glowy look. ✨ ##joahbeauty ##beautyhacks ##tanningdrops♬ original sound – JOAH Beauty

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“When we placed our tanning drops out there, those [influencers] that had a natural following with the followers actually interested in what they do, they actually went and bought right away,” she says, without providing more.

The challenge for JOAH Beauty, though, is keeping up with content creation. Li says brands just don’t have the in-house resources to create as much content as TikTok users require for a brand to stay top-of-mind—which she says should be three to five times per day for short videos.

To fuel the need for original videos, JOAH Beauty hired content creation and optimization platform Social Native. Social Native works on connecting brands to content creators on various social channels, including TikTok.

Social Native connects JOAH Beauty to a fleet of influencers, who post about the brand on their accounts. The vendor also hires influencers to create videos for JOAH Beauty to own itself, and the brand’s social media team can use the influencer videos however they like.

“I’m a 47 year old. I don’t understand TikTok nearly as well as the creators understand TikTok,” says Eytan Elbaz, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Social Native. “…We leave the creativity up to [the creators], rather than trying to get ahead of it and trying to dictate how they should go about these things.”

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Social Native offers a variety of packages at various prices for these services.

While JOAH Beauty hasn’t gone viral just yet, it has grown its TikTok followers from zero to nearly 7,000 in “just a matter of months,” Li says without revealing more. This is something JOAH Beauty is very satisfied with, she says.

“Our space was small last year,” Li says. “Just like a lot of other brands, budgets were pulled at the start of the pandemic, but we’re seeing the market come back, especially for makeup cosmetics as more people are getting vaccinated.”

Li says that the current goal for the brand is to grow its sales at least five-times compare with last year, which she believes the right marketing will help with.

JOAH Beauty uses other types of marketing—paid search, placed ads, affiliate marketing and more—but so far, influencer marketing has been the most successful for the brand when it comes to affiliate marketing channels, Li says, without providing more.

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“Being able to utilize the content, and own it as well so we can amplify it, is super, super important,” Li says. “Because we also find that in paid media, the more organic the content is, the better engagement and the more likely the customer is actually going to convert.”

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