Instagram is a social media network on fire for luxury, but the key to a plum post remains a mystery for most. Here, Luxury Society looks behind the numbers to discover what attracts the eyeballs.
Earlier this year, Luxury Society published a ranking of the Top 10 luxury brands on Instagram by both number of followers and interactions.
The results, collated from recent research by Digital Luxury Group (DLG), revealed that fashion brands by far outstrip any other players by luxury sector by both measurements, loosely followed by brands in the accessories, watches and automotive fields.
“ We noticed our readership was most interested in not solely who was in the Top 10, but how they got there ”
However, captivating as that information was, what we noticed via feedback – from both our member network and social media chatter across channels – was that what our readership was most interested in was not solely who was in the Top 10, but how they got there.
Being the kind souls we are – with a nod to Instagram’s 5th birthday milestone last month – we decided to the legwork and find out. This is what we uncovered via an exclusive case study from one of the Top 10.
“ Elie Saab’s growth rate on Instagram has doubled every year, with 2015 proving to be the most successful ”
Interestingly, for luxury couture brand Elie Saab – number 8 on the DLG Instagram ranking by number of interactions – the road to social media stardom on Instagram started from modest beginnings, with no solid strategy behind the method at the start.
“We decided to launch an Instagram account as a subsidiary tool using the application’s photo filters to customise the photos we share on Twitter,” reveals a representative for the brand.
From there, the brand’s trajectory went North – aided by torrents of fresh and engaging photographs, increased posting frequency, and daily monitoring of live feedback from their customers.
According to the representative, Elie Saab’s growth rate on Instagram has doubled every year, with 2015 proving to be the most successful – surpassing last year’s follower increase by a whopping 80%.
“Since the first post in November 2011, Instagram has become a major communication tool for the brand proving to upscale other social media platforms we are present on by having the highest growth rate in followers and engagement,” the brand says.
It seems their meteoric rise is also set to continue, as fans of the brand increasingly flock to Instagram to connect and consume their visual fodder by the hundreds.
“ Daily monitoring of the live feedback we receive from our audience is a major web-marketing tool ”
“Our posting frequency has shifted from twice a week to almost one or two posts daily, and through close monitoring we’ve noticed that our audience is constantly hungry for more,” the brand reveals.
Obviously enough, it is monitoring, and interacting, with this audience in a meaningful way, which has propelled Elie Saab to its Top 10 ranking by interactions, the brand says. It’s also what keeps them engaged and on edge for the brand’s next post.
“As previously indicated, knowing and understanding your followers is key. Daily monitoring of the live feedback we receive from our audience is a major web-marketing tool used by the team to ensure constant stimulation. In today’s digital age the customer satisfaction-level is given to you on a silver platter and we’ve capitalised on that.
“ Finding the right balance between creativity and consistency is crucial ”
“One feedback in particular that we were able to learn from analysing our social media was the desire of our fans to have more in-depth information about the brand, its universe, and Elie Saab himself.”
Other than illuminating the road to increased interactions, the brand’s methodical monitoring of its audience has also highlighted the potholes to avoid – and the fine line to be travelled between social media stardom and the preservation of its ethos – something arguably more paramount for luxury than any other sector.
“Finding the right balance between creativity and consistency is crucial,” the brand says.
“Throughout the past couple of years we’ve closely monitored the fluctuation of engagement on Instagram: months where our posts saw the highest activity have been now mimicked with a new creative angle. The mimicked posts did twice as well.
“In the long-term, maintaining a consistent brand tone and voice is key in developing a loyal relationship between a luxury brand and its followers. But you have to keep in mind that you are talking to a melting pot of individuals rather than an anonymous audience – the page acts as a representative for the the brand and it’s important to remain neutral.”
Having fortuitously picked a path to social media triumph via Instagram, Elie Saab has now moulded these insights into a sharp social media strategy with teeth, which they have also adapted to their other social media platforms with success.
“With no efforts to advertise, we’ve managed to maintain a very satisfied audience measured by their high level of engagement, especially on Facebook and Instagram where we tend to remain amongst the Top 10 luxury brands with the highest engagement throughout most of the year,” they say.
“ Each social media platform reaches a different audience within our target market ”
“Each social media platform reaches a different audience within our target market, for instance Pinterest does a great job in brand awareness in the Americas while Facebook reaches a more mature age group seen less on other platforms; Instagram is strongest in reaching the wider global audience due to its successful hashtag culture.”
It’s this knowledge garnered, from their Instagram account in particular, which led to the brand’s decision to launch an online magazine in 2014, named The Light of Now, which displays rich storytelling content through seven articles per month developed by a dedicated editorial team in Paris.
According to the brand, its success has surpassed their expectations and the visuals and content produced for the magazine has now in turn helped to feed all its social platforms.
“ Social media is an extremely important component for Elie Saab because it opens up communication to a young & diverse audience ”
Commenting on how much of the brand’s marketing efforts are currently dedicated to social media, Elie Saab says its team is increasingly dedicating resources in creating content specifically for social media, with no signs of slowing down.
“Most projects we undertake now have a social media element to them. It’s an extremely important component for Elie Saab because of the strength and size of our fan base and because it opens up communication to a young and diverse audience,” they say.
“In a way, it also acts as a great regulator of what we are doing and how we are doing it: we are compelled to have regular quality content and it allows us to gather valuable feedback from fans.”
But it’s not just feedback which fuels Elie Saab’s social media fire – according to the brand, in addition to Instagram generating the highest level of luxury brand engagement compared to other social media networks, the channel has also influenced online and in-store sales.
“With the help of the digital-sphere, the luxury shopper is now savvy, they want to live the brand experience through digital storytelling and interaction before their purchases,” the brand says.
“We believe that a large part of this is because, through Instagram, luxury brands are able to deliver aspirational experiences to their consumers.”
Truer words, in this day and age have never been spoken.
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