How Social Media is Transforming the Beauty Industry

If you’ve ever questioned the power of social media on retail then look no further. Julep is a nail polish brand that has utilized social media to transform their business. Forbes magazine predicts this company is the next billion dollar brand in the beauty industry. Julep is a prime example of why it is essential for the beauty industry to re-evalute their social media strategy.

Julep CEO and Founder Jane Park started the company because she wanted to give women something different. Most nail polishes contain toxins and chemicals. Creating a safe nail polish became her passion and thus Julep was born. Parks credits her success by “not telling the customer what they want, we’re giving them what they want” (Tice, 2014). She has done this through social media and distribution feedback.

julep-nail-polish-set-53473

On Facebook Julep actively solicits images from their followers. They hold contests with these photos and the photo with the most likes will receive a prize package. Julep is giving the consumer an incentive to follow and interact with them on social media.

Julep also provides their consumers with a unique shopping experience by offering them the chance to subscribe to their business. For $19.99 per month subscribers receive a custom gift box with fresh products. Most Julep products sell for $14 apiece so receiving a variety of products for this small fee is a huge incentive for Julep devotees. Park says once consumers receive their gift boxes the photos roll in on social media and the interactions begin (Tice, 2014). These interactions allow Julep to see how their products are used and reviewed.julep

Julep partner Jason Stoffer notes “beauty is a business where women talk to each other about what products they’re trying. It’s one of the most social businesses there is” (Tice, 2014). Having a booming business online has not only helped Park learn about her customers, it’s also helped her network with beauty retailers. Julep is not only sold on their personal website but in major retailers Nordstrom and QVC. By offering incentives, having a creative approach, and networking on social media Forbes projects Julep is well on it’s way to being the next billion dollar beauty brand (Tice, 2014).

Julep is utilizing their social following and taking it one step further. After listening to their consumers Julep has recently begun crowdsourcing on their website to create a one-of-a-kind nail polish pen (Tice, 2014). This was requested by and curated specifically for their consumers. Talk about advocacy.

The Julep story is important, an inspiration, and one every retailer should hear. Consumers don’t want to feel connected to brands on social media. They want benefits…a tangible experience. Those involved in the beauty industry should take a look at the Julep story and begin to implement similar practices.

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Crowdsourcing via Kickstarter: A New Way to Get Funds!

Have you ever had to rely on other’s opinions or resources (i.e. money) to accomplish a project? If you have you are not alone! This phenomena, known as crowdsourcing is becoming a very common practice for many businesses. Just type in “crowdsourcing sites” on Google and you’ll be amazed at the sites available to help people reach their monetary needs. One such site is Kickstarter.

Kickstarter has thousands of projects for people to help fund ranging from photography to a family wanting to spend every day out of the year in theme parks in Florida (interesting goal in my opinion). Those interested in using Kickstarter for funds can provide audiences with information about their business, purpose, or goals via bios, links, and images. For people wanting to help those on Kickstarter you can browse by most popular/trending, category, discovery or by a search. I happen to use all of these methods and found some very interesting projects going on in our world.

homegrownWhen I first visited Kickstarter I looked in the trending/popular section of the site to see if there was anything that caught my eye. A site with the name HomeGrown.org interested me. This site houses projects across the country focused on providing people with actual home grown items like honey. I really like this concept because I try and support small businesses as much as I can. Unfortunately there were no projects going on in Florida or any that would provide me with benefits.

After spending some time looking in the popular/trending section of Kickstarter I decided to do a site search for “Florida.” Doing this lead to over 400 results! Browsing through the first ten pages of the results I found some really great projects occurring in Florida near my community and places I visit frequently. One that really fascinated me is called Uten-sil. The concept this inventor has is simple. It’s a fork and knife holder that keeps utensils from touching the table. I absolutely HATE when my silverware touches the table when I go out to eat! When I unroll the napkin to put on my lap and have to put my silverware on the table a small part of me dies…it grosses me out!  uten-sil 2

I really enjoyed reading about Uten-sil. The man behind the project, Matt Rothensberg laid out his goals, deadlines, and inspiration behind this product very well. He also provides incentives for donating. For instance, for an $8 donation you’ll receive a t-shirt. I loved this because many of the projects I looked at didn’t provide an incentive for people to donate. I feel in order to get attention on the site the user needs to have a catchy name. Uten-sil, Lean and Clean caught my eye and 33 other backers. The only thing that I am “concerned” about with Uten-sil is the timeframe they are hoping to raise $25,000…just a month! I think that is a lot to ask from people for a product that won’t be too expensive. Uten-sil

Overall, I think sites like Kickstarter will continue to benefit people trying to reach goals in their lives, both professionally and personally. I believe crowdsourcing will continue to grow in popularity and be integrated into our businesses.

