Blog / Why the Top Cosmetics Brands Are Still on Twitter

Why the Top Cosmetics Brands Are Still on Twitter

Makeup is to Instagram as cat posts are to Facebook, right?

Maybe not entirely. Our recent study of 16 leading cosmetic brands on social media revealed that brands like MAC, Tarte, and Anastasia Beverly Hills still value Twitter next to channels like Instagram and YouTube. More than half tweeted over 100 times in the last month, engaging more than 100,000 people and receiving almost 200,000 brand mentions altogether.

total number of tweets by major cosmetics brands

To study the makeup industry on Twitter, we analyzed two Zoomph feeds: one ZIndex feed tracking mentions of the above brands on Twitter, and another tracking tweets published by each brand.

Over the course of a month, we observed the below trends, which suggest six reasons why the leading cosmetics brands remain active on Twitter.

1. Nothing beats real time.

‘Tis true especially when a customer complains. The faster a brand can provide support, the better. And with Twitter reigning king of real time even today, it serves as a great online support channel for many brands.

All but four brands in our study leveraged Twitter as a help desk to some capacity, including six out of the seven top-ranking brands (see “Who took the crown?” below).

But “real time” not only has its advantages when it comes to putting out fires. It also aids with company or product announcements, customer inquiries, or community-building efforts like in the post below.

Where emails or phone calls lack in speed or convenience, Twitter seems to pick up the slack. Brands, in turn, benefit from casual, well-timed interactions that emulate real-world conversations. MAC, for instance, engages consumers when purchase intent is highest and promotes their products in the form of welcomed suggestions as opposed to pushy ads.


2. You can show your human side.

Twitter offers a low barrier to entry into your consumers’ social circles–meaning, your brand can reach out to your consumer almost as easily as he/she can reach out to your brand. This is due, in part, to the way that Twitter has worked for years.

While brands are isolated to business pages on Facebook and engagement is largely isolated to comments on Instagram, a branded handle on Twitter looks and acts identically to a personal handle. Brands are even expected to act like people when tweeting at their customers, and are empowered to tweet for the sole purpose of engaging one person.

We saw evidence of this in brand activity from last month. Urban Decay engaged customers regularly–sometimes without being mentioned–to talk about topics even outside of makeup.

Note: being personable goes beyond talking like a human and includes being empathetic and caring about your customers as people. That’s a tall order but it’s not impossible, especially with all the data that’s readily available to help you keep up with your customers’ lifestyles.

3. Branding and posting rules are different.

We’re all familiar with the unspoken rule on Instagram. Posting 10 times in a day is called spamming.

However, ten tweets in a day isn’t absurd. In fact, that’s being conservative.

Many cosmetics brands in our study benefited from Twitter’s flexibility in terms of posting frequency and the types of content they could create. The most active brands leveraged Twitter to engage users one on one, tweet interesting articles, or share breaking [normally product-related] news on the fly.

chart of total tweets and instagram posts by cosmetics brands

While many of the same brands cross-promoted Instagram content in their tweets, they frequently published original content on Twitter, where aesthetics played less of a role. By contrast, brands maintained well-groomed profiles on Instagram.
NYX, for example, tailored its IG profile to showcase beautiful, vibrant photos that worked well as sets of three. In the below image, you’ll notice how each row of photos thoughtfully follows a color scheme or theme.

Nyx cosmetics instagram profile

Though one of the least active brands on Twitter, NYX harnessed more varieties of content on Twitter, including retweets, mentions, and (as of more recently) a real-time poll.

4. Hashtags are powerful.

“The hashtag on Twitter is the equivalent of the corner spot at the bar,” Maurice Hawkins, founder of a grassroots fan team on Twitter, once told us in an interview. “It’s like Cheers…when you watched Cheers, you always saw Norm and Cliff Clavin at the end of the bar, same seats. It was expected. So, if you wanted to talk to those two that’s where you went. So, if you want to know what’s going on with [an entity or topic] on Twitter, you click on the hashtag.”

