How Luxury Brands Use Social Media to Reach Consumers

Owning luxury items is like being part of an elite club where only a select number of people may gain access. While today’s luxury brands want to maintain this status, more brands are attempting to strike a balance between exclusivity versus inclusivity.

image by ...love Maegan on flickr cc

The The Digital Age & Luxury Brands

While some luxury brands have embraced the Digital Age, the vast majority have yet to do so, despite an ever increasing focus on digital marketing and advertising. According to L2, a company based in New York that tracks the digital impact of brands:

Online sales still represent just 6 percent of luxury companies’ total revenues. And roughly 10 companies, including Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, dominate this digital world, generating a combined 65 percent of all traffic to websites associated with the luxury industry. [source]

Online consumers are wired in a different way. José de Cabo, co-founder and COO of Olapic, cites that today’s consumers are “used to seeing authenticity online.” Luxury brands would be wise to take note and back efforts that help build stronger connections with these consumers.

Better Digital Presence = Better Sales

By widening the net and tapping into the rich (no pun intended) possibilities that the Digital Age has to offer, luxury brands can revamp their digital marketing efforts to build deeper relationships and brand loyalty with existing customers, and find creative, innovative ways to engage new consumers.

Using Social Media for Sales:

Social media, while popular, is still a largely untapped area for most brands and businesses. In order to better navigate this space, brands must know where their customers spend the most time online, and what social media outlets they use with the greatest frequency. To accomplish this, some luxury brands hire agencies whose responsibility it is to research and identify where their product(s) show up online.

Example:

José de Cabo and his team work on behalf of several luxury brands. Part of their responsibility is to search the most popular social media sites to look for any and all photos taken by individuals where the brand is featured. So, Person ‘A’ may have a luxury handbag that they just got. Person ‘A’ posts a picture of the handbag to their Instagram account. The brand sees this and, in turn, features Person ‘A’ on their social media.

Alternatively, luxury brands may also use social media (like the above example) to feature it as part of a larger marketing initiative – either digital or traditional.

image by 八木 Ricardo 清介 on flickr cc

Wider Audience Reach

Many luxury brands recognize that when it comes to exclusivity and inclusivity, the two are not mutually exclusive – especially when talking about using social media to leverage a brand.

Example:

Calvin Klein (CK) is a popular luxury brand. CK turned to celebrity, Justin Bieber, to help with their marketing efforts. How? Bieber has a significantly larger following on Instagram (49.8 million followers) compared to CK (3.1 million). By making Justin Bieber a spokesmodel for the Calvin Klein brand, Calvin Klein also widens its consumer base, potentially opening it up to a new demographic.

Even though luxury brands want to maintain some exclusivity, by broadening the scope of their digital marketing campaigns and casting a wider net, they can still maintain their exclusive status while increasing brand awareness and product sales.

10 Tips for Social Media Success

by USDAgov on flickr cc Today, it makes sense to be involved on social media. The key to being successful with social media, however, is determining which social media channel makes the most sense for your brand/business, and coming up with a plan of action to better engage your target audience.

Marketing Your Brand via Social Media

Getting started in social media can seem overwhelming for some businesses because there are so many different social media sites available, and each one takes a considerable amount of time to set up, and manage on an ongoing basis. One of the rookie mistakes that many businesses make is setting up a profile on every single social media channel. Take a look at the following list of social media tips to help you better engage your audience.

10 Tips for Better Social Media Engagement

#1 – Listen.

Before you determine where to spend your time on social media, spend some time listening to what others are saying about you and about your industry. Where do you hear or observe the most conversations? This is where you need to be focused.

#2 – Engage.

A common mistake that many marketers make is trying to go for the hard sell immediately. This only turns customers off. Instead, focus on engaging them. Find common interests, tell your story, figure out how to relate to them on their level. Social selling focuses on just this. Eventually, you’ll find the right opportunity to introduce a service or product that your business offers

#3 – Post Quality Content.

Content will always rule the roost. Once you’ve listened to your customers needs, you can use that to build relevant, engaging content. Content should be: useful, informative, and shareable. Things to consider include: length of content, visual stimuli (images), and easy access to share (ex: social buttons).

#4 – Have a Plan.

