How to Engage Authentically As a Jewelry Brand on Instagram
Are you frustrated by the Instagram algorithm? I know the answer to that question is “yes”. If you’re like most jewelry brands, then you’re probably wondering why your posts are getting seen and liked by so few people. I understand that it’s super frustrating to plan and create awesome content that doesn’t get noticed.
You may already know that the best way to boost your engagement (your number of likes, comments, shares, and new followers) is to be an active member of the platform. In order to boost your engagement, you also have to be engaging and engage with other users.
According to a recent blog post from Later about how the Instagram algorithm works in 2021, “consistently showing up on Instagram is so important. It sends positive signals to the Instagram algorithm – and gives your audience more opportunities to interact with your content.” Okay, but what does that really mean? I’ve had a few different clients ask me this same question over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d share my answer in a new episode.
The actual act of engagement may seem kind of meandering and pointless, but it does have a relevant goal. Of course, the overarching goal is to create brand awareness and to introduce new customers to your jewelry brand. The short-term goal is to get more eyeballs on your Instagram profile and your posts, so that more people start liking, commenting, and sharing. These actions will give Instagram the signal that your content is relevant and interesting, and it will move your posts higher up in your followers’ feeds, thus exposing you more regularly to the people who are already familiar with your brand.
The steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve what I describe are tedious. They are sometimes mindless and definitely repetitive. You probably won’t want to do them, and you’ll cry about why you need to work so hard to make Instagram work for you. I’m sorry to say there aren’t any shortcuts. If you don’t want to do the work, then train someone on your team to do it for you or outsource it to someone who’s passionate about Instagram and who is an effective and intuitive communicator. But even if you do outsource the work, I invite you to occasionally engage on Instagram yourself because I guarantee you that you will learn a lot about the market, your customers, and your competitors. You’ll also probably get a lot of fresh ideas for your own social media marketing strategy.
Follow these steps to get started today.
Know your target customer
I feel like literally every piece of advice I’ve ever given starts with this same directive: know your target customer inside and out. Before you can engage on Instagram effectively, you need to know what your target customer wants/needs and how your target customer would like to receive communications. How would he/she like you to speak and interact? Knowing your target customer like you would know a close friend is the only way you can start engaging genuinely on Instagram.
Figure out what your target customer likes, where he/she spends her time
Once you know your target customer, you’re going to need to do a little bit of sleuthing on Instagram. Who are the influencers that your particular target customer admires? They don’t necessarily have to be fashion influencers. If your target customer is posting a lot of his/her own content, which hashtags is that person using on posts? What are your customer’s brand affinities, and which other brands does he/she follow? What are some brands that could potentially be good partners in helping you reach your target customers? Which customers are already loud and proud ambassadors of your brand?
Start engaging authentically
Set a goal to engage for at least 30 minutes per day. Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’re going to visit your choice of the following types of accounts and do what I describe with each of them in a genuine and authentic way. You’ll want to comment more than a single emoji. Instead, write a few thoughtful words and try to speak in a voice that represents your brand rather than the voice you might use when you personally interact on social media.
Influencers who resonate with your target customer: Start building relationships with these influencers, not necessarily with the goal of working with them (though it could be a possibility) but to create brand awareness and to inspire them to also like and share your content. If you see a post you like on the influencer’s feed, leave a genuine and thoughtful comment. Not everyone will be interested in responding, but over time you’ll start to find the ones who also like to engage in return – keep focusing your attention on those.
Surf the hashtags: Now that you have an idea of which hashtags your target customer might use, explore some of them. You can spend one day on one hashtag for example. One thing I recommend to clients is to check out hashtags that aren’t necessarily related to fashion or style, since you’ll likely come upon more influencers or wanna-be influencers if you limit your focus to only those topics.
For example, if you know that your target customer is someone who may be passionate about baking, then try a baking hashtag. Explore some of the content and interact meaningfully with any posts that catch your eye. You may discover that engaging with the baking hashtag doesn’t really yield anything interesting to you or any reciprocal engagement. That’s fine – move on to another hashtag. One thing I want to emphasize about engagement is that it’s a bit of a discovery and trial-and-error process at the beginning.
Competitors and brand affinities: Check out some of your competitors’ Instagram feeds and take a look at who’s commenting on their posts. Try interacting with some of those people – but on their own individual profiles, not in the comments section of your competitor’s post. Check out the profiles of other brands that aren’t competitors but that your target customers would love. Engage in the same way with people who comment on those posts too.
Outspoken customers: Which Instagram users are already loud and proud ambassadors of your brand? You want to give them extra attention. If they’re not always showing up in your newsfeed, then make a note to regularly visit their profiles and catch up on their latest posts, commenting on the content and interacting with them in a meaningful way. If they already love your brand, then they’ll feel even more excited about getting attention from you, and they’ll definitely reciprocate the love.
If you’re making a concerted effort to do what I described above every day for at least 30 minutes, then I can 100% guarantee you that you’ll see an increase in your engagement. I can’t say that about any other Instagram tactic. If you put in the work and establish yourself as an active member of Instagram (there’s a reason why it’s called a social media platform), then you’ll reap the rewards of your work.
You may be wondering, why aren’t big brands necessarily doing this? They’ve already built the momentum that you have yet to create. Either through social media or in other ways, they’ve already established themselves with their target customer community, and they’re regularly creating super-engaging content. They don’t have to work as hard to get noticed and get their content higher-up in the feed. It’s definitely unfair, but the brands that already have great engagement will continue getting great engagement. You’ll just need to work a little bit harder to get to that point.