How social media platforms and their recent updates can be a valuable tool for luxury brands
2022 has been a busy year on social media, with the growth of short-form content, changes to paid advertising rules, constant updates, and new features across the most popular platforms.
The rise of short form content
The growth of TikTok and Instagram Reels accelerated the rise in popularity of short-form content last year, with viewers spending an average time of 52 minutes a day on TikTok and 53 minutes watching Reels. Both apps have made many updates to accommodate this, offering longer video options, voiceover effects and a variety of filters, among many other things, to increase interest and engagement. The algorithm used by TikTok and Instagram Reels makes going viral and reaching a target audience more accessible for individuals and businesses alike, offering your content to users that have previously liked or interacted with similar content. This is a great way to organically reach a larger audience and gain recognition for luxury brands in the hospitality, real estate, and interior design sectors. Brands such as BLINK Design Group use reels to reach further than their owned audience, and in the last 30 days their reels have reached over 2,000 non-follower accounts.
TikTok’s role as a search engine and the surge in user-generated content (UGC) has been a great asset for many types of businesses this year, with users preferring to see honest reviews rather than sponsored influencer ads. Luxury labels like Hermès have reaped the benefits of UGC as consumers have posted videos showcasing the experience of acquiring their coveted Birkin bags, creating an increased interest in the process across the platform.
Instagram has had many updates in 2022. With the rise in popularity of Reels, more are shown on users’ feeds, with a mix of followed and suggested content. Instagram has introduced a new feature that allows users to pin content to the top of their profile. This is an excellent feature for all users, as it gives them the option to feature their preferred content, such as award wins or new products and services. JW Marriott in Khao Lak (@JWMarriottKhaoLak) uses this feature by pinning posts about new openings within the hotel and beautiful photos of the entrance, ensuring that visitors to their profile will see this information right away, without having to sift through other content. Additionally, this strategy helps to keep these particular posts engaged with visitors over time. An update to the map now allows users to search a whole area for businesses and their related images, which is a great feature for local small businesses or hotels to gain recognition and show users and prospective clients what their business genuinely looks like. This is another feature that @JWMarriottKhaoLak uses, tagging their location on most of their posts to ensure their images appear when users search for the hotel’s location. In one of the app’s most recent updates, users are now able to add a song to still image posts, offering a great way to show brand consistency where relevant.
In 2022, LinkedIn began emerging as a favourite platform among luxury advertisers due to its high-income user base, reaching up to 15% of its ad sales from high-consideration consumer brands like Mercedes-Benz, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton. The 774 million strong platform is attracting luxury brands due to its audience of high-income earners that can be targeted with an array of options.
Whilst the platform’s toolset is built to sell business-to-business products and services, they also translate well for high consideration business-to-consumer products that have longer sales cycles. These factors, along with the platform’s privacy and ad-serving concerns, have made LinkedIn a comfortable and effective space for luxury brands to market their products.
LinkedIn’s new analytics section is an especially great tool for brands to use as it allows users to find out exactly who their new followers are and see the sectors they work in, giving a clear idea of whether they could be aspirational clients, competitors, or existing clients.
Pinterest is Quietly Confident
Using platforms such as Pinterest, brands can showcase their products and services to a large audience that may cover demographics they don’t currently reach or advertise to. Interior design firms gain a lot of engagement on Pinterest, as many people use the app for inspiration in day-to-day life. Although some users that see this content may not be the target audience of these firms, the organic reach and monthly view that can be gained from this platform are not to be missed, especially as Pinterest allows creators to add a website link to every post, offering an opportunity for improved SEO.
In 2021, Pinterest launched their Idea Pins which introduced video to the platform. Whilst static images remain the dominant media on the platform in 2022, the moving images help break up the content of the boards and draw the user’s attention, making them useful for advertising or more promotional content. During 2022, the Creator Rewards Program for Idea Pins ended, potentially affecting the numbers being created in 2023.
Pinterest has reported that in the UK, their users are 39% more inclined to buy luxury items as gifts regularly in comparison to users on other platforms. There has been a noticeable increase in searches for luxury cosmetics, accessories, and gifts on the platform, providing an opportunity for luxury brands to design focused advertising campaigns to raise their visibility in more broad searches where they might not typically have a high ranking. YSL Beauty promoted their LIBRE perfume for Mother’s Day on Pinterest, resulting in reaching 84% of their target audience and seeing a 23% lift in sales on their online store.
It is predicted that in 2023 short-form content will continue to rise in popularity, alongside user-generated content. Sharing UGC rather than paying a well-known but possibly irrelevant influencer will create a more trustworthy feel for brands as it shows they trust their customers to speak about their products or services. Shopping directly through social media apps is likely to continue to grow, with Instagram shopping gaining popularity in the last two years, and TikTok launching its shop in early 2022, which can directly tie in with the growth of UGC, with creators able to easily link the products they are using or advertising. User-generated content can work very well for luxury brands too, for example in sectors such as hospitality interior design, guests at hotels can show followers a clear view of the layout and design in an authentic setting, rather than just professional photos of empty rooms. The biggest challenge in the growth of short-form content will be the monetisation of these channels, as users may become accustomed to swiping every few seconds. Being forced to watch an advert will disrupt this flow in a negative way, and if ads cause any negativity then brands are unlikely to use them. No ads mean no revenue for the platform.
Connecting PR and Social Media
PR and social media are quickly becoming more connected, with PR traditionally sending content to magazines and newspapers to be used as written articles, whereas now these news articles can be published as stories with links to online articles, reels with voiceovers, image posts showcasing featured imagery or LinkedIn PDFs that allow users to read the article without leaving the platform. This ensures that social media followers don’t miss important news such as hotel openings or new project announcements that people not in the industry may miss. It is now the role of the social media team to convert long-form PR content into a format and style that social media users are more familiar with. To ensure that PR and social remain connected, our social team works closely with our client’s PR teams throughout campaigns to ensure the key messages are conveyed.
Near the end of 2022, the launch of Chat GPT3, an AI language model with the ability to write user requested content near instantaneously is set to disrupt the digital marketing sector. Social media teams can use CHAT GPT to generate ideas and produce a vast amount content quickly and easily. This sudden shift in the amount of social media content being created will make it harder for users to reach the more high-quality content.
Social media is a vital channel for brands to connect with potential and existing clients, enhancing their brand visibility and SEO whilst taking advantage of the variety of platforms available. Luxury brands use this platform to showcase the exclusivity and uniqueness of their products and services, share their brand narrative and maintain a consistent brand voice, all whilst safeguarding their reputation.