Would Your Jewelry Brand Benefit from Influencer Marketing?

More clients have been inquiring about influencer marketing lately, and I don’t blame them. If you read any popular digital marketing advice, you’ll hear about the “magic” of influencers – get your jewelry on just the right celebrity or style blogger, and you’ll “make it” in the marketplace.

For example, in last week’s blog post I wrote about new trends in social media engagement and how brands like Adina’s Jewels are finding success with getting their jewelry on the celebrities, models, and fashion bloggers “du jour”. Surely any jewelry brand can do the same, right?

The realities of influencer marketing are a little more complicated. Some challenges include uninterested influencers who receive bags of free jewelry every day, paid/fake followers and likes, uncertainty about influencer reach, lack of control over how the product is being presented, a dearth of effective methods for measuring ROI, etc.

While I’m not completely against influencer marketing, I think it works best for jewelry brands at a very specific stage in their marketing journey and that meet certain other requirements. In this blog post, I share some of the ways you can tell whether or not influencer marketing is right for you:

Influencer marketing may be right for you if you see it as a stepping stone, not a permanent marketing fix. If you’re convinced that influencer marketing will open the flood gates to new customers, your expectations are too high. Given the very limited reach of today’s Instagram and Facebook users and the abundance of content, it’s unlikely that one or two posts will start a revolution. The best you can hope for is to plant the seed of brand recognition and pique the curiosity of a few customers.

Influencer marketing may be right for you if your jewelry brand is currently focused more on building brand awareness than pushing conversions. Today’s jewelry consumers have many options. If you think that featuring your jewelry on an influencer will boost sales in one day, you will be sorely disappointed. Sharing a special coupon code or incentive along with the influencer content may earn you a few sales, but you’d be better off capturing those customers’ email addresses for an email marketing campaign that leads them through the buyer’s journey with the goal of creating a long-term relationship.

Influencer marketing may be right for you if you can afford to give away jewelry – and cash. The influencers with the most reach make a living from their social media presence, so they ask for money and free product in exchange for their posts. According to recent reports, the average Instagram influencer fee is $1,000 per 100,000 followers. In this day and age, it’s difficult to know whether or not those 100,000 followers are even engaged or real. Numbers are just that: numbers.

Influencer marketing may be right for you if you target a very niche audience of jewelry customers. My belief is that influencer marketing works best if your jewelry brand targets a very niche audience, preferably a customer who has a hobby or interest in addition to jewelry. For example, if your most popular jewelry item is a cupcake pendant necklace, you may have some success targeting an influencer like @JoyTheBaker, who’s known for her baking posts but occasionally shares some stylish lifestyle shots like this one. Think outside the celebrity and fashion blogger boxes.

Influencer marketing may be right for you if your jewelry branding strategy is in place. If you’ve never taken steps like performing a Competitive Analysis, creating Customer Personas, or developing a Look/Tone/Feel for your brand, then you definitely should not be moving forward with an influencer marketing strategy. First, you must have the branding and marketing foundations in place.

Influencer marketing may be right for you if you have the patience and time to wait for results. Some of the most effective influencer marketing strategies involve long-term partnerships, where the influencer becomes more of a brand ambassador. That means, the influencer must be a genuine champion for the jewelry brand, and he/she must communicate enthusiasm over time.

Even if you think you meet all of these qualifications with your jewelry brand, I won’t move forward with an influencer marketing strategy if the jewelry designer or retailer has any illusions about what influencer marketing will offer them.

Above all, realistic expectations are most important, but at the very least, influencer marketing can provide a brand with helpful feedback about customers and insights about how to move forward in a marketing strategy.

Did this post make you change your mind about influencer marketing? Please add your thoughts in the comments.

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.

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

Using Twitter Advanced Search and Hashtags in a Jewelry Marketing Strategy

Joining Twitter or trying to find Twitter followers can be an intimidating task. Some brands that have been using Twitter since it was launched in 2006 have had a decade to cultivate a following, while others amass followers simply because they’re already popular and well known outside of social media.

Is being overwhelmed or confused by Twitter preventing you from leveraging it? In my previous post, I discussed the top three mistakes that jewelry brands make when using Twitter. However, this week, I’d like to teach you how to make use of Twitter’s Advanced Search function and hashtags.

