Should Luxury Brands Use Social Media?

by Katy Blake

It's a debate that is almost as old as social media itself. Should luxury brands be social, or does that undermine their exclusivity?

When Twitter and Facebook first launched, most brands decided to stay away, preferring to maintain their niche and elite status. That has all changed, though. 

Burberry, for example, now dedicates 60% of it's advertising budget to digital. It's had a huge amount of success on sites such as Facebook and Instagram, including that memorable Art of the Trench campaign.

Chanel, which joined Twitter in 2011, has recently taken to Instagram - and the brand already had 1.7 million followers on the site, despite never posting. It's now one of best performing luxury brands on the platform, with posts such as this:

One of the most quoted cases of a luxury brand shying away from social is high-end culture/design publisher Monacle. 

Andrew Tuck, the editor, said that the magazine publishes 40,000 words each month, and the opinions of its editors can be found all over the radio. They are refusing to share their articles over social media, though, and are actively boycotting Twitter and Instagram. 

Social media feels a little like too much exposure. For our brand, it just seems a bit uncomfortable.
— Andrew Tuck, Monacle

Rolex are a little more open. They've had a Facebook page for a year, but post only a few times a month, and the content is usually very similar to its print adverts. They also have Twitter and Instagram accounts, but these are locked down, and anyone requesting access is vetted first.

They are not oblivious to the data. And they are right to not just rush into channels because the brand is so admired. You cannot start a Twitter stream and then stop it.
— Sarah Kotlova, who handles digital for Rolex

Apple are another famous channel who haven't yet embraced social, although they are starting to make the right moves - they created a colourful Tumblr to promote the cheaper iPhone 5C this year, and they've been hiring hot social talent from the likes of Nike. They are keeping tight-lipped on whether they'll be embracing any social channels in the near future, though.

What about the luxury brands that are embracing social?

Luxury mobile phone manufacturer Vertu is one company that's trying. There is an official Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, although the strategy has altered dramatically over recent months, from posting once a day to up to five times a day, multiple times per week and back to once a day. 


The company currently has 143,888 fans on Facebook, although engagement can be hit and miss, and a large amount of the audience appears to be people who can't afford the $15,000 phones - although they certainly aspire too. 

So should luxury brands be on social?

Data from Brandwatch seems to suggest yes. 

98% of affluent customers with an income of over £250,000 per annum use digital media to communicate, with 71% using social media.
— Brandwatch study, 2014

That's not all, either. Being on social media gives you a great insight into your customers, including where they live, what their interests are and why they like your brand. Burberry used its social media to inform its Christmas retail last year, and grew revenue by 14% to £528m. 

Finally, if you aren't on social media, you're left in a much weaker position if a brand crisis occurs. Reputation is vital in the luxury market, and the only way to have any control over this is to be active and responsive online. 

You can even use social media to identify brand influencers, and use them to amplify your message and increase sales.

So how do you do it?

As always with social media, it's all about the strategy.

Subscribe to the newsletter to make sure you get the next instalment of how luxury brands should be using social. 

The big flaw with the Samaritans' suicide Twitter app

by Katy Blake

When the Samaritans' unveiled their "Radar" app this week, they thought they were launching a new age of suicide prevention.

Samaritans Radar automatically scans the tweets of anyone the user follows, and sends an alert when it finds any potentially suicidal tweets. The alerts are generated based on "trigger phrases" which the charity has not revealed. 

Twitter users were quick to point out the privacy issues with such an app. 

The people you follow won’t know that you’ve signed up to it, and all alerts will be sent directly to your email address.
— Samaritans Website

One of the most popular complaints is that the app would make stalking or harassing someone much easier. A stalker wouldn't even need to monitor the tweets of their victim - they'd receive a helpful email alert when their victim was feeling their most vulnerable.

Others claimed that it would force people with mental health issues away from Twitter, isolating them from a potential support network.

