Get Ready for No Shave November!

“One brand you can learn a lesson or two (hundred) from about Instagram is Beardbrand” – Elias Jabbe, an ecommerce blogger. (See full article here.)

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Beardbrand Logo

Although I can never grow a beard and typically do not even find beards attractive, the company Beardbrand is doing an incredible job using social media, particularly Instagram, to change society’s perception of beards. Beardbrand sells products in the form of soap, combs, and oils to help men care for their beards. The company’s founders were on Shark Tank, but left without a deal, leading to their need to find another means to grow their business. They decided to turn to social media, with very little previous social media marketing experience. Because this company targets such a niche market, Beardbrand faced a unique challenge in growing its customer base: Encouraging people beards are in style.

eric

Eric Bandholz, Founder of Beardbrand

Beardbrand uses various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Reddit. They even have their own blog with a full-time editor called Urban Beardsman, which leaves them with newly refreshed content almost daily. Beardbrand has run various beard oil giveaways on all of these platforms, usually during no shave November. They conduct their giveaways through a third party in order to streamline the process, to save time, and to receive a full analysis of the traffic during the campaign. The company they use for this process is called Gleam. This campaign drastically increased the traffic to all of their social media platforms; however, it made clear the time and resources needed to manage all of these platforms. As a result, Beardbrand decided to narrow their focus to what they are best at: Instagram.

But first,

Why didn’t the other major platforms like Twitter and Facebook work?

Looking at their twitter handle @thebeardbrand, it has under 8,000 followers, almost as many as Bandholz’, the founder’s, personal account: @bandholz. They rarely follow people back and they take days to answer back their customers. The ability to create a community on Twitter can be difficult, especially with such little engagement. In addition, since the idea behind Beardbrand is style based, pictures are very important to spreading this lifestyle brand and Twitter is simply not the best platform for sharing photos.

CaptureIn comparison, Facebook is slightly better than Twitter, but still not the best platform for Beardbrand. First of all, the Founder is simply not passionate about Facebook, resulting in decreased excitement and creativity on this platform. Their Facebook page has over 62,000 likes, but the company has recognized that most of their posts are only reaching about 2% of these users. They have tried to pay to boost posts on Facebook to turn more of these “likes” into actual paying customers, but said in a recent interview that putting this money towards Google AdWords could be more effective.

Instagram is #1

CaptureBeardbrand’s instagram has over 80,000 followers, with over 1,000 likes on each photo they post. They have a Picture of the Day challenge which builds community and encourages people to engage with the brand. They rarely post pictures of the products they sell because they recognize these photos contribute less to the community. To a lesser extent, their Instagram also advertises their website to lead users to their infographics and advertises their blog to lead users to their new content such as tutorials and articles. Instagram is also perfect for users who want to scroll through photos quickly to see the different types of styles available to them before they decide to grow out or style their beard. Ultimately, Instagram’s photo-focused platform is exactly what Beardbrand needs to change society’s perspectives on beards, and it is really helping their business! The community enables them to do less of their own marketing as they can rely on other users to respond to questions or supply content. Most importantly, the founders are passionate about this platform and love the community they have created surrounding their brand!

“We’re not at the start of a beard fad, we’re at the end of shaving fad” – Eric Bandholz, Founder of BeardBrand. (See full article here.)

So boys, if you are looking for some beard advice for No Shave November, check out Beardbrand on Instagram @beardbrand. You won’t be disappointed!

13 comments

  1. Great post! Beardbrand is the perfect example of why companies need to figure out which social media platform works best for them. I know we talk about facebook and twitter all the time in class but it is obvious that those platforms, while they are extremely popular, are not right choice for everyone. Beardbrand’s ability to diagnose which social media marketing efforts were yielding the best results. Scrolling through their Instagram, I would say they made the right choice.

  2. Interesting post! It’s unique to see a brand that’s more successful on Instagram than Facebook/Twitter, since it seems that the reverse is typically true. I understand the reasoning for lack of Twitter engagement (Twitter simply isn’t the best photo-sharing app), but do you think the brand could be more successful on Facebook if the company put as much effort into Facebook as it does for Instagram? Part of me thinks the answer is no, simply because the number of brands on Facebook is so much higher than the number of brands on Instagram. It seems that Beardbrand has found a way to shine on a platform that hasn’t been well-harnessed by many marketers, which makes the company stand out. On Facebook, there may be too much noise to cut through.

  3. Great post Nicole! This is a really interesting case study of a niche brand successfully using social media. When people used to think of social media, they immediately went to Facebook and Twitter, but now it seems that companies are starting to realize that the social media world doesn’t end there. Twitter and Facebook are such huge platforms with so many users, and it’s easy to think that more users means more opportunities. But the scale of these platforms might mean the opposite because it’s harder for a small brand to stand out. Instagram is truly the best platform right now for engaging through photosharing, which Beardbrand has clearly capitalized on. I also thought it was interesting that you pointed out that the photos aren’t centered on the products, but instead are emphasizing the people and the lifestyle that Beardbrand represents. Sharing submissions from followers is also a great way to foster engagement so that it’s not just the company sponsoring its own posts, which may seem less authentic than a post from another user. Great job!

