Burt’s Bees has relied on word-of-mouth marketing for growth since its founding more than 25 years ago. Most early consumers were introduced to the company’s products by friends sharing their experiences. So social media is an obvious way to move forward for a beauty products company – and it’s proving successful.
Since July 2010, the brand’s Facebook fan base has grown from 98,000 to more than 562,000 by creating compelling content that consumers want to interact with and discuss. In an interview with eMarketer, Burt’s Bees Content and Social Media Manager Melissa Sowry and Manager of Public Relations Gabrielle Prohn said that quizzes, video, sampling offers and behind-the-scenes access into the world of Burt’s Bees is helping extend brand loyalty and generate strong online viral engagement.
Historically, women talk to other women they know and trust to find out what works with beauty products. With Facebook, that now can happen online. Burt’s Bees uses social media and in particular Facebook to build relationships. One great way is to offer samples and it recently succeeded with a sampling program on Facebook for its relaunched body lotions and a new tinted lip balm.
Burt’s Bees monitors a number of social media metrics such as how much traffic it drives from its Facebook site to the ecommerce section of its website. But it’s difficult to give actual ROI, such as whether the sampling tab on Facebook is responsible for increased sales, fan growth or positive sentiment about the brand. Even so, Sowry and Prohn believe that the consumer trust and access to information it offers on Facebook is driving people to make purchases.
Burt’s Bees has a “Shop & Share” feature on Facebook where brand fans can ask their friends about a purchase, but you can’t order products here yet. Burt’s Bees is watching Shop & Share closely to see if it should be expanded and offer the ability to complete transactions within Facebook.