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Social media has fast become an essential part of the ecommerce world. According to a report from eMarketer, 36 percent of internet users say social networks are as important as any other information source when making decisions about buying a product. Forty-five percent say their mobile device is now their most important shopping tool.
Luxury products aren’t immune to these changing trends. The visual nature of Facebook and Instagram make it easier for luxury brands to communicate their premium status and reach the audiences most likely to buy.
While many of the principles of selling products on social media are universally applicable, there are a few factors that those selling luxury products should be especially mindful of.
1. Use visually distinctive product photography
While this tip may not be unique to luxury products, it is one that bears repeating. Social media — especially Instagram and Facebook — is an inherently visual medium. To create a luxury look for your products, Popular Photography’s Peter Klonia has some advice. “Start by selecting a salient feature or characteristic of your subject that you want to showcase. It could be texture, color, form, line or a mix of these elements. Then play with the lighting until it forces the viewer’s eye to notice that salient feature first and foremost.”
This can help with both individual posts and carousel style ads that are designed to show off several related products at once. Well-lit photography will highlight the luxury features of a product. Lifestyle photos should always showcase the product in a high-end setting.
For example, if you’re showing someone wearing a luxury watch while driving a car, make sure they’re driving a luxury vehicle. Everything about the image should convey your brand’s premium status.
2. Unleash the power of influencer partnerships
Influencers are a big part of social media campaigns. This is especially true of luxury brands. Partnering with the right influencers in your niche will help communicate how your products can serve as a trendy status symbol. The Edelman Trust Barometer reports that 63 percent of consumers trust influencer messages more than traditional ads. This can have a big impact on your product sales.
As just one example, Korean beauty product brand Surepi partnered with beauty content creators for a campaign that highlighted a new product’s advantages and offered usage tutorials. The result was a 51 percent higher return on ad spend, and a 33 percent reduction in the cost per purchase. Relevant partnerships build trust and help further elevate your brand’s status.
Do your research on potential influencer partners and their followers. The best influencer partnerships won’t just be an authoritative figure in your niche — their followers should also primarily be those who are interested in buying high-end products.
3. Take customers behind the scenes
Luxury brands stand out thanks to their unique stories. Whether that is a legacy of producing handcrafted items or using environmentally-sourced materials, such differentiators are often a key part of what makes a brand “luxury” in the first place. Communicate the luxury status of your products by taking customers behind the scenes with your social media posts — like this post from Chanel. It’s an easy way to communicate your quality and luxury status. Video as a medium of communication cannot be understated here.
Using the Stories feature on Facebook or Instagram is a great way to ensure that this curated content actually reaches your customers. A recent study in AdWeek reports that while the reach of branded Instagram posts has fallen to 4.3 percent, the reach rate for Stories has actually risen to 7 percent. Posting a “preview” of a post in Stories can also serve as a great way to direct followers to a new post or campaign.
Such posts should be crafted with the same level of commitment to presenting a luxury look as your product photography.
4. Display user-generated content wisely
User-generated content can be a big boon to your social media growth. Studies have consistently found that user-generated content performs better in terms of clickthrough rates, ad views and even forming an emotional connection between viewers and the brand.
Of course, not all user-generated content is created equal. While luxury brands can (and should) encourage customers to provide branded photos with contests and sweepstakes, they must be extra diligent when it comes to curating photos that will be shared on the official brand page.
For example, Brilliant Earth is adept at featuring everyday people using the brand’s products, selecting user-generated photos that were still taken by professional photographers. That aesthetic matches the general style of images that the brand would normally post. Such guidelines help present the products in the best possible light.
5. Household income targeting
Luxury products come with a premium — and that means not everyone will be able to afford your products. Luxury product advertising is often aspirational — meaning that people who can’t afford the products are still exposed to the brand and its ads. This won’t always help you make the most of your social marketing budget.
However, as MarketingLand reports, in 2019 Facebook introduced a new method of targeting users based on income. This targeting metric doesn’t focus on total household income. Instead, it targets users based on how they compare to the average income for their ZIP code. You can target users who fall in the top 5 percent of area earners, the top 10 percent, and so on.
With this income-oriented targeting, you can ensure that your ads are reaching customers who are actually in a position to buy your products. This is an absolute must when a campaign’s goal is sales, rather than building brand awareness. However, let’s be clear, for infant luxury brands just getting their feet wet in paid media, this sort of niche targeting could prove detrimental to the long term success of a campaign.
Building a luxury experience on social media
At the end of the day, the way you approach your luxury product branding on Facebook and Instagram should simply be an extension of your other branding efforts. By remaining true to your brand identity and focusing on the luxury aspects of your products, you will be able to communicate your value and build a strong social media following that leads to actual sales growth.