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Using Content to Build a Community

How to create and curate authentic content that will connect with your customers

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Carrie Tyler
Carrie Tyler
Global Head of Content at Revolution Beauty

Carrie Tyler is the Global Head of Content at Revolution Beauty, the world’s biggest player in the fast beauty space. Revolution Beauty produces affordable, cruelty-free, and trend-led products weekly. With more than 1.7 million followers on Instagram and over 3.5 million across its accounts, its products are coveted around the world. Revolution Beauty is the third fastest-growing company in the UK.

Great Content Doesn’t Have to be Costly

Revolution Beauty launched on Twitter five years ago without a marketing budget. We got famous because budding YouTubers discovered us organically — the girl or boy in their bedroom who dreams of becoming a makeup artist like their heroes, Jeffree Star or Patricia Bright.

They couldn’t afford MAC or other luxury brands, and they stumbled across our product at the drugstore. They realized it was really great quality and noticed that we were really fast at jumping on trends, so they started talking about us in their videos. We didn’t have any marketing budget at the time.

content and community ecommerce

Content is really everything. Without that marketing budget or that ad spend, content is how you can get your messaging out there across your community pages. If we ask somebody to create a video that’s purely for our channels — we pay them for their time, of course, but we don’t pay for content on their channels. So, when we meet someone, we say, “We think you’d love this product and we’d love you to review it for us, and here is a day rate for spending your day doing this.” We don’t get into that crazy cost realm of 15,000 GBP per video.

The best part about having people who are truly interested in your products create content is that they speak to their followers and yours in an authentic way. We don’t give any direction. We don’t give copy approval. We appreciate the balanced reviews. Hearing feedback is really helpful. We want to take that information and build it into product development. Having a review that is balanced is a lot more effective than “this is the best thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

Don’t Leave Your Brand Identity Behind

When I first arrived in 2017, we were not producing any of our own content and we were purely relying on reposts from customers who have reviewed our products. Now, we like to produce a lot of that in-house as well, and feature our own employees too.

Content has to feel real — it has to be real. In our case, our staff really represents our customer in terms of age, skin tone, ethnicity. Authenticity in content creation is something we feel passionately about. One way of harnessing that is to put ourselves in a photo or a video in order for it to be relatable.

As a brand, I feel we are responsible for showing a realistic side of beauty. One that makes you feel better, rather than worse about yourself. We’ve got to show people with skin concerns; we’ve got to show wrinkles; we’ve got to show blemishes; we’ve got to show birth marks; we’ve got to show ability and disability in order to normalize what we are presented with across social media. That is part of our brand DNA and that’s what we’re really striving to do.

content community

Your community flocks to your because of your brand values and identity. I think the problem with so many brands today is that if you take the logo away from their social pages, it’s really hard to identify them. There has been such a merging of talent used to promote products. I think a lot of brands have also chased what another good brand was doing and left behind their identity. There are some brands — Benefit, for example — who have remained resolutely true to their brand DNA, but many have changed with the wind and lost themselves along the way. Finding that strong DNA and following it by hook or by crook is an absolute essential.

Today’s customers are very savvy. They know what you’ve been posting on your feeds for the last two years. If, for example, you haven’t included people of diverse ethnicities in your content, and suddenly you’re coming out with a foundation that’s in 60 shades, you’ll be called out as doing it for tokenism. You’ve got to have strong values and stick by them.

Clicks Aren’t Everything

We really see Instagram as the window to our world and our brand. However, if we’re talking about drivers, Facebook and YouTube still drive incredible traffic for us. So all three channels are crucial in different ways.

We look at video views and clicks, of course, but we don’t chase too many KPIs on our social pages. The content has to feel right for the brand and it’s got to feel right for the products. There is content that we know doesn’t perform as well, but as a brand, it’s the right thing to be shouting about. This type of content can build community as much and even more so than the content that drives clicks.

Social is a really fast-paced environment. Not everything you do will work, and that’s totally fine. If something felt right to us, then it was the right thing to do.

content and community ecommerce

Driving Product Through Content

When your content strategy revolves around your real customers and reviewers, there’s so much opportunity to engage and bring that community conversation into your product lines. Our first-ever product collaboration was born out of someone reviewing our products, not a paid affiliation. It was all organic, and it allowed us to reach a new audience. It’s since become a mainstay of our product development strategy.

We work with people who found Revolution themselves, who were already talking about us regularly. We had a great relationship with them, and then the next stage was product development. I think where we stand apart from other brands’ product collaborations, is that the talent chooses pretty much everything. Our founder, Adam Minto, closely manages the process, guiding what will make a more commercial product, but the vlogger is the one leading the process — from the name to the colors and packaging. It becomes their baby.

Conclusion

  • You don’t need a sky-high budget – Seek out customers who are already reviewing your products on YouTube and Instagram instead of looking for popular influencers.
  • Stay true to your brand – Consumers are savvy and will immediately call you out if your content isn’t authentic and doesn’t reflect your brand DNA.
  • Clicks aren’t everything – Not every post that builds your brand community and identity will drive traffic, and that’s okay.
  • Collaborate with your community – Make new products with your best content creators to reach their audiences and grow your brand community.

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