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Leveraging the Network Effect

Using social media for news and updates is a bit like hearing it through the grapevine. Your intended audience may believe only half of what they see and none of what they hear. But all those Millennials on our teams present a huge opportunity to market our brands. Totaling up the hundreds or thousands of followers on each team’s Instagram or Facebook adds up to an awful lot of people. That presents a powerful reach. And if you can get them to engage, even ‘like’ the brand itself, then wow, that could be thousands of people to sell to.

But it’s tricky persuading service users spread across multiple locations to be a soapbox for our brands; we can’t dictate what they post or how. And if they do post, will they do so in a way that is authentic?

With more than 600 employees spread across 100 locations, we’ve had to find affordable and workable ways to inform our teams. Six months ago I decided to try using social media. I set up the GS Beauty Club. Membership is voluntary, free and fun, and interacting with club posts through sharing and reposting brings rewards – free tickets to events, free beauty products, even time off. Even simple membership brings benefits. This drives engagement better than if we’d forced everyone to join. Those who are involved want to be involved. They know to keep an eye on what we post.

Our feed provides our teams with consumer-facing content that will bring value to their audiences, such as beauty tips, product use suggestions and inspirational images. They are then encouraged to share, which we monitor, and if a particular post is doing well then we’ll boost it ourselves, using geo-spacing to focus on those areas where it is performing the best. We quickly learned there is no point in boosting a poorly performing post to get more engagements; much better to boost the ones people want to see.

The aim of the club and the content we share is to help teams build their business in the salons plus create a sense of camaraderie among their members, some of whom might work at the same location yet hardly know one another because of shift rosters. I believe it is also helping drive up retail sales.

We bolster this consumer activity with posts on our internal platform focused on education, product knowledge and team identity. It doesn’t replace team education; rather it complements it, giving them information on a platform they use and in a format they are comfortable with.

It’s just six months, and so early days to go public on growth, but we are now up at 50 per cent of the team joined up as members and actively reposting our content. I’m very happy with that.

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