To reach a larger audience, Kayla Houlihan moved out of her skin clinic in Geelong and into the world of social media. Her brand, Tribe Skincare now operates out of Houlihan’s spare bedroom and reaches over 17,000 regular customers.
Houlihan is an example of how a small business can thrive in social media marketing. Since then, Tribe Skincare has grown to 53,000 followers on Instagram and over 3,000 followers on Facebook. According to Houlihan, these platforms are now the brand’s home.
“It’s come a long way, it feels like it’s happened very quickly as well. We’ve mainly been growing online, so majority of customers find us through Facebook and Instagram,” Houlihan told upstart.
“We’ve never really done any kind of instore or markets or anything like that. We do hold events, which are really great for marketing and they’re events all our customers are invited to attend … but the brand really lives online now.”
Social media has turned into a prime platform for retailers. Globally, over two billion people use Facebook monthly, and over 500 million people are on their sister app Instagram every day. Each day 161 million people are recorded using the photo messaging app Snapchat.
Houlihan believes you can reach so many more people online, as social media has changed the way business’ function and navigate through marketing strategies. This has worked very well for Tribe Skincare.
“The first couple months we were basically doubling in revenue every month and that was huge,” she said.
With tools such as social media’s paid advertisements and influencer marketing, it might seem easier than ever to rapidly get your business off the ground. A quarter of videos on Instagram are advertisements and 65 percent of the highest’s performing posts feature products. But in a sea of millions of users globally, branding your business on Instagram is not so easy.
“We try to make our page a community page and make it a bit of a fun interactive place that people can come to everyday and they know they’re going to see the same faces, every day. They see a lot of behind the scenes of the business,” Houlihan said.
“We’ve showcased a lot of our customers results on our social media, so rather than us telling everyone how great the product is, we’ve got customers who visually show the before and after photos and also do testimonials.”
Megan Barrow from JoElla marketing believes social media is a great tool for marketing, but it’s getting harder to market online.
“[Social media] used to a be a wonderful way to market organically and free building up a tribe. These days it’s getting harder and harder without some money behind it. In a way, social media is turning into a pay-gap advertising platform,” Barrow told upstart.
However, Barrow believes the money you would need to put behind social media is relatively small, compared to other advertising strategies.
Instagram and Facebook now have their own platform to create advertisements called Instagram for Business and Facebook for Business. These programs give companies the ability to create advertisements on a budget. If you wanted to spend only five dollars for advertising a week, you can. It all depends on how many people you want to reach. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how much you spend, there’s an art to social media marketing.
Barrow says that in her years of experience she’s found that a holistic approach to your brand and social media works best.
“My opinion and approach is there’s a wonderful way to be really honest and authentic. If your actually honest and allow people to question you and even if that’s so called negative comments, it allows you take over the conversation and turn that into a positive,” she told upstart.
Tribe Skincare founder, Kayla Houlihan has tailored her Instagram page to be a community rather than just a brand. She says it’s a great way to reach your audience and you can reach more people on social media if you’re more than just your product. Houlihan does this very well.
The first three posts on their Instagram page will most likely be a customer’s review, a sneak peek into a new project or a relatable quote. You don’t feel like they’re trying to sell you a product. Their Instagram page shows you the faces behind the brand and the reality of running a business out of your own home. This is what sets them aside from the rest, and makes their online marketing successful.
“We don’t want to end up being a stereotypical Instagram brand, as they call them … the product has a lot more depth to it than that and it really is quite an established business. We feel like being online with social media we can just reach so many more people; we call them our tribe,” Houlihan said.
“The best advice would be, starting online is the best place to do it … and you’ve got access to so many more customers straight away.”
There’s a vast focus on online marketing and, according to Megan Barrow, traditional marketing strategies might not be as popular. She believes that it may seem easier to find your audience online, but it’ll take a lot more than just having a profile. We can’t completely forget about traditional marketing strategies.
“Whilst there is a huge focus on online marketing and obviously social media is huge … it’s fairly easy, anyone can do it, but that doesn’t mean anyone can do it well,” Barrow said.
Photo: Tribe Skincare supplied by Kayla Houlihan
Katerina Koteska is a third-year Bachelor of Media and Communications (Journalism) student at La Trobe university. You can follow her on Twitter @KoteskaKaterina