Luxuries are tricky. Prices are high, distribution is limited and consumers are demanding. Very traditional in nature, luxuries prefer premium above-the-line media for promotion such as high end magazines. Demographically speaking, luxury consumers have always been from an older age group because they are more likely to have resource for luxuries. So the big question is, why would luxury brands even bother with social media?
Curiously, there has been reported a demographic shift among luxury consumers. Today, there are apparently many more younger rich buyers spending their daddy’s money for their personal indulgences. And as we all know, modern teenagers and young adults are digital natives who have very high expectations regarding online presence of their favourite brands. If they can’t find the brand on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, the disappointment can kill all the interest towards the brand.
So, how can luxury cope with such a shift in demand and changed consumer expectations; most importantly, how can they transfer the prestigious essence of the brand online?
Well, here is how:
1) Never EVER forget the importance of content. Whatever is being communicated on social media should be coherent and in line with the overall communication strategy. This does not mean that the messages delivered on social media platforms should be the same as on other channels. The variety of content is in fact plausible. Social media provides fantastic opportunities for delivering a bit of ‘extra’ which will contribute to establishment of long lasting customer relationships.
2) On social networks, such as Facebook, the updates should be regular and relevant to the brand’s identity. They must not only be about their products and services but about a wider range of lifestyle issues. If you want a great example of a successful social network management by a luxury brand, check out Gucci Facebook page. It rocks. Always regular and compelling updates, all the comments are answered and complaints resolved, not ignored.
3) Online communities are becoming a major form of communication between the internet users who want to express their opinion or find out information. In our interconnected world if you are famous like Prada or Ferrari you are definitely going to be talked about online, whether you want it or not. Therefore it might be a good idea for luxury brands to create their own online communities where it would be easier to monitor what is being said about them online and respond accordingly. In order to maintain that aura of exclusivity on communities brands can create ‘VIP members only’ communities. Just like Lexus did with its Lexus Drivers community where you need to be a Lexus owner in order to be able to access all the content. Similarly with blogs. Useful public source of information and opinions but can create a closed, customer only ones in order to retain an exclusive edge.
4) Social virtual worlds such as Second Life are still largely unexplored by luxury brands. Yet there is a significant trend indicating that they are going to grow in popularity and importance rather soon. They also present fantastic opportunities to display your products in 3D, real-time and in entertaining manner. Some luxury brands have already seized this opportunity, such as Armani who rebuilt their flagship store in Second Life.
Ultimately, these channels presented to society by social web are an enormous source of marketing potential even for luxury brands. It can distribute messages and stories faster, helps to communicate with consumers, entertains them, builds relationship. Social web can be used for a large number of viral campaigns increasing brand’s exposer, like L’Odyssee de Cartier which gained over 17million views on youtube.