Is Social Media Engagement Changing for Jewelry Brands?

If you’ve ever researched jewelry-related hashtags on Instagram, you’ve probably seen how saturated some of them are. For example, the #jewelry hashtag alone has more than 50,000,000 posts, while #jewelrydesigner has more than 3,000,000, and #jewelrylover has more than 1,000,000.

Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to stand out in a sea of sparkle?

On their Daily Insights blog, Gartner L2 recently published a post about the roles that social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook Pages, and Twitter play in social media strategies for jewelry brands. With Facebook and Twitter serving more of a customer service function these days, Instagram seems to be the only platform where brands can hope for discovery by new customers and engagement with fans.

A caveat: while it’s true that Instagram is definitely the platform where jewelry brands can hope for engagement, the number of total interactions is decreasing. However, not all hope is lost, and some jewelry brands are thriving on Instagram regardless.

These brands (L2 uses Adina’s Jewels as an example) are getting their jewelry on the celebrities, models, and fashion bloggers “du jour”, who serve as style icons to consumers who range from Gen Z to Young Millennials. Gen Z consumers “are often inspired by peers, which makes sense regarding their current life stage and their extreme connectivity to social media,” according to an article from Forbes.

At the same time, Gen Z consumers are not established in a career and only have income from a part-time job, entry-level job, or parental allowance. It makes sense that they’d be buying from a brand like Adina’s Jewels, which sells fashion jewelry priced between $28 and $1,450.

So what are you supposed to do about Instagram if you don’t target Gen Z? Is Gartner correct in wondering, has Instagram “reached a saturation point for jewelry content”? Should you give up on social?

My take: worry less about the numbers and focus more on developing your Instagram as the absolute best representation of your brand – like a visual elevator pitch. Use it as a proving ground to try new imagery, colors, or artistic direction. Consider it a place to practice your brand voice by exploring new iterations of your caption copy.

If you’re doing all these things right, you may not hit the high numbers, but you will attract the right customer, if she’s on Instagram. If she’s not an Instagram user, then maybe her social-media-savvy friend or daughter will tell her about you, and you’ll find your way to her anyway.

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.

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

Top 3 Twitter Mistakes in Jewelry Marketing Efforts

As someone who spends a fair amount of time using Twitter to search for jewelry designers and retailers, I’ve read hundreds of feeds and have seen many approaches to using Twitter for business.

You might feel confused by Twitter, and maybe you’re not sure how to plan a Twitter social media strategy. In this post, I’m going to share three mistakes that jewelry designers and retailers make on Twitter, why these mistakes can sabotage a social media marketing strategy, and how you can avoid making these same mistakes.

In order to use Twitter effectively, you do need to spend time with it daily: about 30 minutes. As someone who manages more than one Twitter account, I try to make posting and interacting fun, and I do it during down time, like when I’m riding my indoor exercise bike!

Your ultimate goal during those 30 minutes is to post interesting content that captures your brand’s voice and to interact and engage with other Twitter users. Few rules exist (you have license to be fully creative), but you should avoid the following Twitter mistakes:

1. Inconsistent posting schedule: Personally, I avoid following Twitter accounts that haven’t posted in more than a week, and I definitely won’t follow an account that hasn’t posted for a month or more. Why would I waste a follow on someone who doesn’t seem to enjoy participating? Furthermore, I can’t expect that account to follow me back if the person managing the account is hardly ever viewing the timeline.

I use the phrase “posting schedule” because it does help to maintain some sort of schedule, especially when you’re maintaining an account for business. By visiting Twitter at the same time each day, you’ll get in the habit of looking at your feed and engaging with other accounts. You should also try to stagger your postings (you can schedule tweets with a service like Hootsuite) so that you remain visible in your followers’ timelines.

2. Keeping to yourself: Too often I see Twitter accounts that simply tweet links to articles, product photos and promos, or information about the brand. However, the accounts never interact with any other user, and the person managing the account never retweets other posted content.

I tend to avoid following accounts that keep to themselves because I can be fairly certain that they will never interact with me. And that’s no fun! I want to meet and connect with people on Twitter, and you should want that too.

3. Using Twitter exclusively as a reposting service for your other social media accounts: Many social media account managers link other accounts – like Instagram and Facebook – so that the media they post on those platforms automatically posts to Twitter. In general, cross-posting media is a positive action that can encourage you followers from one social media platform to follow you on another social media platform.

However, too often I notice that one account’s feed is simply a reposting of Instagram photos. I definitely won’t follow accounts with feeds made exclusively of Instagram and Facebook reposts because I can be very certain that the account manager isn’t even checking the brand’s Twitter account. As a result, he or she is not interacting with anyone.

Have you been guilty of any of the above Twitter mistakes in your jewelry marketing campaign? Have you seen any other brands committing terrible Twitter mistakes?