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Photo Credit: www.pompadour landing page

BEAUTY AND THE RISE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING

08-05-13 | Posted by


Not too long ago, news about a new beauty product traveled in old fashioned ways: magazines and word of mouth. A friend told a friend who told their mother, and the result was a trip to the department store.

Retailers offered  bricks and mortar spaces where women (and men) could visit, receive consultations from make up artists and aestheticians, and then leave the department store with a bag of makeup and skincare finds perfect for their skin. As time passed, retail spaces continually changed and currently emphasize the tactile nature of shopping for beauty with plenty of sample cases, opportunities for hands-on involvement, and an invitation to linger, look, touch, and play–all evidence of women’s need to really feel satisfied with a product prior to purchase.

Now, with the advent of social sharing, the beauty conversation is rapidly shifting to digital networks. Blogs have been popular for more than a decade, but the rise of platforms like Pampadour and Pinterest have made it very easy for women to converse about beauty with pictures and graphics in addition to words.

Once you upload a product image, Pampadour gives you several options

Pampadour3

An example of a Pampadour’s user profile page

Pampadour’s co-founder, Jennifer Hakimian, says, “What has surprised me the most is the willingness of women to converse about beauty.” Currently anyone can upload pictures and initiate discussions, but you do need to request an invite to participate. Thumbnails that look like oversized postage stamps are what you see when you log in; you have the flexibility to create your own profile, add products, contribute product notes, “Pamp” a product too (which means to share), “Adour” a product that has been pamped, and more. Popular discussions and pictures will show up in your Pampadour feed.

Users can search for a particular product and best of all, can respond to discussions or pleas for help (e.g.”In major need of a moisturizing concealer for under-eye circles. HELP!”) and share your specific recommendations. All products that are featured, tagged or shared on Pampadour are linked to retailers’ websites and can be directly purchased by users, bridging the gap between media and sales.

Like Pinterest, which allows you to collate images from other sites, Pampadour offers similar options, using the clip.it feature. You can add any images you find (from say, Sephora and other sites) to your profile, tag it, add your own notes, and share it (Pamp it) with others.

These specific and versatile options makes this beauty social sharing platform extremely unique.

Hakimian says that the database is rich, with over 40,000 products for women to search from, tag, and compare. “We’re like a TripAdvisor for beauty; women want to know if that $60 cream is really worth it,” she adds. The networking platform connects all those involved in the beauty industry, from bloggers to makeup artists and dermatologists.  It’s also fun to spot trends on such social sharing sites. “Nail art is huge right now,” says Hakimian, who has noticed a lot of bloggers and makeup artists sharing pictures of the latest nail craze. “People also love their BB Creams.”

Other sites that women flock to and converse include Sephora’s BeautyTalk, which is essentially an updated version of the old internet group concept.  . Bloom.com, started by Julie Mahloch, allows you to create lookbooks and “get the look” by tagging products that helped create the look. Pampadour also allows you to upload photos and then click on areas of the photo (e.g. your eyes) and tag a product so you can see what the precise shade is. Beauty is getting increasingly more graphic-rich.

Bloom

Bloom.com allows you to tag photos and create Lookbooks

In a way, these social sharing sites help women to do what they’ve always done well: word of mouth endorsement. One of the reasons behind MakeupAlley.com‘s significant popularity is the honest opinions that it solicits from consumers all over the world, and an objective rating system.

If you are in the beauty biz or ust an urban anthropologist, these social sharing sites are fantastic for consumer research and for those who want a glimpse of what women and men are up to without holding focus groups. And since we all love sharing beauty finds with friends, aren’t you glad that there are millions of friends waiting to share their opinion with you?

Your friend circle just got bigger.

 

 

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