For luxury brands, social media is often misused and misunderstood. Most of the strategies that you’ll find digital marketing experts discuss are designed for smaller physical products brands with lower price points and more diverse audiences. But how do niche, luxury brands get ahead?
The Challenge Luxury Brands Face
With most consumer products purchases, the overall level of intimacy between customer and brand is low. Sure, there may be some brand loyalty, but the relationship is typically comfortable and easy-going. Take the purchase of a roll of paper towels as an example. Most people either (a) pick up the cheapest option on the supermarket shelf, or (b) have a preferred brand of paper towels that they look for on the shelf.
However, if that preferred brand is out of stock, customers still make a purchase. They simply move on to the next roll that looks most like the preferred brand. In all likelihood, the paper towels perform very similar and nobody thinks twice about the fact that a different brand was purchased.
In luxury niches – like jewelry, designer clothing, cars, wine, and furniture – the factors surrounding consumer-brand interactions are totally different. There’s a high degree of brand sensitivity and brand loyalty. Customers don’t call last-minute audibles or make rash purchase decisions. It takes months – and sometimes years – for a brand to cultivate an intimate relationship with a customer. And at the heart of this relationship is trust.
For luxury brands, establishing trust via social media is a major challenge. Unlike the typical consumer products brand that can take a casual and light-hearted approach, luxury brands must put forth transparency and high-level engagement. There’s a lot at stake and a disciplined approach is required.
3 Tips for Using Social Media
Luxury brands are very intentional with how they leverage resources. When it comes to social media, make sure you’re conscientious about how you’re approaching your social strategy. Here are a few tips:
1. Choose the Right Platforms
Luxury brands are highly aspirational. You want your branding to stir up emotions inside of your prospective customers. These emotions should be so compelling that they feel like a purchase would allow them to become the very thing/person they’re striving to be.
The best way to stir up these emotions is to use visual content. In light of this, luxury brands benefit from focusing on visual social networking sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Shift your focus to platforms like these and you’ll notice an uptick in engagement.
2. Publish the Right Content
There are three key elements to luxury: scarcity, exclusivity, and provenance. In order for a brand to excel in the luxury space, the marketing narrative and brand story must convey all three.
“The most successful luxury brands tend to be very story-rich and any content you put out must be imaginative, authoritative and relevant,” business owner Anne-Claude Wenger writes. “Most importantly, it must stir the imagination and resonate with your target audience’s dreams and ambitions.”
Generic content won’t suffice. Every blog post, article, visual, and comment must propel the narrative forward and carve out authentic inroads with prospective customers. Otherwise, your marketing won’t have the desired effect of driving loyalty and sales.
3. Focus on the Website Handoff
Outside of a few specific exceptions, actual conversions (sales) don’t occur on the social networking platforms themselves. In almost every case, a handoff must be made from social media to the luxury brand’s website. The facilitation of this hand off will, for all intents and purposes, dictate the level of success the brand has with social media.
The key is to design a website that’s consistent and compelling. It must be consistent in the sense that there’s a clear and comfortable correlation between the referring social media presence and website. When visitors arrive, they should never think, “Oh, wow! I wasn’t expecting that.” Instead, the experience should be congruent with what was previously experienced on Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media platform they came from.
The Three Graces is an excellent example. The brand has designed a compelling home page with striking visual imagery that allows it to convert more of its social media visitors into paying customers. This home page goes hand in hand with the brand’s social media profiles, which elongates the brand experience and generates high-level loyalty.
Refine Your Approach
Successful luxury marketing and branding doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t be surprised if you have to invest in customers for months at a time before they turn around and reward you with a purchase. And if you want brand loyalty, you’re looking at years of effort. Thankfully, social media provides a convenient platform for cultivating healthy relationships and nudging customers through the conversion funnel. Use it the right way and everything will fall into place.