Hashtags appeared in all forms and lengths in our study, in which brands used hashtags for:

  • Brand recognition (#AnastasiaBeveralyHills)
  • Product recognition (#Dipbrow)
  • Slogans and movements (#ShareTheBare, #rethinknatural)
  • Partnerships (#MACxNickiMinaj, #LancomeLoveStJude)
  • Community building (#ABHFam)
  • Events (#tartetalk)
  • Categorization and tagging (#makeup)
  • Social campaigns and promos (#21DaysofBeauty, #HereComesTrouble)
  • Trending topics (#GreysAnatomy, #NationalCoffeeDay)


While hashtags exist across multiple platforms, no platform has embraced them to the fullness of Twitter. Aside from originating on Twitter, hashtags have become core to user engagement. As described by Hawkins, Facebook is for the people you know, and Twitter is for the people whom you share your passions with. Hashtags not only have algorithmic importance but social importance for Twitter users who prioritize meeting new people and expanding their networks.

5. Cosmetics influencers are still on Twitter.

Influencers haven’t retired from Twitter. On the contrary, the top 100 influencers in our ZIndex feed published up to 300 tweets (or an average of 63 tweets) mentioning one or more of the 16 brands over the last month. The top seven influencers alone published a total of 231 tweets.

ranking of cosmetics influencers on twitter

Despite having earned fame on other channels like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, influencers demonstrate a loyalty to Twitter for interacting with fans in real time, cross-promoting content, breaking news, or sharing casual updates and thoughts. Their efforts consistently earned them a solid amount of engagement, as indicated by their ZPoints scores which measure the level of influence generated over time.

If Nicki Minaj and Jefree Star are on Twitter, you can bet that their sponsors are on it too paying close attention to the consumers they engage every day. Which leads us to our final point…

6. Their target audiences are still on Twitter.

Twitter is still home to many cosmetics consumers. Both brands and influencers continue to invest in the channels because their target audiences are actively tweeting and expressing (indirectly or directly) an interest in what they have to offer.

To better understand the significance of Twitter among makeup lovers, we fired up our Audience Comparison tool. We compared Twitter users with an interest in fashion and beauty against Instagram users with the same interests. Beyond interacting with tweets related to fashions and beauty, Twitter users exuded traits and values that are still important to many makeup brands, such as creativity and an affinity for higher-end products.

interest comparison of beauty fans on Twitter versus Instagram


Compared to general Twitter and Instagram users across the world, makeup lovers on Twitter demonstrated a higher affinity for celebrity gossip, music, movies, and other forms or art. They tended to be 16.7 times more interested in arts, as well as 8.3 times more liberal than that baseline (not pictured). By comparison, makeup lovers on Instagram tended to be 6.7 times more interested in arts and 96% less liberal than the universal baseline.

Today, these traits align with the values of several top brands and influencers, who aim to shatter traditional stereotypes around beauty and cosmetics:

“We believe in WHISTLING WHILE YOU WORK IT…and faking it ’til you make it. We believe in FAST & FABULOUS BEAUTY solutions…and that glamour is GRABBING LIFE BY THE GIGGLES and not letting go. We believe if at first you don’t succeed, APPLY MORE LIPSTICK…that SEXY gets you everywhere…and if you can’t be good, BE GORGEOUS. We believe LAUGHTER IS THE BEST COSMETIC!” – Benefit Cosmetics, The Benefesto

M·A·C is the world’s leading professional makeup authority because of our unrivalled expertise in makeup ARTISTRY. M·A·C celebrates diversity and INDIVIDUALITY – we are for All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. M·A·C is a proud COMMUNITY of professional makeup artists working together to bring our vision to life. M·A·C is at the forefront of fashion TRENDSETTING…” – MAC, What Makes Up MAC

“I believe makeup is GenderLESS and has no rules!…I believe that men can wear makeup, teach makeup, and vlog about it just as much as girls can and I am fighting for that equality with my channel.” – Manny Mua, About


So, who took the crown on Twitter?

Surprisingly, one of the least active brands on Twitter ended up as the most-mentioned brand last month. According to our ZIndex feed, some of the leading influencers tweeted about NYX, causing spikes in the brand’s overall reach and influence. Two of the most active brands, MAC and Tarte, followed closely behind.

Ranking of top cosmetics brands on Twitter
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