Social media might be one of the biggest revolution ever since the water-steam machine. So as a company if you wonder if you should move into Social Media or not, ask yourself the real question: How should I move on into Social Media. Several Brands are afraid of Social media, especially Luxury brands. Of course all these brands have a Facebook page, do not take me wrong, but do they have a true Social media strategy? What is the engagement of these brands with fans? Generally it is a one way conversation.
Why are Luxury Brands are so afraid of Social Media?
Many luxury brands are not very tempted to invest themselves truly in social media. They think it is a non-qualitative channel for communication. Luxury Brands tend to believe that going for Social Media, they would open the brand communication towards too many people and mostly not part of their customers anyway. So why should a luxury brand communicate with thousands of people in the world?
- Brand awareness: an established brand on a given topic gets a legitimacy on that topic. In emerging economies, this can be crucial as most of the new rich did not have the education on luxury as we see in the developed countries. So all the luxury brands that invest in communication and especially in Social Media, get their game on. Countries like Brazil, India or China has a great Social Media development and it is through Social media that people get connectec with brands.
- Preparing the customers of tomorrow: Most of luxury brands in which their customer are in average 35 to 45 years old, will need to renew their customers in less than 30 years or they might die with their customers. It is mathematical. And the new generation, today 18 years old, they do not have the same communication habits than the previous generation.
- Customer service is moving towards Social media: More and more people ask a question to a brand via Twitter and Facebook rather than connection to the brand website, searching for the customer support section, fill in the contact form, wait until a machine tells him that his request is being processed, etc…. So it is much easier to tweet your question and faster to get an answer (at least on the customer’s mind).
Social Media is a love – hate affair
It is easier to work on Social media for a company with a good reputation rather for a company with many issues. It is easier to manage social media for companies like Aston Martin than Walmart. We know that social media relationships with customers are mostly love-stories about romance and sometimes hate. At the end it is a matter of honesty and authenticity. If you decide to play the authenticity card, you should go for Social media:
- to balance the positive and negative messages: People with a bad experience will always tell it everywhere possible. People with a positive experience about your brand will not necessary take the time to express it. So at the end you get only negative online messages about your company. The goal is to rebalance the situation by providing to customers and fans to bring their positive experience online.
- To prove how good you are in Customer support: A customer who complains on Social media offers you the best and unique opportunity to prove how good you are on customer support. The worst thing that could happen is a unsatisfied customer who leaves your company universe in silence. But a customer who decides to use his time to send you a message, basically a help message, gives you the possibility to show the quality of your customer service to everybody.
Social Media changes all the time
One thing that is true is that traditional media like TV or Print did not change much in the past 20 years. Social Media and online communication is evolving every year, or rather every month. This makes the channel very versatile and hard to manage in a long term approach.
- Every day there is a new social network: every day we hear about a new social network that everybody needs to be in. This makes things very complex as most of these networks have their own rules, ways of communication and might not concern the same people. After Facebook and Twitter, we got tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Pheed, Snapshat, Vine and let’s not forget the professional networks LinkedIn, Xing or Viadeo. How to define the Brand presence? You definitely need a clear positioning and good understanding on who are your customers.
- Mobile also changed the way people communicate: 50% of Facebook users login via mobile, Instagram, Vine, foursquare or even Sina Weibo are mobile only. Every year mobile constructors bring to the market more sophisticated mobile devices that allow people to do more things and these change the way to communicate. Eg: 80% of total Facebook aps are invisible on mobile.
How should Luxury Brands communicate on Social Media then?
There is no miracle solution but there are a couple of points to be taken in consideration when you are a luxury brand selling high-valued products and services.
Internalize the expertise
You need a strong relation between your core activity and Social Media. The Social Media responsible need to have a good understanding of your brand and the way you treat your customers off-line in order to mirror it online. Working with an external company for this is feasible but tricky. And the added-value and experience will be lost to an external partner. Internalizing the thinking and the Social Media strategy will bring you better results in the future.
Experience is everything
If you think that a 24 year old social media manager will have the job done, you will miss the train. To settle a brand strategy towards social media, you will need at least a 10 year experience manager. Why? Because the social media person will need to convince, evangelize and defend many actions and topics and only experience will bring a certain legitimacy. Most of the time, the Social Media manager will cope with Customer service, subsidiaries, local partners and of course the general management. So you will need a lot of trust and self-confidence to make your way throughout the company’s labyrinth.
Info sourced at marketing week website, digital luxury and luxury activist expert team. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.