900,000 Twitter Accounts

At the end of the first day, the Samaritans announced that the app now had over 1,500 subscribers, and was monitoring 900,000 Twitter feeds. 

The next day, the app generated 258 alerts - but only 10 of those were deemed to be genuine. The high fail rate is a big drawback, even without the privacy concerns.


On Thursday, the Samaritans responded to privacy concerns by announcing that it would allow individual users to be added to a whitelist. This list was originally created for companies who regularly tweet using words or phrases that the app would pick up on.

In order to opt out, a user must follow @Samaritans on Twitter, and send a direct message asking for removal. All requests will be actioned within 72 hours.

In developing the app, we have rigorously checked the functionality and approach taken and believe that this app does not breach data protection legislation.
— A Samaritans statement

While there is some disagreement on whether current guidelines are breached, if the new Data Protection Regulations are passed in their current form, the app will certainly be in breach for failing to gain "explicit consent". 

What do you think of the app? Would you mind being monitored on Twitter? 

Halloween 2014: Which brands did well?

by Katy Blake

Halloween is a big event on social media. It's no longer just an occasion for retailers, who set to rake in £330m in the UK this year, but a chance for brands across multiple industries to create content that will be seen - and hopefully shared - by millions. 

Here are some of the best and worst attempts this year - 


Samsung UK

Samsung even managed to share the same video multiple times throughout the day, with a different message each time, to keep it fresh but ensure that it reached the maximum amount of people.


Vine was certainly popular this year for Halloween this year, with numerous brands opting to make funny looping videos. Oreo show another example of why they constantly dominate social media with this brilliantly made Halloween monster.


Lowes have built a reputation for helpful, actionable and quick social media videos, and they've stuck to their winning formula for this Halloween-themed video. It's no wonder their fans were delighted. Think of ways to enjoy the holiday without varying too far from what your fans expect, and your seasonal content will always perform well.


Cars and Halloween don't have too much in common, but Mini have got in on the game with a series of images that show off Mini accessories. With that familiar orange border and monochrome colour scheme, there's some definite subliminal messaging going on! 


After their #Bendgate tweets, KitKat established themselves as the new Oreo - and their Halloween pranks today have backed that up. Definitely worth a look, if you don't follow them already.

And the losers? Walmart...

Walmart hit hot water early this week, after an eagle-eyed shopper spotted that they were selling "Fat Girl Costumes". 

WIthin hours of the discovery, #Fatgirlcostumes was trending on Twitter, and thousands of users were demanding an explanation. The story was picked up and published by thousands of news sites, including Jezebel, Time, People and CNN, before Walmart decided to issue an apology.

"This should never have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologise." announced a spokesperson for the company. They also promised to ensure that this never happens again.

The apology wasn't the end of the matter, though...while social media users waited to see what would replace the offensive headline, they found a string of offensive product descriptions, including racist American-Indian outfits, Gypsy costumes and a "Fat Tinkerbell" costume for men with a description beginning...

Tinkerbell has really let herself go since she has been out of work for so many years!


Did you spot any interesting Halloween content this year? 

Social Media Today: Who is there, and why you need to be

by Katy Blake

Facebook attracts 1.23 billion monthly active users. Twitter achieves 232 million. 

That doesn't mean you should redirect your budget to Facebook, though. The demographics of each site are very different. After all, it doesn't matter how many people are there if they aren't your target audience! 

Females are just ahead of males on both networks, although there is a fairly even mix on Facebook. It's interesting to note that Twitter is more popular than Facebook - it could be that the sheer amount of content on Twitter makes it more enchanting, similarly to Pinterest.

It's also interesting to note that Twitter has a much younger demographic than Facebook. While Twitter is the social network of choice for people aged between 18 - 29, with 75% of usage made up of people between 18 - 49, Facebook has a much older demographic. Almost 75% of Facebook usage is made up of people older than 29. 

