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Don’t “Boost” Facebook Posts or “Promote” Instagram Posts

If your jewelry brand currently has a social media marketing strategy that involves Facebook and/or Instagram, you’ve probably seen notifications like:

“People are boosting posts like…to reach more people. Try boosting this post.”
“This post is performing better than 90% of other posts…”

Have you tried boosting a post to see if it would reach more followers? I don’t blame you. Boosting isn’t the worst idea, given that organic reach has declined in the past few years, and advertisers now get top priority in users’ feeds.

If you feel frustrated with your lack of engagement or followers on Instagram or Facebook, you probably feel desperate sometimes. You may be thinking, “If $5 will help my efforts, why not?”

I’m here to let you know that you’re wasting your money. Five dollars may not seem like a lot to waste, but consider this: you could be putting that money toward a more strategic Facebook/Instagram advertising campaign that will yield results.

Let me put it this way: if you had the choice between your favorite, tried-and-true stylist for your next haircut or – for about the same amount of money – a stylist selected by a complete stranger who’s never even seen a photo of you, which would you pick?

Boosting your posts is like trusting your haircut to a complete stranger. Let me save you from walking out of the salon with a mohawk you definitely did not want.

Instead of boosting that post, consider investing in a strategic Facebook advertising campaign, which doesn’t have to cost you more than $5 or even $10 per day. Not only will it be more effective, but it will also force you to sit down and think about your target audience, your brand, the way you’re communicating your brand to your target audience, and your goals.

When you create a Facebook advertising campaign from scratch, you have full control over the demographic that you’re targeting, which is better than blindly trusting Facebook to know who to target.

In addition, you can write interesting ad copy with a clear call-to-action, rather than simply boosting whatever you wrote on your post and hoping it resonates with your audience enough to inspire them to “Buy” or “Learn More”.

Finally, you can choose images that seem popular and then test them. For example you can try one image with two different headlines to see which one resonates best with your target audience. You may even find that your 21-30 female demographic actually isn’t responding well to an image you thought they would like – and that the image is better suited for an older demographic. Advertising the right way can provide you with valuable insights about your brand.

If you’d like to learn more about how to do Facebook advertising the right way, contact me for a free consultation.

Grid + Lock: Is Your Instagram Grid Locking Down New Customers?

If you were given a random lineup of Instagram profiles for jewelry brands – with the usernames hidden – would you be able to determine which ones are corporate jewelry brands and which ones are mom-and-pop jewelry shops?

You’d likely analyze the quality of the images, the caliber of models, and the overall cohesiveness of the grid. By “grid”, I mean all square photos stacked in three columns on any user’s main Instagram profile.

Not only are the most established and professional brands sharing the best photography on a daily basis, but they’re also thinking about how each photo connects to the next, telling a story and reinforcing the brand.

For an example, take a peek at the screenshot of Vrai and Oro’s Instagram feed (above) or visit their Instagram profile. Founded in 2014, Vrai and Oro is a fairly new brand, but they’ve attracted a lot of attention due to their innovative approach to jewelry. Selling only simple designs crafted from gold and diamonds, Vrai and Oro’s core values are quality, simplicity and transparency.

Vrai and Oro’s Instagram grid, which is clean and minimalist, communicates the brand very effectively. Not only is the color palette very limited, but the jewelry is presented in a way that seems very “no nonsense” and wearable. At the same time it’s beautiful and light.

Once you’ve determined your brand values and know how you want your customers to see you, then you can also take steps to make your Instagram grid a cohesive expression of your brand and tell a clear story that progresses from one photo to the next.

Do you know about the tools that can help you pre-plan your grid? PLANN and Preview are two of my favorites.

PLANN is one popular visual planner. When you download the PLANN app, you can upload potential photos for your Instagram feed and preview how they’ll look in your grid before you post them. If you’re not sure about adding a new tool to your technology mix, you can try PLANN for free with one Instagram account and upgrade later.

Preview has basically the same planning functionality as PLANN and costs $7.99/month for unlimited posts and some analytics capabilities. In my opinion, the two tools are very similar, and the one you choose will depend on personal preference.

What’s your favorite method for planning your Instagram grid? Are you new to the concept? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about building an Instagram grid as a branding strategy.

How to Market Your Jewelry to Qualified Customers

Especially at the beginning of their journey, many jewelry designers and stores are so excited to share their products with the world that they fail to identify their “dream” customer.

