High-end luxury brands need a social media presence, and luxury shoppers have one…here is how the two can make meaningful connections.
Seventy percent of luxury shoppers own a smartphone, and digital media influence twenty percent of discerning consumers1. With that data in mind, many luxury brands recognize the importance of connecting with customers where they spend the majority of their digital time – on mobile devices and social media2.
But creating a social media presence is one thing; establishing a digital voice without compromising the exclusivity of a luxury brand is another. Most companies that exist within this high-end environment find the latter to be the most challenging.
So how can luxury brands not only position their organizations for social media success but also reach those consumers who are most likely to buy?
Develop a Social Strategy
It may seem like a no-brainer, but developing a strategy for social media is a key starting point for digital newcomers. By taking into account which platforms attract your target audience, and their typical behaviors on those platforms, you can align your social media content accordingly.
For example, a McKinsey report concluded that luxury shoppers use social media mostly to do research or retweet other people’s posts. When they did comment on social media, it was at a rate of less than one post per month and mostly on neutral content, such as images of a luxury product3.
The same report attested to luxury consumers’ behavior on Twitter and Facebook: on Twitter, most people engaged with content about live events, and on Facebook the most engagement occurred with targeted offers and posts that maintained the exclusivity of the brand.
Of course, Twitter and Facebook are not the only platforms where luxury shoppers congregate. Brands should do their research on which sites attract their target audiences, and include these in their strategies.
Along with determining which sites to populate, luxury brands should also consider what types of content to publish, how to extend the reach of that content, and how it fits in with the buyer journey.
Generate Content with a Cool Factor
In the luxury goods market, consumers want to engage with content that communicates a lifestyle of privilege – rather than content developed solely for advertising. One way to create this level of content is with high-quality images that evoke the desire to buy luxury products. In fact, photographs are one of the best mediums for evoking the aspirational emotions that we connect with driving a luxury vehicle, wearing expensive clothing, and so on4.
Luxury consumers also like to share content that makes them look cool or stylish in front of their friends5. By creating long-form, visually-driven content that speaks to the lifestyle, and then sharing that content across social media, brands give consumers the opportunity to elevate their own image through shareworthy information. In turn, this raises more brand awareness and helps build social media audiences.
Extend Reach through Social Advertising
Social advertising has been shown to be highly successful with luxury consumers. In particular, Facebook ads are one of the most effective forms of online advertising, due to the high level of segmentation and targeting available through the platform5.
With Facebook advertising, luxury brands can target and remarket to consumers on a granular level. Imagine the possibilities when you can select who sees your ad by where they live, what kind of job they have, and whether or not they like other luxury brands. This is especially suitable for brands serving an international audience, such as the large population of Chinese luxury consumers.
Monitor the Effectiveness of Being Social
With luxury goods or services, the typical buy cycle can be much longer than with traditional purchases. You aren’t going to find luxury car shoppers who are in the market to purchase a new Tesla every month. Therefore, brands need to be conscious of how social media content is influencing consumers in terms of engagement, web traffic, and conversions. In other words, which content is moving people through the buyer funnel and which content is merely filling the gap. To do this, brands can tap into analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns.
At the heart of every luxury brand is the notion of exclusivity, the feeling of being special, and acceptance into an exceptional lifestyle. By executing the right strategy, developing and sharing appropriate content, utilizing the right tools, and analyzing performance over time, high-end brands can use social media to convey the image of privilege while influencing the buying behaviors of digital consumers.
3McKinsey 2014 Luxury Shopping in the Digital Age