In August, Elf Beauty, a drugstore makeup and skincare line, became the first beauty brand to launch on the so-called “anti-Instagram” app BeReal. Users can follow his account, @elfyeah, for behind-the-scenes content and previews. With no edit buttons or filters, BeReal randomly notifies users once a day that it’s time to “get real” and take a photo with the front and rear cameras. In 2022, the app was installed 41 million times. Frank Body has begun testing BeReal, Johnson says, “It’s better to be early than perfect.”
Jones Road has had particular success with TikTok. The videos feature Bobbi Brown, the founder, speaking candidly on camera about her own beauty journey or giving tips on how to use the products. “Instagram has always been very polished and naturally more ‘branded’ for a lot of beauty companies,” says Plofker. “TikTok is much more authentic.”
Content copying or trying to mirror other people’s styles won’t work, School House’s Skinner points out: “We’re all making TikTok moves because we want to see what’s next, and we want it to be different than what we’ve seen before.”
If brands are up to the challenge, TikTok’s unfiltered nature can be a real asset rather than a hindrance, argues Siri Fomsgaard, president of digital marketing agency Taylor & Pond. “On TikTok, there are a lot of users who are very open to reviews and testimonials about products. Brands should go out, find these people, give them products and learn from them. See what they say, see how engaged they are with these posts,” he says. “The idea of ’TikTok made me buy it’ is still a very big trend,” confirms Tribe Dynamic’s Begley.
Fomsgaard sees TikTok as an innately creator-driven platform. The implication is that brands are better advised to rely on influencers to create TikTok content for them rather than creating their own. “The types of videos people want to see tend to be very raw and authentic, and more of a review type,” he says.
Benefits beyond commitment
Instagram is still very much in the game. Its power goes beyond conversion, Skinner notes. “A brand’s grid view can still serve as a miniature brand website, so photography and other types of visual cues and tone of voice are still important,” he says. Instagram is also an important customer service tool for many businesses, he adds.