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How luxury brands can leverage holiday-focused social media campaigns

September 24, 2012


Luxury marketers should focus on personalization and exclusivity in holiday social media campaigns to gain eyes during the high-volume shopping season, but combine these efforts with additional channels to be sure that the message reaches true affluent consumers.

It is imperative for luxury marketers to have a stronghold on their social media presence for the holiday season. However, since it is difficult to measure commerce that came from social media campaigns, it is important to combine it with digital, mobile and in-store marketing.

“Social media has permeated so many different aspects of digital media that to not add social components to any campaign is a huge miss, but social cannot be seen separately,” said Jenn Heinen, associate director of social strategies at Morpheus Media, New York.

“The user does not single out an interaction with a brand on their Web site versus an interaction with a brand on an application so neither should a brand,” she said.

Personal presence

One aspect that luxury marketers should focus on in their social media efforts this holiday season is personalization.

Brands need to appeal to both the gift-giver and gift-receiver, per Scott Delea, manaing partner at Inflexion Interactive, Hoboken, NJ.

Social media campaigns should offer tools to browse items, create wish lists and share lists with family and friends.

Oscar de la Renta is one of the leaders in providing its customers with these capabilities on social media. This quarter, the label revamped its Web site to include interactive elements that intertwine the buying and social media experience for a new kind of ecommerce.

In addition to putting a product in a shopping bag, “liking” on Facebook, pinning on Pinterest or Tweeting about it, consumers can select “need,” “obsessed” or “own” (see story).

Oscar de la Renta site

Since social media is a mass-market channel, brands should marry personalization with exclusivity in a holiday campaign.

Marketers that provide exclusive content via Facebook and Twitter can get a leg up over their competition. Consumers will be more apt to enter the brand world on social media if they are getting something exclusive.

One example of exclusive content that can resonate with users during the holiday season is insider access.

Last year, New York-based department store Bergdorf Goodman chose to bolster is then-new Google+ account by offering exclusive holiday marketing sneak-peaks and content (see story).

“Social media is a must-have for any luxury brand expecting to effectively connect with a digital-savvy consumer,” Mr. Delea said.

“It is also an efficient means of raising awareness and desire, and allows people to communicate the gifts they would like to receive,” he said. “It should also be used to generate viral buzz in a way that makes others want the same.”

Meanwhile, the use of Facebook apps will likely be prevalent across the board this holiday seasons. Therefore, luxury brands should look for ways to engage through apps without creating a mass-market message.

There are several best practices that luxury brands should stick to in Facebook apps this holiday season, per Rachel Lewis, Fort Worth, TX-based senior marketing strategist at iProspect.

First, engagement should be meaningful to consumers and at the same time reinforce a brand’s identity.

Also, apps can extend interest through platforms other than Facebook to build a brand’s social following.

But, it is also important to keep users on their social platform of choice. For example, if a brand’s Facebook app drives consumers away from Facebook, the brand misses out on social sharing opportunities from those consumers.

Finally, the most important aspect of a Facebook app is to align it with the brand’s identity.

“The most important thing for luxury brands to keep in mind during holiday planning is executing initiatives that remain in step with the brand’s identity,” Ms. Lewis said.

“Straying from the brand’s true heritage will confuse consumers post-holiday and possibly lead to a decrease in engagement and interest from these users,” she said.

The more the merrier

Experts also agree that a social campaign requires a multichannel approach so that luxury marketers can trigger sales during the holidays.

For instance, brands should spread ideas that manifest on social media through desktop computers, smartphones and tablets, per Dave Surgan, manager of digital media communications at Morpheus Media, New York.

“Convergence of marketing and devices is key for luxury brands this season,” Mr. Surgan said. “Social should permeate the entire marketing mix rather than sit on its own island.

“Brands will need to understand how to integrate their efforts and customize based on context,” he said. “The balance of content and commerce will be determined by where you are and what you are doing.”

Furthermore, it is key to support all social media programs through marketing channels that will lead consumers to commerce-enabled sites and retail locations.

Since social media often reaches aspirational consumers, brands should use online marketing channels such as flash banner advertising and strategic email campaigns to drive sales and link to social media efforts, per Molly Leis, principal of MRL Communications, New York.

“With minimal metrics illustrating how online engagement directly impacts sales it is hard to quantify direct sales driven by social media," Ms. Leis said. "It is an important channel to continue the communication, but not necessarily the best channel to drive sales.

“Holiday-driven social media needs to be part of a total omnichannel approach to the marketing mix that brings the brand to life while driving consumers online and in-store,” she said.

“The creative and conversation should be stunning and the concept original, memorable and relevant to the brand’s essence.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York