You’re probably thinking: but wouldn’t choosing a dream customer and only marketing to him/her limit my sales? Identifying your ideal customer has a number of advantages:

  • You can target your marketing in a specific way and, as a result, tailor your brand’s message.
  • Your rate of interactions with fun, enthusiastic, and excited customers will be much higher.
  • The “ideal” customers you attract will be much more likely to become brand evangelists and tell others about your brand.
  • Focusing on attracting your ideal customer will lead to a higher rate of conversion, and you’ll waste less time with fantasy shoppers who aren’t serious about buying from you.
  • Your jewelry will become synonymous with a certain group of people and will be more identifiable in the marketplace.

Look at it this way: you wouldn’t spend years in medical school to become a doctor simply to graduate with a medical degree and announce to everyone, “Hey, everyone, I’m a doctor now!” With that approach, you’d be hard pressed to find new patients. On the other hand, if you specialize in dermatology, patients with a specific need for skin care will look for you.

Now, perhaps it’s time for me to be more specific.

Choosing your ideal customer is one thing. But if your target market is high-school girls who don’t have any disposable income, and you’re selling jewelry outside of their price point, you might want to change “ideal” customer to “qualified” customer. Who would you love to service who can actually afford your products?

When I first started working as a sales associate for the largest jewelry retailer in the country, I used to get annoyed when the store manager (and our monthly quotas) required us to push credit on our customers. After a few months with the company and, in hindsight, I can see why qualifying the customer as soon as you possibly can is the ultimate sales/marketing strategy.

If you know what the customer can comfortably afford and how he/she can afford it, then you can help them find the perfect piece of jewelry and really sell it to your customer in a genuine, thoughtful way. If not, the customer will not likely approach you with a budget strapped to his/her forehead. Online, the budget guessing game is even more of an issue.

If you don’t offer credit or don’t have a way to financially qualify your customers, you need to tell your brand’s story in such a way that hints at your price points, even if the customer never sees your prices.

Not only do you need to speak in your ideal customer’s language and use imagery that appeals to your ideal customer, but you also need to communicate a message that the customer’s wallet will understand. Think of some of your favorite jewelry brands and their price points – in what ways do they hint at affordability or luxury?

In what ways can you better tailor your brand’s message to not only pre-qualify your customers but also attract better customers?

Featured photo by Sarah Reid

Encourage Fans to Create Content for Your Jewelry Brand

In his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, marketing expert Seth Godin writes, “An individual artist needs only a thousand true fans in her tribe. It’s enough.”

That’s right: a jewelry store or jewelry designer needs only 1,000 tried and true fans to help inspire success.

How is that possible? 

Consider your own loyalties to your favorite brands and businesses. When you really like a local restaurant or bar, don’t you tell your friends about it? Maybe you even invite them to Happy Hour. Because of you, 10 new people will learn about the establishment and became fans themselves.

If you can convince just 1,000 people to become fans, those people will not only tell their friends and family members about your jewelry brand but they’ll also be more likely to create content that you can also share.

What do I mean? Here are five examples of how your loyal fans can create content that you can share and use as leverage for your awesome jewelry brand.

Encourage your fans to write Yelp reviews and then borrow review highlights for your own marketing efforts. Nudging someone to write a Yelp review is as easy as sending a follow-up e-mail or making a follow-up phone call to a happy customer. Most people don’t spend their days thinking about writing Yelp reviews, but a gentle reminder or even an incentive will prompt a satisfied customer to sing their praises. Once you’ve gathered some excellent Yelp reviews, share quotes from those reviews on your social media accounts.

Pro tip: I like to create “ready-to-share” graphics with solid-color backgrounds and text from the Yelp reviews.

Source guest bloggers (if you already maintain a blog). Some of your fans will love the opportunity to show others how they wear or style your jewelry. Maybe these fans already have fashion blogs or Instagram accounts of their own, and they’d like to gain more followers by leveraging your blog platform. Invite your fans to contribute guest blog posts that feature their tips for wearing your jewelry.

Cultivate the product reviews section on your e-commerce site, Etsy store, or even eBay page. Again, always encourage customers to leave product reviews. You may even want to consider providing a coupon code or contest entry as incentive for customers to write a review; after all, doesn’t a store with lots of product reviews (even lukewarm or negative reviews) appear to be more trustworthy and legitimate than a store without any cred? Share highlights from product reviews in your social media marketing.

