How Julep Tweaks Image Descriptions From Customer Feedback For Search, Social

Consumers don't always describe colors like marketers do. Consumers might call the color salmon; and the marketer, coral. In a world of still images on Pinterest, or short-form videos on Instagram and Snapchat, it's not always apparent how to optimize content to land products in organic search queries on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Safari and other engines, browsers or in specific searches on social sites.

Julep, which has four Seattle-based manicure and pedicure salons, launched its ecommerce online through the mail subscription business about 2.5 years ago, introducing about 12 colors and three beauty packs monthly. The company, in part, relies on promoting products and services among 25- to 32-year-olds through user-generated photos uploaded to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more.

Monitoring consumer photo uploads, comments and recommendations requires technology like Curalate, which it began using about six months ago. "People rely on other user-generated photos to see what the colors look like next to specific skin tones," said Heather Harrington, social media manager at Julep. "It also lets us see how people talk about color, the way they describe it, which is important to optimize images."

Not all images work. Quality counts. Julep would like to promote all images, but considers aesthetics. "People in the online space can be mean," she said. "If we post a creative picture of Molly's nails from Utah, but she has nail polish on her cuticles, people can be really mean and criticize her for being sloppy."

Images attracting attention on Facebook don't necessarily attract views and click on Instagram or Twitter. Photos on Facebook tend to promote engagement. People may talk about color and how they wear the colors. Images on Twitter tend to call out how to use the colors to force the conversation. Image on Instagram focuses more on lifestyle. During the weekend an image of colorful nails wrapped around a clear glass of lemonade might do well.

Harrington said Pinterest encompasses a little bit of everything, but lifestyle and swatch images do best. The site and pins have become the go-to strategy to promote the company's monthly product sets for its online subscription business.

Curalate will monitor the photos on Facebook, Pinterest and other social sites to identify when consumers are most active. The platform also helps Harrington and Julep's marketers better understand how people search, discover and describe colors related to its products. Do the colors shimmer, glitter or do nothing at all?

It won't influence changes on all product descriptions, but if there's an overwhelming response on a specific product, Julep will tweak a product description to more closely match how consumers talk about it. And if customers aren't talking about the "really great ingredients in the products," that insight helps marketers build a campaign around that ingredient.

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