Join the social club

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Sell yourself and your jewellery with social media marketing.

If you’re not Tweeting, updating your status on Facebook or running a blog, you’re missing out on sales opportunities every day. Chris Angus explains the benefits of social networking.

While social media may seem incredibly new, people have actually used various types of digital media to socialise, network, and gather and share information for decades. In the 1950s phone tappers had phone phreaking, in the 1980s there was a Twitter equivalent called Internet Relay Chat, and in 2010 the choice of social networks is nearly endless.

Social networks and blogs are now the fourth most popular online activities, even beating private email. A tenth of all time online is spent with them. Make no mistake, social media networks are here to stay.

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Whether you’re a small independent jeweller, designer-maker, brand or chain, you can harness the power of social media to speak to customers directly, build your brand and reputation, and drive traffic to your website.

Research has shown that people who use social networking sites tend to be active online shoppers and buy more than twice as many products online as surfers who don’t use social networks. This makes sites like Twitter and Facebook a hotbed of potential customers, which is exactly why you need to be communicating what your business has to offer through these channels as well as traditional e-shots.

As the popularity of social media continues to grow, the ability to reach more consumers across the world has also increased. Twitter, for example, has expanded its global reach to Japan, Indonesia and Mexico among others so your Tweets will go out to all over the world, not just to your immediate customer base. For jewellers with transactional websites this is a rich source of untapped potential sales.

And it’s not just the reach of social networking but the speed that makes it so vital. Social media allows for product information to be shared far more quickly than by traditional marketing methods, and you can gain the attention of potential customers who are already interested in your products for only the cost of the time you invest in it.

And, of course, it’s not just news that you can share on social media, but multimedia content such as images, video and audio, allowing people to see and hear more about your products.

Blogging is also important. You can get a free blog from Blogger or WordPress, and talk about your jewellery, the design process, new materials or colours you’re working with, and so on. This will give your customers a face and personality to associate with your products and get them interested in what you’re going to do next, which will build brand loyalty and drive sales.

As well as helping to define your brand and communicate your point of difference to customers, social media can provide a unique insight into why people love or hate a particular product. You can use this information to help change and control audience perceptions and preferences, and also to gauge customer reaction when considering stock selection.

And an added bonus? Social networks complement search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies. Many social media techniques have shown to have a significant indirect boost to search engine rankings, making your business more visible in the vast space of the world wide web.

Equally, while SEO relies on just a few popular search engines like Google and Yahoo to drive traffic to a site, social media expands the potential audience by creating alternate channels, again widening your reach.

Like any other marketing tool, social media carries its own risks, and needs to be used with clear objectives in mind from the outset. But used rightly, it can boost your jewellery business by reaching the parts of the market that traditional media no longer can.

For those still hesitating, you might not understand it and you might not see the point of it, but that’s not to say your customers feel the same. And with no big marketing costs involved, what have you got to lose?
 

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