Public Relations practitioners and communicators in general took social media for granted for a long time but now these social communities are the best and biggest things since slice bread. Everyday I open my email there is another invitation to attend a conference, seminar, webinar etc. on some social media tool like this one today for example from Amy Jefferies, Communications Director PR News.
Leading Social Media Communicators to Gather November 10 in Las Vegas for PR News’ Twitter Conference
Here in Barbados I recommended a Facebook Page to one of our “high end” clients and their response was: "Oh no, that is something that lesser persons in this industry do." (I cannot disclose the industry to protect the client’s identity and of course to keep my job). This type of response was previously the norm until major corporations in every industry around the world recognized the importance and started to use social media tools such as etc.
Tiffany and Co., Ralph Lauren, Versace, BMW, Clinique, Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts are a few of the companies which provide luxury brands and services; that have Facebook pages. But 'necessity is the mother of invention' and companies with small to zero advertising budgets have jumped on the social media bandwagon from early on and have been cashing in. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn whatever your fancy, these tools present a great way to interface directly with customers.
While I appreciate that the market for luxury brands is ultimately different than mainstream brands, many of the same rules still apply. Luxury brands have shown that not only is this possible, but great things can be achieved without having to lose the values that a luxury brand survives on. Companies are forced to come onboard because that is where their customers are going and talking about them, this still applies for higher end brands. Perhaps even more so. Luxury brands need to know what their key influencers and stakeholders are saying about them online, because they really are setting the trends.
Yes, your 13 year old daughter uses social media, but so do millions of users from across multiple demographics around the world. The market is no longer fixed in one location. We need to be where ever the market is – monitoring, managing and promoting.