Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today.
Christine Kirk is Founder and CEO of Social Muse Communications, advising luxury travel, restaurant, technology, and lifestyle brands on social media marketing, traditional public relations campaigns, and online branding. She has amassed over 18,000 engaged followers on Twitter, and growing, and is a guest blogger and speaker on various social media, PR and luxury lifestyle subjects. Additionally, Christine is the founder of the popular live Twitter chat called #luxchat, which takes place on a quarterly basis, and is a live online discussion about the intersection of luxury brands and social media. Prestigious past guests include, Lexus, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels, Exclusive Resorts, Bergdorf Goodman, and many more. Christine is also a freelance writer covering luxury travel and food for CBSLA.com, JustLuxe.com, and an editor for LAWoman.com.
1. How did you get started in social media?
My career started in social media 9 years ago – back when Friendster was the social network du jour and the word “blog” was not a mainstream word. I realized quickly that social media was going to be the future of public relations – and I wanted to be a part of building and growing a new industry – and not keep doing the same traditional communications that had been done for decades. Being part of shaping a new industry got me excited, and while for years my bosses and supervisors had no clue what I was doing, I stuck with it on behalf of my clients because I was passionate about it, and I knew that social media would change the way the world communicates.
2. In what ways does social media play into your current job or industry? Do you have any examples?
I live, breathe, eat, and sleep social media on behalf of my amazing clients in the luxury hospitality and tech industries. I manage the online presence for brands on a daily basis across social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ustream, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Social media offers luxury hospitality brands the ability to provide their guests and customers with 5-star service before that guest even sets foot on the property of the hotel, or walks through the door of the store. Many people plan their vacations online, asking their friends for recommendations, and tweeting or Facebooking about how excited they are to be going on a trip. If the social media presence is managed correctly, the hotel can greet a guest before they are even on property, arrange for any special requests or in-room amenities in advance of their stay, and then interact with the guest while on property, providing concierge services or addressing any questions about the hotel or the destination itself. Finally, the hotel can keep in touch with their guests after they’ve left the hotel, thanking them for their stay, and continuing to stay top of mind. Now THAT is 5-star service! Luxury brands – whether it be in the hospitality, fashion, retail, or automotive industries – pride themselves on the quality of their product and service. These days, a luxury brand not engaging in social media is not providing their customer with 5-star service.
3. What does influence mean to you? Who influences you the most online, and why?
Influence to me means inspiration. My goal on social media with both my client’s online presence, and my own personal brand is to INSPIRE – to be happy, to find your passion, to laugh, to enjoy the little things, and to enjoy the journey of life. If we can give that to our audience online, then we’ve done our jobs. As a luxury enthusiast, I am influenced and inspired online by brands like @Bergdorfs, @RitzCarlton, @FourSeasons, @Burberry, and @Lexus.
4. What recent social media trends do you think are interesting or helpful?
I think the social media trend for 2012 is VISUAL. Social networks and photo-sharing apps like Pinterest and Instagram will continue to thrive and go mainstream. Pictures really do speak a thousand words. Also, I think 2012 will be another big year for online video – including premium, user-generated, and live.
Connect with Christine on Twitter at @LuxuryPRGal