New York–Among a torrent of reports describing the leaps and bounds of social media and an increasing number of retailers giving their stores an online persona, National Jeweler spoke with jewelers around the country about how they make Facebook work for them.
Mary Penaloza, who co-owns C. Aaron Penaloza Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband Aaron, decided to create the business’ Facebook page in such a way that it resembled having a conversation with a jeweler.
“We discovered the majority of our customers were women and that they use social media, Facebook especially, as an opportunity to answer some questions,” Penaloza said.
A few of the questions on the jeweler’s page cover how Jewelry can be cleaned at home, why rubies are so special, and what “those strange markings on the inside of your rings mean,” which explains the 18K, 750 and 925 stampings definitions in the page’s “Jewelry Marks 101” note.
“We styled the page in such a way that it took some of the mystery out of jewelry,” Penaloza said. “We are trying to make the page not just a sales tool, but an open conversation opportunity.”
In-store events and promotions, photos of the store’s jewelry and relevant online articles about jewelry style and care are also posted to the Facebook page, which had 80 “likes” as of press time.
Penaloza added that they have also set up a rewards system through the page, having Facebook users “check in” when they are physically in the jewelry store and gaining eligibility for a gift, prize or discount after a certain number of visits.
“We’ve had customers come in and talk about the Facebook page,” she said of the page’s success.
Penaloza said they’re cutting the print budget to further increase social and electronic advertising for C. Aaron Penaloza Jewelers.
L. Rose and Jamie Windhaeuser of The Jewelry Mechanic, Inc. in Oconomowoc, Wis., have had their business’ Facebook page up for a year now, finding themselves with 465 “likes” as of press time.
“The long-term goal of the Facebook page is to put our designs out there,” Rose, who is a graduate gemologist and manager of the store, said. “We strictly post the jewelry we make, so the page focuses solely on our business and redirects traffic to our Web site, where visitors can make a purchase.”
Rose said anything that has been newly created or ordered is posted to the site right away to get the word out.
“The brick-and-mortar store is great, but we can reach a broader audience online,” she said.
Rose said the best part of the Facebook site is the detailed reporting it affords the page’s creator. She’s able to track “hits,” or how many people clicked on certain posts and links she updated to the site.
“Certain triggers get people talking,” Rose said.
Tips get a lot of responses, she said, such as her recent post advising people to take off their rings before bed to help reduce arthritic pain and knuckle swelling. Giveaways and contests, however, are the real attention-grabbers.
“As soon as you say something is free, or you’re giving it away, hits go up dramatically,” Rose said. “And getting the event on Facebook gets more people involved. Any time I posted about a giveaway, it grabbed more hits than any other post.”
Posting of giveaway winners and their prizes also brought in the hits, she added.
Rose said the page tracking report information she receives is encouraging, showing that visitors are indeed visiting the site, which demonstrates a genuine interest in what the company has to say as well as specifying what they like to hear about most.
“I don’t get that kind of feedback with print ads,” she said.
The jeweler said a business Facebook page is an integral tool in expanding company awareness.
“Our Facebook page has visitors from all over the country coming to it,” Rose said. “It’s opened us up to a broader audience.”
Tara & Co. Fine Diamonds, located in the college town of Searcy, Ark., has 3,460 “likes,” which sales employee Logan Hill attributes to a Valentine’s Day contest the company ran and the company’s proximity to a university.
The Valentine’s Day promotion asked fans of Tara & Co. on Facebook to post a photo of themselves and their special someone for the chance to win a key-shaped diamond pendant. The photo with the most “likes” won. But in order to “like” the photo, users had to like the Tara & Co. page first, creating a way for the retailer to pump up its Facebook fan base.
“It got a lot more people looking at the page,” Hill said. “We don’t run a lot of contests, but the last one went well, so we’re brainstorming for another.”
In addition to the contest, Hill said the page is regularly updated with photos of the store’s inventory, including Pandora pieces and events the company is holding.
Lisa Biderman, marketing manager of Hiller jewelry in Metairie, La., said Hiller’s is currently renovating their Web site, which will incorporate Facebook and Twitter platforms on the landing page.
“At the moment, it’s about getting people to like your page, and we aren’t seeing it happening as often as it needs to,” Biderman said. “So by placing a link on the homepage, visitors can like us right there. That’s one of our goals with Facebook.”
Hiller’s Facebook page posts photos of jewelry the store offers, including new inventory and pieces from new designers being brought in, as well as custom design engagements rings created by the company. With 147 likes as of press time, traffic on the page appeared to be slow.
“I don’t think, at the moment, that the page is getting more people through the door, but I think with the more likes we get, the more people will come,” Biderman said.
Biderman added the store had attempted a Facebook promotion when the page was first created, but because of its lack of exposure, wasn’t very effective.
“I think that promotions work better when there are more people to choose from,” she said. “That’s something we will definitely look to do more of, once the site is up.”
Biderman added that while social media is free and whatever comes from it can be seen as beneficial, social media holds challenges for jewelers.
“There’s not something to always talk and write about without sounding like a salesperson,” she said. “You can post pictures, but it doesn’t attract the same attention as products with a daily interest to people do.”
Despite this, Biderman says, “It doesn’t hurt to be up-to-date on the newest technologies.”
Hiller’s site is set to re-launch in the next two weeks.
SOURCE- Connorton, Hannah. “Jewelers Report on Their Facebook Experiences.” National Jeweler. 21 July 2011. Web. 2 Aug. 2011. <https://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/independents/article_detail?id=26938>.