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- 10 Jan 2011
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2010: The Year in Social Media

A summary of the year in social media, as luxury brands embraced Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare to create engaging digital dialogues with consumers.

Social Media became the most popular news topic on Luxury Society in 2010 as more and more brands incorporated digital into the marketing mix. Whilst Facebook and Twitter have dominated the mainstream media for some time now, never were they as relevant and compelling for Luxury brands as at the turn of the decade.

Social media has now been confirmed as the number one activity on the Internet, Facebook receives more traffic per week than Google US and boasts over 580 million members. As new platforms Tumblr and Foursquare find their feet, Twitter continues to grow at speed, 175 million people is not a market to be ignored. Below we examine the initiatives that made the most of social media in 2010.


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Facebook

In 2010 Gucci gained a following of 3 million fans, using their page to post about new products, celebrity placements and providing supporting portals to Gucci Guilty, Eye Want You and Gucci Connect campaigns. Soon after Burberry also met the 3 million milestone, celebrating with a handwritten message from creative officer Christopher Bailey. The brand regularly post campaign videos and messages from Bailey and Angela Ahrendts, CEO. They also used Facebook video to ask fans for interview questions, which became the focus for a short video, they also developed a specific tab for their Acoustic campaign.

Chanel were absent from Twitter but developed a strong Blog, Video and Facebook presence, boasting over 2.8 million fans and providing a constant insider stream of bespoke brand content on its Chanel News site. Despite the significant Facebook following, there remains a lack of integration between YouTube and Chanel News: neither social networks contain the same content or the valuable video available on the blog, so there are three channels of meaningful content not yet consolidated. Lastly the blog content does not support sharing via ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet’, which could mean the brand are missing out on important viral opportunities and a feeling of interactivity by followers.



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Twitter

Whilst the official accounts for YSL and Coach, gives fans an insight into the life and style of communications director Erika Bearman, where she attends glamorous parties, gives previews of new pieces, tweets from the atelier and relays messages from Oscar himself.

Similarly at Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana, Twitter is shared between a brand voice and the personal tweets of Robert Duffy, Diane Von Furstenberg and Stefano Gabbana respectively. Duffy uses Twitpic to give followers real-time photo insights into business trips and exclusive parties, Von Furstenberg tweets muses on life and locations as she travels the world and Dolce & Gabanna use two separate accounts. One is an incredibly responsive corporate account that not only communicates PR information but interacts with followers and re-tweets friends of the company, the second is Stefano’s personal account where he shares his day-to-day lifestyle with the world. This insider information is arguably a more valuable proposition for ‘fans’ of the brand than press release style feeds written for newspapers.



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Tumblr

Few luxury brands have embraced Tumblr, instead it has been adopted by bloggers, retailers and luxury publishers, who have found this platform useful in presenting mixed medias in a creative and engaging way. However early adopters such as Vogue and Oscar de la Renta, have proven that it is a strategic and aesthetic fit for the luxury industry, creating a simple, customised and comprehensive portal in which to share images, video, quotes and text.

Vogue are using it particularly well, incorporating behind the scenes video, photo shoots and links to stories on their page, eventually directing traffic to the Vogue.com site or even more effectively, an area in which readers can subscribe to the print magazine. It is well presented, quick, easy to navigate and communicates the values of their magazine much better than adhering to the layout of Facebook or Twitter. Oscar PR girl is using it to display archive photographs and sketches from the house, her own outfits and style, inside photos of fittings and shoots and a selection of Oscar’s quotes.

Tumblr is barely three years old, so it is unsurprising that the industry is still hanging back to see how best to use the platform and discover the specific benefits. The question for brands is what Tumblr can offer beyond that of existing blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts and whether there is value in developing an official Tumblr page is or simply engaging prominent Tumblr bloggers with content.



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Foursquare

Created in 2009, Foursquare is the newest social media to be embraced by luxury brands. The location-based service has been embraced by Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, to drive traffic to their stores and play host to treasure hunt style campaigns around London and New York.

Jimmy Choo used Foursquare for the ‘CatchaChoo’ competition where brand representatives moved around London, checking in to Foursquare and placing a pair of trainers close to their location. They would then post a photo on Twitter for followers to find and once the shoes and representative had been found they were able to take them home as a prize.

Marc Jacobs used the site during New York Fashion Week encouraging fans to ‘check-in’ to Marc Jacobs stores around the US. The “Fashion Victim” badge could be unlocked after checking into MJ stores, where four people who unlocked the badge in New York were then randomly chosen to receive tickets to the Marc Jacobs show. Louis Vuitton similarly utilised the badge function of Foursquare to promote the opening of its Bond Street Maison in London.


So whilst the industry was abuzz with social media in 2010, there are still clearly opportunities for more creative and integrated uses of the platforms. The dominance of fashion and accessories brands suggests that there are still many sectors within luxury not utilising the technology, posing the question: which ones will be next? And how will they best use these tools? The ongoing development of Facebook and the infancy of Tumblr and Foursquare should ensure that social media continues to innovate and create engaging marketing opportunities in 2011, as online communities and digital marketing become stronger than ever.