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Is Twitter Dead For the Luxury Jewelry Retailer? |  July 13, 2016 (0 comments)

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White Plains, NY—Twitter is one of the world’s best known social media platforms.  Launched in 2006, Twitter has 100 million active users who log in at least once a day. But how useful is Twitter for the luxury jewelry retailer? Twitter’s structure and culture make developing strong sales-oriented relationships difficult, but there is some value in keeping your Twitter account active.

Twitter Is Tapped into the World’s Pulse. When breaking news events happen, the world turns to Twitter for real-time, first-hand reports from the scene. While the accuracy of these reports is sometimes questionable, there’s no denying the appeal Twitter has for people who want to know what’s happening right now. Twitter has become the platform politicians, academics, authors, celebrities and brands use to make major announcements. In 2010, Kevin Thau, Twitter’s VP for Business and Corporate Development, said that Twitter is not a social network at all; Twitter is for the news.

Top Jewelry Brands Use Twitter To Broadcast News. The marketing teams at Chanel, Cartier, and Tiffany have definitely taken Thau’s words to heart. Like many top luxury brands, the world’s most well-known jewelry houses use Twitter almost exclusively as a broadcast tool. This means they share videos, images, and posts about their latest collections, celebrities and lifestyle stars wearing their looks, and behind the scenes activities, but they don’t engage in back and forth conversations with their followers and fans. Chanel takes this to an extreme; they have 12.2 million Twitter followers, and follow absolutely no one in return.

Luxury Retail Requires Significant Engagement. While brands can benefit from broadcasting their messaging, the typical luxury retailer performs far better in a digital environment that prioritizes authentic engagement. Conversations drive conversions – both for the parties engaged in the initial exchange as well as the silent masses who simply watch what’s going on. Twitter’s structure, particularly given the recent changes to the way users’ timelines are displayed, is not conducive to this type of engagement.

By every relevant metric – conversion rate, average order value, and market share by visitor count -Twitter is outperformed by social media platforms that offer a better engagement experience. This includes Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and even lesser known sites such as Polyvore and Reddit. These numbers come from Shopify, an e-commerce platform used by a significant portion of jewelers who offer e-commerce.

Twitter’s Engagement Challenges:  A Big Abuse Problem & Stagnating User Base. Despite hopes that CEO Jack Dorsey would encourage a safer, more civil form of discourse, Twitter continues to struggle with abusive users, who use the platform to send racist, sexist and threatening messages to anyone they disagree with.  Celebrity users including Lily James, Iggy Azalea, Nicki Minaj and Robin William’s daughter Zelda, have made well-publicized departures from Twitter, in many instances sharing the hostile messaging that prompted them to leave.  This atmosphere alienates many women, the primary market for the luxury jewelry retailer.

Additionally, Twitter’s user base has stopped growing. The number of active users remained constant during the first quarter of 2016; industry analysts have noted that Twitter appears to have plateaued, with limited opportunities for future growth.

Twitter Announces Shift Away From Commerce. Twitter has tacitly acknowledged that it’s not an ideal sales platform. Less than a year after rolling out Product Pages and Collections, two features that enabled in-platform purchasing with Buy Buttons as well as with links to retailers’ websites, Twitter announced it was discontinuing their development.  The teams that were working on commerce tools have been shifted to dynamic advertising, with an emphasis on driving traffic to mobile websites. This move comes as other social media platforms, particularly Pinterest, expand their commerce tool offerings significantly.

Twitter Can Still Be Useful. Even given Twitter’s limited engagement opportunities and shift away from commerce, the platform does still retain some value for the high end jewelry retailer. Twitter does provide a highly efficient mechanism by which one can stay informed of the latest developments in the jewelry industry.  This includes social trends that impact customer’s purchasing decisions, as was illustrated by The Economist’s recent Tweet (top of page) that read, “Why aren’t millennials buying diamonds?” The tweet linked to an article focused on conflict diamonds and lab-grown diamonds; masses of millennials responded by saying “No, actually, it’s the money,” with additional comments focused on high unemployment rates and massive student loan debt. While this isn’t exactly encouraging news, in this instance, Twitter did give retailers valuable customer insights directly from the source.

Following the jewelry brands and designers most of interest to your customers gives you content to share on other social media platforms; additionally, being able to talk about developing trends and new collections as they launch helps you become a valuable resource to your most aggressively fashion-forward customers.

Twitter can also serve as a discovery tool; their algorithms excel at finding interesting people to follow based upon your previous choices. Use this feature to identify rising star designers and emerging must-have brands. But in my personal opinion this is not a viable platform for today’s luxury retail jewelry store to cultivate as a marketing sales channel.  Customer service is another story – we’ll talk about that next time.

Jennifer Shaheen is the Technology Therapist. For nearly 20 years, she’s been putting her digital marketing expertise and entrepreneurial acumen to work, helping retailers and brands of every size take their businesses to the next level. Jennifer is a national presenter and moderator for Entrepreneur and SCORE, the nation’s most valuable resource for small business, as well as a recurring guest on MSNBC’s Your Business and contributing author to Bank of America’s Small Business Market Place. A dynamic speaker and educator, working with the gift and jewelry industry, including appearances at Leading Jeweler’s Guild, Polygon, American Gem Society Conclave, and JCK Las Vegas. Find out more by visiting www.technologytherapy.com.

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