Coca-Cola own the second most visited page on Facebook. Facebook own the first, with "Facebook for every phone."

For Twitter, YouTube has the most popular account. It currently has over 45,992,097 followers.

YouTube's success is less surprising when you remember that video is the most popular content medium on Twitter - and YouTube certainly has a lot of it to share!

Ask questions. It’s one of the best ways to create engagement.

Ask a question on Facebook, and you'll increase comments by 100%. Ask the same question on Twitter, and you'll see a 22% rise in responses. 

As you'd expect, images also have a big impact on engagement. Post a photo on Facebook, and you'll get 53% more likes and 104% more comments. On Twitter, you'll see a 39% increase in clicks and a 41% increase in retweets. Make good use of images!

Keep it short, regardless of where you are posting - Twitter will limit you to 140 characters anyway, but Facebook status' with less than 250 characters get 60% more engagement.

Remember, as useful as stats like these are, it could be different for your audience. Trial them, and check your stats! 

Need a help with your social media strategy? I'd be happy to help manage your profiles, or run an audit on your current activities. Send me an email at! 


Take Five: Ello Explained In Five Steps

by Katy Blake

If you’ve been online in the past week, you’ve probably heard of Ello. Fear not if you don’t quite understand it yet, though – here’s Ello, explained in five.

  1. What is Ello?

Ello is an “independent, ad-free, porn friendly” social media network that has been dubbed the “anti-Facebook”. It was initially launched back in March, although it failed to make the news until this week.

2. What does Ello do?

Ello appears to be a blend of Tumblr and Twitter. At the moment, the network is quite limited. Users are able to post a text, photo or GIF status update, and to comment on other people’s updates. There is also a search function, but this appears to be quite glitchy at the moment.

3. Why has Ello gone viral?

There are a few rumours about why Ello has suddenly hit the news, but it appears to all be linked to the ongoing Facebook privacy debate.

In short, Facebook upset a lot of people when it enforced its “real name only” policy, including a vocal LGBT group, and a selection of high-profile drag performers. Facebook officials met the group to try and agree a way forward, but no permanent solution could be found – instead, Facebook agreed to “temporarily” reinstate the groups’ accounts.

The group quickly joined Ello, and invited their Facebook communities to do the same.

4. What are Ello’s biggest problems?

At the moment, the biggest criticisms of Ello surround its limited functionality and lax security.

As of today, there is no way to block other users of Ello, or to report inappropriate content. There is also no way to set up a private profile. Ello has announced that it is planning to incorporate these features, along with mobile apps, but cannot commit to a release date yet.

On a site that publicly announces that it is “porn friendly”, being able to flag or remove inappropriate content is pretty important! There have already been a few controversial posts doing the rounds on the site.

5. How do I get an Ello invite?


There are two ways to get an Ello invite – either by signing up via the website, or by asking someone who is already on the site to invite you. Invited users get priority over the website waiting list.

However you get your invite, though, you might be in for a wait until you can join. The founder announced that the site had gone from an average of 4,000 requests per hour to over 27,000 requests per hour, and they have began suspending the invite ability while they clear the backlog.

So what do you think? Will you be joining the site?

Want to stay up-to-date with the latest social media news? Subscribe to my once-a-week newsletter for all the social media news and tips that you’ll need to stay on top of the game. 

5 Advanced Twitter Marketing Techniques To Try Right Now

by Katy Blake

Ready to take your Twitter marketing to the next level? Try implementing one of these advanced Twitter strategies to really see results – they’re designed to be quick and easy, so you’ve got no excuse not to try one of them today!

1. Mix It Up With Multimedia And Links


Okay, so using multimedia and links in Tweets isn’t new, but it’s definitely necessary.

First, don’t always put your link at the end of your tweet. While that is the most common format, it’s also the least effective. A study by Hubspot data scientist Dan Zarrella found that links near to the start of the tweet had a much higher click-through rate than those placed at the end. Mix up your format, and see where your links perform their best. I’ve found 25-30% of the way into the tweet is my sweet spot! 

