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Biggest Spenders Not Looking for Coupons Online

Businesses that use social media to connect with wealthy customers better be doing more than just offering deals and promotions, according to new research.

While the general population might follow brands online to receive discounts and giveaways, a study released this week by the Affluent Collaborative shows wealthy Internet users have different reasons for paying attention to a brand’s online presence, and are after much more from the companies they follow.

Those making more than $500,000 annually primarily track brands online because of a pre-existing affinity for the company (53.2 percent) or a desire to be kept informed (34.8 percent), the research showed — not out of a need to be entertained with coupons and sale notifications. Thirty-one percent also said they follow brands because they know someone else who already is, and 24 percent do so after reading about it the brand’s online presence in a news article.

In addition, wealthy consumers need to see a consistent message that makes following a brand meaningful for self-expression, according to the research, just like when buying a brand in real life.

The study’s findings concur with previous research that concluded that “liking” a brand on Facebook is partially a means of self-expression for others to see.

An additional aspect of the study revealed that the affluent aren’t using the same social networks as the general population. While Facebook was the top-used social network among all surveyed income groups, LinkedIn, with 40.5 percent, and Twitter, with 36 percent, attracted wealthy Internet users at nearly double the rate of the general population.

Across all income brackets, the study showed that entertainment was the least-cited reasoning for following a brand online, suggesting businesses need to provide fans with something of value through their Internet presence, even if it’s not in the form of a coupon or a sale notification.

The Affluence Collaborative is a research partnership that offers marketers who focus on affluent consumers a platform combining actionable insights, thought leadership and community.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.