Facts: Over 190 bloggers with a reach of over two million. Over 60,000 actively engaged consumers. Over 400 consumer ambassadors. These are just a few of the impressive statistics for the online beauty community, BeautyStat. Founder and CEO Ron Robinson was previously a cosmetic dentist with over 20 years experience in developing beauty products for brands such as Estee Lauder and Avon. In 2009, Robinson launched BeautyStat and it has quickly grown into a popular Web community where women discover new products, share opinions and get product and industry insight from experts. Robinson spoke with rolling out about avoiding conflicts of interest, how social media has changed the beauty industry and ensuring that his site adequately services women of color.
I read that most of your revenue comes from beauty brands who are looking to promote and sponsor their products within the BeautyStat community. Doesn’t that create a conflict of interest?
When we partner with a brand on a paid sponsorship or promotion, we add the word “Sponsored” to the title of the promotion. This signals the consumer that we are being paid for this. Plus, we make sure that any brand or product we are sponsoring is of sound quality and will be something that will engage our consumers.
How has the social media climate impacted the beauty industry. Are products now under more scrutiny since negative feedback spreads so quickly?
Consumers are not relying as much on the brand advertisements. Instead, they are using social media to find opinions and read reviews from others who have tried the product they’re interested in. Concurrently, many brands have created strong social media presences to engage with consumers. Brands are now actively monitoring feedback so that they can use the data gathered to make better products.
Many communities of color have often felt marginalized by the beauty industry since they weren’t in the ads and the products weren’t tailored to them. How does your company address this issue?
Our community is very diverse and we make sure that our editorial and sponsored coverage addresses the unique beauty needs of all ethnicities. We recently worked with the brand Queen Helene on their launch of the new Royal Curl hair care line. The line is targeted primarily toward African American women with naturally curly hair. However given our diverse community, we had many women of all ethnicities that were looking to try this line given that the products’ benefits had crossover appeal.