Google Search Results: Alexis Willey

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you have, were the results a good representation of what you would want others to think about you or your reputation? Interestingly enough my assignment this week was to do just that and while the results weren’t crazy they were interesting to see.

I just Googled my name, Alexis Willey. The first few results were of my social media accounts, specifically LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, then a post from my this blog. I really like that my LinkedIn account was the first result from my Google search of myself. I want to be perceived as a professional, responsible young woman and I think this social network (along with my other social accounts) portrays this. If people were to do a Google search of me this would be the first link I would want them click.

The first and the fifth face look familiar but who are the rest of these "Alexis Willeys"?

The first and the fifth face look familiar but who are the rest of these “Alexis Willeys”?

The second page of my Google search was a little more interesting. My Google+ account, Pinterest, and then a few stories from a blog I had during undergrad appeared. Along with this was information about another Alexis Willey in Pennsylvania (mostly social media accounts) and a Facebook link for “The Alexis Willey Foundation” for 13-year-old girl, Alexis Willey battling leukemia in Iowa. I clicked on this link and it hasn’t been updated since January of 2011 so that kind of concerns me. The results on the second page were interesting because I feel like my name is unique. Growing up I was the only Alexis, and there aren’t very many Willey’s out there so to see results for people with the same name as me that I’m not related to was not what I was expecting.

I then Googled my email address and thankfully nothing relating to it came up. A few months ago I got an email from Gmail saying that someone from Turkey had tried to get into my Gmail account. When I was told I had to Google my email in this week’s assignment I thought I would find someone was using my “identity.”  What a relief to see no relevant results…

What was missing in my Google search? I am a pretty active person and I really enjoy running in races. I was surprised to see that none of my race results appeared in the first few pages of the search. I was also surprised to see that a lot of my blog entries weren’t available either. I work hard on these posts and based on WordPress analytics they are viewed pretty frequently, certainly more frequently than stories I wrote four years ago in undergrad! I wonder why one blog post from last semester appeared on the first page of the results but none from this semester?

What do I want to change? After seeing these results I would like to have my Google+ account appear on the first page of these results. I realize I need to be more active on this network  for improved SEO and so more results relating to me and not other Alexis Willeys will appear. I also know that I need to post more of my blog posts to my Google+ in order to have them appear higher in the results.

Where's my Google+ account?

1) Who is Alexis Willey from Hofstra University? 2)Where’s my Google+ account?

Googling myself really puts my online reputation into perspective. With recruiters and businesses admitting to using Google as a research tool it is imperative that we put our best “selves” forward on the Internet. If you haven’t Googled yourself before I advise that you do. You may be surprised what appears. 

Hello Vino!

I love to workout, not only because it is healthy for me but also because I really love to eat and drink yummy foods! One of these “foods” I thoroughly enjoy is wine, specifically a Riesling or a sparkling rose. My boyfriend likes to tease me about these “girly” wines so when I saw this week’s assignment I thought, “Why not use this week’s blog to expand my wine list?” and with that I downloaded the Hello Vino app to my iPhone.

hello vino menu pageHello Vino is a smartphone app that helps guide users to wines that suite their tastes. The main menu asks if it can help users find wine for certain meals, occasions, or holidays (i.e. Valentine’s Day). It also has wine options based on preference, types, and popular wine picks. Whichever option the user selects Hello Vino will help bring them to wines that are perfect for their tastes.

Hello Vino uses global positioning in order to send the user push notifications about wine. It also sends reminders about certain wines users have saved to their wine list. Perhaps the best part about Hello Vine using GPS is for the deals the app offers.hello vino wine deals

Other great aspects about Hello Vino include YouTube videos, wine lists, scanning ability and reviews. Their YouTube selection is really helpful. The videos detail how to use the app in order to get the most out of it! I really like this approach because I feel like it is more personal than just a “How to” section.

Through it’s scanning ability and wine lists Hello Vino makes sure users won’t forget wines they’ve enjoyed. Users can scan the labels of wines, save them to a wine list, and write a review for it. These reviews can then be shared with other users of the app.

