Strategize Your Social Media (find the best ways to use your 15 minutes of social)

Sometimes the best way to approach social media is to dive in and start swimming.  You can read all you want to about how to use Instagram and Pinterest for effective marketing, but if you go into them with this mindset, you may inhibit yourself from doing the very thing that’s going to make your posts and boards attractive to others” have fun and be yourself.

In the world of independent creatives – as in design in general – finding your own voice and vision is your best hope for success.  When I talk to people in the jewelry world known for their huge following on social media, nine times out of ten that’s what they did.  They dove in and played around until they found their voice.  Others responded, they responded back, and a little community formed and grew.

This probably sums up how they built a following for their jewelry in the first place.  Until you find traction, though, you have to put in the effort to find something that resonates.  Once you do find traction and get busy, the less time you have to play around on social media – hence, the need for a marketing strategy.

COMMIT TO MARKETING:  Online marketing is expensive.  Social media is free, fun, and effective.  But it’s not enough to open a Twitter account and put up a Facebook page and then check in once a month.  In fact, I think having your brand connected to dormant accounts makes you look flaky.  Open those accounts, yes, but before you do, be prepared to commit to feeding them daily -or at least every couple of days.  Have a plan in place.

Don’t worry; this doesn’t have to take much time.  I spend no more than 15 minutes a day on business-related social media, on average, and rarely past on weekends except to my personal account. (By business-related, I mean social media connected to my blog and, directly or indirectly, to my income.)

Occasionally, I break that rule, when I’m reporting on something live, for example, or plugging something I just posted.  But I usually get multiple use out of those exercises, so my social media posts double as an archive I can refer to later.  If my followers can make use of them the same way, all the better.

START WITH VISUALS:  As a jewelry artist, your social media platforms to focus on are the visual ones.  News hooks and “ten tips” may work for business types, but your crowd wants juicy images.

When dealing with jewelry, especially original handmade jewelry, the most effective way to grab attention among jewelry fans is with your camera.  For jewelry product listings, I recommend trading up to a DSLR like a Canon Rebel and adding a macrolens, or at least a good point-and-shoot with a macro setting.  Invest in a little table-top studio that provides lighting and a clean white background.  Some jewelry artists I know do well with Foldio, a small portable, collapsible tent available for as little as $49.

But the camera on your phone is fine for quick and casual sharing.  In fact, shooting on a mobile device will make posting to social media faster and easier.  You can select an image post directly to facebook from your phone at a craft show, for example.  You can actually take an image using Instagram’s app, but I find it easier to shoot and store) on my phone’s camera, then access images via Instagram..

FIGURE OUT THE PLATFORM: Pinerest is a social bookmarking site for the visually oriented, for example.  Part of your social strategy should be to post images – not on Pinterest but your own site or shop – that others want to pin.  Make sure you tag and title those pictures with your name or that of your business so it defaults as a caption on Pinterest – one that leads potential customers to your jewelry.  Making your jewelry pin-able is more important than having thousands of followers on your Pinboards.

Instagram, on the other hand, is more about original photography.  If you have an eye for shooting your jewelry and like to play around with filters, you can have lots of fun on this site. Hashtagging with your specific type of jewelry can help you find a strong fan base.  The Instagram app will ask if you want to share your post on Facebook or Twitter or both.  The more you share, the higher you’ll register in Instagram’s algorithms. and the more followers you reach on those other platforms.

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTH:  Approach each of these platforms as your own visual micro-blog.  Maybe you have a good eye for a great stack: your rings or bracelets piled up with vintage or funky costume pieces. or you find a way to photograph your jewelry with household objects, then use filters to make it look like a landscape.  Maybe you have a photogenic pet who becomes part of your online persona.

If you happen to know a lot about some particular aspect of jewelry making, your following might come from tips you share, maybe with mini-video tutorials or photo collages.  As a creative and visually oriented person, you will likely start playing around and find some way to use the tools of these platforms in your own way – and that is your best hope.

As part of her custom wedding ring business, Danielle Miller invites couples to spend the day in her studio “helping” her make their rings.  This can be very hands-on, with bride and groom hammering away, or simply witnessing the final touches of their rings.  Either way, Danielle takes photos and short videos of them working on their jewelry, some of which she posts on her Facebook page or website with their permission.  It’s a great way to offer the couple a meaningful keepsake of their rings, as well as a fun promo of her workshops and custom design business.

SHAKE IT UP:  Part of your plan should be to experiment.  Spend a few minutes each day exploring what others in your field are posting on Facebook or Instagram.  Find a few that you relate to and follow them if you find their content compelling, but also analyze what they’re doing and try some of that.

Once you start posting really compelling images, tag people who may be interested.  Credit someone who helped or influences you along the way, for example.  Some will follow you back.  Those with massive followings probably won’t be too responsive, at least at first. Try engaging more with those just a bit ahead of you.

Don’t just post generic product listings.  We get enough spam, right?  No one wants to log on to social media to find more. Sharing and responding to others is a quick and effective way to make them happy and attract a few high-profile followers, but don’t spend all your time res-posting.

We’re following you because we like what you bring to the table – and that includes the one thing you have that no one else does: your own work and your own eye.  The trick to amassing a huge following is to use the platform – whether Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or something else – in a unique way, your way.

From: Lapidary Journal – Jewelry Artist

Written by: Cathleen McCarthy – a freelance writer.