With the cost and competition to get in front of social media beauty influencers soaring, Yuni Beauty sought an alternate route to raise awareness and landed on a familiar place: the yoga mat.
The yoga-inspired beauty brand has partnered with 40 yoga and fitness ambassadors, including 10 key influencers it signed to longer-term contracts, to highlight products in posts relevant to its ath-leisure positioning. Yuni Beauty pursued the strategy to break through the digital clutter and reach consumers more efficiently than routine beauty-specific tactics.
“We approached regular beauty bloggers, and I remember one of them saying to me, ‘I would love to be able to review your products, but I have a waiting list of four to five months.’ When you start a business, you don’t want to wait four to five months before someone is going to give an opinion on your product,” said Emmanuel Rey, a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who founded Yuni Beauty with his wife Suzanne Dawson, a fellow Ashtanga yoga teacher. “The fitness and yoga ambassadors haven’t really been approached by beauty brands. When we approached them, they were a bit surprised, but they were also excited they could give their opinions on something no one had asked them about.”
Although Yuni Beauty hired agency BWC to assist with the execution of its ambassador program, Rey and Dawson personally selected the yoga and fitness ambassadors, including Liz Arch, Koya Webb, Eve Modens, Amanda Russell and Andrew Sealy. Unlike some of the most coveted social media sensations, these ambassadors don’t have millions of followers, but Rey stressed Yuni Beauty was interested in the participation of the followers they do have, the quality of their feeds and their personal stories rather than straightforward audience statistics. “A lot of them we were following ourselves because we thought they were interesting people,” he noted.
In the early days of the program, Dawson noticed the Yuni Beauty products generating the biggest responses on social media are relatively easy to understand or experiential. In particular, she singled out Shower Sheets, Microveil Hair Treatment, No-Rinse Body Cleansing Foam and Body Balance Aroma Concentrate. “The Shower Sheets are very unique and anyone who is active from sailing to surfing can use them. They can be great to demonstrate in a variety of ways, and you get it right away,” she said, adding of the Body Balance Aroma Concentrate that, “We call it pocket Savasana, the pose at the end of yoga that makes you feel awake and rested at the same time. Whenever you are going to a big meeting or in traffic, you can use this and go back to your Savasana moment. We tend to get good engagement with these types of products.”
To assess its social media outreach, Yuni Beauty evaluates three factors: impressions, engagement and the brand’s and ambassadors’ follower growth. “In terms of pure financial impact on the business, I don’t think you can solely build a communication strategy around that. Especially with Millennials and Generation Z, they want to see a brand being talked about by influencers at various times and in various contexts,” said Rey. “If you see our roster of ambassadors, there is great diversity. It is men and women, all races, all walks of life. It helps complete the building of our brand persona.”
Rey and Dawson believe they’ll net positive return on their investment for Yuni Beauty’s yoga and fitness ambassador program. “Now, you have to pay the beauty influencers so much money to play with you, the returns start to diminish over time and the engagement goes down with their audience. Everyday they are posting about five things, so how credible is that?” asked Dawson. “Playing in the fitness and yoga space is fantastic. For us, the entry to play isn’t as high. They are very engaged, and they speak from a health perspective with authority. It is working well.”
Still, affiliation with yoga and fitness influencers to increase recognition of a beauty brand has its challenges. “When you are dealing with the usual beauty influencers, people are used to going there for beauty content,” said Dawson. “Because we are pioneering in the space, there’s a lot of work we have to do with yoga and fitness influencers to provide them with content and inform them how to communicate about the brand so it resonates with people searching for beauty.”
Yuni Beauty is exploring digital opportunities that aren’t overrun in the beauty field and is considering breaching the green beauty niche on social media. “We are starting to look at people with 25,000 to 30,000 followers. As long as the following is growing and the content is good, then it makes sense to approach those people,” said Rey. “In the beauty world, the problems start to happen around 80,000. When you go into 200,000, 400,000 or above, they work in a completely different way.”