Ask a room full of marketing experts to name one brand that they think does social media right, and someone is sure to mention this one: Glossier.
The beauty brand was started in 2014 by former Vogue staffer, Emily Weiss. After starting her lifestyle blog, Into the Gloss, in 2010 and gaining a sizable audience, Weiss eventually spun that into a line of relatable and easy-to-use beauty and skincare products.
Since Glossier’s launch just four years ago, the cosmetics brand has snowballed in popularity and continued to foster and grow a devoted following—many even go so far as to describe it as cult-like.
So, how exactly did Glossier do it? Let’s take a peek behind the curtain for an in-depth look at their social media marketing strategy, with an emphasis on the brand’s most-used and followed platform: Instagram
Glossier By The Numbers: A Look At The Brand’s Wildly Popular Instagram Account(s)
One quick glance at Glossier’s social media accounts, and you’ll quickly realize that none of them are lagging. The brand has over 73,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 235,000 fans on Facebook.
But, it’s Instagram that’s the true star of the Glossier marketing strategy.
Glossier’s Instagram account has an impressive 1.6 million followers, with a posting frequency of about once or twice per day.
Considering that Instagram is such a core pillar of the brand’s social media marketing strategy, that’s not all. The brand also tends to overflow into two other related Instagram accounts: the account for Weiss’ still-popular lifestyle site, Into the Gloss, and Weiss’ own personal Instagram account.
The Into the Gloss Instagram account has 699,000 followers with a posting frequency of about once per day, and Weiss’ personal account boasts 419,000 followers. Her own posting schedule is somewhat sporadic, but she averages one post every two days or so.
There’s likely some overlap in the followers on each of those accounts. But, even so, one thing is for sure: Glossier’s social media audience is large.
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How Glossier Dominates Instagram: 6 Things The Brand Does Differently
Again, there’s plenty that the beloved brand does right across all of their social media channels. However, channeling their efforts into Instagram was a highly-intentional marketing choice.
“Our customer is on Instagram, and it’s how and where she’s crafting her online persona, so we had to be there,” Weiss said in an interview with Entrepreneur, “We used Instagram to launch Glossier, and that’s really where the brand is taking shape.”
It’s no secret—Glossier is totally nailing their Instagram presence. But, how? Here are six key things the brand gets right that help them to stand out on a crowded platform in a competitive industry.
1. Glossier Made Instagram An Immediate Priority
When Weiss says that the brand used Instagram to launch Glossier, she isn’t kidding. They didn’t fall into the common trap of so many companies where social media was an afterthought—they were proactive about it from the get-go.
In fact, Glossier’s account had attracted 13,000 Instagram followers before any products were even launched on the brand’s e-commerce site. They also posted over 125 Instagram photos prior to their launch in an effort to establish their brand identity and aesthetic, as well as generate some excitement over the upcoming products.
Needless to say, it worked. And, since that time, Glossier has continued to keep Instagram top of mind whenever they launch a new product or make any sort of strategic business move.
The perfect example? When the brand opened their second physical retail location in Los Angeles in 2018, the entire store was made to be highly Instagrammable—so that fans and customers would want to take and share photos in the store.
Nearly everything in the location (including the floor) is that now-famous “Glossier pink” shade. There are mirrors with encouraging slogans written on them. And, there’s another totally over the top touch: Glossier Canyon, which is essentially a replica of Antelope Canyon complete with nature sounds and—of course—a mirror for snapping that perfect selfie.
The Takeaway: Maybe you won’t quite take things to this same extreme level, but take a page from Glossier’s book and be proactive with your social media strategy. The more you can integrate your efforts with what you’re already working on in your business, the more cohesive (and less frantic!) your social strategy will be. By the way, Sked Social’s calendar and scheduling features can help to keep you organized and on track.
2. Glossier Marketing Is All About Authenticity
If you were going to pick just one word to describe Glossier’s brand identity, this would probably be it: authentic.
The brand has a solid grasp on who their customer is, and they make a conscious decision to present themselves that same way.
“Today’s woman has five minutes to do her face before she’s flying out the door. That’s her reality, but she still wants to look good and needs to do it with minimal effort,” Weiss said in that same interview with Entrepreneur.
As a result, Glossier’s social media presence never seems elite or untouchable—it’s raw, real, and down-to-earth.
There are shots of bathrooms and showers, never-overdone selfies of diverse subjects, and plenty of dog photos sprinkled in. They use a friendly tone of voice in all of their captions and are careful to never become too overly-promotional. Their grid seems approachable and relatable—as if you’re looking at the Instagram account of a friend, rather than a brand.
Glossier has also often shirked the traditional influencer marketing model that so many brands rely on, instead choosing to engage with their devoted fans and followers. For one successful product launch, the brand chose to gift the product to 500 superfans (those who had previously bought products or were highly engaged with the brand on social media) who touted the product on their own accounts.
Glossier prioritizes authenticity over almost anything else. Even the promotional photos for their Generation G lipstick are upfront and transparent—stating that all of the people in the photos came to set wearing their own makeup, and then paired it with Glossier’s lipstick.
