Traci Hill of Got Rocks Jewelry in Harrisonburg, VA, loves the community she’s found on Instagram. And when she expresses herself on social media, she builds an even stronger community. After she posted her support for the LGBTQ community, for example, a lesbian couple drove two hours to purchase wedding bands. “It’s been one of my most fulfilling transactions thus far,” she says. 

Inevitably, independent jewelry store personnel are time-challenged when it comes to social-media management. At OC Tanner in Salt Lake City, Dominique Anderson is a one-woman social-media show, managing with part-time help just once a week. “It’s a big job,” she says. With that in mind, more than 80 percent of her Instagram photography posts come from vendors, including lovely examples of model photography. Whether she reposts from vendors or customers or posts her own stuff, the key is using photos “with life to them.”

Whether you’d like to express yourself or use vivid photos to best advantage, Hill says Instagram is the way to go. “It’s free and it’s fun. Check out what’s going on throughout the world of jewelry and build your followers,” she says. “If you’re a bit too old-school, find a young buck to get your Instagram started and hashtag away!”


Try Cross-Branding to Boost Reach
OC Tanner, Salt Lake City, UT

With Instagram, Dominque Anderson strives to engage customers while conveying the store’s personality. “We do some close-up things if we want to show exactly what we have in stock,” she says. They’ve also been inviting brides and grooms to share their pictures. “One of our couples got engaged at Versailles with a ring from the OC Tanner Collection.” She collaborates with local magazines, loaning the publications jewelry for photo shoots and getting access to beautiful photography in return. “We will repost that and tag the photographer, the florist, the dress and all the other partners; we post it and they do the same for us,” she says. Every Sunday she also posts the Weekly Wow, highlighting a stunning piece of jewelry not necessarily in stock.


Consider It the First Step to a Purchase
Betteridge, Greenwich, CT

Win Betteridge uses Instagram as a storytelling platform aimed at generating brand awareness. It is also a wonderful service for product discovery, he says, frequently the first touch point leading to customers making an in-store or online purchase.


Drive Traffic to Your Feed
Got Rocks, Harrisonburg, VA

Traci Hill uses Instagram to build her brand, gain clientele and absorb inspiration from jewelry designers, bloggers and enthusiasts around the world. “I enjoy the fact that Instagram is more visual than other social media. It’s not as crowded as Facebook or Twitter. I’ve found I get more business and interaction from Instagram without paying to boost the posts. If I don’t pay on Facebook, I’m lucky to get three to five likes.” Instagram, Hill says, has an amazing jewelry community. Using hashtags drives more traffic to your feed. “Since Got Rocks Jewelry is a one-woman show, I like to show a bit of my personality and what I am passionate about, whether it’s the latest design from Ever & Ever, current events or my shop dog, Birdie. I enjoy what I do and try to have fun with it.”


Use Imagery That Reflects Quality
D&H Jewelers, San Francisco, CA

Lindsay Daunell uses Instagram as advertising for in-stock products as well as custom-design work. “We spend time producing high-quality images to reflect the fine quality of our jewelry and have seen tremendous results because of this. Instagram is a huge driver of foot traffic.”


Open Up New Worlds With Video
Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA

Casey Gallant has made sales directly as a result of her store’s Instagram feed. Beyond that, though, her goal is to make more impressions on customers and potential customers to keep the store front of mind. “I begin with mostly beautiful pictures,” she says. “After all, that’s what Instagram is all about, the photo. It’s a great platform for showcasing a visual item such as jewelry.” Lately, she has posted more videos to “bring the customer places they normally wouldn’t go and show them things they normally wouldn’t see. Like trade shows, the minerals section at a museum or the sparkle of a piece in sunlight. That can be harder to capture in a still photo.”


Create Desire
Alchemy, Portland, OR

“We use our Instagram to create desire,” says Laura Mapes. It’s important to be seen and to be relevant online. Usually, Alchemy staff members take their own photos, although they have hired a pro on occasion. “I like to mix it up between high quality images that our designers provide along with in-studio process shots,” Mapes says. “When we take photos in-house of our designers’ work, I try to keep in sync with their brand story. I think it is important for designers to have control of how their brand is represented. I know I would want it that way.”


Be Colorful and Creative
Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX

Colton Bartel likes to show off the custom and creative side of the business. “We love color, and by featuring unique colored stones and designs, we get more people interested in and asking for a broader spectrum of gems,” he says. Bartel also enjoys offering customers a peek behind the scenes. “They really don’t have a good perspective of how much time, effort and skill go into making a fine piece of jewelry. I’m hoping to not only give them some insight on how we do things and what we produce, but also build our integrity and credibility so that when it comes time to make a purchase, they already know who to trust and what level of care and attention to detail to expect.”


Tell a Good Story
eidos Contemporary Jewelry, Santa Fe, NM

Deborah Gordon tries to connect in a timely manner by posting new pieces just off the bench, gemstones just acquired or a recent outing or event. Gordon uses her iPad, taking advantage of its built-in photo-editing app that produces sharp photos. Using two sources of light helps with the photography, she says. She also likes to develop a bit of a story around each piece of jewelry. “I’m still learning how to do this, so that proves even low-tech Luddites can get onboard with new media!” Gordon says. “It seems to be an increasingly important aspect of running any business today.”


This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of INSTORE.



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