Host a social-media-based contest that requires entrants to post something related to your brand. Maybe entrants must post a photo of themselves wearing your jewelry or submit a design idea for a future piece. Either way, they’ll be entering your contest but also sharing their creativity and your brand name with all their followers.

Host a blogger or influencer event. In a previous post, I discussed the advantages of hosting such an event and how an exciting event can encourage influencers to share their thoughts about your brand. The event can take place in your physical showroom/studio, or it can be completely virtual. Definitely make it worth your attendees’ while to attend.

Which one of these ideas would best work for your jewelry brand? How will you begin to implement these strategies? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured photo by Graeme Maclean

The Importance of Watermarking Your Jewelry Photographs

Jewelry can be so easy to copy; some swindling entrepreneurs attend trade shows just to peep other designers’ works. Then, they decide how they can manufacture the designs with cheaper materials. Ultimately, they try to sell their knock-off pieces at lower prices.

Even worse, many consumers don’t understand the true value of diamonds, precious metals, and skilled craftsmanship, so they can’t comprehend why one skilled designer who sources high-quality materials charges so much more money than a shady pop-up shop that’s making the same style in base metal and glass stones.

The more time I spend on Instagram, the more I realize that many accounts simply steal photos from true jewelry designers’ accounts without giving proper attribution. Overall, I don’t support reposting content on Instagram – not only is reposted content boring, but it also demonstrates a lack of creativity. Even worse, when the original poster isn’t credited, the practice of reposting is downright despicable and ultimately won’t help the reposter’s reputation.

So how can you, as a talented and creative jewelry designer or retailer, ensure that no one steals your photos? Surely, you don’t have time to monitor who’s copying or ripping off your work. Well, you can watermark your photographs and/or make sure that your name or logo is incorporated into every image.

What’s a watermark? It’s an image or text on your photograph that deters other people from copying your photo and claiming it as their own. If you position the watermark effectively, someone will have to do more Photoshop work that it’s worth to remove a watermark.

Not only will a watermark protect your designs and beautiful photographs (though it’s not a foolproof method of protection), it will also build brand awareness. Your current followers and new potential customers who are discovering your website and/or social media accounts will begin to associate your images with your logo and name.

How can you add watermarks to your photos without ruining the integrity of your image?

  • Hire your original logo designer to create a watermark version of your logo and ask him or her to teach your how to add the watermark to your images. If you designed your own logo, read how to make a transparent version of it, which you’ll be able to add as a new layer to any image.
  • Download a watermarking app like iWatermark for iPhone and iPad or check out this list of the seven best watermark apps for Android.
  • If you don’t like the idea of adding a watermark to your images, consider posting photos of your jewelry alongside or in packaging that has your logo or name on it.

Have your images or designs ever been stolen by a shady jewelry-related social media account or even a cheap copy-cat manufacturer? What actions did you take to remedy the situation? Do you currently use watermarks or other identifiers in your images? Please share in the comments below.

Featured photo by John Goode

5 Tips for Marketing Your Etsy Jewelry Store

I love Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods. When I’m looking for something unique at an affordable price point, I know I’ll be able to find the perfect item, made with love, on Etsy.

I’ve purchased lots of jewelry and findings on Etsy: a custom copper pendant that I incorporated into a bracelet; a faceted tourmaline stone; mint green glass stud earrings; a sterling silver locket; and a small silver charm.

As a jewelry marketing specialist who also loves and admires Etsy, I have many ideas about how jewelry designers and artisans can increase their presence on Etsy and direct customers to their Etsy pages. Are you an Etsy vendor who’s struggling to get their jewelry products seen by ideal customers?

Below are five suggestions that will help you distinguish yourself from the competition, establish you as a professional, and boost visibility for your jewelry.

1. Experiment with new versions of product photography. If you take your own photos, try taking different versions for the same product: different color/texture background, new angles, and various types of light.

Then, conduct your own marketing focus group and ask a trusted group of friend or loyal customers which photos they like the best and think are the most effective for selling the product. The photos that you like the best might not be the best ones for attracting customers.

2. Showcase your items on your own proprietary website. Don’t only showcase your items on your Etsy store page! Establish yourself as a true professional by embedding your Etsy store into your own proprietary website with a branded URL address like “YourStoreName.com.”

If you already have a website but aren’t technically savvy, you can consult a web developer for assistance regarding Etsy integration. If use WordPress or want to use WordPress to create your own website, you’ll find lots of help online. Check out “Building Your Own Etsy Store with WordPress” and “How to Integrate Your Etsy Shop into Your WordPress Website….”

