Inside Mary Kay’s Facebook Strategy

Cosmetics brand Mary Kay can boast it’s a brand in the 1 million like club — and it didn’t get there by running lots of Facebook ads.

According to Kim Sater, Mary Kay’s U.S. director of consumer marketing, the brand’s useful content is the biggest driver of its success in attracting Facebook connections. She spoke to Digiday about its approach to Facebook,

To what do you attribute your success on Facebook?
We have been successful on Facebook because our business has been built on social networking since 1963. We like to say that Mary Kay was the original social network. The basis of the Mary Kay business model is women getting together in a social environment and talking about our products, then recommending our brand and products to their friends. Facebook and social media have been a natural extension of the relationships we have built in the offline world for almost 50 years. In 2011, we did a small test of Facebook advertising to help share our message about the prevention of domestic violence. For every new like we got last September and October, Mary Kay donated $1 to The Mary Kay Foundation to help support its programs to raise awareness of domestic violence. While we don’t currently use paid media specifically to build our audience on Facebook, we always refer consumers to our Facebook presence in our advertising. We are proud to say that our fan numbers have grown organically — either from searching for our page or from seeing their friends interact with our content, especially sweepstakes.

How is the way you approach communicating with fans on Facebook unique?
We try to keep our voice in social media reflective of our unique Mary Kay culture. We are all about inspiration, motivation and recognition. We also know that our fans love beauty products, so we try to give them the latest news on our products, including awards and honors and new product launches, as well as beauty tips and trends. We love hearing from our fans, too, so we give them plenty of opportunity to share their comments with us and each other. When we create content for the Facebook page, we try to think of ideas that would resonate with us if we saw them on a brand page. We also have so much to talk about. From product, to social responsibility and giveaways, there is always something fun and exciting to share with our fans.

What types of posts are you seeing the best engagement levels with? 
The posts with the highest engagement levels have historically been about Mary Kay giving back to the community. Corporate social responsibility is very important to our company, our independent beauty consultants and our loyal brand lovers. People love to do business with a company that cares about the community the way we do. Also, we see lots of activity from our fans when we ask them to engage with us. For example, posts that prompt users to like the post continue to be an effective engagement tactic for our audience. Additionally, some of our highest impressions are seen when we make announcements about winning awards — a like, share or comment on these posts is the best accolade from our incredible fans.

Do you believe in Facebook advertising? 
We don’t have a lot of experience with Facebook advertising, other than the test we did last year to promote domestic-violence awareness. However, we are planning on doing some additional Facebook advertising this year.

Do you think Facebook does a good job catering to brands?
Facebook timeline has allowed brands to expand the way they engage with their fans, which we think is great. Not only do we now have space to display a beautiful cover photo, but the option to highlight and pin posts guarantees that our fans won’t miss out on important content.

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