According to a 2014 survey, 70% of people who come from affluent households (total annual income >$200,000) own a smartphone. ExactTarget research indicates that 75% of smartphone users engage with social media on a daily basis.
For luxury brands, the idea of launching into social media is scary. With no demographic constraints, it’s a channel that goes against the concept of exclusivity, which is what makes these brands so attractive. And furthermore, who wants to see a picture of some rich guy next to his brand new Ferrari? Not me. Can luxury brands convey a sense of exclusivity in a public domain without sounding like pretentious [insert choice word here]? Considering the vast number of people using social media daily (and who can afford their products), luxury brands don’t really have a choice. To make it work, the goal of social media should be to supplement the in-store and online experience, not take away from it.
Here are the top reasons consumers turn to social media, and how BMW totally nailed it:
1. Brand Affinity I’m stating the obvious here, but consumers follow brands they like. BMW’s social following is on the heels of a whopping 25 million fans across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Between peer reviews and hashtags, this modern-day word-of-mouth is powerful, especially when making purchase decisions. A recent Forbes article on millennial consumers noted that 33% rely on blogs and social media prior to purchasing. As the emerging affluent generation, that’s a number brands will want to pay attention to.
2. Content Got a huge following. Now what? Provide engaging content. In order to be successful online, brands should focus on telling a story that resonates with their target audience. It can relate to the product or brand’s core values. BMW hit a grand slam with their YouTube Driftmob video, which appealed to BMW fans and car enthusiasts alike. To date, it has scored nearly 15 million views and at least a handful of test drives.
3. Customer Service Social media creates a sense of community. It also gives an outlet for people to share feedback on products and seek customer service. This can be a blessing and a curse for brands trying to maintain a five-star reputation. For BMW, it’s all about monitoring customer interactions. Whether positive or negative, they are always on top of their game with a timely response.
Luxury brands hitting these three points will see much success in creating and maintaining exclusive social media experiences for their customers. Others doing it right: Burberry, Tiffany & Co., and The Ritz-Carlton.