Instagram may well be the social media weapon of choice for luxury brands – but it won’t make the desired difference unless you know how to wield it. Here, Luxury Society and Digital Luxury Group (DLG) provide some pointers.
Earlier this month, Luxury Society published a revealing Instagram case study through couture brand Elie Saab, showcasing its trajectory to social media stardom as one of the most engaging luxury brands on Instagram.
Since then, we have received several requests from our Luxury Society members, requesting some more detailed pointers for how luxury brands overall can leverage their Instagram channels to expand their fan-base, increase sales and further promote brand image.
“ In order to be successful on Instagram, luxury brands have to follow certain rules ”
So, rather than leave you high and dry – we’ve used our connections to pick the brain of DLG’s resident Digital Media Specialist, Frédéric Huber, who has contributed some overall key tips on what makes a luxury brand’s Instagram tick.
“In order to be successful on Instagram, luxury brands have to follow certain rules,” he says.
“Instagram being centered around visuals, the most important thing is to have a sense of unity and consistency. That means that brands have to think about lighting, blur, colours, saturation, angles, ratios or filters and make sure all their content follow the same rules,” he adds.
Luxury couture brand Elie Saab – is a perfect example of this, constantly updating its feed with increasing frequency and with Instagram posts that brilliantly highlight the brand’s vibrant collections, campaigns, videos and press coverage in Vogue and the like.
Elie Saab’s Instagram
Another key element is to have a dedicated influencers strategy, according to Huber.
Influencers being the generational force that they are, have their own circles of expertise and engage their fans across different categories. This social power bestows a unique ability to simultaneously expand a brand’s reach and tap into new or niche segments of consumers that might otherwise have missed a brand’s message or may not have connected with the brand previously.
Also, as Huber confirms: “consumers tend to trust them more”.
Indeed, this same point was recently highlighted in Luxury Society’s expose earlier this year on influencers, their increasing power as judge and jury of brands on a mass scale, and how luxury players can leverage them for mutual benefit.
“ 33% of millennials rely mostly on influencer blogs before they make a purchase ”
If you needed any further proof, Forbes magazine recently published research which identified that only 1% of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more, and 33% rely mostly on influencer blogs written before they make a purchase, compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines and books.
“It’s also very important to showcase the brand universe to the fans, taking them behind the scenes (pictures from events, photo-shoots, partnerships) and displaying all the craftsmanship and attention to details that goes into creating the products,’ Huber says.
Even Chanel, renown for its ultra-tight leash on brand image, is letting fans behind the scenes these days via its Instagram channel. The brand – number two by volume of followers on the Luxury Society/Digital Luxury Group luxury Instagram ranking – recently posted a behind-the-scenes video on its Instagram of Karl Lagerfeld’s newest short film for Chanel, “Once and Forever,” starring actress Kristen Stewart as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel herself.
Chanel’s official Instagram account
“The goal is to show an aspirational lifestyle content, so that people can relate to it, be attracted by it, and therein become brand advocates.”
One way to do this, according to Huber, is by featuring customers wearing the brand’s products, although he warns this strategy is “not for all brands”.
Social media has risen to become a revolutionary force precisely because of its ability to connect with all manner of consumers globally, so it goes without saying that brands should leverage this aspect of the tools at their fingertips.
On this note, Huber says that luxury brands need to use their social media channels, including Instagram, to build a relationship and rapport with their customers and fans.
“ Luxury brands need to use their social media channels to build a relationship and rapport with their fans ”
“Engage with your audience, and reply to their questions/complaints.”
In this same vein, appreciation goes a long way on social media and with any consumer fan base, so: “always give credit and thank people”, he advises.
Lets’ face it – no-one likes a bore.
As Huber confirms – those who do best on all avenues of social media, are those who keep it interesting by using “different formats (photos and videos), and mix the type of content they post (product, event, UGC, influencer, etc) in order to give some kind of rhythm when scrolling the profile”.
Again, Elie Saab is a great example of this, mixing it up on Instagram by posting both videos and photos consistently.
Mercedes Benz, number one-ranked brand by number of interactions is also one to watch, constantly posting an array of action-packed car videos and photos, to showcase the marque in an enviable light.
Finally, Huber suggests that – for luxury in particular, less is often more.
“Luxury brands shouldn’t use too many hashtags, as it cheapens the image and looks desperate,” he says.
In summary, Huber says, “brands should be as authentic/real as possible, but still put a lot of thought into everything you post”.
As Elie Saab confirmed in our case study of their rise to social stardom, with great power, comes great responsibility – so it’s important for brands, particularly luxury brands who’s success is connected to a meticulously curated image, to devise a clever social media strategy, for Instagram as much as for other channels, to truly boost this medium to fruition.
“ It’s particularly important for luxury brands to devise a clever social media strategy ”
So, there you have it folks – we hope this article has contributed positively to your social media endeavours and, for those already at the top of their game, confirmed a few fast facts.
As I mentioned earlier on in the piece, this article was brought to you by your fellow Luxury Society members who communicated their desire for further content – so the moral of the story is: connect and you shall receive.
Luxury Society writes, researches and publishes for you, our members – so contact us and express your opinions via the Luxury Society network, Twitter (@LuxurySociety), LinkedIn or Facebook. No – we don’t currently have an Instagram account – how’s that for irony? But stay tuned…
To further investigate social media and digital brand innovation on Luxury Society, we invite you to explore the related materials as follows:
- Optimising Social Media For Luxury: Instagram
- Top 10 Most Popular Luxury Brands On Instagram: H1 2015
- How Luxury Brands Are Leveraging The New Influencers