Don’t just change your link strategy, though. Try adding new forms of multimedia. If your audience is used to no multimedia, add images. If you always use images, try embedding a video or GIF. You get the idea!

2. Make Lists

Many new Twitter users don’t bother with the Twitter list function, but it’s one of the greatest features. Spend some time compiling lists of people. One list, for example, should be thought-leaders and influencers in your industry. Another list could be competitors.

Once you’ve got your lists set up, you can quickly jump into them to see what your rivals are doing, or to find great content to talk about and share.

3. Use Advanced Search

Twitter’s advanced search is brilliant. Not only can it find a huge amount of tweets on a specific keyword, but your can also geotarget. Yep, that’s right: you can find people within a set radius of you that need a bed for the night, for example.

Advanced search is a little hidden away – type a word into the search bar in Twitter, and on the results page, you’ll find a link to the advanced search. Have a play around with the different settings – you can guarantee you’ll be ahead of the competition if you embrace this now.

4. Engage With Anyone

Okay, maybe not anyone. There can be some strange people on the internet! Don’t be worried about talking to the competition, though. A great example of this is @SouthWestAir and @JetBlue. They might be rivals, but they follow each other (why wouldn’t they? They have a lot of the same interests…) and have jokey conversations all the time.

Look out for some competition now, and see if there are any conversations you can start or join in with. You’ll put yourself at the front of your audiences’ mind, and you’ll get extra exposure among their audience, too.

5. Check Out Sentiment

If you’ve already looked at Twitter’s advanced search, I bet you didn’t spot the “other” field. Way down the bottom, Twitter offers four tickboxes, labelled “positive”,”negative”,”question?” and “include retweets”.

You can do quite a few things with this information. You can get an idea of social sentiment around a current issue, and you can look for praise or criticism directed at you or your competitors. The best thing, though? You can use the “question?” box to find people who need something that you have. Search for keywords relating to your business. Someone could be looking for a hotel recommendation near you, or asking about something that you sell. It’s a lead, just waiting for you to find it.

Go and try one of these right now, and send your Twitter marketing to the next level.

Facebook finally bans Like-gating

by Katy Blake

Last week, Facebook announced that it would no longer allow ‘like-gating’. What does that mean, and how will it affect you?

What Is Like Gating?

Like-gating is a relatively common Facebook practice where different content is shown to fans and non-fans. Before Facebook updated their layout, Facebook tabs were very prominent, and companies could force fans to ‘like’ their page in order to access a specific tab. That tab could contain anything from a competition to voucher codes or useful content.

Most pages used a third-party app to determine if a user was a fan or not, and show them the relevant content. For example, for a fan, your competition could say; “Click to enter!”. For a non-fan, it could say; “Like our page, and then click to enter!”, complete with an arrow highlighting the ‘Like’ button.

This functionality will stop working in apps from November 5th, and no new apps will gain access to it.

What Do The Rules Say?

Facebook’s new rules read;

“You must not incentivise people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a page. It remains acceptable to incentivise people to login to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s page.”


Facebook have released a statement explaining the decision, which reads;

“To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit users and advertisers alike.”

While it may feel that growing your Facebook fans will now be more difficult, there may well be benefits. With the reduction in organic reach on Facebook pages, your posts are only seen by 6 people for every 100 fans that you have. If some of those six are not really interested in your page, but wanted to win a competition, they are unlikely to engage with your content, and could unlike your page or hide the content. Both ignoring the content and responding negatively will stop Facebook showing the content to other people. So, only showing content to your real fans is beneficial.

What Should You Do Now?

This change won’t have any affect on current fans, so you won’t see a big drop in numbers. You might, however, see that your likes increase more slowly than usual if you tend to run a lot of competitions.

