One is exclusive. The other is inclusive. Juggling British luxury brands and social media is a delicate balancing act – but it is possible. We explain how to make these digital platforms work for your brand.
Lush paper. Crisp images. A premium price. It’s no surprise that luxury brands and print have long been natural bedfellows.
But the world no longer lives in glossy magazines or on classy shop fronts. Thanks to the digital world, there are now endless ways to connect with your customers.
Which is why social media is increasingly unavoidable, even for luxury brands. In fact, luxury shoppers are some of the most avid users of platforms like Instagram. They view five times as much content, “like” posts three times as often and post twice as many updates as the average user (source: Business of Fashion).
Social media is everywhere. And using it is a great way to help your British luxury brand stay present in your customers’ everyday lives. Protecting your luxury identity and engaging with digital audiences can be tricky – but it’s worth it.
MIND THE MILLENNIALS
There are 2.3 billion millennials in the world, making up 32% of the world’s population. And they’re beginning to afford luxury.
In fact, together with Generation Z, they’re predicted to make up 45% of the global luxury market by 2025. This means it’s more important than ever to understand and engage with them. Unsurprisingly, the web plays a huge role in the lives of millennials. On average, they spend six hours a week shopping online – 50% more than older generations. So if you’re not online, you’re missing out.
In today’s digital world, luxury shoppers are engaging with brands through multiple channels. For example, there can be up to 15 touchpoints for Chinese luxury shoppers, half of which are digital. That’s why top luxury fashion brands like Tiffany and British Vogue use a combination strategy to reach customers. This involves a mix of aspirational content, Instagram stories and working with influencers.
This kind of digital engagement is driving change in the luxury industry. The immediacy of social interaction means that there is now a pressure for products to be available as soon as users see them on social media. With that in mind, several fashion houses have introduced “see now, buy now” campaigns to accompany their runway shows.
As a result of this shift in consumer thinking, a new collective of luxury customers has emerged. More of a mindset than a demographic, “Henrys” – or “High Earners Not Rich Yet” – are people who are not yet wealthy but are still targets for luxury brands.
Henrys present luxury brands with a few challenges because they can be hard to please. They want to be wowed with personalized goods and an immersive experience – but they don’t want to break the bank. They make great brand advocates, but it can be difficult to find the right price point to satisfy them.
Henrys are primarily aspirational. In fact, they are some of the most active followers of luxury brands on social media. This means that platforms like Instagram are a great way of engaging with them and creating the kind of experience they’re looking for. Showing them what it’s like behind the scenes and giving them exclusive access to collections allow Henrys to feel part of your brand.
In the UK, the number of people using Instagram is huge. Since 2016, it’s grown by 35% so that by the end of 2017, over a quarter of the UK’s population had logged into the site at least once in a month.
Luxury global consumers are some of the most influential people on Instagram, with almost twice as many followers as the average user. They also like to stay in the know, and follow 2.5 times as many accounts.
Interestingly, there is still a place for print advertisements in the digital age. 65% use Instagram to find inspiration, whereas 57% view print as a place to find trusted information. So don’t forget about your offline channels in the digital maelstrom, as they still have value.
These Instagrammers spend most of their time on the site engaging with brands. 56% use the platform to view the latest collections and 58% use it to stay up to date with the latest trends. So it’s no surprise that luxury fashion is particularly suited to Instagram. Fashion lives in the visual and Instagram is a natural medium for showcasing this. Luxury fashion also creates real action from followers. For example, during fashion month AW17, 64 million people generated 387 million likes, comments and pictures. So joining the site isn’t a vanity project for luxury brands – it can be huge for increasing awareness. (Source: Instagram Luxury Report 2018).
Looking to break into Instagram? Here are the tools your luxury brand will need to know about:
INSTAGRAM MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR YOUR LUXURY BRAND
Influencers are a huge part of connecting with Henrys and luxury customers in general. They not only show off your luxury products, but more specifically demonstrate how they could fit into customers’ lives.
Influencers make luxury products tangible and accessible. This kind of content is more memorable than brand-focused content and is a powerful way of attracting younger customers to your brand.
Establishing an official partnership with them is also an effective means of promoting your products. But it’s crucial to make sure that the Instagram community understands when influencers are paid to post content on your behalf. In the US, you can use a “paid partnership with” tag. This kind of openness is important, as it gives you the ability to track insights around partnered posts and builds trust with your fans.
Instagram stories are another useful tool that plays to luxury brands’ storytelling strengths. They highlight visual and spontaneous moments – and there’s a big audience for it. There are over 300 million active daily users of Instagram stories, and one third of the most viewed stories are from businesses.
Shoppable posts on Instagram allow brands to tag products, creating a seamless link between post and purchase. This feature is relatively new, but it’s important to consider how instant shopping might work for your luxury brand. Do you want to give customers a fast link to prices and shopping, or would you prefer a more nuanced path to purchase? As the popularity of instant shopping grows, this is something you’ll need to consider.
Hashtags mobilize and create communities on Instagram. Adopting hashtags is one way to go, but brands can also create their own tags for campaigns and encourage followers to do the same.
ENGAGING CUSTOMERS OVERSEAS: LINE AND WECHAT
Line and WeChat are popular social media apps in Japan and China. 77% of all smartphone users in Japan use Line, while Chinese app WeChat has just hit one billion monthly users.
Line is growing in popularity for luxury brands. Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior and Prada have all launched on the platform in the past year. Meanwhile, early adopters like Burberry and Coach have been around for a while.
Because it’s a messaging app, customers expect a friendlier approach than on other platforms. This means you’ll have to make sure your content is properly targeted at the platform. But the good news is that a wide range of strategies are available to help boost your presence on the app. These include chatbots, exclusive wallpapers and stickers. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog post on Japanese social media in a few weeks for a deep dive into the platform.
WeChat has been embraced by many international luxury brands. Like Line, it’s also a messaging tool, but it allows brands to use the platform to create a variety of different campaigns. Their Moments feature – which displays videos on users’ timelines – is particularly noteworthy. Brands like Miu Miu, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent have all used it to great success.
MonteNapoleone has also just launched a WeChat account to engage with its Chinese customer base. Home to the world’s most expensive street and over 150 brands, it’s the first European district to do so.
If you’d like to find out more about how to market on WeChat, check out our essential guide to the platform here.
At first glance, British luxury brands and social media may not seem like a natural pair. But you don’t have to have one without the other. Many luxury brands are already engaging with customers and fans online without harming their brand identity. With the right strategy, social media is an unmissable chance to connect with younger audiences and invest in your brand’s future.
Photo from Unsplash
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