With the epic rise of YouTube a phenomenon among vloggers has taken root and blossomed. YouTube personalities, specifically those who specialize in make-up tutorials and reviews, have made a huge beauty-mark on the world. Two such personalities, Kandee Johnson and Lauren Luke (Panacea81) have launched careers and infiltrated the mainstream media all without smudging their lipstick. The power these women have stems from their cult-like following on YouTube and the power of Social Proof.
The concept of Social Proof is played out via YouTube like the never-fail classic red lipstick. The concept is based on a phenomenon based on social media. Social Proof is present when for example, you search YouTube (or any other social media site) and you come across a vlogger who has over 30,000 followers, fans etc. this is a sign (proof) to you that this particular vlogger is worthwhile. They engage their audience, people already like are fans of them as well. All of this culminates to Social Proof, the proof that this individual is worth watching, reading etc. is in the fact that their number of followers speaks for itself. If others like this, I’ll probably like it too.
What started as simple make-up tutorials and reviews have led to their own personal make-up lines and the respect of consumers and manufacturers all over the world. Public Relations people have taken notice as well. They have targeted these women by sending them complimentary samples and yet-to-be-released products for them to test and review for millions on YouTube. They aren’t paid a dime and they tell the truth, good, bad or ugly. For PR people, it’s a gamble but when things go their way it’s priceless. PR people, marketers and journalists track this Social Proof, based on views, followers, fans etc., and they throw their hat in the ring.
These women act as free-lance beauty journalists commenting on the latest and greatest in beauty products from their home. Both Luke and Johnson have harnessed the power of social media like Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information to the masses as well. This is uncharted territory, what started as Vlogging has mutated into total media domination and it’s all self-taught.
Kandee Johnson was a make-up artist and model by trade when she started her make-up tutorials via YouTube. Her sparkling personality and down-to-earth persona combined with her expertise have blossomed into appearances in Nylon and Elle magazine as well as an appearance on Elle magazine’s internet counterpart and numerous other blog sites. Kandee currently hosts events which she calls Glaminars for those seeking to brush-up on their make-up knowledge and meet Ms. Johnson herself. vlogging on YouTube has led to a U.S. Tour? And for make-up no-less!
Lauren Luke’s claim to fame began with her beauty tutorials under the username “Panacea81”, her YouTube fame translated to work for magazines such as Glamour, Allure, Vanity Fair and Time as well as in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper and the New York Times. She currently has her own line of cosmetics called By Lauren Luke which are sold on her website and online or in-store through the beauty Mecca, Sephora.
What does this mean for journalists? Well, it means that the field on which they play is a lot bigger now. Magazines and newspapers are great but the expansion of social network sites, YouTube and citizen journalism has created an endless plain of opportunity. Journalists are developing in grass-roots arenas on YouTube where they develop a following based on talent and personality… not resumes and degrees. They make impressions on the market and become touch-points from which consumers determine whether a product is worth purchasing or not and manufactures determine whether products are worth selling.
Personally, I have found these two women in particular very useful. I used to buy a new product based on advertisements on TV or in magazines… the model looked fabulous, it would probably do the same for me, right? This mentality didn’t always pan out. Lauren Luke and Kandee Johnson offer a real-time test of the products I’m thinking about purchasing. I now find myself checking YouTube to see what Kandee has to say about the new eye shadow line-up from Urban Decay before I go out and buy it. I can trust that if she says it’s worth the buy for A, B and C reasons while showing me looks that can be achieved with the products, I’m more likely to buy it. As a beauty junkie this is valuable to me and it is for this reason that these women have taken over the world of product reviews all without a degree in journalism.