Social (Media) Butterfly

Dan Gordon takes networking to digital extremes

Dan Gordon, a fourth-generation jewelry retailer and president of Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City, is bringing his family’s legacy into the 21st century with an aggressive push into social media. “It basically is my marketing strategy,” he says. Gordon has thousands of friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter (around 7,000 and 3,300, respectively), where he maintains personal accounts as well as company accounts under the Samuel Gordon Jewelers name. A recent giveaway held in conjunction with the Natural Color Diamond Association and hosted on the Samuel Gordon blog yielded 4,100 clicks in just two weeks and increased the Diamond Association’s Facebook fanbase by 50 percent. While the prize—a pink diamond butterfly pendant—wasn’t a big-ticket item, consumers jumped at the chance to win it. “It was probably our most successful contest in terms of raising awareness,” says Gordon, adding that the campaign’s success will likely lead to similar promotions in the future.  

What’s your favorite social media platform?

I like Twitter for creating new relationships; Facebook is obviously the largest audience. If you’re going to start with one or the other, Facebook is definitely the way to go, but make sure to have your personal identity on there. That’s important because now you have an opportunity to connect with people on a personal level. In traditional media, big corporations like McDonald’s or Starbucks don’t have a personality or a voice. I quickly realized your personal profile should be you, and your page should be your company, and I waited a very long time before I started a fan page. I wanted to gain respect by being myself, by being transparent and open, and I’ve earned that.

How is social media similar to traditional marketing?

It’s still networking. It’s conversation, it’s talking; I think that’s the common denominator. Social media is networking on steroids. Hopefully, this behind-the-screen stuff creates new business opportunities and turns into sales on both the consumer and the B2B side.

Conversely, what’s different about offline marketing these days?

Print ads are still used, but now I see that people are putting things like “Find us on Twitter” or “Friend us on Facebook” into their ads. People are trying to bring consumers into the conversation so they have the opportunity to engage and create a two-way level of communication. The gatekeepers are no longer in control.

How have your social media efforts affected your business?

Business has gone up. We’ve gotten more foot traffic as a result of the contests we do that are advertised on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog. It’s tough to formally measure because we don’t do e-commerce now, but it has equated to a gain in sales. We’ve done a lot of giveaways, so we’ve been introduced to a lot of people I believe we wouldn’t have been introduced to otherwise. We’re putting our name and our face in front of an audience that may not be jewelry purchasers right now, but might be three to five years from now. We’re gaining the trust of the next generation of jewelry buyers.

What’s the biggest mistake retailers make when they incorporate social media into their marketing?

Selling too much. You wouldn’t walk into a cocktail party and start yelling, “Buy my stuff!” But that’s what some people basically do online. Traditional advertising is all about interrupting, but social media should be a conversation. You also can’t ignore people. If someone said, “Oh, that’s a nice ring” to my face, I wouldn’t act like I hadn’t heard them. You’ve got to engage. The key is to make real relationships. I try to answer as many people as I can who write in because the minute someone takes the time to engage in your company, you’ve got a gold mine. If people think about your product or service, they’ll remember you.

What role will social media play in the industry a decade from now?

We’ll still be using social media, but it won’t be talked about. It will just be used the way we use the telephone now.