Beauty Editors Step-Up To Reclaim Influence Mojo

The beauty industry is still reeling as it undergoes its make-over. People, institutions and publications long regarded as “influential” are losing their foothold while social media influencers, step into the breach. But now beauty editors are stepping up to reclaim some of that mojo?

The world of social media influencers is never boring. New personalities pop up like mushrooms and social platforms change the rules of the game seemingly every week.

Change happens fast, and like the plains of the Serengeti, the weak fall prey if they can’t adapt fast enough.

One of these huge change agents is the millennial generation.

In many ways, this generation does things differently. Many don’t like print publications, prefering online counterparts because they’re consumable anywhere, anytime via mobile phones.

They don’t like cable TV, prefering Netflix because it enables binge watching. Some don’t like TV shows or movies, prefering YouTube, so they can keep up with their favorite influencers.

Where businesses have a hard time keeping up in this whack-a-mole environment, individuals have it easy.

Publications take time to produce and publish content because of editorial and advertising schedules. Individuals, however, can do so on the fly.

It’s into this breach between publication and social influencer that beauty editors are plugging the gap.

Take Emily Dougherty, editor-in-chief ofNew Beauty, for example. Dougherty’s growing a substantial following on Instagram by leveraging her insider status at New Beauty. It’s a smart move.

New Beauty like any other publication is hampered by its schedule, but Dougherty is able to post content at will, demonstrate her authority and authenticity through shared insights while expanding New Beauty’s footprint.

It’s a win-win.

Source @emilydougherty

And her story is becoming more commonplace as influential industry people build their social media following while keeping their day jobs.

Followers get a kick out of it because people like Dougherty give a unique perspective afforded by their insider status. It’s a nice competitive edge that separates them from other beauty influencers.

It’s also a classic case of empowering an employee on behalf of the company.

In influencer marketing circles, this is more formerly known as employee advocacy. When done well, it’s a very potent strategy enabling brands to propel themselves beyond the “noise” — and do an end-run around their competition.

You see, employee advocacy is all about employees being encouraged and empowered to build their own social following so they can engage with the target market.

As they do so, they connect with customers in a way the company can’t and never could. The strategy enables a company to organically build brand mindshare while driving business growth by leveraging its best assets – those who work there.

Another beauty insider to watch is Sunhee Grinnell of Vanity Fair. She’s building a following on Instagram where she can not only share beauty tips, but aspects of her own life, making her approachable and authentic to her followers.

Grinnell’s content affords an opportunity for Vanity Fair to better connect with consumers to attract new readers.

Source @sunheebeauty

But Grinnell doesn’t limit herself to Instagram, she’s also active on Twitter. This affords her even greater reach and the opportunity to connect with her target market while surreptitiously benefiting Vanity Fair too:

Sarah Brown, a contributing editor at Vogue and Business of Fashion, is another editor reclaiming influence mojo. She’s not only a leader in the publishing arena, but she acts as a brand advisor, too.

Her Instagram feed acts as a platform where she’s able to showcase her knowledge and expertise while spicing-up the mix with her sense of humor.

Source @sbrogue

Like Grinnell, Brown also has a lively Twitter account where she’s able to vent about current events and causes while advocating her beliefs.

Part of what set these industry influencers apart from others is not only nice new products and invites to events, but that they work hard at the office like other young professionals.

Glimpses of the inner workings of the beauty industry keep the social feeds of these professionals lively, intriguing and different.

Another example is Erin Flaherty, the executive editor of beauty at Marie Claireand Harper’s Bazaar. Not only is Flaherty a front-line editor, but she labels herself something of a “beauty anthropologist.”

Source @erinflahertynyc

It makes them more relatable and their content a more rewarding experience to consume than your typical beauty blogger.

As we watch all this transpire, it will be fascinating to watch what larger impact they have on the beauty industry as a whole. Will they create a hybrid situation where they can offer their services for hire while still being high profile editors?

Are the days of all or nothing employment ending?

Look at Linda Wells, the former editor in chief of Allure…Just this week, Revlon announced the launch of a prestige beauty line developed by her called Flesh which will be sold exclusively at Ulta Beauty.

As more and more publishers get hit by layoffs while still being able to access the influencer’s content, I can’t help but wonder where things are going.

No matter what, it’s cool to see people you admire flourish in their careers, rather than become obsolete.


Guest Author
Tom Augenthaler

Tom Augenthaler is an influencer marketing strategist obsessed with helping dynamic companies connect with ideal audiences, sell products and to grow.

In 2009, Tom catapulted out of HP and landed with a pioneering influencer marketing firm. There he charged ahead by creating profitable influencer strategies for Fortune 500 brands as well as smaller businesses.

One groundbreaking campaign he led for HP boosted sales for a lagging product by 84% and made millions of dollars — inside 30 days breaking a number of internal company records. Even the CEO, Mark Hurd, took notice!

Storied brands Tom has worked with include HP, Oxfam, TIME and Adobe for starters.

In the B2B arena, Tom cut his teeth by designing and leading HP Enterprise’s influencer program. This dynamic program involved hosting events all over the word and building out an influencer roster that continues to pay dividends eight years after it was founded.

Tom’s quiver of skills also spans public relations, social media marketing, building online sales funnels, SEO and content marketing.

Tom’s website is

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