One of the strongest arguments against the use of social media for the luxury market has been that it will dilute the exclusivity of a product or service. Luxury is, by definition elitist, social media platforms are democratic, everyone is free to interact. Ergo: upscale brands that do not embrace social media are wrong. At the very least, they miss out on an opportunity to learn more about their customers.
How STC heightened Zoya’s image
India is the world’s largest market for gold jewelry, so the creation of Tata-owned Zoya luxury diamond boutiques for the style-conscious woman was a given. In order to reach a global audience STC created an image-driven website that showcases the beauty of the jewelry. An ongoing presence on Facebook and Twitter has increased visibility of the brand and seen an upsurge in store traffic. Moreover, Vogue India has recently featured a Zoya choker that’s “Straight out of the Game of Thrones.”
Ten ways your brand can benefit
Redefine your marketing strategy: Think of social media as an aspect of your company’s branding. The digital world allows you to create a “voice” that ultimately reaches a global audience.
Create a lifestyle: Sell your brand by crafting an aspirational message or story that appeals to your customer’s emotional side — make it special and elegant. Take a look at Ralph Lauren: no one does it better.
Recall your history: Tell the world how long you’ve been around. Burberry uses Facebook’s timeline feature to tell its story — all the way back to its first store opening in Basingstoke in 1856.
Manage your status online: Luxury brands are status symbols. An exclusive presence can be attained by creating invitation-only community platforms, e.g., Mercedes Benz. Venture outside your comfort zone.
Observe online shopping: Trends should be incorporated into marketing plans, e.g., in India the tradition of grand-scale weddings, the growth of call centers or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and the interest in online shopping by women using smartphones.
Bring back memories: Deepen relationships. The Ritz-Carlton, a widely respected luxury brand, uses social media to create engagement with its guests. It uses various platforms to recollect special visits.
Connect with visual images: A remarkable 80% of brand posts on Facebook include a photo. Companies such as Gucci offer stunning visuals on Instagram to entice and captivate, while Tiffany uses Pinterest for images of its engagement rings.
Explore the tech world: Retailers can provide an app that customers use in-store to get more information or one can utilize virtual reality so viewers can see how they look in an outfit. Tip: A sales staff with iPads can provide exceptional customer service.
Localize customer service: The Four Seasons has created individual Twitter accounts for each of its local hotels worldwide — and shares fun info on places to visit in their respective cities.
Monitor economic trends: In 2013, India’s luxury market bucked a financial slowdown and swelled to $8.5 billion as savvy consumers opened their purses for high-end products and services.
Luxury products and services are uniquely suited to social media. It’s all about allowing customers to feel they’re ahead of the game. That’s everything that social media is.