Do I think Hello Vino is useful? Yes. As someone who usually only drinks one type of wine regularly I think this app will help me broaden my horizons. I think the most interesting aspect of Hello Vino is its ability to help me identify wines for certain types of food. For instance I am obsessed with sushi. I eat it probably two times a week, usually with a glass of Riesling. After doing some research on Hello Vino I found out that a Sauvignon Blanc goes better with spicy tuna rolls than a Riesling. I really look forward to the food and wine pairings I’ll be having in the future!

Trying Something New: Second Life

Before graduate school I had only heard of Second Life from a Law & Order: SVU episode. When I told my boyfriend I had to play it for an assignment he asked me if I was going to hold anyone captive like the pedophile in that SVU episode did. I defended Second Life and told him how companies like IBM and universities are using this program as a means to communication and with that my Second Life experience began.

When I first joined Second Life I was excited to pick out my avatar. I played Sims when I was younger and I always liked being able to make my Sim look like me. I wanted to have an integrated self in Second Life too but I could only choose predesigned avatars in the free version. I ended up choosing a goth looking girl for my initial avatar. After a few minutes in the game I found some more avatar designs and I changed to a Victorian girl who reminded me of Disney’s Belle.  I thought she looked really pretty which I think determined my outlook for my Second Life experience. I imagined I was in a Disney film as Princess Belle!

Second Life avata

I caught on pretty quickly with how to walk but flying was the most fun, not because it is an easy way to move around but because I loved the way my avatar’s dress looked when I was flying. Because life is a fashion show (and in Second Life it’s not different) I chose to fly everywhere and show off my avatar’s dress. I don’t think anyone else in the first world I visited really cared about me or my dress so I just kept flying around minding my own business until I found a portal!

Second Life Portal

When I walked through the portal I got put into a nightclub. My first impressions of the club: the music is cool, people are dancing, how do I do that!? This is where my first conversations in Second Life occurred. A bunch of people started saying hello to me in different languages! I eventually found someone who spoke English and I asked the gentleman how I could dance. He told me to “click on the disco ball.” Well…I couldn’t find the disco ball and didn’t want to look like a loser just standing there in a room full of people dancing so I decided to fly around. Eventually I found another portal and decided to where it took me. I ended up back where I started!

I wouldn’t say I had a bad experience in Second Life. I don’t know if I logged on at a high traffic time (Monday around 8pm) but the program was very slow on my computer which made conversing with others really hard. Every time I would try and type something it would take my sentence about ten seconds to appear. It got annoying and eventually lead me to just not want to talk to people.

I can see why people join Second Life. It is a way of escapism and helps others connect and make new friends. While many establishments have integrated this program into their work life I am glad I have not had to join Second Life to communicate with others; I don’t think it is for me. I really enjoy the Sakai program my graduate school uses. I interact with my classmates and professors regularly and have connected with many of them outside of Sakai on social media.

In Case You Were Waiting on Baited Breath…the Results Are In!

Last week I asked audiences on Google+ social media focused communities and followers on my blog to take a short survey about social integration in television programming. I chose to ask these audiences as opposed to my Facebook friends because I felt I would get a more diverse demographic of participants. Seventeen people answered a variety of questions detailing social media’s role in television.

One response that stood out to me the most was how people like to see social media incorporated into their television shows. Over 47% of those who took the survey said they liked to see a Twitter crawl as opposed to a television host reading comments (29%). This was interesting to me because later in my survey I asked what incentive would get my audience to participate in social integrations and over 58% said they would post more if they knew a television host would read their post on air. So what is it they really want? Twitter on tv

82% of my audience believes social media in television programming does add value to their shows, but they generally like it to be done more passively (i.e. via Twitter crawl). I can’t say I disagree. It is nice to be updated about the latest in a certain genre every half hour or so in this fashion, when it interrupts a show or becomes the focal point the show’s message can get lost. I also think social media contests are not as common in programming so the incentive to have a famous person read one of my audience’s social posts is something different than what they are used to seeing!

I found out the majority of my audience likes to interact with their television shows on Twitter (58%). Everyone agreed social media will only continue to play a bigger role in television programming in the future and the majority of my audience supports this (48%). 58% of my audience interact on social media via mobile but surprisingly 0% interact on a tablet (that one threw me for a loop). I expect this statistic to change some in the future as tablets continue to take on a bigger role in our digital world.Social-TV

Hindsight is 20/20

Overall I am very happy with the results I received, but looking back I would change some things in my survey. I did not ask any demographic questions which I am disappointed about. To be honest I just overlooked these type of questions and really focused on the meat of the matter. I realize now how important demographic questions are because it could help me understand what gender and race like social integration more.

