For a luxury brand, every motion in its social marketing strategy has value. In an environment as personal, and personalized, as social media, it’s very important to capture not just the attention but the imagination of luxury consumers, and to keep those audiences engaged with the brand over time. When we look at brands in general that have achieved quantifiable success in social marketing, we see them performing well in three metrics in particular: engagement, impact and responsiveness. But can the same be said for all luxury brands? It depends.
These three metrics are closely related in understanding the consumer’s path to purchase. Social marketers have been addressing the question of what makes for engaging content for years. The question of what to do with an audience once you have its attention is another, broader matter. We see luxury brands driving the KPIs they value by turning engagements into real, impactful interactions, by responding and sustaining an active conversation with the consumer.
A perfect example of this is the Christmas-themed social campaign run by Tiffany & Co., which the brand considered to have performed exceptionally well.
Social marketers have understood for a long time that the type of posts that generate the most engagement on Facebook are creative visuals, and in general, we see a trend in social marketing to focus more on visuals and less on text. Beyond that, we see visual content that is animated, and graphics perform better than photographs. In Tiffany’s case, the brand created a series of animated visuals for its social campaign, which appealed to all of these aspects of content, which according to our data consumers have responded to quite positively.
In order to engage the target audience, it’s crucial for a brand to post regularly, and for a luxury brand in particular, it’s important for the posts to stay on-brand and to be thematically consistent. Thematic consistency is a major driver of effective engagement on social. In Tiffany’s case, a new video was posted each week throughout the campaign, and the videos stayed on brand by playing up Tiffany’s signature colors in the animations.
At the next step, the engaged consumer should feel invited in some way to interact with the content. For Tiffany’s videos, the animations were inviting by design, depicting relatable scenes for consumers, like flagging a taxi while shopping or pulling a child across the snow in a sled. The consumer can easily imagine themselves in the scene, in the place of these characters. In order to further trigger the consumer’s imagination, the videos employed very little copy. This way, the consumer fills in his or her version of the narrative, to create their own associations with the visuals, rather than having Tiffany spell it out for them. This creates an opportunity for highly impactful interactions, and opens the door for the consumer to step into the content.
Bringing the consumer directly into the brand’s content is not the end point, though. This is especially true for a luxury brand. Luxury wares — due to the price — are not impulse buys for most consumers, and the longer the brand can sustain a relevant conversation with the consumer, the more likely these interactions will lead to a purchase down the line.
Responsiveness isn’t always something luxury brands seek out, nor should they. However, for Tiffany it’s clearly a very important part of their strategic goals for social. Tiffany planned for this by cross-posting content on different social platforms and answering questions from consumers. Tiffany held Google Hangouts where their designers and other industry experts were interviewed, then live-streamed the chats on the brand’s Facebook page. When the brand answered questions from its audience, it tagged the responses #ShopTheHangout. This allowed consumers to easily find other conversations Tiffany was having with its consumers, creating a richer dialogue for all.
Because of their exclusivity, on which many pride themselves, simple engagement is often not an end goal for a luxury brand. This is understandable. Yet, in the case of Tiffany’s, we can see how social engagement can be a worthwhile strategy for many luxury brands. And we can especially see how social media can be used to go beyond engagement to drive a substantive impact. By immersing consumers in its content, creating a dynamic, multi-dimensional conversation between brand and consumer, Tiffany is turning its social engagement into deeper relationship with an interested audience, in order to develop its base of devoted customers.