Luxury Brands, To Retweet or Not To Retweet?

Just as liking has become a behaviour synonymous with Facebook, tweeting and in turn, retweeting have become the behaviours most associated with Twitter.

What is a retweet? According to Wikitionary, it means to repost another user’s message on the social networking website Twitter. Effectively,  a retweet is an acknowledgement of another person or brand’s endorsement of a message from your brand.

When an influencer tweets something positive about a brand, it makes sense to retweet it. The original tweet is earned media and positive word of mouth, which means that a retweet further the potential for the original tweet to influence others.

However generally speaking, luxury brands tend not to trade off associations with their consumers or with other brands, so the question needs to be asked: Should luxury brands incorporate retweeting into their Twitter strategy? 

Before you begin, the first question you need to ask is: How does retweeting fit into my Twitter strategy & objectives?

If you’ve decided that your Twitter strategy is purely about providing brand information without any follower engagement, then you need to strongly consider whether retweeting is for your brand, as it is effectively a tacit form of conversation.

After all that, if you’ve decided, yes, retweeting does fit into your luxury brand’s Twitter strategy, then (as always) there are a few things that need to be decided.

1. Who will you retweet?

Some brands have decided that it’s within their strategy to retweet industry titles, such as Vogue, the Robb Report and Harper’s Bazaar. Other brands are focused on retweeting industry specialists, influencers, brand ambassadors and even competitors. Your Twitter guidelines should include a clear perspective on who you will retweet and the type of content from these individuals and brands that you would like to retweet.

2. Who won’t you retweet?

Just because you’ve decided you’ve decided who you will retweet, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a point of view of who you won’t retweet. You might decide that like Dior, that you won’t retweet anyone. Another approach might be to decide that you won’t retweet anyone who isn’t associated and known in your industry, whether it be in hospitality, jewellery, fashion, food or beauty. You may also take a strong viewpoint on not retweeting celebrities. Either way, your Twitter guidelines need to include this a point of view on this.

3. How often will you retweet? Is it planned as a part of your editorial strategy or is there a level of spontaneity depending on the content of the original tweet?

Consider how retweeting can be incorporated into your Twitter editorial strategy. If you have a planned schedule of tweets which are aligned with your brand’s campaigns, launches and events, how does retweeting fit in? How often do you want to do this? Take some time and consider what criteria a tweet would need to meet in order for your brand to retweet it.

There is also an aesthetic point to consider – the more you retweet, the less visually consistent your brand’s Twitter page will appear. This won’t matter so much when people look at your brand’s Twitter page via mobile or 3rd party applications, but it does matter when they go on to Twitter directly. This leads to the next question.

4. Are you willing to accept other brands / user appearing in your Twitter stream? Are there limits to the aesthetic difference you’ll accept?

Compare Smythson’s Twitter page to the image of Gulfstream’s Twitter page below.

5. As part of your editorial strategy, are there certain events where you will retweet what certain influencers or industry specialists are saying about the event and what your brand is doing? For example, will you decide to retweet during your brand’s Fashion Show, during a benefit or event?

Today, Louis Vuitton decided to tweet influencer and media brand’s reactions to their S/S 2013 show as it was happening.

6. How much deviation from your brand’s tone of voice on Twitter are you willing to accept in a retweet?

If your brand’s tone of voice on Twitter is very serious and staid, then it may appear quite jarring to retweet an ambassador who tweets in a very chatty, fun voice. Conversely, you may be willing to accept this, as you may be using these tweets to implicitly say things that the brand cannot not say itself.

For example, Aston Martin have retweeted a follower who has tweeted about how excited she is to see that the brand is appearing in the next James Bond film. Looking at their Twitter tweetstream, this does not fit with the rest of the tone of voice on the page, but Aston Martin have accepted this, as she expresses something that the brand don’t necessarily want directly.

7. Finally, (and this could be a whole post in of itself), are you willing to let people tweet on your behalf?

Looking at Dior’s Twitter page, they do not retweet any other users or brands, apart from one exception in March this year. During the A/W 2012 show, Susie Bubble took over the Dior twitter page (which was arguably more of a coup for her than for Dior) and was tweeting on behalf of Dior. There are positives and negatives to this, but it is worth considering.

Here’s a summary of how a few luxury brands are approaching the retweeting conundrum. What is your point of view?

1. Stella McCartney: Actively retweet influential media brands such as W, as well as retailers such as Club 21 Global and Net a Porter, models & brand ambassadors and even Olympians! Interestingly, they’ve taken a decision to respond to some fans / followers.

2. Smythson: Take a similar approach to Stella McCartney and actively retweet media brands, models, influencers and other designers / competitors. Looking at their Twitter page, they seem to take quite a liberal approach to who they retweet, as their stream is littered with other brands / users’ logos & avatars.

3. Louis Vuitton; They take a different approach to Dior, their LVMH sibling. They retweet a lot – blogs, media brands and models.

2 thoughts on “Luxury Brands, To Retweet or Not To Retweet?

  1. What steps do you think brands should take to make sure they are not associating themselves with someone who might have views that do not align with their brand’s values?

    For example: do you think it makes sense to review someone’s prior tweets before retweeting a particular tweet?

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