Celebrity Facialist Joanna Vargas on Listening to Her Audience and Building Online Community

    June 10 2020

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    When it comes to Instagram and Pinterest, what is most important to your brand? 

    Instagram is more important for us at the moment. We find that our followers want to have a conversation about skincare in the comments, and hear from us in videos and stories. Informative videos perform the best, as well as our swipe ups. 

    Also, we get a lot of UGC in stories and like to share those on our account.

    How has PLANOLY been an asset to your Instagram? 

    At the highest value, it allows us to layout our posts and stories to understand the aesthetic of the visuals adjacent to each other before they are posted. And of course, being able to schedule our posts is a huge time saver.  

    What is the biggest learning from PLANOLY? How has that impacted your Instagram? 

    Listening to our audience, finding out what’s best for our channel, and being able to create content that fits within our brand guidelines have all hugely impacted our Instagram. We tend to focus on one specific product a month and coordinate our content strategy with the season or trends in the Instagram world at the moment. This approach has been a great way to keep our engagement strong with our follower base.

    For example, we started promoting my book, “Glow From Within,” around October on both accounts—@JVSkincare and my personal Instagram. We’ve done a weekly contest for fans to win a $500 gift card when they email a copy of their pre-order receipt. We’ve also shared some teasers giving a little insight of what’s inside the book, shared multiple stories where fans can add a countdown to the release date, a sneak peek of how to make some of my DIY recipes, and my best beauty tips for a healthier regimen. 

    In January, we sent out an influencer mailer to help spread the word to their followers. We also hosted two book launch parties in NYC and LA, where guests could experience the book for the first time, shop some of my masks and check out our upcoming launch, Magic Glow Wand. We shared behind the scenes of both events on stories and in-feed posts.

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    You have so many great aspects to your brand (you and your spa, your skincare line, and now your book), but there’s a lot to talk about. How do you strategize when to speak to what?

    There’s definitely a lot to say every day! We have a thorough marketing calendar that defines our messaging weekly, so we plan our posts based on what we are talking about in all of our marketing channels. I like to keep it timely and relevant, especially when it comes to messaging around celebrities and events, so planning and calendaring are key to keeping everything organized and concise. 

    I’ve seen a lot of success by partnering with like-minded brands, retailers, and media pages to do social takeovers. This is a great way for a new group of people to learn about skincare and my brand. For example, I recently did a Q&A with Vital Proteins on their stories to give tips on glowing skin. It increased my follower base and hopefully, their followers learned some skincare tips and tricks!  

    You have an incredible celebrity following. How do you promote that and align it with your products and treatments?

    Thank you! I’m always respectful of my client’s privacy, celebrity or not, and make sure the celebrity approves us using their name before we publish anything. I love it when my celebrity clients are so happy with their experience in my spas and with my products that they want to share it with the world. We typically only repost after a celebrity has posted, or take quotes from press segments where celebrities talk about my spas or products.  

    The algorithm on Instagram can be tricky. How do you tackle that?

    We try to be consistent with posting on schedule, and always engage with our fans as much as possible. We don’t play a numbers game for followers; we genuinely want to talk to our dedicated fan base and let our following and visibility grow organically.

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    What are your best social photography or editing tips for beauty bloggers using their phones? 

    I actually don’t do any editing before posting. I think it’s essential to be transparent in the beauty industry, and I never want to publish anything that’s falsified, especially skin!  

    What are the biggest challenges for your Instagram?  

    The biggest challenge is responding to comments on every single post in a timely fashion to keep up the engagement rate.

    What is your average engagement, and how did you initially grow on Instagram?

    Our engagement rate for the year so far is 6.27%. Last year our overall engagement rate was 4.40%. We have grown on Instagram by really engaging with our followers, posting a steady mix of educational content, beauty tips and quotes, using CTAs in our images, comments, and bio, and using hashtags. Posting aesthetically pleasing photos and videos help to attract our audience and make them want to share with their follower base, which helps us reach a wider audience.


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    Website: Joanna Vargas
    Instagram: jvskincare

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