For many retailers, passing on the family business is the dream situation—if they can get their children involved in a way that calls to them. For Vanessa Guarino, that calling came in the form of social media, so it’s a good thing that’s such an important business practice for retailers these days.
Louis Guarino and his wife Veronica opened Louis Anthony Jewelers in Pittsburgh in 1990—when Vanessa was just a toddler. The Guarinos welcomed their daughter Amie to the business in 2003, who came on as a designer and store stylist; and then their son, Lou, to marketing and sales in 2009; and Vanessa joined the family business as head of social media in 2012. A billboard inviting its customers to to “join the family,” commemorated the addition of Vanessa, giving way to the family vibe the jeweler emits so well.
That continues over on social media. A look at the store’s Instagram reads like a family photo album, with a mix of images from the store and special appearances from members of the family, too. Guarino has curated a feed that, even with just a scroll, has you feeling like this is a fun family, but also one that you want to be your jeweler.
For the lowdown on how she does it, here’s Vanessa Guarino, director of social media for Louis Anthony Jewelers.
JCK: You are responsible for the social media accounts at Louis Anthony Jewelers. Explain how running the accounts of a business is different from a personal account.
Vanessa Guarino: I really don’t think there is much of a difference. I believe that you should keep both business accounts and personal accounts lighthearted and fun. Polarizing topics like politics and religion should be avoided because they contradict what I feel is the spirit of social media.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
People always think that I get paid to be on Facebook and Instagram all day. While this is partially true, there’s actually a lot more to it. I usually check my email in the morning to see what has happened overnight and if there is any content worth posting. Also, I spend a lot of time tracking my posts and figuring out what days and times are going to give me the best results. I also created and manage two blogs—one for the store and one personal.
The Louis Anthony Instagram account is brimming with fun! Can you offer retailers some tips on finding their social media identity?
Social media involves a lot of trial and error. You need to try different things in order to find out what works best for your business. Once you start to figure that out, your store’s identity will come through.
Have you ever monetized/considered monetizing any of your posts?
I do not believe in sponsoring posts or creating ads. This creates a lot of randomly generated likes from users who aren’t really engaging with your product. The result is a one-time post with inflated numbers that skews your overall results and makes it difficult to properly assess your organic reach.
Everyone has a different definition of success when it comes to social media. What is yours?
My goal with social media is to have fun with it and make people feel like they already know us before they even step foot in the store. I want to connect with people on a human level and not push product. On the rare occasion that I do post product, there’s always a person or animal in the post to help the viewer make a connection and engage with the post.
First site you check in the morning?
Instagram, because it’s a quick snapshot and I can investigate further if I find something interesting.
I’ve asked a lot of questions about Instagram, but do you find other social media platforms to be vital to your business?
Yes, I still believe in Facebook as a way to connect. It targets a different demographic than Instagram.
What do you think the next big thing is in social media?
I believe social media is in a flux period at the moment as the influencer bubble is bursting. I think soon you will see more personal posts and less promotional ones.
What are your five favorite Instagram accounts to follow (these can be jewelry or other)?
Social media pet peeve?
Fake followers. It is better to have fewer fans that are more engaged than to have more fans who are not engaged.
A social media mantra to leave us with?
Your website shows what your business sells, your social media should show your business’s personality.@jckmagazine
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