3. Don’t autotweet your listings! I’m always rolling eyes at the number of Twitter accounts run that are simply a collection of automated tweets about new Etsy product listings. The tweets lack imagination and engagement – they’re basically bland advertisements for every product, and very few customers are going to be motivated by a canned promotion.

Instead, say something creative about your products. Feature them in a new way or offer some exclusive content (a video, a new photo) that isn’t already located on the Etsy product description page. Interact with your followers and play down the attachment to Etsy. Etsy should simply be the engine running your business, not the focus of it.

4. Keep in touch with past and potential customers. Opt your customers into an e-mail marketing list and send out regular updates about your shop like special promotions, new products, product spotlights, in-person events and appearances, etc. Note: you can’t simply add your customers to your e-mail list – they have to agree to be there! But you can let people know about your e-mail list by writing about it on your website or blog or adding a link to it on your seller “about” page. Here are some additional tips.

5. Partner with fashion/accessory bloggers and influencers. Find the bloggers and social media influencers you think would most enjoy your products and reach out to them. Tell them about your product and ask them if they’d appreciate a complimentary gift. You can also trade with other fashion/accessories Etsy vendors and feature their work on your social media accounts and/or blog. This way, your potential customers can see your products featured on real people and, in turn, imagine themselves wearing the jewelry.

Are you a successful Etsy jewelry seller? What techniques have you used to boost your Etsy business?

How a Jewelry Brand Can Avoid Spending Money on Advertising

These days, most jewelry designers work on a shoestring budget, reinvesting whatever profit they make into creating new pieces for their collections. Furthermore, jewelry store owners are wary of spending money on advertising because they can’t predict its effectiveness and what its return on investment will be.

Through advertising in the late 1940s, diamond brand DeBeers coined the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever.” Their ads dramatically changed the course of the bridal jewelry industry. But today’s consumers have more choices, and they’re happy to exercise their freedom of choice. As a result, they’re not as singlemindedly swayed by a brilliant ad slogan.

In general, unless you’re a jewelry brand with a dedicated budget for advertising (money you won’t miss by allocating it solely for advertising), you shouldn’t try to scrape together money you might need for something else.

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering: How, in this day and age, can I put myself in front of potential customers without shouting over my competitors? Don’t I need to buy expensive, fancy advertising to legitimize myself? 

The answer is: definitely not, at least not at the beginning. Have you ever heard of a brand called “Starbucks”? Let me tell you how they were able to do it so that you can follow their example.

Starbucks is a successful, global brand that was founded in 1971 and didn’t start advertising on television until 1997. I can still remember feeling stunned when I saw a Starbucks TV commercial for the first time because I was so used to NOT seeing them on TV and so used to them just being there. Everywhere.

Sure, Starbucks’ competitors like Dunkin’ Donuts have had success with more traditional advertising campaigns in print, on the radio, and on television; I’m not trying to convince you that advertising is a terrible strategy for increasing brand awareness. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to spend the money until you have it.

While born in 1971, Starbucks could be seen as belonging to the club of whole-experience brands exemplified by companies that launched or came of age after the digital revolution—think Google and Zappos. These are companies known for product, customer service, overall ethos and voice, and whose brands aren’t heavily associated with advertising. As a brand built more on a word-of-mouth approach, your Starbucks associations are more likely tied to its staff, its stores, and its products than its ads. – Fast Company

How did Starbucks get away with not advertising for so long and still grow the brand at a rapid pace?

They focused instead on building a solid brand with all the qualities mentioned in the Fast Company quote above: a desirable product with consistency across all store locations, exceptional customer service, and an identifiable and distinct image supported by an unwavering mission. No amount of glossy, high-budget advertising can convince a customer to become a loyal fan of a brand that lacks any of the aforementioned qualities.

Follow Starbucks’ example by working on the following:

Product development: Make sure your jewelry is wearable and desirable. Revise your designs and inventory until they match the image you want to portray to customers. Offer a quality product that will make potential customers drool and inspire them to add your jewelry to their wish lists.

Customer service: In most cases, jewelry is not an insignificant purchase, and customers want to feel like the seller actually cares about his or her dollar. Focus on hiring the best and most talented customer service associates and standardize the process of handling customer complaints and issues. Be aware of how your customers are feeling and do everything you can to keep them happy.

