5 Lessons From The Luxury Sector That Brand Marketers Need To Learn

Luxury brands have added another elite product to their portfolio: social media marketing. Alongside perfectly stitched handbags and diamond watch bands comes a parade of innovative social media campaigns from the luxury sector – campaigns that offer up lessons to every brand about attracting customers in the online space. The Digital IQ Index ranked the social media campaigns of 72 luxury brands across a wide range of categories. We’ve gleaned five lessons of social media that every brand can learn from following the successes (and failures) of the luxury sector from this report. Want to know your Digital IQ?

Digital IQ is a measurement of how effective these luxury brands are at creating a web presence. It is a dynamic measurement of their online growth, and examines their brand’s website, digital marketing such as email newsletters and blogs, social media presence, influence and content, and mobile efforts.

This is the second year of the Digital IQ test, and a lot has changed in the who’s who of luxury social media leaders. Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren remain tied for second place in the top 10, but the other 8 spots are newcomers: Coach, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Swarovski (tied), and Tiffany.

Facebook pages are a must

If your brand doesn’t have a Facebook page, create one now. Don’t read any more of these tips until you’ve done it. The luxury brands in the top 10 ranked for Digital IQ have found success largely through Facebook: with over half a million fans and a Facebook page growth rate of over 200% year-over-year, it’s clear that Facebook is a significant part of their online strategy.

73% of the luxury brands surveyed listed Facebook as one of their top eight sources of traffic. The social networking giant is a giant boon to brand visibility.

Diversify your social media presence

Brands like Chopard, Rolex and Cartier have all sunk in their Digital IQ year-over-year in large part due to decreasing or failing to increase the number of social networks they use. Their Facebook communities lack engagement, none have a Twitter presence, and only Chopard uses YouTube.

The Digital IQ report reminds these brands – and yours – that social media is a network, not a single or static page:

“An estimated 78 percent of affluent Internet users are active on social networking sites, and 66 percent conduct research online before making a major purchase, suggesting that a limited digital presence could have a negative impact on offline sales.”

E-Commerce drives traffic, improves Digital IQ

Those luxury brands that implemented an e-commerce element to their online presence registered average traffic growth of 263 percent. As the brand that benefited most from this Fabergé saw 947% increase in traffic when it implemented e-commerce.

This lesson makes sense: if your customers can purchase your products directly from you, they’re more likely to visit your site. And, an added benefit of starting an e-commerce service is a deeper understanding of how web branding works. For luxury brands, having an e-commerce service translated to 33% higher Digital IQs than the average.

Apps are a brand’s best friend

The luxury brands surveyed don’t have a unified mobile app strategy, but those that create e-commerce-enabled apps generally have higher Digital IQs than those who don’t. For instance, Gucci’s mobile commerce-enabled app – available for a variety of smartphones and the iPad – has reached 600,000 downloads. Consumers are hungry for shopping-on-the-go, and the first brands to jump on this market demand will surely reap the benefits.

Creativity with Foursquare can lead to brand awareness

Several luxury brands have produced innovative Foursquare campaigns, giving them top marks in Digital IQ. Marc Jacobs ran a promotion offering free tickets to a fashion show and a branded “Fashion Victim” badge; Jimmy Choo challenged Foursquare users to a scavenger hunt around London with the winners receiving free running shoes; Coach gave free cologne to those who checked in to its Men’s Store during the grand opening.

These campaigns are anecdotal evidence of the growing Foursquare trend: Louis Vuitton, the luxury brand Foursquare leader, has 25,000 Foursquare friends, almost 5,000 check-ins and nearly 3,000 unique visitors. Think about how these numbers could be leveraged to get more foot traffic in your brick-and-motor.

Luxury brands are turning to social media and their digital presence to retain and attract new customers. See how your Digital IQ stacks up against theirs by examining these five lessons and checking out the Digital IQ report.

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