Rooster Sessions #2: What impact has social media had on the interiors industry?

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Following the success of our very first Rooster Session (catch up here if you missed it), our second event drew on the expertise of our interiors division and three of our most trusted contacts to ask: “What impact has social media had on the interiors industry?’

 

We already know the term ‘interiors’ covers a broad range of subjects – large furniture to home furnishings, kitchens to bathrooms, appliances to home technology. Perhaps for this reason, the interiors market offers the widest selection of magazines, websites and publications catering to a wide range of aesthetic styles, demographics and budgets. In fact, we recently explored a new wave of interiors mags popping up our news stands (take a look at Friday’s blog here). At the same time, the interiors industry is one widely impact the rising number of social media users, as we explore avenues such as Pinterest, Houzz and  Instagram for our homes. In fact, a quick scan on the latter and #interiors has been used a whopping 16 million times!

 

So in our most recent Rooster Session, we invited a panel of experts – Laura Houldsworth, executive editor of House & GardenLindsay Blair, editor of Kitchens, Bedrooms & Bathrooms, and Kate Watson-Smyth, aka Mad about the House, to unpack this subject in further detail. What does it mean for brands to ‘be online’? Does this affect how brands reach their target customer? How can we bridge the gap between super high-end products and the ‘fast fashion’ process of impulse shopping on social media? And more importantly, what weight does print media still have in today’s day and age?

 

 

What weight does print media still have?

 

Print magazines lie at the heart of interiors media, with all other aspects – social media, blogs, influencers, events etc. – acting as satellites around this. We need to think of print publications as brands, with the magazines acting as the core. Their benefit is the aspirational, inspirational and tactile nature, but at the same time a print-only approach is old fashioned now; we need to think of an online and social media presence as all part of this brand’s key message.

 

What impact has the online and influencer market had on the interiors space?

 

Online platforms have extended the reach of print – we can now reach audiences across the globe (take for example House & Garden’s social media channels. Its Facebook, which has six million likes, is incredibly popular in the US, allowing the brand to reach an American audience). Online platforms are also a far quicker and more efficient way of sharing messages; it’s a faster process, that allows the audience to interact with the journalist in a far more personal way than that of a letter to the editor in a newspaper or glossy magazine.

Online collaborations offer an easier method of tracking success rates; influencers and blogs can provide access to click-throughs, web traffic and engagement figures in a way that perhaps a full page print advert cannot. Price-wise, you’re paying a lot less for an influencer campaign, but gaining far more detailed exposure.

Finally, we often think of Instagram as the most impactful form of social media, but we should not ignore the power of Facebook. It has a slightly higher demographic, meaning conversion rate is often higher.

 

How can brands navigate the ‘influencer’ landscape?

 

Authority is the only thing you can’t fake on Instagram. Someone may have a lot of followers, good engagement and a lovely home on their page but ultimately they have no authority. Brands need to identify authentic creatives who have something meaningful to say on a subject, while reflecting the nature of the product and the company’s brand values.

 

A benefit of working with influencers, however, is the immediate access to case studies. Whilst previously the glossy interiors magazines may have only covered homes of the rich and famous, or architects and designers, increasingly we’re opening the pages of key magazines to Instagram stars we’ve become so used to seeing on our phones.

 

Ultimately, beautiful imagery is key to posts performing well on Instagram. As Lindsay at KBB points out, a beautiful image of a gorgeous blue shaker kitchen will always do well in comparison to many others – it’s timeless appeal speaks to the KBB reader and guarantees a successful post.

 

To do social media well, brands need to commit to creating and owning their own content – whether this be through asset creation or working with influencers to create said content. It needs to look good on a feed, and be of high quality – brands need to invest in good photography otherwise there’s just no point.

 

But, we need to be mindful that there are often different audiences between platforms. For example, House & Garden’s website is largely populated by 25-45 year olds, while the print magazine is 45-65. For Kate and Mad about the House, it’s the opposite; quite a lot of the blog readers are not on Instagram. They are slightly older, and therefore more likely to invest in high-ticket items. Audiences can be very different, and there’s a one size fits all.

 

What does the future hold for interiors influencers?

 

Ultimately, you can fake it – but not for very long. It’s harder than people think!

 

To find out more about our Rooster Sessions, please drop us a line on everyone@littleredrooster.co.uk.

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