Company mission and brand voice: Define yourself and be sure that everything you make public – your products, your photos, your written communications, your conversations with customers and business partners – matches that definition. The same way that you can anticipate your experience no matter what Starbucks you enter, anywhere in the world, your brand should be that predictable, but never in a boring way.

What will you earn as a result? You’ll develop a solid brand that will thrive on word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied customers. Your products will also easily lend themselves to social media marketing (free!) because they’ll have a clearly defined focus with an obvious story attached to them.

When you’ve grown your business and finally have the budget for more traditional advertising, you will have done the difficult work of thinking through the image you want to project to customers. As a result, you’ll have a more clear vision of how you want to present your brand visually and be able to communicate that vision to advertising agencies or third-party collaborators.

Have you spent money on advertising? What was the result?

Featured photo by Sam valadi

The Role of “Curation” in Jewelry Marketing

Most shoppers crave a point of view; they want to understand how an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry like a bold necklace can fit into their lives and how they should wear those items. Otherwise, they’d be overwhelmed by too many choices.

At the height of print media, fashion magazine editors were the style curators, showcasing clothing and accessories they loved and that matched their publication’s aesthetic.

These days, anyone can curate a digital fashion and accessories collection based on categories like season, color, mood, and occasion. Pinterest and Polyvore, among other tools, allow anyone with an Internet connection to showcase a point of view.

Instead of shopping in a brick-and-mortar retail store, we might shop an Instagram post styled by a highly trafficked fashion blogger.

As a jewelry brand, you may find that some bloggers and social media users will add your pieces to their own curated Pinterest boards. Why not follow their lead and curate your own merchandise by organizing your jewelry offerings into manageable and “shoppable” collections?

Too often, I see jewelry stores with displays that lack focus. Most jewelers, especially those who sell bridal jewelry, cast as wide a net as possible when it comes to merchandising. Who can blame them? They believe the more styles they offer, the more customers they’ll attract. In reality, the lack of focus is overwhelming.

Online, the issue seems to be even more widespread. No physical jewelry case is limiting any one retailer from posting as many products as possible. The temptation to sell everything may be great, but marketing your curated jewelry brand will always win as the most effective strategy.

As an example, let’s view the Tiffany & Co. e-commerce website. In the “Engagement Ring” category, a user can shop by style or by collection. The collections have names like “Harmony” and “Soleste” and are divided into manageable groups that have been curated by a common design element like a pave diamond shank.

Someone who hasn’t done much engagement ring shopping or “dreaming” might not know where to begin in terms of style, but the person might have a positive visceral response to a collection’s overall mood. A collection can help focus and alleviate the anxiety of the subsequent buying decision.

Furthermore, creating collections within your brand’s jewelry inventory allows you to tell a story about your merchandise. In the highly competitive world of e-commerce retail, where you may never meet your customers face to face, you must distinguish yourself with a story that contains strong emotional elements.

When you curate your own collection, you can assign it and the items within it, names, and the product descriptions can be more than a simple rundown of the technical details. Instead, the item can become a character in the larger story of the collection.

Do you already use collections as part of your jewelry marketing strategy? If so, how do you decide which items to group together in a collection? Do you tell a visual and/or written story about the collection? Comment below with your thoughts.

Featured photo by Barta IV

Should a Jewelry Brand Buy Followers and Likes?

Recently, I had the chance to meet my new friend Jilienne – jewelry connoisseur and jewelry marketing/PR extraordinaire – for coffee, and we chatted about social media marketing for jewelry brands.

At some point, a stranger interrupted our conversation and added his thoughts about buying likes (and taking “desperate selfies,” but that’s a topic for another post). Apparently, the stranger is a social media marketing expert, so he’s always trying to talk clients out of buying likes.

If you’re not aware of the practice, anyone with as little as $3 can buy likes for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These days, likes can be purchased in bulk from companies that generate very believable-looking accounts with real profile photos and descriptions. In some cases, likes come from real people in other countries. A simple Google search and a credit card number can get you as many likes as your heart desires.

Buying likes can be tempting, especially for brands that are just beginning their social media journey and are having trouble gaining traction. Most days, social media can feel like a popularity contest. And no one can deny the theory of “social proof,” which posits that brands with more likes generate even more likes.

If it’s so easy to buy likes, why shouldn’t you buy likes? Here are three reasons: 

1. Social media shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Instead, media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should encourage engagement and interaction. And bots won’t interact with brands or buy their products.

