Merrick, NY—Facebook has been a boon to the jewelry industry. Indeed, a study by L2 Thinktank, the digital marketing research firm, shows the jewelry and watch category has the highest level of engagement on social media of any luxury category.
But what’s the most effective way to use Facebook? It's a question that many prestige jewelers face on a daily basis. And it doesn’t get any easier when Facebook keeps changing the rules.
It started out easy—and free. Connecting with your customers via social media was good—and free. Businesses collected 'likes.' They posted about new products, events, even birthdays and pets, and fans received their messages regularly, keeping the jeweler top of mine.
But things have changed. Facebook launched as a public company and committed to their tagline "It's free and always will be." Except there’s one hitch: “free” is relative. It is free for Facebook users, but less so for businesses. Fewer fans were receiving posts and the all important 'like' began to lose its meaning. And like any other kind of marketing, jewelers have to spend money to keep reaching fans/customers.
Your message already is reaching fewer fans than it used to, and the numbers are dwindling. As fewer fans receive posts from a business they have 'liked,' it's getting closer to what's often referred to as “Facebook zero,” or “zero organic reach apocalypse,” the time when none of your fans receive your message unless you fund the communication.
“Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach [of your content] is zero.” (Source: AdAge magazine)
So if Facebook isn’t free, how much should you spend on it? The Centurion asked a few experts in the know about social media and Facebook strategies for their thoughts. They were happy to share their varying Facebook tactics. Check them out below and see if their strategies can help you get better Facebook results.
The Centurion: Do you think jewelers (small business owners) should be spending money on Facebook? If so, what should they be doing?
Shane O'Neill, Fruchtman
Absolutely! Facebook is just like any other media. That is to say, it's only successful if you can get eyeballs on the content. I always use the example of a billboard. You can place that billboard in two locations: On the interstate where thousands of people pass it daily or off a walking path in the woods. Which one will be more successful? Same billboard, but the more people that see it, the better. Bigger reach, bigger results. That reach is the cost of placement or cost of media. Same as radio, print advertising, TV, etc.
So what a local independent jeweler needs to understand is that Facebook is just one media in the digital landscape. What they need to do is form a strategy and drive traffic. For our jewelers, our strategy is to grow their page organically (not rely on contests or other gimmicks that force people to like the page). We also focus on moving specific categories like bridal and custom design. This allows us to be focused and more easily determine results.
Not that we don't post other content, but the content we push traffic to using Facebook advertising is very specific. Also, most jewelers don't realize that when they post to their page, only 15-20% of their current fan base will ever even see the content in their timeline (there's a reason for this and part of why we believe in an organic approach). That being said, it's important that the remaining 80-85% of fans see the content, and Facebook advertising allows you to push that content out to a much larger percentage of fans.
Finally, Facebook is actually a very complex platform and understanding its complexity is key to developing a strategy that delivers results.
Jeff Arnold, 4SpotMarketing
Facebook can be an integral part of a jeweler's marketing program, but I wouldn't make it the first dollars that are spent. The first online area where jewelers should focus is in their Google/search engine rankings, as those ranks capture people at the exact time they are looking for a product or service, and it is a broader target group (not just Facebook users). Once your website rankings are in place, then moving on to increasing your marketing within the social media sites should happen.
When advertising on Facebook, I would suggest using a Boosted Post. This is basically just paying to have one of your posts shown to an increased number of individuals on Facebook, based on demographics that you choose.
There are several guidelines one should use when doing a boosted post:
Howard Cohen, The Jeweler Blog
I believe that if jewelers are investing the time (and money) to post creative content on Facebook, then they must have a strategy for getting that message to a broad audience. If they don't, it's like producing a wonderful TV commercial and not buying any airtime.
Jewelers should have realized by now that what Facebook delivers for free is dwindling. Posts now go to approximately 5% of their LIKE base. A way to beat that problem is to boost posts, and better yet, boost them universally, through a service such as Red Rocket.
