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Best Practices for Jewelry Brands Using Instagram Live

Since the implementation of “shelter in place” rules during the coronavirus pandemic, more jewelry brands have been opting to replace their lucrative in-person event marketing strategy with a virtual one, taking advantage of free platforms like Instagram Live. Through these platforms, brands are able to connect with their audiences in real time, engaging and interacting with them in a meaningful way.

Have you been wondering how you can also use Instagram Live creatively and effectively? Continue reading this post, since we’ll be sharing some of the best practices for using the platform and even pass along some tips from jewelry designer Julie Lamb, who’s been hosting many Live broadcasts over the past few weeks.

Reconnect with your customer personas

When was the last time you reviewed your customer personas? Typically, when developing customer personas, a jewelry brand should explore things like age, income, shopping habits and motivations, style preferences, brand affinities, and general interests. Once you compile that information, you can use it to guide the decisions you make about your marketing, including what to do for your upcoming Instagram Live broadcast. Your customer personas will also help you decide when to host the Live broadcast, since you’ll know when target customers spend the most time on Instagram.

In the early days of your jewelry brand, you may have created an initial outline of your target demographic, but a lot has probably changed since then. When I ask most jewelry business owners to describe their target customers, they usually respond with something along the lines of, “I just know.” Wrong answer. There’s so much to explore and uncover about your customers. Furthermore, if you plan to work with marketing partners or hire a marketing team in the future, then everyone will need to be on the same exact page about the brand’s target customers. Take the time to write your customer personas and include them in the marketing plan you’ve developed for your business.

Watch some Live broadcasts and get to know what’s possible

Now that you know your customers, you’ll want to consider what’s possible, so you can choose the best broadcast type for your customers’ needs. Seek out and follow jewelry brands that you admire, if you’re not already doing so. Then, when they announce an Instagram Live broadcast, take the time to watch at least a few minutes, so you can get a sense of what other brands are doing. Keep a running list of things you do and don’t like about their Live broadcasts.

Off the top of my head, I can name a few ways that jewelry and fashion brands are utilizing Instagram Live: virtual trunk shows, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with team members, lifestyle content like workouts or cooking, virtual try-on sessions, giveaways, product launches, styling tips, influencer takeovers, cross-promotional partnerships with other brands, tutorials or workshops, interviews with customers, performances, and more. As long as you maintain alignment with your brand and with your target customers’ wants and needs, then you can be as creative as you’d like!

Have a clear goal in mind

What would you like to gain from hosting an Instagram Live broadcast? Would you like to sell products? Would you like to simply connect with your customers and potentially gain feedback from them? Would you like to promote a new product or collection? Would you like to increase brand awareness and attract new customers to your brand? Your ultimate goal will impact how you decide to approach your broadcast. Be sure to keep your goal in sight during the planning and execution of your Live.

Plan and promote your Live event

The amount of planning you do will really depend on the type of event you’re going to host and how much of it will be scripted vs. improvised. Regardless, you’ll want to prepare some talking points and/or notes to keep yourself on track and prevent yourself from stumbling. In addition, you’ll want to aim for a sweet spot of 10-30 minutes, which seems to work best for the platform. Instagram Live can display real-time video content up to 60 minutes long, but viewers tend to prefer shorter livestreams.

While some brands choose to do Live broadcasts somewhat spontaneously, you’ll get the best results if you promote your event ahead of time. To do that, you can announce the date and time in your Instagram Stories and in a regular Instagram post. You can also promote it on Facebook and in an email marketing campaign. Promoting the event two-to-three days ahead of the scheduled time is usually sufficient. The day of the event, you can post about it again in your Instagram Stories or regular Instagram feed to remind your audience.

Know how the platform works

Now that you’ve planned your event and have chosen an optimal date and time, you should know the technical aspects of hosting the Live broadcast. If you’re hosting the broadcast from your own Instagram profile, then you simply need to log in to the app, visit your main feed, click the camera icon in the top-left corner (also used to post a new Story), and then scroll through the options at the bottom until you see Live on the left. When you push the Record button, your Live will start recording. To include someone else in your Live, that person needs to watch your Live broadcast and request access when the prompt appears. From there, you’ll need to allow that person permission to join. Throughout your broadcast, you’ll be able to see when new viewers join your feed and keep a tally on how many viewers are watching at any given time. Viewers can also react to your feed with emojis, and they can share comments and questions in real-time. If you choose to do so, you can address them during your broadcast. Once your Live broadcast is over, it will remain on your profile for 24 hours, so your audience members can rewatch it.

Prepare yourself and your space

For the past few weeks, my client Julie Lamb has been hosting an Instagram Live series for Metal + Smith titled “Be ‘Herd’ with Julie Lamb”. Throughout the series, she’s been interviewing independent jewelry designers like Atelier Wolff, Jenny Crane McHugh, Noor Shamma, Kello Bello, and others. Prior to the pandemic, Julie was very hesitant to embrace video, but now that she’s sheltering in place, video is offering her a way to stay connected. Through her experiments with video, she’s learned a thing or two about preparing yourself and your space.

I asked Julie to share some of her own tips for hosting successful Instagram Live broadcasts, and she has a few important tips. “First, the light should be in your eyes. Don’t be back lit, or you’ll be too dark. Invest in a light ring! Smile when you begin your broadcast, since your expression will be the first thing viewers see in the video preview. Prepare talking points and keep them nearby. If you’re doing an interview or sharing the Live with another person, don’t talk over that person.”

Embrace imperfection

Despite your best efforts, things may go wrong, since technology is imperfect and fails us sometimes. Julie reminds users to embrace imperfection and learn how to improvise, since you’ll need to think on your feet, when your plans get thrown out the window. Most people watching Instagram Live broadcasts realize that it’s a casual medium, and they’re not expecting high production quality. As long as the video feed is clear, and your viewers can hear you, they’ll figure most other blips and technical errors.

Have you tried hosting a Live during the coronavirus pandemic? Which format did you choose, and were you satisfied with the response? Are you thinking about hosting one but feel nervous about the platform? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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