Got nails? How big businesses materializes in social media tribe

In today’s world:

  • There are tons of billion dollars businesses
  • There are tons of niche tribes
  • At eCairn, we map tribes that contain thousands of influencers

Is it possible for any billion dollars business to materialize as a large and thriving tribe in social media?

The answer is most likely yes and here are some supporting facts and thoughts.

Today’s example is the ‘Nail Industry’ (Pedicure and Manicure). It comes on the heels of previous analysis on the Bird Watching and the Wedding industry which have respectively revenues of $50bn and $40bn.

First,  here are a few business figures
(date comes surveys by and Nails Magazine):

  • Industry Annual Revenue (USA) = $6bn
  • # nail salon > 58k
  • # nail technicians > 300k (top state is CA with 92k technicians)
  • 95% of nail technicians say “environmental consciousness” is important to them
  • Salons using Facebook grow from 4% to 50%

Next,  with eCairn, we have mapped to date a tribe of 2k ‘nails’ influencers!

Below is the network map of the top 300. Look at the density of the interconnections and the structure…Based on our experience analyzing thousands of tribes, the nail tribe is a densely networked!

Here are the top 20 influencers:

Rank Url Title Tweet-it
1 Scrangie
2 All Lacquered Up – A Nail Polish Fanatic’s Resource
3 lacquerized. – a blog about nail polish
4 Emerald Sparkled
5 AllYouDesire
7 Nihrida
8 painted Lady fingers
9 Also Known As…
10 Body and Soul
11 Black nail polish and lip gloss
12 Polish or Perish
13 Polish Hoarder Disorder (PHD)
14 Deez Nailz
15 The Nail Polish Blog:The Nailphile
16 Lacquer Laine
17 My Simple Little Pleasures
18 The Daily Nail
19 Scandalously Polished
20 The PolishAholic

What does a densely networked tribe mean?

Traditionally, ‘nail’ has been ignored by the beauty media despite a strong consumer interest. As a result, this now vibrant and influent tribe could freely develop; currently the press is taking notice and increasingly more articles are dedicated to this industry.

Nail bloggers are a good example of the new consumer power enabled by social media:

  • They brainstorm and invent (nail art)
  • They influence the success or the failure of brands and products
  • They message at the speed of light to a large aggregated audience with a strong human touch (through the myriad of connections that links them together or to their communities)
  • They form a collective intelligence about the industry.

Below is an example of collective intelligence: The Environment.

From the analysis of conversations from this tribe, the topic of environment is talked about by less than 1/3 of the influencers. We don’t know the exact proportion of nail techniciens in the tribe, but a casual analysis seems to indicate it’s a minority and the bulk of the tribe is consumers themselves. Comparing those findings with the survey results mentioned at the beginning of the post, it appears that consumers are less concerned by the environment than nail techniciens who are exposed on a regular basis to harmful chemicals found in nail products (whats good for the environment is good for people and the opposite is true).  Overall, those chemicals are the subject of about 3% of the overall conversations from the community.

Nails, Birding, Wedding and more, there’s a pattern and a parallel between the world of business and the world of social media:

  1. Billions of $ industries  => large Tribes in social media – wedding, birds, nails and 1000s more (more flagrant in consumer market)
  2. Large Tribes => thousands of niche influencers (who have an aggregate audience of millions or better a network of millions)
  3. Tribes, guided by the leadership of their influencers are doing & inventing things => brands building trusted relationships with those VIPs benefits in term of better innovation, real-time market intelligence, faster time to market and relevant purposeful messaging

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