As a reaction to its declining fortunes a few years ago Burberry decided to overhaul its marketing strategy and the company currently allocates around 60% of its ad budget to digital.
For that reason it’s often highlighted as a brand that’s ahead of the curve in terms of social marketing.
That obviously makes it the perfect subject for our regular series looking at how major brands use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
Burberry recently reached 15m Facebook fans, which is an impressive number for a luxury brand.
It keeps these people entertained with regular updates, which generally yield a few thousand comments and ‘likes’, but at the top end Burberry’s posts achieve upwards of 20,000 ‘likes’.
Most of the content at the moment centres on ads for Burberry’s new sunglasses range and its Acoustic campaign.
The sunglasses ads are fairly standard glossy marketing images, featuring Romeo Beckham grinning and pointing at indifferent models.
Much of the rest of the content follows a similar theme, with photo albums of new product ranges. A gallery of the spring/summer accessories collection has proven to be particularly popular, clocking up almost 240,000 ‘likes’.
The Burberry Acoustic campaign is more interesting as it features a number of different bands promoting products in a way that ties into the company’s identity as an authentic, British brand.
Some of the acts are well-known, such as Jake Bugg and The Feeling, while others appear to be unsigned. As it’s a Burberry campaign they’re all extremely stylised and generally quite middle-of-the-road, but it also means the brand has a huge amount of original, shareable content that it can push out through various social channels.
Often the most effective social campaigns are those that offer fans rewards or exclusive content, such as Ikea’s sleepover.
Burberry has adopted a similar strategy by posting special invites for Facebook fans to watch live fashion shows. There have been two or three already this year, one of which was promoted using a note to fans apparently handwritten by the designer.
The social team then follows up the live stream with photo galleries of the different collections and images from behind the scenes. It’s a clever way of making sure the brand gains maximum impact and exposure from each of its events.
It’s also worth noting a few older Burberry campaigns, in particular its perfume sampling and trench coat promotions.
Back in 2011 Burberry unveiled a new body fragrance product and distributed samples exclusively to its Facebook fans before making it available to the general public.
FMCG companies such as Heinz and Cadbury have run similar campaigns recently, as it builds brand loyalty by making customers feel valued.
Burberry’s ‘Art of Trench’ minisite is an ambitious project that allows people to upload images of themselves wearing one of the brand’s trench coats, with the aim of ‘creating a body of images reflecting personal style from across the globe.’
Users can share the images through Facebook or Twitter or comment on them within the site.
There are probably somewhere up to 1,000 images on the site so it’s had an okay response, but personally I don’t really see the point.
Burberry has almost 1.9 million followers on Twitter and tweets several times per day. As with the Facebook page, a majority of the content is currently focused on the new sunglasses range and Burberry’s various musicians.
Every single tweet includes either a video or an image, often of celebrities wearing Burberry clothes at social events.
Interestingly there are very few links back to Burberry’s ecommerce site. Instead it uses Twitter to promote and build its brand image, leaving it up to users to find their way to the online store.
It’s also worth noting that a company often identified as having an excellent social strategy makes no effort to respond to other Twitter users through this feed.
Instead all the tweets are pre-planned marketing messages, meaning that to an extent the brand remains aloof from its followers.
Burberry has a separate feed for customer service, which is a strategy adopted by many other retailers as it means marketing messages and customer queries don’t get mixed up with one another.
The one time in recent months that it has communicated directly with its followers was as part of an initiative to reward people for retweeting one of its images.
The social team created personalised messages for everyone who shared the image, which acted as a reward for engaging with the content and also helped create a personal attachment with the brand. It's also likely that the recipients shared the new images with their own social circles.
In a similar campaign last June, the social team sent personalised messages to all users who congratulated the brand on reaching one million followers.
One final example of Burberry using Twitter to offer fans exclusive content is its ‘Tweetwalk’ campaigns, which gave users access to behind-the-scenes images just before models step onto the catwalk at fashion shows.
As with the Facebook galleries, it’s a great example of coming up with new ways to maximise the amount of content the brand creates from each event.
Looking at the customer service feed, the team tries to take conversations out of the public domain by getting customers to email or direct message them, which is again a common tactic among brands. On average this feed tweets a few times a day at most.
Burberry’s glossy imagery is perfect for Pinterest, so it’s no surprise that it has just over 47,000 followers. It has pinned 2,895 images across 20 boards, with all but one featuring the brand name in the title.
They include ‘Burberry Weather,’ ‘Wearing Burberry,’ ‘Burberry Menswear’ and ‘Burberry Eyewear,’ with the odd one out being ‘The Britain.’
Overall the boards are an appealing mix of product ideas, celebrities, music videos and pictures of London, which is precisely the kind of thing people enjoy sharing on Pinterest.
However every single pin was either uploaded by Burberry or links to its ecommerce store. This is consistent with its Twitter strategy where Burberry generally shies away from actively engaging with its followers.
Overall it adds to the luxury allure of the brand, as it remains aloof and exclusive rather than being friendly and accessible.
While many brands put very limited effort into G+, Burberry keeps its page regularly updated with videos, photos and other eyecatching content.
Much of the content appears to be repurposed from Facebook and Twitter, however the order in which it’s posted varies slightly.
And despite the fact that the page looks great and is constantly updated there is very little interaction with each post, but that’s generally the case with G+.
Burberry doesn’t appear to have used Hangouts at all, which is missing a trick as they have signed up some famous musicians and also work with well-known designers.
A Hangout would be a good way of rewarding fans and followers by giving them access these celebrities, however it also doesn’t really fit with Burberry’s standoffish brand image.