Munich, Germany—What makes one person an influencer and someone else just a consumer?
“If people like what you say, you’re an influencer. It’s that simple.” says Sascha Schulz, CEO of Berlin-based Influencer Marketing Academy, speaking during the Inhorgenta jewelry show.
But what’s the benefit to jewelers or jewelry brands to cooperate with an influencer?
Both brands and individual retail jewelers can benefit, says Schulz. Thriving retailers with great print ads, catalogs, and thousands of customers already are influencers—and manufacturers need to tap into that—but the next step for the retailers also is turning their own customers into influencers as well.
The manufacturer-retailer partnership is crucial, he says. “If you operate a jewelry store, you can’t do everything and still make photos for social media and create content. You have to have a person to help.”
Brands and manufacturers particularly play a major role in supplying high-quality images, which are essential. But it’s not just a matter of posting a pretty picture and a caption and calling it done. There needs to be something relatable about it, says Schulz—and sometimes less-than-perfect photos are more relatable. If you are the person whose job it is to manage social media, he says make a notebook of good examples, such as Dior’s Instagram channel (top of page), or Shinola watches, a brand that grew heavily because of Instagram.
“It’s excellent. “It doesn’t look like a brochure. Chopard’s, by contrast, is too clean and straightforward. Dior has real life, real beef. Chopard is just campaign photos.”
Shinola's Instagram page doesn't look like an advertising vehicle at all.
Finding the right influencers is key, and this is something Schulz suggests farming out to an agency that has experience in it.
“As a retailer, do you have contact with the right customers to be influencers? Do your customers know someone? It’s about creating affinity with someone who knows your product and your shop. Every now and again you might get some messages through the private message function, or an email from someone who discovered your profile, but that’s not enough.” Entering your zip code in the Instagram app might find someone in your area who posts about jewelry or watches, but it’s hard if they’re not in your area or you’re not experienced in influencer marketing strategy, he said.
“If you don’t have people in your organization looking after this, try to find an agent that knows influencer marketing as your partner on social media, and co-develop a strategy with them.”
There’s also a huge debate today about pay-to-play influencer marketing. Schulz believes the influencer should have creative freedom—but with some guidance. You’re looking for quality over quantity, authenticity, and focusing on style or inspiration, not generic information. Generic topics can be covered with hashtags rather than influencer content.
Every jeweler needs a website that’s easy to find through Google—there’s not as much active search on Instagram—and influencer contributions can be used for better search optimization, he said. “If we get away from search copy and write longer text, after two to three weeks SEO goes up.” Paid sponsored advertising reflecting lifestyle also helps [SEO], he said.
“A product image does well on Pinterest, but for influencer marketing there has to be authenticity. This is something the influencer really likes, and says why. Maybe you see a wrist watch in every photo or you see their personal statement jewelry. It’s inspirational, not classic marketing.”
And it has to be ongoing if it’s to be truly influential, he added. “If you pick out an influencer just for a single post, it won’t work. It’s not authentic.”