When LinkedIn launched in May 2003, there were just 4,500 members on the platform. Today, the company reports a user base of over 850 million. The platform has attracted global audiences for its focus on career development, providing professionals with a centralized hub to connect with employers and showcase their achievements. But, for those in creative fields like beauty, LinkedIn hasn't always felt like the most natural outlet to discuss product launches, trends, and general happenings in the industry.
"I believe I joined LinkedIn in 2007 or 2008," Brown Girl Jane co-founder Tai Beauchamp says. "At the time, I was working and consulting in corporate after serving as a magazine editor. LinkedIn seemingly functioned as a place to connect more intently with recruiters and global colleagues."
LinkedIn has made a conscious effort to create space for beauty professionals in recent years. Former beauty editor Jamé Jackson, who worked at places like Buzzfeed and Yahoo, is leading the movement. As the fashion and beauty creator manager, she oversees the individual growth of beauty entrepreneurs and influencers, ensuring they can maximize the platform's benefits. "I get to empower creators and help them tell their stories," Jackson shares. "I work with celebrities like Gabrielle Union and I also get to work with smaller beauty founders to help them build and attract economic opportunities on LinkedIn."
Part of Jackson's role involves educating creators on LinkedIn's tools. In March 2021, Linkedin rolled out "creator mode," a setting that unlocks access to features to grow your audience. Jackson says features like audio rooms, newsletters, and video streaming benefit beauty creators. "One of my favorite tools is LinkedIn Live," she adds. "Beauty professionals can use it to discuss new product launches, showcase makeup or hair tutorials, or simply talk to the camera and build a connection with their audience."
Many of the beauty founders Jackson manages say implementing these strategies has helped them advance their personal brands and businesses. Beauchamp, for instance, was recently invited to host the Sistas in Sales Summit in New York after connecting with the founder, Chantel George, on LinkedIn. "Additionally, Brown Girl Jane and I recently partnered with TalkShopLive, an online digital live sales platform," she says. "I was reconnected to its co-founder and CEO through the platform."
Kim Roxie, the founder of Lamik Beauty, landed a retail partnership as a result of networking on the site. "[We're working with] a business called The Sparkle Bar, located in Arizona," she shares. "We commented on each other’s posts, ended up inboxing each other, and now I’m going to Scottsdale to do a pop-up at her brick-and-mortar."
Mabel Frías, the founder of Luna Magic Beauty, has cultivated an engaged community on LinkedIn. "When we announced our appearance on Shark Tank, that post had a ton of engagement," she says. "We saw similar traction when we announced we were launching at Walmart, Target, and CVS."
Beauty professionals like makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran, and cosmetic chemist Manessa Lormejuste have also found success on the platform. Jaikaran regularly shares video clips from her podcast, The Life of a Makeup Artist, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the campaigns she works on. Similarly, Lormejuste uses LinkedIn to document her experience at events, share her thoughts on beauty news, and chat about her favorite products.
Jaikaran and Lormejuste's engaging posts and growing reach earned them a spot on LinkedIn's first Top Voices in Fashion & Beauty list, which debuted in September. Jackson says working to bring this initiative to life was a career highlight. "I realized there were a lot of conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion that we needed to tackle. We needed to ask ourselves, What does the future of beauty look like? And how are we amplifying that?" she says. "I'm proud to say that out of our top 10 voices, at least six were people of color. That makes me proud because I've worked in this industry for years, and many of these lists are often whitewashed."
LinkedIn has made additional efforts to rally behind creators. In 2021, they launched the Creator Accelerator Program, a six-week incubator program that provides creators with funding and tools to bring their ideas to life. Last year, Jackson helped launch a specialized fashion and beauty creators program. She was able to onboard tastemakers like Refinery29's style and culture specialist Venesa Coger and Essence's features editor Brooklyn White-Grier, helping them gain greater visibility on the site. Jackson is committed to continuing initiatives like this, so voices in the fashion and beauty space always feel supported.
"Another way I've been nurturing this community is by having feet on the ground, whether that's attending New York Fashion Week shows or going to conferences with creators," she adds. "I want to be where they are to help them understand where LinkedIn fits into their business model. I want people to feel like LinkedIn is their safe space, and they can show up authentically as themselves."
At a time when creators are growing tired of having to keep up with changing algorithms and overly curated aesthetics, Jackson is confident LinkedIn's genuine emphasis on connection and creativity will sway more beauty creators to flock to the platform. "LinkedIn is not focused on virality, but more on unique stories," she says. "LinkedIn is positioning itself as a marketplace for knowledge, which is important for those in the beauty industry and especially for Black beauty creators. You have to pay to play on other platforms or already have a large audience. That's not the case at LinkedIn."
Byers A. Reid Hoffman and Linkedin. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc; 2013.