Jeweler Scores Facebook Coup With Casual Diamonds Event

To get people thinking about future diamond purchases, Brian Alter of Alter’s Gem Jewelry in Beaumont, Texas, decided to encourage them to wear their existing diamond jewelry with casual clothes as part of his “Diamonds and Flip Flops” photo contest.

When Alter spoke to his customers about buying new diamond jewelry, he grew tired of hearing, “We don’t dress up anymore, I have no place to wear it.” To get people thinking about future diamond purchases, he decided to encourage them to wear their existing diamond jewelry more often—even with casual clothes. His Facebook-based “Diamonds and Flip Flops” photo contest grew his “like” numbers by 850 in the three months since the spring contest turned into a summer campaign.

Alter compares the idea for his “Diamonds and Flip Flops” contest to an old Campbell’s Soup campaign. Years ago, Campbell’s ran an indirect campaign encouraging people not to buy cans of soup, but to use up the ones sitting around in cupboards, with ads that enticed: “Wouldn’t a good, hot, steaming bowl of Campbell’s Soup taste really good right now?” When people ran out of the canned soup they’d—presumably—go to the store to buy new ones.

“If you apply this concept to diamond jewelry, people take it out of their jewelry boxes and wear it more often,” says Alter. “They’ll either appreciate their diamond jewelry more or think about trading in old diamond jewelry for new pieces. Either way it’s a win-win.”

To get customers thinking about wearing diamonds with less-fancy clothes on everyday occasions, Alterran the “Diamonds and Flip Flops” 10-week photo contest from late March to the end of May. People who submitted pictures of themselves wearing—you guessed it—diamond jewelry with flip-flop footwear had a chance to win a diamond and sterling silver flip-flop sandal pendant on a sterling silver chain (retail value: $99).

Notices about the contest were posted in early to mid-March on Facebook with the first winner announced on St. Patrick’s Day. The rules of the contest were simple: Become a friend of Alter’s Gem Jewelry on Facebook, and take a picture of yourself wearing the casual combination anywhere in the United States (including the jewelry store) for a chance to win the pendant.

The photo contest went viral as Alter and his staff uploaded the new contestant images, which generated lots of interaction on the store’s Facebook wall. Even employees got in on the act by uploading images.

Fifty people entered the contest and 10 people won the flip-flop pendant, but Alter added 850 new friends to his store’s Facebook page in three months. Alter is looking to ride out the flip-flop fever to hit his goal of 1,500 Facebook fans by the end of summer. Currently at 1,325, Alter is confident he can reach his eventual year-end goal of 2,000 likes.

“The reaction to the contest was great,” says Alter. “People now just want the flip-flop pendant. We have a load of rain checks for them.”