How do you unravel social media? It helps if you are unraveling for a luxury brand. Luxury is not a rational purchase, it's more like one you use your rational powers to justify, otherwise known as “rationalization.” That makes it a fantastic corner of the market for social media.
Luxury means having the luxury of not having to spend vast sums on a bullhorn campaign. And an aspirational brand is one that people are passionate about. And people who love something want to sing about about it, says every pop song ever written.
Social media benchmarking and predictive analytics firm Shareablee has just released its list of the top 25 global luxury brands for the first half of 2015. And the data suggests luxury brands are playing a much stronger hand on social this year, with a 5.4% lift in engagement compared to the period last year. That means something like 670.4 million social actions — likes, comments, shares, retweets and favorites: 126.7 million on Facebook; 7.7 million on Twitter; and 536 million on Instagram.
And it isn't surprising that a luxury sports-car brand would dominate, given where it resides at the childhood-fantasy nexus of design and power. Mercedes-Benz is the top luxury brand across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with 77.3 million total actions. It is also the top brand on Instagram with 66.3 million actions. Another luxury auto brand, BMW, leads on Facebook with 14.2 million total actions. On Twitter, Victoria Beckham is the top luxury brand, with 585.6 thousand engaged actions.
The top five brands on Facebook were Bimmer, with 14.2 million actions; Mercedes, with 10.6 million actions; Michael Kors, with 6.5 million; then Louis Vuitton, and Christian Louboutin. How about Twitter? There we have, as mentioned, Victoria Beckham, followed by Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Kors, and Burberry.
Fashion and automotive are far way the top social categories for consumer engagement. Fashion grabbed 382.7 million social media actions in the first half of the year, per Shareablee. Automotive garnered 231.7 million actions. A distant third are jewelry and watches, which generated a combined 30.8 million actions. Hotels follows at 17 million and alcoholic beverages are after that with 8.4 million. One can assume a long tail follows.
Michelle Ross, VP of business development at Shareablee says Instagram is a growing concern. “In luxury and retail Instagram is growing gangbusters.” The company has a ridiculously huge repository of data of social engagement with some 160 brands and untold millions of consumer actions, per Ross, who says that Mercedes has about 10% of its audience on Instagram; 33% of its social content there; but a whopping 86% of consumer engagement actions there. Facebook, by contrast, delivers only 13% of engagement for Mercedes-Benz.
Generally, while Facebook is by far the biggest social channel for brands, it is also where brands are struggling the most to garner engagement, “Because they often don’t get that content in that space isn’t about a product message.”
Social video in general is a huge driver for luxury. The first-half research shows that total engagement on video content grew 224% versus the first half of the year last year. Alcoholic beverages enjoyed the highest growth in engagement with video content, at a kind of absurd 2226%, followed by automotive (420% growth) and jewelry & watches (261%).
Shareablee’s top 25 social brands, in descending order: Mercedes-Benz; BMW; Valentino; Michael Kors; Victoria Beckham; Christian Louboutin; dior; Louis Vuitton; Dolce & Gabbana; Versace; Burberry; Moschino; Prada; Marc Jacobs; Armani; Balmain; Elie Saab; Roberto Cavalli; Chanel; Fendi; Tiffany; Gucci; Audi; Givenchy; and Lamborghini.
Tracy David, CMO at Shareablee, points out that useful content is a buzz generator, especially for women. “Women pass along useful information, and look at content as having a gift value for others. Whether it's coupons or even useful ways to look at weather, or retirement options. That is real shareable value on social,” she says. “For millennials, anything that allows them to share a story; anything with elements of humor, gets passed along, or anything creating excitement.”