Instead of incentivising users with a prize, try incentivising them with great content. Spend the money that would have gone on a prize on advertising, and target it to the right people. Make shareable, helpful and genuinely useful content.

Soon you’ll find that your audience is thriving, even without like-gating.

Talking to yourself? How to combat Facebook reach decline

by Katy Blake

When you log in to Facebook, there are 1,500 stories that you could be shown.

If you’ve got a lot of friends and family, or you’ve liked a lot of pages, that could increase to 15,000.

Of course, Facebook doesn’t make all of those posts available to you. They know that you won’t be interested in some of it, and you’ll likely leave the website long before you’ve consumed even 25%. That’s why they’ve created a more intelligent newsfeed, with the aim of only showing you posts that you are likely to be interested in.

With this newsfeed, you are likely to see a maximum of 300 stories when you log in, and they’ll have been pre-selected to ensure that they are the posts that you want to see.

What does this mean for content creators?

While this sounds like good news to Facebook users, it’s caused some drama for brands and businesses on Facebook. The average post on Facebook is now seen by 4.5% of your fanbase – which isn’t very much. Last October, that same post would have been seen by 55% of your audience.

How does Facebook decide what to show?

While some of the metrics that Facebook uses have not been disclosed, the following are all used as metrics:

  • A users internet speed and device. If your content is a long HD video, it probably won’t be shown to people on a slow internet connection.
  • A users favourite post types. Engage with images more than text? Expect to see more photo posts. Love videos? Your newsfeed will adapt to that, too.
  • Which posts a user doesn’t like. If a similar post has been hidden as spam, your post is unlikely to show.
  • Engagement with Facebook Ads. If a user has engaged with one of your adverts, or a similar advert, your post is more likely to show.

The old Edgerank system has also been built into the newsfeed, namely via these metrics:

  • Affinity. How much does a user engage with your page. The more engagement you get, the better your relationship is ranked, and the more content your user will see.
  • Weighting. Facebook weights different post types. At the moment, photos are thought to be preferred to text posts, for example. This changes fairly regularly.
  • Decay. How old is your post? Older posts are seen to be less relevant, so are unlikely to show. The exception is posts which get a large amount of ongoing engagement – such as a comment debate. 

Should we ditch Facebook?

When Facebook first announced these changes, there was a big debate over whether companies who didn’t have Facebook promotion in their budgets should leave the platform.

However, lower reach isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Reach has no direct correlation with important, trackable statistics such as leads, visits or purchases.

Don’t leave Facebook purely because your organic reach has decreased. Instead, work out whether it has had any affect on your actual aims and objectives, and make a decision from there.

How can we improve organic reach?

There are a few key ways that organic reach can be boosted. Try these techniques, and see how they affect how many people see, and engage with, your posts.

  • Be open. Sharing a “behind-the-scenes” view of your company is interesting to customers, and has become a winning tactic for Fortune 500 companies.
  • Be positive. Have a cheerful tone of voice, and share good news. Bring some sunshine into your customers day.
  • Work out your own peak time. Don’t choose times because everyone else seems to post then – that means your post has more competition. Posting “off-peak” can give your post a better chance of being seen.
  • Use original content wherever you can. Don’t leave home without a camera, and cover everything!
  • Ask questions. Don’t use this tactic to sneakily share links, though – it’s aim is to engage your audience and increase interaction, not to promote your brand. Talk to your customers as people, and your reach could shoot up.
  • Post images that are self-explanatory. They should catch the eye, and encourage people to hit that ‘Like’ button. It’s worth investing in excellent imagery to help you stand out!
  • Jump on current trends, and see how your audience response. Flashback Friday, for example, is pretty easy for most companies but can have excellent results.

Remember that on Facebook, your competition isn’t just your industry rivals. It’s your customers’ friends, family and colleagues. To stand out, you’ll have to do more than just sell.

Have you found any great ways to increase organic reach? Let me know in the comments!