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At age 21, Kylie Jenner is now the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, as the result of turning her start-up cosmetics company (Kylie Cosmetics) into a company worth over $1 billion in a remarkably short period of time. Of course, this is hardly your typical “rags to riches” tale of entrepreneurial success (given the aura of Kardashian fame that surrounds her), but it’s instructional nonetheless to see how she leveraged Instagram so effectively to grow her business.
Choose one social platform as your strategic core
Many startup brands are distracted by all the possible social media platforms out there. They assume that they have to be active across all of them, and as a result, tend to spread themselves thin. What Kylie Jenner did so effectively was to choose one major social platform – Instagram – that offered the best fit for her company. Instagram is the place to go for beauty and fashion influencers, and the highly visual nature of Instagram made it a no-brainer as the place to showcase all of her new products.
Create a really big sales funnel
One important thing that Kylie Jenner did was to use social media to create a massive sales funnel. Kylie Jenner now has 129 million followers on Instagram, and you can think of these followers as potential leads to pour into her sales funnel. Sure, some of her followers might only be following her for celebrity pics and photos with the Kardashians, but even if only 10 percent of her followers decide to buy her cosmetics products, that’s an incredible sales funnel of over 12 million prospects. With each new Instagram post, she is able to push those leads through the sales funnel. According to one estimate, every single Instagram post from Kylie Jenner is worth over $1 million, so each new photo involving a cosmetics product is literally money in the bank.
Convert fans with passion and authenticity
When it comes to converting followers into buyers, Kylie Jenner has had tremendous success. Part of this has to do with her ability to convey her passion for the brand, and to offer followers insights and exclusives around that brand. On social media, people want to connect with real, authentic brands and also to connect with the people behind the brand. This is where Kylie Jenner really delivers.
A template for other social media influencers
And Kylie Jenner is not alone in being able to convert her personal celebrity and fame into real business results. Rihanna, with 68.9 million fans on Instagram, has been able to leverage her followers to create momentum around her Fenty Beauty brand. And Huda Kattan, with 35.6 million followers on Instagram, has been able to transform those followers into the core of a $200 million company called Huda Beauty.
Going forward, then, there is a very real template for how to use social media as part of business success: build a massive fan base, turn those fans into prospects and leads, and then use each new social media post to convert those prospects into sales. If done with authenticity and passion, it might just lead to the next billion-dollar company.