The stranger who interrupted the conversation I was having with Jilienne made a great point: if you’re an actor or model who needs to prove”social worth” to an agent, then maybe buying likes will work in your favor: on the surface, you’ll appear popular and well liked. However, if you’re a brand interested in using social media to generate a loyal following, then buying likes definitely won’t work for you.

2. The metric that should matter to you – your engagement rate – will suffer. Social media marketing experts don’t necessarily worry about likes; they worry about ratios.

Let’s pretend that you have a million followers, and 1,000 people like your photo. A thousand like might seem impressive, but why aren’t your other 999,000 followers also participating? Why aren’t they liking your photo? Given the likes-to-follower ratio, 1,000 likes isn’t impressive at all.

According to Socialdraft, a healthy engagement rate is about 4 to 12%. They use the following formula to determine rate of engagement:

Engagement rate = # of likes + # of comments / # of followers x 100

Personally, I would say that a 10% rate of engagement is fantastic and should be your goal for every post. If you’re buying followers, you likely won’t achieve this ratio, and if you’re buying likes, you’ll be spending lots of money to maintain a “healthy” albeit fake rate of engagement for every post.

3. Your notifications feeds will eventually start to annoy you. I’ve noticed that fake followers tend to leave spammy comments, which damage the appearance and reputation of your posts.

Reading those spammy comments and being bombarded with likes by boring, fake profiles gets old after a while. Managing a social media account with fake followers and likes can be a lonely practice. The fun of social media is connecting with new people and moving that connection from digital to analog as swiftly as possible. Here’s a fun fact: Jilienne and I met on Twitter! Real engagement is possible and exciting.

Have you ever bought followers? If so, did you have a positive or negative experience? If not, would you ever consider buying followers?

Featured photo by genibee

How to Host a Blogger Event for Your Jewelry Brand or Store

Maybe you’re a jewelry designer or brand who’s been wary of spending money on traditional advertising. You’re not sure if you’ll receive a return on your investment.

I don’t blame you – some of the ad industry’s most vocal critics believe that “selling” is no longer an effective strategy and that, instead, creating entertaining and engaging content is a preferred method for generating brand interest and loyalty. However, you might not be sure how to generate buzz in a unique way that will be seen and heard by your targeted audience.

In this post, I’ll explain why you should consider hosting a blogger or influencer event for your jewelry brand or store and also how you can execute it successfully.

Understanding Bloggers/Influencers

I’ve been thinking about how this new era of product-driven content created by fashion bloggers and influencers compares with content published by “gatekeepers” in print fashion magazines. If you read a fashion magazine, you can very clearly distinguish between sponsored content and public-relations-fueled magazine journalism: for example, jewelry worn by a celebrity in a red-carpet photo or a product mention in a round up of on-trend engagement rings.

Which do you trust more – an advertisement or a non-sponsored recommendation?

These days, brands are frequently approaching highly-trafficked bloggers and social media influencers with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers. If an influencer agrees to collaborate with a brand, he or she will receive free products, services and/or payment in exchange for exposure: a sponsored blog post, a hosted giveaway, or prominent product placement in a photo or video.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn’t necessarily monitor bloggers, but they do strongly recommend that bloggers and other digital influencers disclose sponsored content to uphold “truth in advertising.”

Finding Bloggers and Influencers to Invite

At this point, you’re probably wondering, who are these magical unicorns making a living by photographing themselves wearing beautiful items that companies send them for free?

With a small time investment and some free tools, you can find the influencers in your niche, whether that be bridal jewelry or vintage brooches. You can see who they’re wearing and what brands are paying them to be spokespeople.

Here are some tools I like to use (all have free versions or free trials) to find influencers:

Followerwork: With Followerwonk, you can search Twitter bios and timelines for keywords related to your niche and then sort results based on how many Twitter followers the user has. More Twitter followers usually (but not always) means the person is influential in his or her field.

Buzzsumo: Type any keyword, and your results (limited with free version) will include a list of influencers in that field.

Bluenod: Bluenod is a very visual platform that displays influencers based on connections and number of followers. Results are presented in a web format that displays a community revolving around your chosen niche and the most influential people within it.

Or, you can simply try a few Google searches to find new blogs.

Why Should You Consider Hosting a Blogger/Influencer Event?

