Social Media Revolutionizes Friend-Get-A-Friend Via Luxury Brand Promotions
Luxury brands wanting to acquire new customers should make friend-get-a-friend promotions a priority
Social media might be a luxury brand's best friend, especially when it comes to attracting new customers. According to a new study from Unity Marketing, Affluent Consumers and How They Use the Internet, Social Media, and Mobile Devices, the number one reason affluents connect with brands is because they have learned something interesting about the brand or company through one of their social media friendships.
How two brands tapped social media to grow their followers virally
Using social media for friend-get-a-friend promotions has important implications for luxury marketers needing to grow their customer base in a competitive economy.
Consider Audi. The company used it Super Bowl advertising spot on this year to generate social media buzz through a contest. Social media activists were asked to mobilize their community of followers in order to win $25,000 for the charity of their choice. They were asked to use the Twitter hashtag tool #progressis to tweet a 140-character definition of 'progress.' The result: Audi's contest mobilized hundreds of thousands of social media mentions of Audi through Twitter, Facebook posts and YouTube mentions. This marks one of the groundbreaking uses by a luxury brand of traditional advertising to drive social media activity.
Or consider Canadian Club Whiskey. This brand sponsored Canadian Club's Hide a Case contest, in which friends were encouraged to invite five of their friends to the brand's Facebook page. For every five friends a user converted, they got a free Canadian Club t-shirt. For the price of some t-shirts, Canadian Club nearly doubled its Facebook fan population from 16,000 to 30,000, and there is reason to believe these new fans are poised to become Canadian Club customers.
Friend-get-a-friend promotions have added dimension and reach through social media
"Friend-get-a-friend promotions have long been recognized as an effective and inexpensive way to attract new customers most likely to be interested in a brand," explains Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the new book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury. "Logically, those most likely to enjoy a brand are the friends of those who are already brand loyalists, as friends tend to have certain demographic and lifestyle similarities. Birds of a feather flock together to the same brands."
Social media takes this marketing truism to another level. Through social media, users are already actively engaged in observing a real-time stream of their friends' likes and dislikes, viewing videos, following links, reading status updates, and "liking" content they find appealing. If a friend indicates brand loyalty by liking a brand page or participating in a contest or promotion, it stands to reason that this user's friend will notice and give that brand their attention too. After all, people are more prone to be influenced by their friends than by advertising and commercial communications.
"The new research study of how affluents are using the internet in their luxury lifestyle shows that social media is about forming connections and relationships, and this is true for brands as well as individuals," says Danziger. "On a social media platform, the brand that gains one fan stands to be recognized by that fan's entire social circle. However, setting the right tone in these friend-finding endeavors takes a different approach than that used in traditional marketing campaigns. Setting this tone begins by understanding who is online, how they behave, and how they use social media; our new report points the way."
New trend report shows you how affluents use the internet, social media and mobile devices in their luxury lifestyles
To better understand affluent consumers' online shopping and social media landscape, Unity Marketing conducted a survey of 1,237 affluent consumers from January 6-13, 2011 (avg. income $308,700; age 43.9 yrs; 42 percent male/58 percent female) who use the internet, social media, and -- new this year -- mobile devices.
It answers these critical questions about today's online environment so that luxury marketers can develop their online marketing strategies, including how best to use social media for building their brand and how to tap the rising power of mobile apps to connect with the affluent shopper:
- How often do affluent consumers use the Internet in support of luxury goods and services purchases, what do they buy online, how much do they spend?
- And key for marketers today, how the affluent customers are accessing luxury online -- via computers or mobile; through company websites, social media or through mobile apps?
- When do they turn to the Internet and why they use it?
- What are their favorite luxury websites and what specifically do they value about their favorite websites?
- How do affluent luxury shoppers use social media to learn about luxury brands, share information about luxury brands, and connect with people with similar outlooks on luxury brands?
- What turns them on about using the Internet for luxury purchasing and research?
The new report tracks the trends in affluent's use of the internet. It compares the most current 2011 data with data gathered during 2010, 2007, and 2005 to paint a picture of the changing landscape of online action and interaction.
Mobile Apps: Real data about how affluents are using mobile devices to connect with luxury brands
This year's report includes an in-depth look at how affluent consumers use their mobile devices to shop, interact, form relationships, and learn more about their favorite luxury brands.
The investigation includes information on use of mobile devices, use of apps, willingness to pay for apps, and loyalty to mobile apps from luxury brands.
Internet Shopping: What luxury marketers need to know about their customers who shop online
The special investigation questions designed to help luxury marketers and brands better use their websites to attract and retain the affluent shoppers, includes:
- How affluents use the internet via either computers or mobile devices in the past three months, such as shopping, researching purchases, getting gift ideas, connecting with friend, travel plans, watching video content, local news etc.
- How many hours on a weekly basis they typically use the internet for personal interests and activities, as well as for shopping-related activities.
- About internet shopping, what product and/or service categories they are most likely to use the internet to access and how much in total they spend on the internet making purchases in the study period
- How they find a website for shopping, such as internet search, experience with website from a store that they know, experience with online-only etail site, promotional link, etc.
- Features of importance that attract affluents to internet shopping, such as convenience, price comparisons, product research, finding brands can't easily find in a store, etc.
- About websites devoted to luxury brands and the features of most importance to attract the affluent shopper, such as product descriptions, pictures, return policy, customer ratings, etc.
- How online shopping compares to in-store, whether the affluents surveyed like online better than in-store or vice versa. The results will surprise you!
- A detailed list of websites and flash websites used in the study period, including etailers such as Amazon.com, eBay.com and net-a-porter, as well as flash sites such as Gilt.com, Hautelook, Rue LaLa, etc.
Social Media: How affluents use social media, plus track trends in social media usage in the past year
On social media, the following details about affluents use of social media were gathered:
- Whether they have profiles on any social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and on which of their social media sites are they most active.
- How frequently they log onto their most active social networking site and how many people they are connected with.
- Why they use social media, such as to share photos, to reconnect with old friends and classmates, to get news, professional networking, to learn about brands/companies/products, etc.
- Specific ways they have used social media, for example whether they have become or currently are a fan or follower of a brand, used social networks to learn about products or brands, etc.
- For those affluents who are connected or have been connected with a brand, what influenced them most to connect to the brand, such as insider news, interact with community of people who like the brand, get coupons, etc.
- Specific uses of Facebook and Twitter and for those not connected with a brand, their likelihood to do so in the next year.
- Use of advertising on social media sites, such as clicking through.
- Whether ever bought a product because of social media interaction, such as customer review, receipt of an email, blog post, etc.
The new trend report, Affluent Consumers and How They Use the Internet, Social Media, and Mobile Devices: An In-Depth Profile of the Online Luxury Customer, also includes the detailed crosstabs of all research questions so that subscribers can do their own in-depth research to meet their unique needs.
Demographics of those Surveyed
In the survey the average age of respondents was 443.9 years and average household income was $308,700, net wealth $9.2 million. One-third of the affluents polled were classified as 'ultra-affluents,' those at the top 2% of U.S. households with incomes of $250,000.
Virtually all respondents use the internet for personal uses, including shopping. Further over 80% of affluents are social media users.
A segment called 'heavy-users' were identified as important for luxury marketers when planning internet and social media strategy. The heavy users are affluents who used the internet for four or more hours per week for shopping purposes.
(Note: the average number of hours for all respondents was 5 hours -- up from 4 hours on average in 2010 -- thus the segment of heavy users are those who spent more than the average amount of time shopping on the internet.)