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Online Chic: How Social Media is Taking the Beauty Industry to the Next Level

By Shayna Wiwierski

“Hello my lovelies, how are you?  It’s Leyla here,” says Leyla Naghizada, a 26-year-old Toronto resident, before she goes on to show the world how to create a Kim Kardashian-inspired high ponytail using hair extensions.  Naghizada, along with her sister, Mimi Ikonn, own a successful hair extension business and exclusively market their product online using social media.

Websites like Facebook and Twitter help you stay connected to your friends and family, but sites like YouTube can connect you to the world.  Look at Justin Bieber, the 17-year-old from Stratford, Ontario who went from creating YouTube videos filmed by his mom to international pop sensation loved by teens the world over.  And although Bieber is an extraordinary example of what the magic of the Internet can do, beauty lovers around the world are opening their laptops, pressing ‘record’ on their camcorders, and telling millions of people around the world their favourite products, hairstyles, and makeup looks – and how to create them.

Naghizada and Ikonn are one of them.  They started their channel, LuxyHair, named after their hair extension business, Luxy Hair Extensions, on April 18, 2010.  The channel features hair-care tips, easy hair tutorials, and hair extension information.  Their other channel, EverythingLuxy, is dedicated to everything from makeup tutorials to clothing hauls (videos that show off recent purchases) to lifestyle tips and more.  Today they have close to 52,000 subscribers and over four million total upload views (people who watch their videos), collectively, between their two channels.

The channels, as well as other social media outlets, are their main form of advertising for their business.

“YouTube has played an enormous part in helping us build a solid brand to which customers can put faces.  I think having that personal touch is crucial in today’s marketplace if you want to stand out from the crowd,” says Naghizada in an email.  “It might come as a total shock to some, but we really have not used any form of traditional advertising methods at all, to this day, to market and advertise our brand.  YouTube has been our primary outlet to market our extensions, which has proven to be extremely useful and successful.”

Professional makeup artist Eman also uses YouTube to utilize her personal brand.  Eman’s channel, MakeupByEman, is rated the 98th all-time most subscribed channel in Canada according to YouTube statistics.  The Vancouverite, who does freelance makeup in print for magazines, advertising campaigns, and weddings, says that the feedback she has gotten from viewers has been amazing.

“The response has been great.  It started off small and it continually keeps growing.  The feedback has been so positive; I feel I’m helping people and they are learning.”

Eman says that YouTube and social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, are important tools to utilize, especially for the beauty industry.

“It’s helped in several ways, building my brand and advertising and it’s a great way to get your name out there.  I’ve gotten lots of clients from it and I also get products sent to me from vendors to try and review.  It’s also a way to practice your craft and a good way to enhance your skills,” she says, adding that an online presence can help you stand out from the rest of the crowd. “Not a lot of people in the beauty industry do it, yet it’s super important.  For me personally, it is one of the things that’s made me stand out in Vancouver, where we have a large number of makeup artists in the industry. I’m on Twitter, YouTube, and I have a Facebook page; any social media, I’m on it.  It’s brought me clients and networking with brides and photographers, and it’s totally free, so why wouldn’t you want to do it?”

 

Thinking of dusting off the old camcorder and setting up your own channel?  Well, there are a few things you need to know before getting started.

Equipment

If you want to show off how to do the perfect smoky eye or how to do a high-fashion bun, that video camera from the late 1990s may not do the trick.  Invest in a high-definition camera, like the Canon T2i, or if you want to keep your budget to a minimum, you can always use the video setting on your digital camera.  Some webcams can pump out high quality video, as well.  You’ll also need some great lighting, or you can also set up in front of an open window and use natural lighting.  Finally, you will need a computer and some editing software.  Most computers come with their own form of software, like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

Other Stuff You’ll Need

Confidence!  Naghizada says that you need to be comfortable in your own skin before going in front of the camera.  You’ll also need something about which you are passionate: “that passion comes through in your videos and definitely attracts more viewers to your videos.  And most importantly, you need to be genuine and be yourself,” she says.

How Long Does it Take to Post a Video?

Everyone is different and it also depends on what you are doing in the video.  Naghizada says that the process of getting ready (shower, hair, makeup, outfit, etc.), setting up, filming, editing, and posting a video can take anywhere from four to six hours.  Eman, on the other hand, says it can take her about an hour.  Everyone is different.

How Do I get Subscribers and Viewers?

This can take some work.  The first thing you need to do is go on to YouTube and create an account; it’s free and simple to do.  Next, upload some videos and make sure that you tag your videos with the correct keywords.  (“Tagging” is the process of creating words that can help people find your videos.  For example, if you are uploading a video about how to create the perfect up-do you could tag your video as “up-do, bridal, hair, spring, wedding, prom” – anything that your video could be associated with, so when people search for a video using one of your keywords they can find it.)  Next, go watch some other videos, comment on them, and subscribe to other people’s channels; put your name out there.  You can also link your YouTube channel to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as to your website.

Also, be consistent; upload a video every few days; the more videos you have, the more people could potentially subscribe to your channel (because there is lots of video feed to watch and there is a new video each week).  You could also do contests for subscribers; this helps get your numbers up, as well.

What Should I Do a Video About?

This is totally up to you!  If you are into makeup, then do a makeup tutorial. If you are a hairstylist, then do a hairstyle.  But remember: the people who are watching your videos are looking for something that is interesting and easy to do.  Watch other peoples’ videos and see what they are doing, and if you know an easier way of doing it.  Flip through magazines, watch television, see what the hottest trends are and recreate them.  You can also do “review” videos, “haul” videos, “outfit of the day” videos, etc.  Have fun with your channel, but remember to be consistent; if your channel is a beauty one, don’t do beauty one week and cars the next. Pick a theme and stick to it.

Can I Make Money Doing This?

Yes, you can!  If you are getting lots of views, then you can apply to become a YouTube Partner where among other things, you can take part in revenue sharing (visit www.youtube.com/partners for more information).  If you have a lot of subscribers and upload views, then you could potentially attract attention from companies who could pay you to feature a product in your videos.  You can also get tons of products sent to you for review.  Lots of gurus out there consider YouTube their full-time job, and there are some extraordinary cases of everyday girls who have created videos and later become online celebrities in their own right.

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