  4. I really enjoyed this post Nicole! Beardbrand is indeed doing awesome stuff on Instagram, but I don’t think they need to change how the beard is perceived; facial hair is considered pretty trendy right now. That said, it’s still a niche community, and playing to that audience through Instagram was certainly a deft move.

    I agree with Erin with regards to improving their Facebook profile. I am reminded of another “beard market” company, Harry’s, which provides a subscription razor service. It’s performing very well across platforms, particularly on Facebook with its 100,000 fans. Like BeardBrand, Harry’s is a cool, fashionable brand that courts a very similar demographic. Perhaps Beardbrand can take a page from their book in an effort to reach a wider audience on Facebook.

  5. It’s definitely interesting to see a brand like BeardBrand be able to pick themselves up from getting rejected during their time on Shark Tank. I think for this brand, Instagram was their best bet as a platform. Tumblr might’ve been ideal as well. That being said, these two social media sites provide space for niche start ups like this one to truly grow. You did some really great research on this! Definitely would not have even heard about this company without you bringing it here.

  6. As a bearded man, I love this blog post. Everyone always asks me if I’m going to do No Shave November, I always opt out because my beard would get out of control. I’m going to follow @beardbrand on Instagram and see if they have ideas that I like.
    I think its great how a company recognized that they would do better focusing on one social media platform. Instead of spreading themsleves thin, they focused on what works and that is their Instagram with 80,000 followers. @beardbrand is more style based, and so they use the more visually focused platform, Instagram. I don’t see this much; usually you see business try to jump on every type of social media, whereas Beardbrand found its niche. Great implementation of strategy by a smaller growing business!

  7. I can only say I did No Shave November once, and that was probably enough for me. However, it is great to see that a company is specializing the use of their social media to what works best for them. I feel like a lot of companies just post all across the different social media platforms without trying to tailor their approach to what will be the best way to obtain customers. Concentrating on the customer base they have is better than attempting to broaden that customer base through mass social media posting. Hopefully companies will slowly discover that they don’t have to have a presence on every single platform!

  8. Great post! I was not aware of BreadBrand, but it is interesting to read about a brand that is successfully targeting a Niche market through social. I have had a lot of friends participate in No Shave November, so it would be smart for this brand to attempt to capitalize on the popular annual trend. I know that Dollar Shave club has a growing online presence — it will be interesting to see how traditional shave companies respond to these growing competitors.

  9. No shave November. It has become almost expected that people either understand what this trend is or actively participate. I think it is interesting how BeardBrand runs in such a specific, niche market and can do so well. This is an extremely specific product, but such a large target audience is in need of it! I think it is understandable that many small brands like this need to really gauge which social media outlets to use. If you can create a strong following on one platform it is easier to then shift followers over after they are pleased with the content. I think BeardBrands has something great going, especially if they can successfully execute with regard to social media.

  10. “Although I can never grow a beard and typically do not even find beards attractive” You officially just failed the class. (Haha). Seriously, one of my first guest speakers in #IS6621 was a local social media guy who happened to be in charge of promoting Movember. It’s interesting to have followed its evolution through the past several years.

  11. This is a great analysis of a brand who’s had success online. I find it a little surprising that none of the sharks gave Bandholz a deal. The brand is very new age and the products seem to be very good and niche. Some people will always have beards whether it’s in style or not. A brand built around beard grooming is an excellent idea. I would think that the brand would do very well internationally. My home country of South Africa is acclaimed to have the most beards (Quora). Leveraging Instagram makes a world of sense because the brand aesthetic lends it self well to the photographic nuances of Instagram.

  12. @johndentinger touched on this and it’s certainly interesting how companies like Gillette and Schick are dealing with both the beard trend and companies like Dollar Shave Club, though I’m sure being part of P&G and Energizer, respectively, helps! Having had a beard for several years now, I still get a lot of excited “ooh is that for Movember??” questions every fall. Facial hair is definitely in style at the moment, lead primarily by professional athletes and hipsters. The irony typically lies in that probably more than half of Allston’s bearded, watch-cap-wearing, flannel-sporting Paul Bunyans probably can’t change a flat tire. That said, beard soaps and oils? I always thought that if you just had to apply something to your beard it would be bacon grease or motor oil.

  13. Nice post. I like how you investigated the need to apply social media platforms which will optimize a brands mission and outreach. Movember is a perfect example as Men grow their mustaches to raise funds for cancer awareness, and do so by engaging with an online audience.

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