Not wanting to engage with the perceived masses on Facebook, high end brands have seen a steep decline in engagement on brand pages, as reported by L2 Think Tank. Brands are missing the opportunity to connect and engage with the “right” customer, effectively throwing out the vintage Chanel with the Goodwill donations.
So, how could these brands market in social while keeping their cooler than thou image?
We should look to the Anna Wintours-in-training. In 2012, cool high school kids have risen to the top of the social hierarchy in the age of Facebook and twitter. Because of this, they have something valuable to teach high end brands. These kids still hold court in the high school cafeteria while posting their exploits to social networks. Sharing doesn’t hurt their image, one could argue they have mastered these channels to the point where posturing on Facebook strengthens their cool kid standing. In brand marketing terms, these young adults naturally cater to the aspirational demographic.
If a brand can imitate the “it” clique in high school (most models would actually be walking the halls of high schools if not for fashion, anyway) then these brands would be able to get attention, create buzz and engage with the right “cool” customer, without sacrificing their social status.
1. Create content that walks the line between real and too cool for school.
The models are goofing off. but they are still gorgeous, well dressed, and making the video in a extremely well appointed room. It’s the equivalent of cool kids taping themselves at a slumber party in a parent’s tribeca loft. You as the audience are let in, but only to a point.
2. There is power in selective engagement.
Think back to any teen movie worth owning on DVD. When the queen bee decides to talk to you, you’re in. When she compliments you on your outfit, you’ve arrived. The it girl knows there is power in acknowledgement, and she wields it effectively. (High school seems ruthless in this post, but hey, so is fashion for the uninitiated.) Brand purveyors should check out Clueless again and do the same thing in social media. If a fashion forward girl tweets out a photo at an ultra glam event wearing your dress, make her popular for the day.
3. Create social campaigns that reward the ideal consumer while holding the attention of the aspirational crowd.
Prom court is the ultimate social campaign. It has everything: buzz, competition, fashion, voting… The audience you want is completely engrossed.
Translated into a simple social media campaign:
“Instagram a photo where you are wearing our product. Our style editors will choose who wore it best. Prize: mind numbingly fabulous.” This type of a campaign achieves two objectives: 1.You highlight your target customer and align them with your brand. 2. You have the ability to channel their enthusiasm for your product in a way that achieves your desired image.
4. Create gated content.
Similar to the cool kid hosting a party at their home and managing the guest list, you have the ability to prompt purchases by offering your branded content as a reward. Bonus: you’ll probably be considered even more exclusive than before.
For ex. Hermès could have a design your own scarf contest on their site similar to Nike ID. But it order to access the design and subsequently share with your friends, you need to pre purchase. This guarantees the right clientele and the exclusive nature of the offer that makes it more valuable.
I’m not saying high end brands should be “mean girls,” but if an inability to project an air of exclusion is the reason they’re afraid of social media, they should simply look to the most popular girl in Everytown, USA for a case study in best practices.