Why am I focusing so intensely on Twitter? Well, to be honest, I’ve been focusing a lot of effort on a client’s Twitter account, so I’ve been immersed in Twitter strategies over the past couple of weeks. Using Twitter advanced search and hashtags, I’ve been able to clean up my client’s account, which had barely been used for months, and build a Twitter feed that lends itself to interaction.

Before you try the strategies I discuss in my post, I would recommend you “clean up” who you follow on Twitter, for two important reasons.

  1. You want to make sure that everyone you follow is still active on Twitter and that you’re not following abandoned accounts.
  2. You want to make sure that everyone you follow on Twitter shares content that’s useful to you and that you could potentially respond to and share.

How do you clean up a Twitter account?

My favorite method is with ManageFlitter, a browser-based tool that allows the user to bulk unfollow Twitter users. The free version of ManageFlitter provides 100 unfollows per day, which will or won’t be enough for you depending on how many people you follow.

Once I log into ManageFlitter with my Twitter account, I unfollow inactive users and then I review my “Not Following Back” list. I ask myself if every user who doesn’t follow me back shares valuable enough information that I don’t mind very little potential interaction. Usually, I limit this limit list so that it includes major players or media outlets.

Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter Advanced Search screenshot

Twitter Advanced Search (and a Third-Party Tool)

Now that you’ve primed your Twitter account for growth, you need to start finding new users to follow who will hopefully follow you back and lead to fruitful interactions. To find new users, you can start with Twitter Advanced Search.

Advanced Search will allow you to search for words and phrases in other users’ tweets. It will also help you define a target by entering a specific location or time period for the tweet.

With Twitter’s Advanced Search, you’re not necessarily seeking customers. You’re also seeking parallel content or content related to your business and industry, so that your timeline will be full of interesting items to retweet. You want to follow users who will inspire you to reply and share.

For example, my client is located in Downtown Los Angeles and specializes in bridal jewelry. As a result, I follow these types of accounts: Downtown Los Angeles events and culture, wedding planners, honeymoon destinations, Los Angeles hot spots like restaurants and bars, wedding venues, wedding service providers like photographers, wedding dress designers, and even other jewelry brands that specialize in other types of jewelry.

In addition to using Twitter Advanced Search, I also use one third-party tool called Followerwork. The free version helps users find and connect with Twitter influencers. You can search by keywords in Twitter bios, by location, and by minimum and maximum followers and following. What I like about Followerwonk is that I can sort my list by how many users the account follows. Sometimes I only want to follow users with a small following list or balanced follower/following ratio because I feel like they’ll be more likely to interact with me.

Twitter Hashtags

Most social media users understand that including a hashtag in a tweet or Instagram post will increase the post’s visibility because other users can search for those hashtags and then find the post.

However, you can also find new users to follow by knowing the most popular hashtags in your niche, especially the ones that generate a conversation among users, and then search for them using regular Twitter search.

In my quest to refresh my client’s Twitter account, I decided I wanted the account to follow more wedding-related accounts. I Googled “most popular wedding hashtags” and found a few lists that I explored and tested. I discovered some popular hashtags: #weddinghour, #weddingwednesday, and #weddingday.

When I search for a hashtag, I usually sort the results by clicking “Live” at the top of the page. “Live” will provide a real-time feed of everyone who’s using that hashtag. The advantage of the “Live” feed is that it guarantees the users displayed are active Twitter accounts.

From there, I simply click tweets that appear interesting and genuine (I usually open them in a new tab or window, so I don’t lose my place), and then I decide if the user looks like someone I’d like to follow.

Hashtags and Twitter Chats

Let’s take this one step further: some hashtags are used as prompts for Twitter chats. For example, #weddingwednesday is considered a Twitter chat because it encourages users to add the hashtag to wedding-related tweets every Wednesday. It creates a virtual meeting place for all users who want to participate.

To join a Twitter chat, you first need to find one that’s related to your specific jewelry niche. Google is a great way to find lists of Twitter chats. Many of them happen at a predetermined time every week, and you can join a conversation and interact with other users by watching the live hashtag feed.

Now, decide what you’d like to see in your Twitter feed and how you’ll leverage the new content to increase your interactions and followers. Do you think these techniques will add to your jewelry digital marketing strategy?

Featured photo by Petit Louis