In this way, a post seen by a few dozen per day without boosting will be seen by thousands per day with boosting. It's much more cost effective to run a universal boost, because every post is boosted, even if they post multiple times a day. Because the service buys in bulk, it can cost as little as $4 day.
A great advantage to boosting is that Facebook allows jewelers to reach out beyond their “like” base, and cherry-pick their demographics based on numerous parameters, including key zip codes and the interests of the Facebook users.
Matt Perosi, Jewelers Website Advisory Group
The answer is only if they do it the right way. And there is a right way and a seriously wrong way.
You can target a specific audience through Facebook's ‘Create Audience’ tool. Once you dive into that audience tool, you start to realize that you can choose target segmenting that's very sophisticated. You have the availability to show your post to more than just the people who like your page. You can, in fact, target by age, income, relationship status, and a lot more.
Here's where things get interesting, because a savvy marketer will recognize that they can create different ads to appropriately target people in those different segments, which means you probably shouldn't waste your time trying to boost a single post.
If you do choose to boost a post you should pick a target segment to boost to and make sure the post is actually something that resonates with the segment. The difference between a boosted post and a targeted ad is that everyone could still see it if they visit the page directly, even if they were not part of the target segment.
The better approach is to create ads that will capture the attention of target segments that you identify through the Create Audience tool. The challenge here is for jewelers to take the time to segment their audience, and then come up with an ad creative that will resonate with the chosen audience. This is not an easy task, but it's one that I feel everyone can learn to do. This is my magic formula for what jewelers should be doing:
Sadly, most FB advertising is done without a strategy. Jewelry stores should be using FB as a social network by communicating with the customer who have already purchased from them. Existing customers love it because they feel special, and it shows potential new customers that they are not only interested in selling stuff.
In my experience, jewelers reporting that they "don't know if Facebook is working" or "I don't understand what Facebook is for" are the ones who haven't yet used any type of advanced digital segmenting in any of their advertising.
Figuring all this out is not easy, and no one told them it was possible. Those jewelers listing to the media buzz that you need to boost posts for "like" and "reach" are watching their money flush away. They believe that this is what they are supposed to do because that's what the majority of other people talk about.
What's worse is that you also have FB marketing specialists that will post on behalf of a store, and then boost those posts to increase reach. Jewelers believe this is the correct way, and it's difficult to prove otherwise without asking them to have faith in a larger marketing strategy. It's easier to pay a "FB specialist" a small monthly fee than to do nothing.
James Porte, Porte Marketing Group
Jewelers that are looking to Facebook as a quick, low cost/no cost way to get new customers and increase jewelry sales will be greatly disappointed. Jewelers will need to connect with customers using a variety of marketing tools and will need to test and assess on a regular basis to see what is working and what's not.
Spending money on building a following should very quickly become a thing of the past, as so few of them will ever see anything you are trying to say. A widely held belief is that at some point in the not too distant future, Facebook will restrict organic content generated by business from newsfeeds, thus yielding a reach of zero, nada, zilch.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that social media marketing is not working to increase revenues. According the WSJ report, 62% off social media network users say social media has NO INFLUENCE their buying decisions! Another 30% say social has little influence. Only 5% report that it plays a big role in their buying decisions.
In another WSJ report, the paper quotes a UK study that indicates people don't trust social media for information about products and services. They say there is too much fakery going on in the social media space. False reviews, attempts to hide negative comments about a product, service, or company, and paid likes and shares all have their BS detectors working overtime.
While social media will continue to evolve and improve in the near future, jewelers must still implement programs that work now! Sometimes jewelers get so caught up in the newest technology or social media effort that they abandon everything else or they feel that they will not partake in doing anything until it is perfected and will miss out on the journey!
We'd love to hear what YOUR strategy for Facebook is. Leave us a message below or email email@example.com with your own strategy and comments.
Top image: Google+