I also wish I would have asked a few questions centered around YouTube. YouTube is vastly popular but isn’t seen much in social integrations on television. Why? I would like to see what my audience’s feelings on this outlet being incorporated into their television shows would be.

I plan to take this information and really think about what it means to me, my career goals and my focus in this degree program. I think if ever presented the opportunity to make a survey about social integration again I have a great outline and now know better, more precise questions to ask my audience.

Social Survey Says…

In this week’s episode of graduate school I have been asked to create a survey and distribute it on the Internet. I decided to create a survey based on my inspiration for going back to school and getting my Master’s degree: television and social media convergence. I think it is extremely important for television networks to have a social strategy to stay relevant but what does their audience think? I plan to use my friends on Facebook and people in Google+ communities as guinea pigs for this topic.

Ultimately I hope to establish whether or not social integrations on television are effective ways to reach audiences. I think of two television “news” shows I watch on a regular basis: The Today Show and E News. Both of these shows incorporate social media into their programming regularly. The Today Show has “the orange room” aka the social media room (pictured below) dedicated to what’s trending on Twitter complete with a big screen TV for the anchor to utilize during their social update. E News runs a Twitter crawl on a regular basis during E programming and has the hosts address celebrity social media posts, tweets, ect. I’ve never seen a rundown for these shows but I estimate a good 10-15 minutes of the programming (in the television world that is an eternity) is dedicated to some sort of social mention! There are aspects of these strategies that I enjoy but I am not sure if this is because social media fascinates me.

carson daily today show

By asking questions about how often people are exposed to social media on television, whether or not they enjoy it, and what incentives would get them to participate in television network social media campaigns I will help find my answer. Personally I want to see social media integrated into television programming, especially news. In my opinion news stations tend to be very biased and by having social media present I think it could help steer the conversation back to what the consumer is focused on. Regardless, social media has the ability to take television programming to the next level and I hope to find out if others think so too!

So, take a minute. Think about your opinion on these mediums merging and then take this quick seven question survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GTYWR6S

Running around the web

As some of you may know I am an avid runner. Much of my “spare time” is spent doing this activity. A lot of my friends will ask me questions about they can become a better runner and I often tell them to start with their shoes. If you don’t have a good pair of running shoes you are doing yourself a disservice! I always recommend my favorite brand…Brooks! Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 6.58.35 PM

Brooks shoes are great because they have a shoe that fits every running need. Whether you need a racing shoe, guidance shoe, stability shoe, or just a pair of good, comfortable running shoes Brooks has it! This is where my Google search started for Brooks…

1) Running shoes- 15th result on the first page of Google search

2) Guidance shoes-Brooks website appeared as the first result.

3) Stability shoes-Brooks website was the last result on the first page

4) Racing shoes-Brooks website was the first result on the second page

5) Running- Second page of Google search

6) Athletic shoes-Not on the first five pages.

  • Brooks does not classify their product as “athletic” shoes. While this is fine for their branding many of their competitors like Nike and UnderArmor are prevalent in this search. This maybe something Brooks considers in their SEO strategy.

7) Running gear-Last result on first page

8) Fitness apparel- Did not appear in first 10 pages.

  •  This could be big area of opportunity for Brooks because while they did not appear in this result neither big competitors, like Nike.

9) Best shoes for distance running-Did not appear in first 10 pages.

  • This could also be another are of opportunity for Brooks because, again many of their competitors did not appear in this search. Brooks has shoes that are great for distance running and could capitalize on this!

10) Run Happy-First result on the first page.

  • This is Brooks mantra so I was happy to see it as the first results!

Overall I believe Brooks has done an adequate job of implementing high SEO techniques. Aside from appearing in the “fitness apparel” and “best shoes for distance running” searches here are some other ways to improve SEO:

Do a better job of including keywords in their coding. For instance, while browsing their running apparel many codes contain links like:

Screen shot 2014-01-15 at 5.33.12 PM

To optimize visibility on Google Brooks could include words like running apparel or running shirt in these links.

From my perspective Brooks does a great job of appealing to runners. I know what types of running shoes are available, but beginner runners or those not as versed in running shoes may not know to search for “guidance shoes” or to find the right shoe. Brooks has “shoe advisor” on their website. I would love to see this feature appear higher in the search results when searching for specific shoes.

Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 6.58.00 PM