How Burt’s Bees Gets Its Fans Buzzing on Facebook

This post is part of the Killer Facebook Pages Series, which highlights the top brand pages on Facebook and provides tips on how to emulate their successes.

If you don’t think that it is possible for a Facebook Page to make you use all five senses, then you most likely have not visited Burt’s Bees’ page.

While technically it isn’t possible to smell, taste or touch through a computer screen, the company uses content that makes you swear that you can taste the new lip gloss flavor or smell the scent of hand lotion.

Burt’s Bees’ Facebook Page has undergone exceptionally rapid growth since hiring a content manager in July 2010. When Melissa Sowry came on board the page had 98,000 fans and she grew the page to more than a million fans in 18 months on the job. The growth and engagement with customers on the page helped land the page on the “Top 20 Most Awesome Facebook Pages” list, curated by Inc. Magazine.

But it is Burt’s Bees’ focus on giving users content that makes them see how the products fit into their lives that makes the page successful, both in building a brand and increasing sales. At the same time, fans have plenty of ways to share the news of their new found favorite beauty products with their friends.

Emphasis on Launching New Products

When you visit Burt’s Bees’ Facebook page, new products are typically one of the first things you see — in the form of a landing page, post, video, quiz, and so on.

The brand took to the streets of New York, for example, to see if people could pronounce Cupuaçu, the star ingredient in the Burt’s Bees Richly Replenishing Body Lotion. It produced the above video, uploaded it to YouTube, and highlighted it on a Facebook landing page. So far, the video has more than 20,000 views.

“Through Facebook, we can introduce new products more interactively than in print or banner ads…and provide a space where [our consumers] can connect with one another,” Melissa Sowry, the company’s social media and content manager told Inc. Magazine in an interview. To keep the page fresh, Sowry rotates the type of content and products she’s featuring on a regular basis, creating an image of a vibrant and active company.

Converting Views to Dollars

More important than promoting products, though, Burt’s Bees has dramatically increased the number of Facebook visitors who then go the company’s e-commerce site through “Buy Now” buttons that it integrates into the content.

And the button doesn’t just take a visitor to the product page, but goes a step further and puts the skin care product in the user’s shopping basket. By providing the users with a way to immediately buy the product, Burt’s Bees capitalizes on the content it produces for its Facebook following.

Interactive and Compelling Content

While on the page, a user can take a quiz to determine which lotion will solve her specific skin problem, watch videos that spotlight Burt’s Bees employees, or even download coupons. One of the page’s strengths is the interactivity and variety of content found on it.

Sowry said in a June 2011 interview with eMarketer that the company views Facebook as a way to build relationships and as a channel to provide compelling content. “We also create opportunities for consumer education around skin care, for example, and sampling offers. We ran successful sampling programs on Facebook for our relaunched body lotions and new tinted lip balm,” said Sowry. Other relationship building techniques Sowry mentioned included asking questions on the page to generate discussions and responding directly to customer comments.

While some may criticize like-gating, Burt’s Bees has gained from asking users to “Like” its page before getting in on sweet deals. Users must Like the page in order to get free samples or download its featured coupon, worth several dollars off a specific product. Seems like a fair trade-off, though, right? The user gets a cool offer, and Burt’s Bees gets a fan.

Learning from Burt’s Bees Success

Content managers can learn a lot from Burt’s Bees’ Facebook strategy, including how to pick the right content and the secret to converting visitors into buyers. Here are two tips we’d recommend following to emulate the company’s success on Facebook:

  1. Use content that supports the message: Every picture, word and even sound on Burt’s Bees’ page touches a sense, which is a driving force in why people by beauty products. While pictures of coconuts put people in the mood to buy bath products, pick words, image, and videos that drive people to buy your specific product.
  2. Make it easy to buy: While also increasing the strength of their brand, Burt’s Bees includes content that helps the user find the right product and then actually buy the product. By seamlessly integrating the buying process into the Facebook page, you can simplify the buying process and increase sales.
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