FEATURE: An expert guide to working with influencers

Interview

The term ‘influencers’ has only been a buzzword in the industry for the last 12-18 months, and it is a concept many are still struggling to get their head around.

In a bid to help jewellery companies understand this new marketing concept, Professional Jeweller editor Stacey Hailes got together with communications expert Rosalind Shimmen and fashion blogger Georgia White to nail down exactly what this term means, the first steps brands and retailers can take to build a professional relationship with digital influencers, and discover how exactly the jewellery industry can work with bloggers to build their businesses’ online profile.

Professional Jeweller: For those who don’t know, could you explain in brief what makes someone an influencer?
Rosalind Shimmen: An influencer is a person that is able to influence another person’s decision.

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PJ: Why have influencers become so popular over the last couple of years?
Georgia White: I think people are starting to see through generic paid advertising, instead consumers prefer to trust the opinions of ordinary people. Giving influencers power over people’s buying decisions.

PJ: What can influencers offer a marketing strategy?
RS: Most influencers are aware of their readership and are able to tell you details about their audience including sex, age and country of occupation. This makes it a lot easier when putting together a targeted marketing campaign. I would describe all of the influencers on our network [Rosalind Shimmen Communications] as ‘creatives’ — on multiple occasions I’ve had brands approach us asking us to identify the best ways to market a particular product. We then work with the influencer to come up with the creative strategy as they understand what receives the most positive feedback from their audience.

PJ: How do you think influencers can be used by jewellery brands and retailers to build an online business presence?
GW: There are multiple benefits to working with bloggers, they can help promote a product, create brand awareness, increase your social media following, direct sales and create visually beautiful content that you can use across your own social media platforms and website.

PJ: How can jewellery brands and retailers start a relationship with digital influencers?
GW: From personal experience, I really like it when brands take the time to add personal touches, whether that’s in an email or taking time out of their diary to meet for (my favourite) tea and cake.

PJ: Once a business has connected with an influencer, what’s the process of beginning to use bloggers and vloggers to boost brand awareness?
RS: That all depends on what you’re looking to achieve, whether the goal point is to boost sales for a particular item or simply create brand awareness. I personally prefer to create my own brief, which I would then work with the blogger to finalise the finer details to create a campaign which both parties are happy with.

PJ: Where do companies need to be seen online?
GW: Popular social media platforms and web publications.

PJ: What practical advice could you give jewellery industry professionals looking to utilise the power of influencers?
RS: Identify your target customer —where does he/she shop? What do they read? What do they do with in their spare time? Once you have done this, find influencers that replicate this.

GW: Look at the influencers engagement – for example, how many likes/comments do they receive per Instagram picture – as well as their total social media following.

PJ: How can the industry harness the power of social media to their business’ advantage?
RS: Social media is another outlet to promote your business and engage with your customers. What’s the point of creating a beautiful brand when no-one knows about it? The wonderful thing about the web is you can reach out to people from all over the world with a click of a button.

PJ: What would be your number one piece of advice for companies looking to take their online business to the next level?
GW: Interact with your customers and show them that you are interested in their views and opinions.

PJ: Why is Instagram such a vital platform for the industry?
RS: As your product is very visually attractive, Instagram is the perfect social media outlet for you as it’s an image sharing social media platform. Therefore it’s a great place to showcase your beautiful designs and brand ethos.

PJ: Could you give some practical advice on how to use Instagram effectively?
GW: Use relevant hashtags for your brand and products. For example, #jewellery #gold #diamond. This is the best way to tap into people who are interested in products you are offering.

PJ: Could you share an example of how you have worked with a brand and influencers to boost their online profile?
RS: I recently worked with a jewellery brand called Dollie Jewellery, they were keen to work with bloggers but were new to digital marketing. We sat down together and identified a group of female bloggers that represented their young female audience well, then brainstormed places and activities their young audience would enjoy. Finally deciding on V Festival. We then invited the chosen group of bloggers to V Festival for the weekend and agreed that they would wear and promote Dollie Jewellery throughout the weekend. In exchange for this experience, Dollie Jewellery received multiple Instagram posts from each of the girls, a blog post linking back to their website, and the brand was able to use the content the girls created across their website, social media feeds and press pack.

PJ: How much time do you think a business should spend on social media and how can companies use their time wisely if they are limited?
GW: I personally believe it’s important to upload daily as this helps build a following and a loyal customer base. For brands limited with time I would suggest scheduling content or outsourcing this work to an agency like Rosalind Shimmen Communications.

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