Fail to plan. Plan to fail. Consider how you plan to produce your content, what mediums you’ll use, how often you’ll post it, and what niches you’ll target. Then, sit down and come up with a social media calendar, and be sure to include any editorial content, such as blog posts, press releases, and new landing pages. Share this with your team, and delegate responsibilities (if need be) so that you know who is posting what to where.

#5 – Don’t rush things.

Like most things done well, it will take time for things to come together. BE PATIENT. Set realistic expectations for your business, and recognize that true success is (and should be) a long term goal.

#6 – Find Influencers.

Determine who the influencers are in your niche. Look at how their social media is set up, listen to what they are saying and who they are saying it to. Take notes. Figure out what they are doing and how you can apply it to your own social media plan(s).

#7 – Create Value.

People love to buy, but they hate being sold to. So, how do you sell others on your brand or business model? Create value that they simply can’t pass up on. This goes back to quality content, listening to what people are saying, determining what the possible needs are, and figuring out how your business/brand can solve their problem(s).

#8 – Acknowledge Others.

Success isn’t built by one person. Rather, it is the result of multiple people coming together to provide a solution. As you craft and implement your social media strategy, don’t be shy about acknowledging others. Building relationships is what social media is about, and part of social media marketing success is reaching back out to those who have reached out to you.

#9 – Be Accessible & Responsive.

It’s easy enough to create content, publish it, and then leave it alone. Instead, you should be on the ball – using your social media content calendar to stay on top of the latest news, posts, and other publications to your website. People have short attention spans nowadays, and it is more important than ever to create content that people care about and that you’re available to help foster discussions about. *Hint* Don’t publish content and then drop off the face of the earth for a month!

#10 – Focus Your Efforts.

By now, you already know who your target audience is, what sorts of questions they have, and where they spend the majority of their time online. Next steps: Focus your efforts by spending your time where your audience spends their time online.

Ex: If you find that most of your customers are on LinkedIn, perhaps you can field answers or offer a professional opinion in response to questions that you’ve seen asked. As an alternative, you can also create content around common questions or problems related to your industry, and then share this content on social media channels that your customers use the most.

Rise of Ad Tech, Social Media Gives Businesses More Control

"Social Media apps" by Jason Howie on flickr ccEstimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 9 seconds. Contains approximately 430 words.

According to the latest forecasts out from ZenithOptimedia, Global ad spend is on track to grow 5.5% this year to $537 billion, while Internet advertising will account for nearly one-quarter of that, at $121 billion.

If there was ever any doubt as to where people are spending most of their time these days, this latest information will certainly put out that fire. In fact, Zenith goes on to predict that Internet display will almost certainly take over paid search at $74.4 billion versus $71.1 billion by 2015. This could spell trouble for companies like Google, who have traditionally dominated the Internet ad space in the past.

Keeping an Eye on Mobile Ad Spend

As Ingrid Lunden over at TechCrunch recaps, all eyes are now turning to mobile as mobile continues to experience rapid growth. This makes sense as more people are using mobile devices to access information on the Internet, from tablets to smartphones to other types of portable devices. Compare the following as case and point:

In 2013, $13.4 billion was spent on mobile ads, but by 2016 that will rise to $45 billion, or 28% of Internet ad spend and 7.6% of total ad investments.

Researchers at Zenith stated,

“Mobile will leapfrog radio, magazines and outdoor to become the world’s fourth-largest medium by the end of our forecast period..”

The Rise of Social Media Advertising

Even more impressive is the rise of social media advertising, which is currently growing at 29% each year.

Why is this?

1- Audience

As mentioned earlier, social media is HUGE. If you don’t have at least a Twitter account and a Facebook account, then you simply don’t get it. Consider the social media giant, Facebook, which currently has more than 1 billion users and is on pace to soon cross the 1 billion mark on just mobile alone! The advertising potential is limitless.

2- Rise of Ad Tech

Perhaps even more poignant is the rise of Ad Tech. Why? Ad Tech allows businesses to gain more control over what they buy and where it’s being seen. “It also provides a greater amount of data to be able to measure the impact that their marketing investments are having.”

Finally, when it comes to world comparisons of Ad Spend and advertising in general, the U.S. remains the biggest market for advertising, at more than three times the value compared to the next-biggest market.

Bottom line? It’s time to start thinking through some new online social strategies and thinking of new ways to engage the countless users who log in each day to social sites. How can you capitalize on that potential?

[HT TechCrunch]