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The Body Shop’s head of social dismisses continued “obsession” with counting Facebook Likes and shifts focus to YouTube

Many marketers are still focusing on the wrong metrics when it comes to defining the value of social media to a brand’s business, according to The Body Shop’s head social media Rowan Stanfield.

Speaking at Brighton Digital Marketing Festival, for which The Drum is media partner, today Stanfield said: “I hear people talking about great creative ideas for social media but they don’t have meaningful way of measuring it. Effective measurement is the only way to know if a social media strategy is working.

"One of my pet hates is the Facebook Like measure, which people still obsess over. Forget about them – they have no context and don't mean anything.”

Stanfield's focus for the past year has been on seeking alternative methods of measurement to better understand how social media can help the brand achieve its wider business goals, which include boosting awareness of its beauty and make-up products and widening its customer base to reach people aged between 18 ad 35, which the brand refers to as “Gen Y”.

It identified YouTube as being the platform in which the majority of conversations about beauty were occurring, as a result of the rise of independent female video bloggers, according to Stanfield.

“People assume Facebook is the be-all-and-end-all but actually YouTube has proved to be a really successful channel for us. We are now creating content people really want and have searched for – like practical how-to videos on skincare and make-up..

“What also led us to YouTube was the fact that beauty brands were seeing declining referrals from Facebook to their websites from beauty ‘vloggers’, whereas these were growing on YouTube. We realised YouTube had more commercial possibility for us than Facebook,” she said.

The Body Shop has ploughed “at least 50 per cent” of its resources into commissioning content for and managing its YouTube strategy, creating content to meet the high volume of searches for beauty content already occurring, according to Stanfield.

It has now launched a guest blog site to provide a hub for its social media community to engage with the brand and each other, and which is contributed to by beauty vloggers and its own staff members. This helps ensure its brand remains topical and up to date with all the latest conversations around beauty.

Ensuring content is mobile-ready is also vital to ensuring a good customer and brand experience. "You might as well not bother if you are producing content that then can't be accessed via mobile because that's where people are," she added.

Meanwhile, although it uses both Pinterest and Instagram, it has found that the latter is most effective for attracting its target Gen Y demographic, according to Stanfield.

“When I first started at The Body Shop [a year ago] there was a lot of hype around Pinterest so we did look into it, but we find it’s used more by a slightly older demographic than our Gen Y. Whereas Instagram is a much better fit and so this is where we are focusing.

"We are still new to it so we still only have a small audience of about 4,000 followers [on Instagram] but the engagement is much higher than Facebook,” she said.

In August The Body Shop saw YouTube views spike 198 per cent month-on-month and channel subscribers grew 11 per cent month on month, as a result of its new focus on original video content, bolstered by paid social media advertising, including YouTube's Trueview ad formats.

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