PARIS: L'Oréal, the beauty group, believes social media has an increasingly vital role to play in its marketing strategy, reflecting the conversational element at the heart of digital communications.

Georges-Edouard Dias, SVP, digital business, at L'Oréal, told Marketing Week: "Things don't stop when customers purchase a product, which is the way we behaved before. Now, purchasing is the point when you can start to have a conversation.

"So we believe in social media because the most important phase for digital marketing comes after someone has purchased and experienced your product."

More broadly, Dias suggested the beauty industry has an intrinsically socially-driven component which should enable L'Oréal to translate its core principles into the new media space.

"People use beauty products to not only please themselves when they look in the mirror, but it affects how they present themselves to others, and the way they are recognised in the eyes of others is very important," he said.

When assessing the "social estate" of brands and campaigns, marketers must consider both the product and the nuances observable in social media usage in different countries, according to Dias.

As an example, Kiehls cosmetics were developed by a pharmacist in New York's East Village in 1851 for people living nearby. It has retained this positioning by using localised ads on Facebook Places and Foursquare, and is L'Oréal's fastest-growing brand.

"Each brand should find its path in the digital world. Each has its own ways and there are countries that are very social. So, for example, in Italy, the people are very socially active. In Germany, they are less so," Dias said.

Another benefit provided by social media is real-time consumer insight. Of the 250,000 posts relevant to L'Oréal's brands uploaded in the US alone every day, 20,000 provide useful nuggets of information.

While the company uses local monitoring firms in nations like China where the language and culture are very distinct, it is also attempting to utilise tools allowing for international comparisons.

"We want to have a consistent vision at the global level," said Dias. Among the key metrics utilised here are share of voice and buzz, and overall search performance.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff