When we say social media, the general assumption seems to be that these sites are less prevalent amongst the higher LSM groups of our society. I mean do you really think that the CEO of your company is spending his lunch hour stalking his high school sweetheart? You’re probably thinking no, and you’re probably right.. but the fact of the matter is that no group is immune to the temptations of the social media boom, least of all these high fliers! With the continued popularity and growth of social media, we look at the impact that it has on these wealthy groups and the ways in which these individuals are engaging with these sites. As research has indicated, not only are these higher LSM groups using social media, but they are in fact using it in an entirely different way!
A study that was conducted by Sparkler identified five distinctive kinds of high LSM Facebook users that differentiated not ito of their economic power but ito of their usage, frequency and engagement. What was interesting was that although the percentage of usage for brands differs according to each group, the majority of these consumers in fact use Facebook to interact with brands. The groups can be classified according to:
- Social network hungry (makes up 16% of total)
- Facebook resident (21%)
- Business elite (13%)
- Facebook observers (35%)
- Unsocials (15%)
This study found that the perception that the wealthy aren’t engaging with social media platforms is in fact just that, a perception. The opportunity exists for brands from all walks of life to engage with high LSM groups through these social platforms (a chance that was potentially previously not available). The obstacle now arises for luxury brands as further competition exists with any and all brands who are present on a social media site. It is simple really.. social sites equals recognition, therefore not being on a social site equals no recognition and this stands true for even our high LSM groups. If a brand is not present on a social media site like Facebook, these consumers are no longer paying attention, luxury brand or not!
A further challenge for our luxury brands is their competition range which has now expanded to include any and all brands engaging on social sites. It is essential for them to become more innovative and unique in their engagement to ensure that they are capturing their high LSM audience. Not as easy as it is for general brands who have a wider market and audience with which to interact. The trick for any brand is to ensure that engagement that is posted on these sites is personal, makes the consumer feel special, but also shows that they are knowledgeable. Given the nature of the targeted market it is also essential for luxury brands to communicate uniquely to the higher LSM to make them feel like a select few, basically eliminating any lower LSM consumers. A kind of catch twenty two scenario.
What still stands true for any consumer is the impact of gifts and promotions. What is positive to see from this study is that not even our high fliers are immune to the temptations of something free or discounted which makes this mode of engagement essential for any brand wishing to captivate a high end market. The challenge arises in the types of promotions and gifts that are given where something can’t seem tacky or cheap or these brands stand the chance of losing their market altogether!
So happy Facebooking, Tweeting and engaging from afar because your market is out there, in fact it is even broader than you think!