Among the general population, the main reason cited for connecting with brands on social networks was to receive deals and discounts. This result backs up earlier research from several sources on why consumers follow brands on social sites, but this was a much lower priority for the wealthy. Their top reasons for following brands were due to a preexisting affinity for and a desire to be kept informed about the brand, suggesting that social media marketers still need to provide fans with value, even if it isn't directly in the form of a coupon or sale.
Brand Following On Social Networks (% of Respondents in Each Income Group)
Reason for Following
Deals or discounts
Love the brand
Keep up with brand news
Someone else following
Social network recommendation
Mentioned in article
Source: The Affluence Collaborative, NowResearch, EMarketer, April, 2011
A huge component of liking a brand on Facebook was due not just to an affinity, but as a means of self-expression for others to see. Affluents, in their "love of the brands" they connect with, are largely acting as brand ambassadors, says the report.
Affluent members of Gen Y (ages 19 to 33), in a Think Tank survey, cited promotions and offers as the main reason for engaging with brands on social media. However, the survey included those who were "projected to earn $100,000 in the next two years," meaning the respondents were more aspiring than actually affluent. The second biggest motivator was still an affinity for the brand.
Gen Y Affluent Internet Users Engage Brands Using Social Media (% of Respondents)
Reason to Engage
Want to receive promotions/offers
Have affinity for brand/product
Don't usually engage using social media
Source: L2 Think Tank/EMarketer, Dec, 2010 (Respondents earning over $100K)
Data from the Affluence Collaborative study revealed that the affluent aren't using the same social networks as the general population. Facebook was the No.1 social network used by all groups surveyed, but LinkedIn and Twitter attracted affluent internet users at nearly double the rate of the general population.
Social Networks Used by US Affluent (% Respondents in Group)
None of above
Source: Source: The Affluence Collaborative, NowResearch, EMarketer, April, 2011
The EMarketer report concludes that, for wealthy internet users, connecting with a brand is largely about the brand itself, not gimmicks and offers. Affluents need to see a consistent message that makes following a brand meaningful for self-expression, just like when buying a brand in real life.
And, a study from the Luxe Groupe of Range Online Media, addresses the search and purchase paths of 400 luxury and prestige brands in the previous two years, showing that search marketing and online channels remained a key factor in allowing affluent consumers to connect with their preferred luxury brands.
Key findings from the study include:
The report concludes that "...this research signals that affluent consumers are already shifting their behavior to purchase at a higher price point... "
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