Social Media Ninjas, an online marketing agency that works with businesses to help them increase revenue, recently gained recognition for growing the online presence of Design Jewelers in Santa Rosa, Calif.
In two months, the California-based jeweler gained more than 4,000 Facebook fans and expanded their audience reach to a national level.
Sean Daily, founder of Social Media Ninjas, took the time to share his knowledge on all things social media.
JCK: In the age-old debate of quantity vs. quality, is it better for companies to focus their attention on select few social mediums or to expand their efforts across the web?
Sean Daily: That’s a good question, and the answer is that if you do have to make a choice based on resource constraints, it’s far better to focus on one (popular) platform and make inroads there than to put forth an anemic effort across many platforms that yields no results.
That said, however, tools such as HootSuite, Sprout Social, and others make it easy to post to multiple platforms at the same time and manage a company’s presence on these platforms, so I don’t think it really has to be a choice of a single platform with the right tools and managerial strategy in place.
In the jewelry industry, social media absolutely can and should work. The business’ work product lends itself to the demographics of most of these platforms (women over 30) and these predominantly female audiences are extremely responsive to well-crafted posts. Jewelry is about beauty, love, stories, families, connection—this is pure gold in the world of social media (pun intended).
JCK: How can someone in the jewelry industry determine which platforms are right for his or her business?
SD: It may be a bit brazen of me to say so but I think with the jewelry industry the appropriate sites are pretty much pre-determined—at least the core sites. Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram are highly visual mediums and in my opinion should be a primary focus for any jeweler social media campaign.
Also, though it is more B-to-B oriented, LinkedIn also allows for graphics (images and videos) in posts and is a very successful platform for many companies. An interesting statistic about LinkedIn is that 61 percent of users use it as their primary social networking site.
Beyond these, there are also some lesser-known and up-and-coming social media sites that are worthy of consideration, including RebelMouse, Thumb, Flayvr, and Chirp.
JCK: Social media has become increasingly more visual. What role do you believe applications such as Instagram and Pinterest have in the fashion and jewelry industry?
SD: Social media has become more visual, I believe, because people are more visual. Put simply: We like pictures and video. Pictures, as they say, are worth 1,000 words, and people respond to them consistently better than text-only content.
In other industries, it can be difficult to find images that are stunning, intriguing, or evoke passion or inspiration. However, photos of jewelry regularly and naturally achieve this, giving jewelry businesses what I consider to be a natural edge in the world of social media.
JCK: Aside from visuals, what is the value of having a company blog? How often do you urge your clients to post?
SD: Blogging has to be the single most misunderstood thing with most small business owners I work and speak with. I find that a lot of them initially say thing likes “Oh, blogging, what’s the point? Who cares what I say on my blog?” To me, blogging is critical because it is where a business gets to tell their story, and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Without a blog, your website is merely a glorified brochure that is static and lifeless. A blog is intended to allow a business to remain relevant, both to visitors and to Google and the other search engines. By blogging about things like new products, design inspirations, opinions on industry trends, or just about anything else that the business desires to discuss, the site is seen by Google as more “fresh” and active than other sites that aren’t updated much and are thus stale. Blogs, especially when post topics and titles are well chosen, can help pages on a business’ website rank much higher for high-value search terms.
JCK: Today’s consumers are also being shaped by smartphone usage. How would you advise clients to adapt their social media efforts to the mobile sphere?
SD: This is a really important area of consideration for jewelers because mobile/smartphone usage is here in a big way, and it’s here to stay. Mobile phones are something most people wake up with, go to bed with, and have with them literally all day in between. Some of the statistics out there now are showing that one-third of time spent online is spent on mobile devices, and in some studies over 50 percent of visits to local businesses come from mobile devices. However, if you look at how many local business websites are mobile-enabled and display correctly/optimally on these devices, it’s abysmal.
So, my first and strongest piece of advice would be: Make sure your website is 100 percent mobile-friendly. This means you should look at your site on your mobile phone and try to navigate it yourself. Can you read the text and see the images? Can you easily navigate the site pages and click to call and/or email the stores? If the answer it no, that means you either need to have someone create a custom mobile-version of your website, or revamp the website to use a responsive theme that adapts with equal aplomb to mobile devices, tablets, or desktop PCs.
On the social media front, luckily, most of these platforms are doing the heavy lifting here because most already work well with mobile devices. Some jewelry store owners may want to consider going further with mobile and employing things like mobile/text VIP customer loyalty programs (text message marketing for VIP customers), custom Android or iPhone apps, and similar mobile-centric marketing campaigns.
JCK: Facebook “fans” and “likes” are important, but more importantly how to do you turn those fans into engaged customers? What advice can you give to jewelers on how to create and retain social media engagement?
SD: It’s been said a millions times before but it’s true so worth repeating: Social media is an ongoing conversation. Even if you earn the right to talk to your audience because they liked/followed/fan-ed you, you need to keep providing them regular updates that earn their continued loyalty, and your place in their overcrowded social media feed. If you don’t manage this correctly on a site like Facebook, your EdgeRank score, an invisible rating that Facebook assigns to your fan page based on past post audience engagement performance to determine how many people will see your future posts, will plummet and no one is going to see your posts, even if you have tons of fans. It’s not about pure audience/fan numbers, it’s about impressions and reach.
Another important thing to mention is working within the medium you’re on. On sites like Facebook, people don’t go to be sold to—they go to be distracted. So, you have to work with this to be successful. You need to be entertaining them, making them laugh, cry.… You need to intrigue them, disturb them, make them feel good. Luckily, with jewelry, it’s naturally distracting and feel-good by nature.
Marketing is storytelling, and social media is one avenue for telling your story. In the case of the jewelry industry, it’s also a story that people perennially love to hear, and that is a big advantage.