Case study: inside Skin + Me’s top performing influencer partnerships

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Analysis

2 years ago

Free skincare advice is available on TikTok and Instagram in abundance, even directly from dermatologists themselves. However for some, over the counter products aren’t enough to combat specific skin concerns and instead, a personalised approach is needed. Enter: Skin + Me, a medical skincare brand that launched in 2020 with a personalised prescription service. Its aim is to offer an affordable solution to the long waiting times for dermatologist appointments across the NHS and private sector.

If you’ve not heard of Skin + Me, you’ve probably come across its signature yellow and white packaging in one of its many campaigns with influencers including Anna NewtonKatie SnooksLisa Snowdon or Yasmin Johal. Influencer marketing has become a key social strategy over the past year for the brand, and has become one of its most prominent channels.

CORQ sat down with its head of content Stephanie Forrester, and growth marketing manager Isobel Pratt, to discuss its social strategy, top performing brand partnerships and explore its focus on influencer marketing. Pratt noted that creator collaborations are also the brand’s highest lifetime value channel – higher than its ‘refer a friend’ scheme.

Last June, Pratt was brought in to scale Skin + Me’s influencer marketing activity, along with an agency. Prior to this, the brand worked with five to 10 influencers a month. They were also working with nano influencers and seeing amazing engagement among these smaller creators, but work was focused on paid search, paid social and less resource-intensive channels.

Unlike most skincare brands, Skin + Me cannot gift to influencers because its hero product, the Daily Doser serum, is personally prescribed as part of a dermatologist-designed treatment plan that includes two to three active ingredients, depending on a person’s skin goals and skin type.

An influencer must pay the £3.50 pharmacy fee – because it cannot legally provide medical products for free – and complete an online consultation form, which looks at skin type, skin sensitivity, medical history and lifestyle habits, in order to replicate what you would receive in a dermatologist’s office.

This can be an obstacle for some, while simultaneously game changing for others, says Pratt: “Anyone who does bother to go through that process is much more engaged from the get-go. They’re motivated to try the product because they want to work with us.”


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A post shared by Katie Snooks (@katesnooks)

Skincare doesn’t lead to overnight results, and for influencer partnerships, Skin + Me asks creators to try the product for at least two weeks before posting content. “We do see that influencers continue to use it well after the content timeframe has passed, which is really great as well,” Pratt said.

Influencers’ content (typically in the form of an Instagram post but also on Stories, YouTube or TikTok) follows a similar format of before and after photos and a promo code for their followers.

One standout partnership has been with Love Islander-turned-parenting Instagrammer Camilla Thurlow. Pratt explained, “She’s always talking about working, raising her children and she’s built an audience who are highly engaged in this part of the conversation that she brings to Instagram – she does amazingly for us.”

Skin + Me has been working with Thurlow since July 2021 posting monthly across a six month period. Within her content Thurlow has discussed the convenience of having its products delivered to your door, a stripped back routine (which Pratt describes as “skinimalism”) and the product being reformulated when someone is pregnant or breastfeeding – which resonates with Thurlow’s audience of fellow parents.


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A post shared by Camilla Thurlow (@camillathurlow)

Forrester’s remit on the other hand covers brand partnerships. This includes content partnerships which drive growth and establish brand positioning; she cited this article published on Zoe Sugg’s lifestyle platform Zoella in May 2022 as a recent example.

She also works with key opinion leaders (KOLs) like Caroline Hirons. Unlike an influencer partnership, collaborations with KOLs will also feature a campaign outside of social media, such as a newsletter, blog post, newspaper article or podcast. “It’s more of a content series than just living on social,” Forrester explained.

When working with KOLs, Skin + Me seeks to team up with existing customers, such as Hirons, who had been using the brand for a year before her sponsored post went live in January 2022. In addition to creating an Instagram post, Hirons also wrote a newsletter and blog post and her quotes were used by the brand to target new customers via Facebook.

“It was really successful,” Forrester noted, and called the campaign a “perfect storm” because of the timing – it was the first campaign Hirons posted in the New Year after being ill with Covid-19 – and its messaging. Skin + Me offered 40% off for three months to her followers and worked with Hirons to tailor the narrative around New Years’ resolutions.


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A post shared by CAROLINE HIRONS (@carolinehirons)

“It’s a campaign that we’re all really proud of and it’s set the benchmark for partnerships. We always try to replicate those things: the messaging, the timing, the cultural context, and the offer,” Forrester said.

The brand is most prominent on Instagram with just over 57,000 followers while growing its TikTok presence (it posted its first TikTok in January this year). “We view every opportunity, every engagement and interaction, as an opportunity for us to help customers succeed,” said Forrester.

The brand thinks of itself as publishers rather than marketers, going beyond selling a product but sharing advice and helping their customers also. “We use all of the in-app features to ask questions, get feedback, connect with our community and make sure that the content that you’re giving them will help them reach their skin goals.”

While TikTok might have you following a 10-step skincare regime, Skin + Me is focusing on a pared-back approach. “As a company, you very rarely have one product, but also kind of infinite products, given that it’s personalised and tailored,” said Pratt.

It’s planning to release more products following its latest launch in April of cleansers and moisturisers, but the pair remained tight-lipped on what we can expect. As Pratt explained, “we’re never going to overload our customers with products.” Sometimes, less is more.

It’s no secret influencers are key for raising brand awareness, generating fresh content and reaching new and curious customers. As Skin + Me continues to harness the power of nano, mid and macro creators, it ensures it stands out among an oversaturated skincare market.

By Caroline Edwards, staff writer at CORQ. Picture credit: Skin + Me via Instagram