PARIS: LVMH, the luxury goods giant, is prioritising building and measuring engagement with its fans on Facebook, the social network, instead of trying to accrue the maximum number of "likes" on the site.

Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Romieu, LVMH's group digital director, explained how the social media universe actually reflects the 19th century coffee house culture, where select groups discussed their favourite products.

"Now, we're back to the coffee house, to a situation where customers can interact with the brand," he said. "What's fascinating to us is the analysis of people's feedback - it's like a live survey. It was difficult to do before, but now the tools exist."

While luxury brands face a major challenge online in balancing the need for sufficiently widespread appeal with maintaining an air of exclusivity, Romieu suggested embracing social media was not optional.

"[Given] the very strong engagement of people on the internet generally speaking, it makes sense for brands to want to engage there," he said. "Brands have to increase the value of the relationship with their customers through this medium."

LVMH currently runs a diverse range of Facebook pages, and the insights it has gained to date, Romieu said, include the fact the platform is "about internet snacking. Lengthy blurbs don't work."

One reason for this is that many customers log on via a mobile phone, meaning large swathes of text are impractical. Similarly, still images rather than videos are typically preferable.

LVMH's efforts usually begin with a "teaser" on Facebook leading to a longer piece of content and a related image. A mixture of additional videos, photos, events and polls are then employed as appropriate.

In assessing these efforts, the firm uses simple metrics such as the fanbase a brand has attracted, but it also seeks to determine engagement levels.

This is established by combining the number of fans of a brand page with the volume of comments and sharing. The resultant figure is then divided by the number of posts in a set period of time, and again by the amount of fans.

Although scores are likely to decrease as brands accrue more followers, Romieu argued the benefits were obvious. "The most important thing is to monitor the engagement rate. We want to keep that stable or not lose engagement," he said.

Within this process, LVMH utilises a tool provided by SocialBakers, the digital analytics firm, which allows it to track over 100 pages, including some run by its rivals.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff