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Andy’s Answers: How Avon gave its reps the right social media tools

Social media loves beauty brands, and Avon is no exception. But with more than 6 million representatives in 70 markets speaking more than 40 languages and selling five lipsticks per second, the company had inconsistency issues to work out — as well as some huge opportunities. According to Avon Senior Manager of Social Media Leigh Acton and Digital Project Leader Robert Jacobs, the brand needed to give representatives the right social media tools to do what they’ve been doing for more than 100 years: be a local advocate for their brand.

Because Avon has always been about letting representatives speak for the brand, it wanted to create a branded social media tool that could be tailored to representatives’ style. The company made an applications page for representatives to personalize and share widgets on their own Facebook pages, and Avon made it easy for them to translate and localize content based on which widgets fit their style.

Here are some key points from their presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference in New York.

  • Advocacy is powerful. More people were clicking on the widgets and calls to action shared by representatives than Avon’s traditional online advertising. Avon didn’t force representatives to use these tools; it just made them easy to access and customize to their interests.
  • Keep it simple and fun. Acton and Jacobs explain that their Facebook apps worked best when they were used one at a time and incorporated some kind of fun engagement. They got creative with letting fans virtually try on makeup and take quizzes to see which hair product fit their needs.
  • Give them some guidance. While the brand let representatives take the lead on using these branded tools, Acton and Jacobs gave them tips for using the widgets and answered questions at their help desk. It’s not enough to give your advocates the right tools — you also have to make sure they know how to use them.

You can watch Acton and Jacobs’ presentation below. Their slides are available.

If you like this case study, see more great ones like it live at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference Feb. 13 in Dallas.