Sephora is a French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products.
"The platform allows them to compare a variety of metrics such as follower growth and engagement rate, and also quickly see their competitors’ best-performing posts. This information also helps them to adapt the global company strategy to the specificities of their market as they can see what the local trends are. "
Social media and particularly Instagram, are key to Sephora's global strategy. Creating seamless content is crucial
Managing the social media strategy for a retail brand that has over 15M followers on Instagram must be overwhelming, to put it mildly. We're talking about a leading brand in a very competitive market, added to the fact that the strategy needs to be aligned across 17 countries, plus 35 people in local teams to manage daily: the person in charge of all of this definitely has a challenge on their hands. That is the job of Olivier Fraisse, Head of Social Media EMEA, at Sephora.
At Sephora, social media and Instagram in particular, are key components of the global marketing strategy. That is why they wanted to build a strong team to deliver Sephora’s message and tone-of-voice across all the different countries they are established in. Unlike many other brands in their field who have a unique and global Instagram account, Sephora has a dedicated Instagram account for each region. This enables them to slightly adapt their strategy with the specificity of each market audience. However, the tone-of-voice and values have to be aligned everywhere. This is why the team of three managed by Olivier has the duty of monitoring the global strategy, content and results of the 17 local teams across Europe.
Managing so many regions requires a high level of organisation, Oliver says. “We noticed that if you want a good level of engagement you need to talk to the audience in their own language. That is why it is important for us at Sephora, to have all the assets translated and/or subtitled in the country’s language. That requires a huge level of work, but we know it is necessary to create a local community around the brand.”
In order for the team in each region to work in the same way, Olivier doesn’t only provide his local teams with a strategy and content, but also with a set of tools to monitor their performance, and Iconosquare is part of that set. Thanks to the streamlined strategy, and because everything is measured thanks to Iconosquare, Sephora knows that certain types of products and content are more engaging depending on the country. A typical example is fragrance: a very complicated product-type to market on social media, Olivier says. “We see a higher engagement rate in the Balkans region for fragrance posts, for the same content published as elsewhere. It is important to understand each country's cultural differences and Iconosquare’s granularity of metrics helps us in this regard.” Sephora’s team can quickly identify how their different types of content are performing and quickly react to adapt the strategy, according to the global guidelines elaborated by the brand.
Sephora sets yearly goals for each local social media team in order to compare performance in the different markets. To monitor the progress of their social media presence locally, they measure their results on a monthly basis, based on three main KPIs: reach, engagement and follower growth. “We also dig deeper into the stats for each country, but those three indicators allow us to compare the countries all together. Some stats can’t really be compared because the performance depends on too many variables and specificities attached to each market.”
In order to maintain this monthly reporting and monitoring exercise, the local teams have access to Iconosquare and are asked to forward the results to Olivier’s team. “The great thing with Iconosquare compared to other tools is that we can see a great level of adoption within our local teams. Reporting is not the most exciting mission a social media manager deals with, but because Iconosquare is very simple to use and the interface is very neat, the people in local teams are really keen on using it.”
One other big topic for a company with such a large team to manage, and several tools to master across teams, is training. Iconosquare is a self-explanatory platform, so integrating new people in the team is facilitated. “When we onboard a new social media manager, we don’t need to organise time-consuming training sessions. The new hire can be easily on-boarded by his colleague and start to use the platform pretty quickly.”
In a more global perspective as a retailer, Sephora works on partnerships with brands to promote their products and provide exclusive content. Those campaigns are a big axis of the marketing work for Sephora on social media, as they allow them to always offer unique content to their audience. In this respect, Iconosquare is a real value-add, because teams can provide performance metrics to their partners, which facilitates the understanding of the campaign performance, good or bad. “We can offer to our partners a set of results and show them how their campaign with us has performed compared to previous campaigns we’ve done together or compared to other brand campaigns. We therefore can give recommendations for future campaigns on specific topics that are working best, such as the content, tone-of-voice or format.”
With a posting frequency of 4 posts per day, per country, Sephora’s EMEA social media team logs onto Iconosquare every day to monitor the results of the teams locally. “It takes us one hour a day with Iconosquare to check those 68 post metrics, where without the tool we would spend at least 4x that”, Olivier explains. “Having the ability to manage our 17 social profiles on the same interface with a global dashboard definitely enhances our productivity, meaning we can optimize our work time.
The retail industry can be very specific in each EMEA country, so the local teams need to track their local competitors. They do this on Iconosquare. The platform allows them to compare a variety of metrics such as follower growth and engagement rate, and also quickly see their competitors’ best-performing posts. This information also helps them to adapt the global company strategy to the specificities of their market as they can see what the local trends are.
Below is one of Sephora's competitor benchmarks. Sephora's Spanish account is compared on this image with the industry averages.