Rising Star: the mind-bending social performance of Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Singer-songwriter, fashion designer, makeup artist and now cosmetics phenom Jeffree Star has been posting some of the most astounding social performance numbers ever tracked by eBench anywhere.

In the past 17 days alone, the newly-minted cosmetics brand entrepreneur added 133,000 new subscribers on YouTube, almost 3x as much as all L’Oreal brands combined.  (Most brands we track struggle to reach 20,000 total YouTube subscribers). In the past month, it’s scored 3x more Twitter @mentions than L’Oreal, added 210k new Instagram followers and has been one of the very rare beauty brands to see its average Instagram engagement rate grow.

What makes the brand stand apart, beyond the sheer numbers, is the social energy it exudes in every bit of content it publishes. At eBench we often talk about the importance for a brand to display Social Empathy: can it get under its consumers’ skin and talk about the #topics they crave in a way that resonates with them at the very moment they crave it most?

The very few beauty brands that do (think Lush, Bath & Body Works) are able to sustain very high levels of organic engagement over time and generate the kind of community-wide excitement that the Red Bulls of this world achieved many years ago IRL. 👐

A quick scroll through Jeffree Star’s Twitter feed brings to life What Social Media Should Look & Feel Like:

Sure, most brands don’t have the luxury of starting off as a distinctively transgressive personality, but most brands also don’t try very hard to develop their own, instantly recognisable voice in a way that makes target consumers smile, nod, like and follow–at the risk of turning off everyone else.

The word “Authentic” comes up in more brand/campaign briefs than any other adjective, and yet good intentions generally lose out to risk aversion.  Just take a look at the list of top performing hashtags for the brand’s Instagram account to get a sense for what bold looks like (many of the below are product names) and what consumers engage with most on this highly successful feed:

No need to pander about “authenticity” when 2 of your most successful hashtags are #weirdo and #druglord

Even more revealing–and more fun–is the brand’s use of emojis, whose results follow eBench guidelines: most engaging emojis are at the intersection of on-brand, content relevant and original…

…while unoriginal emojis fail to overcome the clutter:

Finally a brief look at the brand’s top 20 posts shows a masterful, seemingly intuitive command of the visual and semiotic do’s and don’ts that most brands generally need to learn. 🌀

Contact us for a preview teaser copy of our upcoming beauty report featuring Jeffree Star and two dozen other leading beauty brands. matthew.burns@ebench.com

Top 20 posts for @JeffreeStarCosmetics since Feb 2016