Social Media Week in London is a week long dose of brilliant thinking from social media experts and influencers. The event features a central stage for keynotes and panels, multiple rooms for workshops, master classes and presentations and an area dedicated to co-working, networking and interactive installations.
I attended a session on how social is affecting the luxury industry and what the future might hold. Experts including Harriet Quick a fashion journalist and consultant and former features editor of Vogue talked through how social media in the travel industry is still a relatively new concept. The luxury travel domain has been more hesitant than other areas of travel in its approach towards social media interaction. Social media has blurred the line between private bespoke engagement with customers and opened up a new dimension between the guest and the service provider
Ten key learnings discussed:
- Exclusivity is key to standing out from the crowd on social media platforms. Brands need to keep their content fresh, relevant and unique in order to maintain user interest and maximise engagement
- Story-telling is integral to travel related social media. Users need to believe in the hotel or destination in order to commit to a holiday and the best way to draw people in is by creating an enticing story around the brand. We know that stories are inherently social and social media is ultimately about making connections.
- Video is an excellent way for brands to communicate a message on social media; an example of story-telling at its best is Cartier’s video that went viral across social media.
- Brand protection is extremely important within the social media arena. Users frequently seek out online platforms to vent their frustrations with a service and brands need to be fully prepared for this. Within the travel sector; hotels and cruise lines more often come under the line of fire and they should therefore have a dedicated team handling social media complaints in a sensitive manner
- When it comes to tonality on social media platforms, brands need to be themselves. A hotel can’t be a hotel to suit every person’s taste and the same can be said in relation to social media. By attempting to please every social media user, brands alienate their true fans and followers. There needs to be a level of consistency so that brands can develop their voice and reach their target market, as opposed to the masses
- We’re moving towards pull versus push approach, sometimes referred to as inbound marketing. We can no longer push our messages across; we need to pull customers in with engaging, useful content
- Influencers are vital. Luxury brands need to seek out key influencers and ambassadors to ensure that their message is reaching the right demographic – often it is more about quality than quantity when it comes to followers
- The term ‘masspirational’ has been coined for luxury brands engaging in social media as there is the argument that it takes away all exclusivity. Top luxury brands in social media are looking for top quality engagement rather than scale
- The luxury sector need to learn to take risks as this is often the only way to establish what works and what doesn’t via social media
- Luxury imagery tells a thousand words in social Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are particularly strong image platforms for luxury brands
Snapshot of social media: