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Luxury retailers learn in the world of social media fingers do the talking

By Dian Vujovich

As the impact of the social media world explodes, even the Pope is tweeting. But just as the pontiff’s brief messages may inspire and impact behavior, the world of luxury brands is also finding insights from their social media endeavors, too. How reliable is the data gleaned? Well, only heaven knows.

Whether you’re a player, i.e. type communicator, or not, it’s hard to escape the huge impact social media has made in America. A decade ago who could have ever imagined that everyone had an opinion that they felt needed to be voiced on every topic imaginable whether they knew anything about the subject or not? But, seems as though everybody does.

Frankly, I’m not a big fan of social media. I don’t know where everyone gets the time to tweet and/or text, than retweet and retext never mind answer the dozens of work-related emails they get in a day. But that’s just me.

On the other hand, research shows there are business benefits to participating in social media.

Thanks to the world of tiny keyboards and opinions galore, one benefit brand name manufactures now have access to is a sense of what consumers want and don’t want and like and don’t like about their products. Or, what those in social media think of their competitor’s wares. In the old days, before fingers did the talking, it was the manufacturer that told the world about their goods. Now it’s the other way around.

Looking only at Facebook, data shows the top three industries folks like most sharing info about are restaurants, consumer electronics and cars. Under that last heading, luxury automakers are at the top of the subject heap. Which of them garner the most interest? BMW, Audi and Lexus, according to L2 Think Tank, a New York City based company.

Move into luxury apparel and a few of the popular top brand names include Tory Burch -it ties with Ferrari in the top 10 list– Lancôme, Swarovski, Hugo Boss and Nars.

“The biggest differentiation from brands at the top and at the bottom is the sizable communities with a lot of engagement,” said Maureen Mullen, director of research and advisory services at L2 Think Tank, New York.

What the world of social media is doing today is providing data that companies once used to spend thousands of dollars on questioning clients about in surveys. Now a lot of that data is coming to them free.

Well, not exactly free. There has to be a someone or team of someone’s to spend their time on say Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Foursquare, or blogging etc. etc. imputing info and then a someone, or another team of them, reading everything written.

Not a job for me. Why not? Besides having much better things to do with my time, nobody really knows anything about who is really writing or commenting. And not knowing one’s audience is never a good thing. Heck, I’ve read that even the Pope isn’t likely to really be the one writing his Twitter comments. Now that’s just not right. Or honest.

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