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Social Media…What's It Really All About?

You’re tweeting like nobody’s business and you’ve got more Facebook friends than your teenager. Now, for your next move…

Jewelry 2.0
By Michael Schechter
This story appears in the January 2011 issue of JCK magazine
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Social Media…What's It Really All About?
Photograph by Michael Falco

If 2010 is remembered as the year the jewelry industry accepted social media, then 2011 will likely be the year we decide if we want to embrace it. Soon, businesses will see social media’s shiny newness wearing off, and the harsh light of day will help us decide if this really matters to our individual businesses. Regular readers of this column know I am passionate about these tools; but they are going to be relevant to your business only if they are applied to hard goals. With this in mind, take the time to get started on the right foot by creating a marketing strategy for the new year and decide exactly what you hope to gain from your online efforts.

Social Media Is Really All About Web Strategy

Last year’s talk mostly focused on Facebook and Twitter, which ultimately fostered some vibrant discussions about what the Web will mean to the jewelry industry in years to come. We’re now thinking about the Internet in a positive light, focusing on the opportunities rather than allowing ourselves to become paralyzed by the potential pitfalls. If you haven’t done it yet, now is the time to step back from social media and think about what the Web’s extraordinary growth means to your brand.

Social Media Is Really All About Customer Service

Most brands think of Facebook and Twitter as extensions of their traditional marketing efforts. While there’s nothing wrong with using these channels to promote products, companies often don’t bother to expand their efforts to help improve customer service. Look at a company like Zappos.com: Using social media to offer exceptional service to your customers is a far better tactic than using it to sell them…especially if you are looking to keep your current customers happy and hoping to get them talking about you.

Social Media Is Really All About Customer Experience

If you want social media to matter, you need to recognize that it is not a short-term marketing strategy. These venues are almost always better for creating good impressions than for generating sales. More and more, a consumer’s first encounter with your brand is online, so make it an experience to remember—one that encourages that person to take the next step (literally) and walk through your doors. So many retailers work tirelessly to create the perfect in-store experience but neglect their online presence. In the digital age, it is easy for customers to ignore you or to opt out of your updates, so be sure your e-mails are relevant to them.

Social Media Is Really All About Results

At the end of the day, retailers care about results. But what are the benchmarks for success? Sales are the most obvious metric, but don’t stop there. Decide if these tools are right to help you increase website traffic, improve customer feedback, or encourage more e-mail sign-ups. One statistic to be wary of—even though it is easy to obsess over—is your follower count. A tool like Facebook is not about collecting people; it’s about getting them to connect with you. The goal is not to boost the numbers of people opting in but to grow the numbers of those who actually interact. Focus your energy on engaging with customers who allow you to be a part of their daily lives…and everything else will quickly fall into place.

Michael Schechter is a founding member of Gen-Next Jewelers, an organization created to bridge the gap between retailers and manufacturers and foster conversation on the future of the industry.

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