In 2014, haircare influencer Joe Andrews (known on YouTube as BluMaan) asked his 250k subscribers what they felt was missing from the hair product market. Using a team of professionals and community volunteers, Andrews began formulating BluMaan’s first haircare product: BluMaan Original Meraki.
This product (and all the ones to follow) was workshopped and developed using community testing. Their Facebook community is 46k strong and highly engaged - BluMaan uses this group as the basis for their product development.
The namesake of their first product, meraki, refers to putting “something of yourself” into what you are doing. At BluMaan, the founder is a collaborator and content creator, and the community also works in product development.
BluMaan has a highly engaged community that directs social media traffic to their Shopify store and offers high-value product feedback. Let’s see how they did it.
Use personal brand to build community around core business
According to Similarweb, social media makes up 36.94% of BluMaan’s overall site traffic - others in the beauty and cosmetics industry only receive an average of 5.53% of their traffic from social networks.
Unsurprisingly, almost all (97.3%) of this social traffic is directed from YouTube.
Since 2014, Andrews’ BluMaan YouTube channel has reached 1.65 million subscribers. Colin Chik, CEO of BluMaan, told Forbes that as a founder and YouTuber, Andrews is a massive asset to their brand, “Joseph is the perfect representation of our brand and has completely shaped the way we do things here at BluMaan.”
Andrews’ videos all revolve around haircare, but rarely plug BluMaan products directly. In almost all of his videos, Blumaan is the first link listed in the video description - regardless of whether or not the store or its products were mentioned in the video.
On February 28th, BluMaan uploaded a video called “5 Normal Things Your Hair Does.” According to Similarweb, organic search traffic to their Shopify site grew 73% in the week following the post. Following a video uploaded on March 8th, organic searches for BluMaan jumped another 57%.
Neither video mentions the BluMaan brand, but the first line of the video description includes a link to their site.
By investing time into monthly posts, Andrews is able to achieve three things at once for BluMaan:
- Bolster their brand identity
- Increase their YouTube following
- Generate traffic for the BluMaan ecommerce site
Create communities solicit product feedback and drive organic traffic
While their YouTube presence is the cornerstone of BluMaan’s marketing strategy, executives at the company have created communities on other channels, notably Facebook, to connect with users and build their business. With 94.48% organic traffic, this strategy has allowed BluMaan access to direct feedback from users while also fostering user-generated buzz for the company.
Like with their first product, all of BluMaan’s haircare lines have been developed and tested by users themselves - specifically their 46k strong private Facebook group. This community was started by Andrews himself as a space for viewers to connect, and for BluMaan to speak directly to their consumers. While the official BluMaan page has 117k followers, the company has leveraged this smaller group of engaged users as a site for product development.
BluMaan uses this Facebook community to crowdsource feedback, and test their products by sending out samples.
“[The Facebook community has] helped us nurture an intimate, real-time back-and-forth with our core audience, truly making our products by and for the community,” Chik says.
This group, in tandem with the YouTube community, strengthens BluMaan’s brand across multiple channels. The group is managed by several volunteer moderators. These BluMaan superfans encourage conversation, manage company-sponsored giveaways and brainstorm new product ideas.
Users in this Facebook group post on average three times a day, helping to drive organic traffic back to their Shopify store. By creating a space for highly engaged community members to congregate, Andrews secured access to a consistent flow of user feedback. Social groups like the BluMaan Facebook community help brands become a part of users lives, not just their shopping habits.
From the beginning, BluMaan has nurtured their community members and has been rewarded with a highly engaged user base. Their strategy is larger than any one social channel, and revolves around generating user feedback through social posting to generate site traffic across multiple platforms.
Do you run a Shopify store? If you’re looking for a way to get actionable insights on your store, join our early-access program for Shopify. We are taking on a limited number of companies to work with—as an early-user, you get first dibs on new features and help determine the product direction.