Sephora is a “beauty-retail concept”, which was founded in France in 1970. Sephora sells a large amount of classic and emerging beauty brands across a broad range of product categories including skincare, color, fragrance, body, smilecare, and haircare, in addition to their own private label. Sephora has been growing its North American, and specifically Canadian presence, significantly in the last 10-15 years.
Sephora.com launched in Canada in 2003, and Sephora is present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ (I do appreciate they have separate Canadian channels for the most part!). Social media can be a great tool for Sephora as make-up is a great visual medium which meshes well with the visual focus of social media.
Sephora is one of the few companies I have seen where you are able to shop directly from their Instagram posts. This is a newer concept for many B2C brands and not one many have embraced yet or have not had the capacity to do so. It does break the experience us rather than have it be seamless as you have to go through a specific link in their profile to shop the posts, but once in there it does simply the process and ensure you get the exact item and colour in the post.
Overall, they are using social media well. They use their channels for promos for special in-store and online events, special online codes and discounts, earlier access to product launches, sneak peeks, exclusive products, etc. This is a good fit with their target audience and would help increase sales and create demand (and many sold out products).
They are using their Facebook and Twitter channels for customer care and are doing a good job of responding quickly and trying to take it offline.
They are also partner smartly with brands they sell (recent example Estee Lauder – EsteeEdit, Tarte) for Instagram takeovers and exclusive product launches (Marc Jacobs exclusive lipstick colour) which are promoted heavily on their channels. They also partner with bloggers for sponsored posts on those blogs.
While they do a great job of marketing and selling the products they offer, it seems they have very much divided the channels they sell on (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) vs. the channels they engage on (YouTube and Pinterest). They excel in certain areas of engagement – reviews on their website are well-done and user-generated and highly regarded, their YouTube channel has great tutorials and they have a “Makeup of the Day” board on Pinterest but I feel they could start extending that to their other channels specifically Instagram and even Facebook. They could profile their members and their makeup looks on these channels and not just on Pinterest. Facebook and Instagram allow for more 2-way interaction and engagement, and even 3-way interaction.
Sephora has a very strong community and a good social presence which is benefiting their business, but they could take their engagement even further.