I am sure that even at this point some of you are asking: "Why do I need Instagram at all?” In all honesty, I am sure that high-art jewellers such as Wallace Chan, Cindy Chao, Suzanne Syz and Hemmerle once asked this question as well, and yet during the last three years they have all created accounts on this social network in order to present their creations to people the world over.
“There is an increase in platforms to communicate our work through from the proliferation of art fairs, to more biennales and exhibitions and social media such as Instagram. Together, this has allowed a much broader public engagement with Hemmerle jewellery. Our collectors live all over the world and have an eye for the original. Instagram has helped us to connect with audiences on a global scale and has been a way for collectors to discover us and start a dialogue,” says Christian Hemmerle.
However, the German jeweller does not perceive Instagram as an online window display – in fact he considers any sale through Instagram a bonus. The truth is - as with any social network - people gather here to get to know each other and communicate. It is only after some time that they begin to feel a connection with an account and trust its owner. This, in time, has the potential to stimulate sales for jewellery designers and brands.
It worked very well for London-based designer Lily Gabriella, who only sells her pieces privately. “I was quite surprised at the willingness of clients to buy an emerging brand like mine via social media. In my mind consumers are looking to connect with the designer and think of us as part of the experience. There is a sense of intimacy somehow - despite the platform. Now, social media has become an integral part of my business and has undoubtedly become a sales tool. I think of it as a window display, of sorts, that constantly changes.”
Yes, Instagram, to some extent, can be compared with a window display, but it possesses its own qualities as well. For example, on Instagram it is not enough to arbitrarily load professional photos of jewellery and wait for someone to buy featured jewellery as a result of that. There is already a real glut of choice, and to stand out, one must master the dynamics of the platform. With daily updates and new photos being uploaded by thousands of jewellers, each of them has to find their own way to attract a potential client, inspiring them to subscribe to their account and experience its narrative.
The constant demand for a greater number of subscribers (read sales) can only be achieved by high quality, diverse and interesting content. At private Australian studio David Michael, special attention has been paid to the art form of Instagram curation. It was this strategy that helped the twin brothers David and Michael Robinson gain recognition and eventually start selling their unique pieces in the highly prestigious American retailer Betteridge. “We believe that content is another way of being creative and it demonstrates that we care about what we do. A well composed and thought out picture showing jewels made with the same attention to detail will get more attention online than something mediocre, and the more people that see your work, the greater the opportunity there is for it to find a new home,” says Michael.
Very often, jewellers ask me the question, “What photos do we need to post in order to attract more attention?” The honest answer is that there is no ‘magic formula’, and what is effective for one company may not work for another. Some jewellers obsess over the order of a sequence of photos in great detail, or upload only perfectly retouched pictures. Then there are those who prefer to publish regular images and videos taken simply using an iPhone.
Kamyen’s Director, Pooja Ghadi, says, “Personally, I stay very interactive through constant stories and keep them intentionally very real and raw so that followers can relate. That is why I purposely minimise the percentage of professionally edited images that I showcase in stories. This way our followers can see the reality or best imagine the details of the pieces, so they reach out quite often to schedule an appointment”.
Many have already taken note of a new feature on Instagram which allows you to buy what you see in the image. Shoppable photos are marked with a basket icon in the lower left corner. Next to the jewellery being sold there is a small dot, by clicking on which you can see the price and a link to the website in order to make a purchase. So far, this feature is only available for brands with an online boutique, such as the London-based House of Meraki. Brand founder Gargi Rathi shares that “shoppers today have a very short time span before moving onto the next product and this shopping basket feature enables them to get all the information instantly – helping them make a quick and easy purchase decision. At House of Meraki, we have seen a drastic increase in sales using this feature and also find it gives the brand a lot more credibility on Instagram for first time purchasers.”
And so, Instagram has become yet another effective channel for not only marketing but now sales as well. However, it brings results only to those who are willing to invest both time and resources. If you want to learn essential information for stepping up your Instagram game, then sign up to my 24 module educational newsletter programme by emailing me to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will explain all of the necessary elements for the successful development of a marketing strategy through the use of Instagram.