When Rachel Weiss, vp/digital strategy and marketing at L’Oréal, told Business Insider's Social Media ROI Conference that she stopped using Pinterest because "I got bored," we knew we had to grab her for a Q&A.
Pinterest is the new darling of social media, and advertisers are already flocking to it because of its huge female user base. Pinterest would be a natural for L'Oreal, surely?
Here's what Weiss told us about Pinterest — and Foursquare and Facebook — when she sat down with us recently to talk in more detail about her company's social media strategy. (The interview was edited lightly for length and clarity.)
BI: What is L'Oreal's social media strategy, what kind of channels do you use, what resources do you put into it?
RW: We are a big company with very many brands so each brand within L'Oreal acts as it's own individual company with its own strategy. So for example, Kiehl's is a brand who is trying to create the experience whether you are on social, or whether you're in the store, or whether you are shopping on the site online, it's the same.
And other brands … we look at L'Oreal everything in terms of the path of purchase and it's about advocacy, awareness, conversion. The whole point for us with our social strategy is you can touch a customer at any point within the customer's decision journey. For L'Oreal's strategy it's not a straight line anymore, it's across the board. You can be in a store and then search for a product and watch a how-to video on your phone and that can increase your purchase intent. We're not looking at the product-centric strategy which we used to at L'Oreal. It can happen at many different touch points across different channels and different places, so our strategy is to make sure that our brands are showing up and that they know what our brands are telling their story and providing what the customers want from that brand at that particular touch point.
BI: Do you put more resources into Facebook or Twitter or Instagram?
RW: In terms of resources, I think that there is experimentation going on across all different channels. We have some brands that are now focusing on playing around with Instagram, or Tumblr, or even Pinterest. Most of our resources to this day, because they still have the most scale, are on Facebook.
BI: You said on the panel that you got bored with Pinterest. Is L'Oreal active on Pinterest?
RW: We are waiting to see what Pinterest comes out as a platform for brands. We're experimenting. Pinterest for me is very, very new and I'm waiting to see what it looks like. I was making so many boards on Pinterest and then I just stopped and went back to Facebook.
BI: Do you know that Pinterest is trying to develop a platform for brands?
RW: We are waiting for that, yes.
BI: Are you waiting for that because they told you they were working on it or because you just think they are going to do it?
RW: No, I think they have to do it. We spoke to Pinterest during the Pinterest craze, in like March. And they had like 12 people working there. They are working on their products right now. They are getting ready to move into brand play. Even like Foursquare is really interesting. Foursquare is a platform we've been waiting for as advertisers to help us. Everything we have done has been through the entrepreneurial spirit of people within our brands, not from ideas coming from foursquare.
BI: You just told our panel you did not think Foursquare was ready for advertisers yet. What do you mean by that?
RW: They don't provide a service that is meaningful for advertisers to scale. They haven't come to us with ideas. For example, we tried to do a test with Foursquare with local salons because we don't our own our salons, so professional products is a huge part of our L'Oreal business. And we wanted to sign up salons to give offers to clients empowered by the big brother-little brother mindset. And Foursquare doesn't make it easy for us to empower our local businesses. They're too small, it's fact.
BI: One of the problems Foursquare has, of course, is that the Facebook check-in is really pretty powerful. It's very similar. So why would you bother with Foursquare when you've got Facebook check-in?
RW: We were very excited about Facebook places and Facebook check-in. As advertisers from L'Oreal, we haven't seen what programs can look like for us to actually optimize on that behavior. We are there. We're not seeing those platforms sell to us in a way that's meaningful.
BI: Who does have platforms who will sell to you in a meaningful way?
RW: Facebook definitely is a partner we have seen success with. Not from a commerce perspective, but Facebook is an area that we continue to experiment and grow. Google, of course, is a preferred partner for us.
JE: What do you do with Google?
BI: Have you used Google+ yet?
RW: We actually have not used Google+ from a brand stand point. We have not seen the success of it. Again, going back to resources, we don't have the social resources from a human perspective to be able to manage such a breadth of channels. I do believe there is a nuance for how you push content out on these different channels, but we've been spending a lot of time with Facebook over the last five years. And Twitter for me is still a channel of innovation. I think that Twitter is not going away. We have some brands like Maybelline who are focusing time on Twitter and what does that look like for the brands.
BI: Do people want Twitter engagement with beauty brands?
RW: Yes! People love to talk about our spokesmodels and it's really a channel for breaking news and awareness. We have events. We have spokespeople and bloggers who talk about our brands. People love to talk about beauty. They love to talk about what lipstick they're wearing, what lipstick was Sofia Vergara wearing from the Emmys. Beauty is always part of the social conversation. Women are always interested in what other women are wearing, doing, beauty tips. Look on YouTube. How-to videos are a huge part of our market. Video content for us is something we've been optimizing and expanding. We just hired a senior VP of content…for video across all of our channels.