The Takeaway: Authenticity repeatedly resonates and engages your followers on social media. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for more staged and polished content, but make sure you’re mixing those in with posts that are more raw and relatable.
3. Glossier Takes Engagement To An Entirely New Level
Speaking of engagement, that’s something that Glossier puts a lot of effort into. The secret? They don’t just expect followers to engage with them—they explicitly ask them to.
For example, when the brand realized that their followers never included a cleanser in their “my top shelfies” posts where they shared a peek at their bathroom cabinets, Glossier made the assumption that there was a hole in the market they could fill. So, they asked their followers which actor or actress would play a cleanser in a movie.
Eddie Redmayne and Emma Stone won by a landslide. Concluding that both celebrities had pale, milky skin, Glossier took time to formulate and launch its now-beloved Milky Jelly Cleanser—which quickly became the brand’s best-selling skincare product.
Without a doubt, the Glossier’s marketing strategy boasts an awesome engagement rate. In looking at three of their most recent posts, they had a 3.5%, 9.6%, and 10% engagement rate respectively. Considering the average Instagram account has an engagement rate of just 3%, Glossier is knocking things out of the park.
However, Glossier also recognizes that engagement on social media is a two-way street. They make it a point to respond back to their followers—often offering compliments and answering questions on all of their social media platforms.
The Takeaway: Social media isn’t all about broadcasting messages to your followers—it’s about engaging with them. Make sure you’re setting aside adequate time each day to respond to comments and even proactively engage with their own posts. It’ll make all the difference in terms of how your audience connects with your brand.
4. Glossier Pays Attention To What Works (And What Doesn’t)
Glossier doesn’t just throw posts out there and hope they resonate—they use real data to figure out what’s working well with their following and then use that information to shape their strategy and repeat their success.
It’s clear that Glossier pays close attention to individual post performance.
As a result of keeping an eye on their posts, they grew their audience to 1.6 million followers and increased their average engagement rate by approximately 30% over the last year.
The Takeaway: Knowledge is power, and you need to be keeping an eye on your post performance and audience growth to inform your future decisions. Fortunately, Sked Social boasts comprehensive Instagram analytics and insights so you can dig deeper into what works for your brand on Instagram.
5. Glossier Leverages Other Social Accounts
While Glossier does a great job of engaging followers on their main Glossier Instagram account, that’s not the only place they’re interacting.
But, with Instagram being their core focus, they also leverage other Instagram accounts for a strong social media presence. Founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, frequently posts Glossier-related images to her personal Instagram account.
But, she mixes those product plugs in with personal posts that allow followers to get to know her a little more intimately—including vacation photos and fresh-faced selfies.
Similarly, the Into the Gloss Instagram account isn’t nearly as Glossier-centric as the dedicated account, but there are still some Glossier products dropped into posts every now and then.
In short, all accounts serve their individual purposes—but they still work together seamlessly.
The Takeaway: Even though it works well for Glossier, nobody is saying that you need to have multiple Instagram accounts for your one brand. However, it’s a reminder to look at all of the platforms you do use as working toward the same objective. That will help you develop a social media strategy that’s cohesive and complementary.
6. Glossier Makes The Most Of Hashtags
If there’s ever been a brand that does Instagram hashtags well, it’s Glossier. Over the years, they’ve had numerous different hashtags associated with their brand (i.e. #glossier, #itgtopshelfie, #nofilterjustglossier, #boybrow, #cloudpaint, and more).
One big thing that these tags accomplish? They make it easy for the brand to use plenty of user-generated content on their own grid—a way for them to always have fresh posts, while also remaining authentic and further engaging their audience.
But, what makes Glossier’s hashtags particularly remarkable is the quality of content they’re able to attract. Just look at the hashtag #glossierpink as an example, and you’ll be met with tons of photos (over 19,000, in fact) that perfectly match the brand’s aesthetic and are ripe for republishing.
The Takeaway: If you haven’t already created a branded hashtag, now is a great time to do that in order to leverage user-generated content for yourself! Also, don’t forget to add hashtags to your own posts to get them found by people who are interested in the type of content you’re posting.
Sked Social’s Hashtag Manager makes it easy to save your favorite hashtags into groups and quickly post them with your content. Start saving time and gaining more impressions on your posts today by signing up for a 7-day free trial of Sked Social.
Glossier Marketing Strategy: A Social Media Success Story
All in all, Glossier is a brand with a lot of thought and strategy behind their social media marketing—and behind their Instagram presence in particular.
But, here’s the thing: It doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of strategy to their followers and customers. It feels friendly, relatable, and completely authentic. It’s as if you’re taking beauty recommendations from a close personal friend, rather than a brand itself.
That’s something that the brand has been intentional about. They respect their customers and their values, and they always want to connect in a way that foregoes traditional advertising and deception and relates to them on their level.
Just look at when the brand introduced their “Glossier You” fragrance in a blog post on Into the Gloss. Weiss said toward the end of the post, “That’s why we didn’t dream up some huge campaign, with a massive set build and an anonymous face of the fragrance.”
Glossier prides itself on being highly personal, and that’s a value they’ve obviously carried over into their social media strategy. We think it’s safe to say that it’s working.