Content is more than just a way for brands to communicate with potential customers. It allows brands to express themselves in ways unlike ever before. During 2020, brands had to adapt, regroup and pivot to a new world where everything was unprecedented.

Digital content was reapproached due to limitations from COVID and brands had to get innovative in order to continue to create engaging content with dispersed teams. Beauty brands specifically were faced with the challenge of launching and selling products without consumers being able to see or test them in stores.

Despite these limitations and restrictions, beauty brands doubled down on creativity and content, using social media to stay connected with loyal customers. Brands like COVERGIRL, Fenty, and Glossier leveraged Instagram Live to continue to stay relevant and engage with fans at home. Because there are no filters, scripts, or editing, Instagram Live is a truly unique platform. Here are some best-in-class ways brands can use live video to connect and create content.

Let influencers take the reigns

Instagram Live is not the place to push overt sales messages at consumers. Instead, it’s an opportunity to have an open conversation about your brand, products, and tips for using them. Brands like COVERGIRL have been incredibly successful in hosting weekly ‘Lunch N Learn’ sessions with influencers like Ash K Holm and Katie Jane Hughes, creating tutorials and looks showcasing new products.

The best influencer takeovers feature hosts who know each other IRL, so it becomes a conversation between friends versus a hard-sell on new makeup. Pick influencers that resonate with your consumers and also have engaging personalities that will entertain the audience and make them want to share the video with their friends.

Give loyal consumers more access

Dedicated fans of brands anxiously await the launches of new products, purchasing new makeup lines as soon as they drop, dying to somehow get their hands on the PR packages that their favorite influencers, beauty bloggers, and reporters receive. Instagram Live is a great tool to give them a taste of that elite access and a peek behind the curtain at a launch event. More and more brands are hosting live-streamed launches that mimic the PR events that typically were only open to retailers, press, and influencers.

It Cosmetics, for example, launched its new foundation this way, bringing in doctors and brand ambassadors for a live event that was both smart and safe. Even when in-person meetings are readily available again, live streaming even a small part of a launch event brings fans into the fold and keeps them excited and loyal for years to come.

Teach something new

Another great benefit is that Instagram Live videos can be reposted to IGTV. As a brand, repurposing content is the smartest way to extend the life of a content-based initiative. You’re essentially making your content work harder for you and that benefits everyone. This is especially helpful for Live tutorials that fans might want to go back and watch a few times so they can really nail that winged eyeliner or master an at-home manicure.

Olive & June, for example, launched a ‘Mani Bootcamp’ series where its founder, Sarah Gibson Tuttle, would broadcast live from the brand’s Instagram page and offer tutorials. Each week featured a new subject like ‘mani basics’, nail art, and ‘let’s get creative’. The brand was even able to quickly create a new product bundle specifically for Mani Bootcamp, which included its nail polishes and nail care tools so that the viewer could follow along and use the same products.

Go beyond beauty

Instagram Live helps foster a sense of community, bringing brands and consumers together to interact in a new way, by sharing beauty tips and products while also hosting valuable conversations about topics outside of the traditional beauty world.

Beautyblender is a great example of a brand that used live streaming to go beyond beauty. As a part of its #BBHomeTogether programming, the brand offered live stream workout classes, cooking and cocktail demonstrations, meditations, and, of course, beauty-related tutorials.

Can you partner with other brands in other categories, like fashion, wellness, F&B, and more, that have a similar audience? Do you have someone on staff who’s certified to teach yoga or is passionate about cooking? This is an opportunity to give your consumers something fun, new, and engaging while also attracting new consumers looking to join your community.

2020 proved that creativity and strong content can be created even in the most uncertain of times. Content innovation will continue to grow throughout 2021—making flexibility and agility essential for brands that want to lead the charge.

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