The most influential bloggers and social media stars write about products like it’s their day job – because for many of them it is. They’ve become accustomed to companies approaching them, and they often execute their content in a predetermined format to satisfy their contract terms. Furthermore, readers become accustomed to the sponsored nature of the content, and that content may, over time, cease to influence buying decisions.

Furthermore, these days nearly every blog post, Instagram photo, or tweet by a highly influential fashion blogger has most likely been funded in some way by a clothing or accessories brand. Customers might see a sponsored post and think, “Oh, that necklace is cute,” but chances are that they won’t remember the brand, unless they go out of the way to read the caption and click through some links. Unless the influencer is an official and exclusive spokesperson for a brand, that brand’s product might only appear once or twice among hundreds of posts.

Here’s an idea: what if a blogger or influencer found herself excited and genuinely enthusiastic about sharing her thoughts in regard to your brand because you provided him or her with a unique, unforgettable experience?

Talented and skilled public relations experts strive to surprise and delight influencers by sending samples, hosting events, following up, speaking their brand’s language, and striving ultimately for product placement without spending any more money than the cost of samples and party incidentals.

Approaching brand development with a public relations mindset and making relationship building your goal will excite influencers and help you create long-lasting connections with raving fans who’ll most likely stick around for a while.

Plan Your Event

Now that you’ve found some influencers you’d like at your event, you need to invite them. When you reach out to your designated bloggers/influencers, definitely personalize the e-mail message by noting why you’ve chosen this particular person and emphasizing what he/she will gain from the experience. Be specific and courteous.

Next, you’ll need to decide what form the party will take: will it happen at a physical location or virtually? If all your influencers live within traveling distance of your physical showroom or chosen event space, you can host them individually or as a group! During the planning process, you’ll want to constantly ask yourself: What will the influencer gain from this experience that will make it worth the time?

Bottega Louie
Influencer Thanks Brand for Goodie Bag on Snapchat

When it comes to planning a physical event, the sky’s the limit, but here are some tips to consider:

  • Provide a VIP experience, whatever that means in regard to your brand
  • Pay or reimburse for transportation
  • Give a special gift, whether that be free product or something special related to your brand
  • Create a photo-op-worthy space, so that your influencer can’t help but take photos of your event and share them online
  • Visit a local craft store (with coupons) to search for interesting props and gift-bag accessories
  • Follow up with a generous “thank you”

Planning a digital event is more challenging than planning a physical one because some bloggers and influencers might wonder why you’re inviting them to an “event” rather than simply paying them to produce content.

However, a few intrigued influencers might choose to participate in your digital event for the novelty and fun of it. Here are some ideas for planning a digital event:

  • Send more than one influencer free product and host an Instagram styling contest
  • Ask them to preview new products and provide exclusive feedback – tech companies that launch new apps do this all the time!
  • Create a contest and invite them to help you design a new product or feature that will ultimately bear their name

Set Realistic Expectations

When hosting a blogger/influencer event for your jewelry brand, you need to remember: set realistic expectations. You’ll be investing time in preparing for your event, but you can’t expect all your guests to be enchanted by your brand or feature you in some way on their digital channels.

The only way you can guarantee exposure is by paying the blogger or influencer to generate content about you.

Regardless, a blogger event can be the first step in creating long-term relationships with talented, well-respected individuals who take notice of how much you want to please your potential customers. A relationship created at one of these events can lead to a long-term partnership that might transcend one a blogger forms with a brand that hasn’t gone to such great lengths to charm and impress.

So What Can You Expect?

Twitter Feed
Influential Blogger Retweeted Client’s Blog Post

Results will definitely vary. Recently, I hosted an influential fashion blogger for one of my clients. Our goal was to make her feel like a princess for a day, and the result was that she shared numerous photos and videos from her visit on her Snapchat account.

Furthermore, after the event, we published a blog post on my client’s blog about the blogger’s visit. The post contained photos we took during her visit, and it explained why my client was so excited to host her and show her jewelry.

Overall, I believe the post added to my client’s image, which is built on hospitality and customer care. In addition, we were able to use that content for our social media channels, and the blogger retweeted our post to her Twitter followers.

The majority of bloggers and social media influencers are very professional and absolutely deserve to be paid for their work. However, you can also create relationships with these talented individuals without immediately offering them money. At the end of the day, the influencers in your niche are potential customers too.

Have you ever hosted this type of event before? If not, what type of event could you imagine hosting for your jewelry brand or store?