That awkward moment when you realize a picture of a towel has more likes than you…

Have you ever googled your name to see what results pop up? Were you worried about finding unflattering pictures of yourself up on stage at Senor Frogs during spring break? Did you forget about your embarrassing tweet with the angsty lyrics? Yes, that tweet that you wrote while in 3rd period in high school about how difficult life was. The internet didn’t forget.

The advent of the internet and social media has made it incredibly easy to produce online content. It takes no time to post a pretty picture with a witty caption. It’s also really simple to make a fool out of yourself online with the wrong post or commentary. It does, however, take considerable more time and thought to produce the right content.

Hmm… #triggered

The Right Content

For luxury companies and brands using social media as a marketing channel, the focus shouldn’t just be on creating posts but also on creating the right posts. The right posts are those that engage their audience; they attract likes, comments, and re-shares. Unfortunately, breaking away from the “any publicity is good publicity” mantra is not that easy. More often than not brands are just churning out anything and everything and actually damaging their brand perception.

So how often do companies stop to see what content they’ve produced online? Quarterly? Daily? I think it should be a constant endeavor. Brands need to frequently take a step back and analyze how the material they’re producing is being received by their audience and they need to constantly survey not only if their message is getting across but also if it’s creating a splash with their followers.

Cartier, a luxury jewelry house, has an online presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and most all other online platforms. On Instagram, for example, they have a whopping 3.5 million followers and have posted about 670 times. Their feed shows a combination of product shots, celebrity spokespeople, and the occasional picturesque cityscape with convenient product placement. Is it working? They are definitely getting likes and shares and people are commenting too. Is there room for growth? Sure but they’re not terrible.

There is a picture of a rolled-up beach towel embroidered with the Cartier script that garnered 35,000 likes and over 155 comments. That’s a pretty popular towel if you ask me.

Their Twitter feed is also interesting. With just under 1000 tweets and 352,000 followers, it was refreshing to see the official account replying back to customers about their concerns and complaints in a non-robotic and very human way. Other official accounts like that of Moet & Chandon, they did reply back to customers contacting them on their Facebook page but their replies were always the same template answer over and over again. Thanks but no thanks.


On the same playing field as Cartier, Tiffany & Co. boast 4.8 million followers on Instagram and their pictures consistently rake in tens of thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. It was particularly interesting to me to see that the pictures with the most likes and comment interaction weren’t those with high-profile celebrities or models posing with Tiffany jewelry but rather posts of close-ups of their diamonds and nothing else. Those were reaping in almost double the likes and comments. The same was true for Cartier’s feed; that damn towel had 1000 more likes than a picture of Rihanna wearing Cartier vintage earrings posted just a week later.

Again, in a digital world where information is being produced faster than we can consume it, the “any publicity is good publicity” is the approach for some companies, especially newer ones, but I disagree with this strategy. Companies, especially long-standing brands do not need to be on all social media platforms. Is there a true value in Cartier being on Snapchat? How engaging can an ephemeral snap be when your company is selling you a timeless and transcendent product? What they need to do instead is focus on a few key platforms and really invest themselves into doing them right but tailoring the content to what makes followers and customers react.

Categories Game

When you Google “luxury jewelry” or “designer jewelry” you can immediately identify the key players in that niche. Cartier is definitely up there as is Bvlgari and Tiffany & Co. The larger category to which they belong to though, is a tricky one. Unless you have the brand name written and displayed (like on a watch face) or you have one extremely iconic jewelry piece that is unmistakably brand XYZ, it is generally very difficult for the average consumer to determine who produced that pair of earrings or that pendant. It’s not like a luxury car where the car hood elegantly displays its maker or a fancy purse with the designer’s name monogrammed all over it.

In terms of content that was being shared unofficially by everyday people, I noticed that the most popular Cartier pins and photos weren’t those of just a close-up of an engagement ring but rather those that showcased the jewelry as part of a larger outfit or lifestyle. The effect of aggregation can really be seen there because just one outfit picture can showcase, for example, a Cartier love bracelet paired with some shiny Valentino shoes, and a Prada purse.

I do believe Cartier is pulling its own weight on social media and the rest of the online world right now. The Cartier towel though…that’s the real MVP. #Winning

This post was created as part of the Global Luxury Management Program at the NC State Poole School of Management. All thoughts and opinions are my own.