Claudia Soare, president of Anastasia Beverly Hills, cautioned brands that they should never buy social media followers.

“I’m not judging you if you do, but statistically if you have one million followers but you get 3,000 likes per picture, it’s really obvious,” Soare said of the low engagement that typically occurs after someone purchases fans. “You never want to do that; it looks bad. You can buy followers but your likes won’t go up and your comments won’t go up and people know that. They will watch that and it almost looks worse.”

You can have a significant impact with less followers, and Soare has found the same when working with influencers. Just because an influencer might have two million followers on Instagram doesn’t mean they’ll actually move product, she explained. Sometimes it’s the personalities that have a deeply engaged 10,000 or 100,000 fan base who will sell more product for a brand than someone who has ten times the amount of followers.

Soare maintained that the company sends products to people who have four million followers and some that have 10,000. And what the brand sends is always the same — no matter who the influencer.

“You never want to short change anyone because they grow. It’s always in the spirit of ‘we are helping aspiring artists,’” Soare said. “Sometimes a smaller influencer’s assets might work better. What I’m saying involves a lot of watching and looking and engaging and being aware. It’s important to have people dedicated to doing that.”

And while Anastasia’s platform of choice might be Instagram, it’s important early on to identify your customer and where they’re spending their time. It could be Instagram for some, but it could be also be Pinterest or Facebook. And once you’ve established this, Soare said a “great way to start” is content consumer interest.

“It’s a customer service desk — aside from it being a digital magazine the consumer is there to engage,” she said, adding that consumers on social media want to know when a product is coming back in stock, how long it’s going to be out of stock and how many colors a product comes in. She stressed that it’s not only about posting photos at a certain time; a dedicated team must be ready to answer and engage with comments — the good and the bad.

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