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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Sephora’s Cross-Channel Social Strategy

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Sephora’s Cross-Channel Social Strategy

Sephora_blogIf your brand is active on multiple social channels, looking at audience response and engagement results on a channel-by-channel basis just isn’t going to cut it. You’re not seeing the data in context.

I wanted to show how much rich information can be gleaned from a streamlined yet deep cross-channel analysis, so I pulled a Cross-Channel Social Performance Report for Sephora, beloved purveyor of all things beauty-related, from August 1-August 18 (the month so far).

Where is Sephora posting most frequently? Where do they have the most engagement? Do the two correlate? What kind of content is working? What’s not? Hold my lipstick and I’ll tell you.

Highest posting cadence is on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 4.34.49 PMThis month, Sephora’s been posting on Twitter the most. August 8th was their most active date, which you can’t necessarily tell just by looking at their timeline sans replies. That’s because Sephora spent a lot of time on this date responding to customers on Twitter. When I dug deeper into the replies that Sephora sent on August 8th, I was impressed by how they respond to customers and picked up several interesting strategy points from my analysis. Sephora replied…

Even when it isn’t good news. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.45.13 AMI respect this, and think it’s a valuable long-run strategy — while @Raven_Champ might not be happy that Sephora isn’t carrying the new Lady Gaga fragrance, she or he definitely got an answer and was addressed directly.

To address customer service concerns. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.50.50 AMSephora didn’t shy away from negative feedback. The brand consistently replied to displeased customers by expressing apologies, making them feel heard, and giving them next steps.

To give beauty recommendations. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 10.44.55 AMSephora responded to Twitter users seeking specifically tailored recommendations for beauty products and used this interaction as an opportunity to direct folks to their community forum, BeautyTalk. The forum is located on the Sephora website, allowing users to interact with one another and ask questions of Sephora beauty experts. It also gives Sephora the chance to monitor conversations directly and keep users just a click away from buying products. Sephora, in essence, is using Twitter to direct people already engaging with them on social media to a deeper, in-house engagement with the beauty megabrand.

Biggest engagement growth on Tumblr (by a lot).

Sephora is seeing the most engagement on Instagram (click to zoom):

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 10.55.05 AMBut, their highest engagement growth is on Tumblr, to the tune of 12%.

In fact, the #1 most engaged-with post during this month so far came from Tumblr, with 50,990 engagements — 15,000 more engagements than the second most engaged-with post, one from Instagram (click to zoom):

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.22.48 PMThis is interesting because it shows us that Sephora is making Tumblr work for its brand with The Glossy, where they post everything from step-by-step tutorials on skin concealer to a survey of the latest beauty trends from Asia. This was their mega-successful post from August 11, referenced above:

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.47.49 AMHere Sephora’s doing two things well: accommodating Tumblr users’ insatiable thirst for visually stunning graphics, and collaborating with Kat Von D, a tattoo TV celeb popular among the younger set that Tumblr attracts.

Largest engagement as percent of audience on Instagram (by a lot). 

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.51.17 AMWhich network is getting Sephora’s followers to actually interact with their content? Instagram, by a landslide. The all-visual-all-the-time network is seeing success with posts that give first peeks of much-anticipated product line and are executed in a particularly eye-pleasing way. Big ups to the Sephora photog department.

Pro Tip: If you’re a retail brand, discover and predict which products are or will be hits by finding out which posts are most engaged with in a cross-channel report. This is also a wonderful way to gauge what kind of ROI each network gives you in sales. Is high engagement on Tumblr or Facebook a better indicator of what your sales will look like? Your post about a new line of lipstick took off like gangbusters on Instagram — was that enthusiasm matched by sales numbers down the line? What kind of predictive insight could you glean with this kind of information? Better decisions lie ahead.

And the content type award goes to…

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.30.35 PMPhotos! Across all its channels, Sephora is seeing the most engagement from its photo posts, which makes sense for a brand that specializes in making people feel their most beautiful. Sephora knows what its audience wants to see in their feeds, and delivers.

What does cross-channel measurement mean to you?

88% of Sephora’s organic brand mentions occurred on Instagram this month. That’s pretty significant. Imagine what this kind of information — and the stats referenced above — could mean for your brand. You know which networks you’re focusing your efforts on — but which networks should you be focusing your efforts on? And which content types are working? And why people Like you…or don’t? Download our guide, Five Essentials of Cross-Channel Social Media Measurement, to find out:

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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