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Do luxury brands need social media?

The rich are unlikely to follow your company on Twitter. According to a study by Unity Marketing, 6% of affluent users use social tools to look for coupons or go shopping, while 7% were interested in using social networks to research purchases or seek out special offers.

The study goes on to say that while at least half of affluent users view company social-media accounts, just a quarter will follow them.

So why do companies such as Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Lexus bother with social media?

A few possibilities:

  • Feeding the brand’s aspirational quality. If you’ve got thousands of people who can’t afford your product raving about how great you are, it increases your brand’s value as a status symbol for the handful who can afford it.
  • Hook them early. Just because some of your Facebook fans can’t afford you right now doesn’t mean they’ll be window shoppers forever. If you build connections with young fans now, you’ll be in a position to recoup that good will if they become more successful. Think of it as an investment in the next generation of millionaires.
  • Your competitors are already there. If you’ve got a competitor with a robust social-media presence, you owe it yourself to fight back. Stand on the sidelines and you risk seeming antiquated or stuffy. Brands might have trouble courting the wealthy using social media right now, but that may change as social media becomes more ubiquitous. Depending on your marketplace, it may make sense to keep up with a rival’s efforts just so you’re not left flat-footed in the future.

What do you think? Do luxury brands benefit from having a presence in the social-media space? Why do you think the affluent are so unlikely to connect with brands using social media? Is there anything brands can do to change this?

Image credit, Pakhnyushcha, via Shutterstock