Silversmith Karen Young has been working hard to build up her jewellery business Karen Young Handmade Jewellery and her use of social media caught the eye of the LJS team. We talked to her about how she uses social media to promote her business and products
Which social media do you use? (e.g. instagram, twitter etc)
I am on all of the main social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ but the main ones that my target audience are on regularly are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so I tend to focus most on those. I also have a blog on my website and send a newsletter about once a month.
Whilst Facebook still drives the most traffic to my online shops and has the best conversion rate into sales, Instagram is fast catching up! I love Instagram the best out of all the platforms – it is so visual and I have found a wonderful community there.
How have you built up your social media following?
Sheer hard work and consistency! It is possible to buy followers on social media but I really wouldn’t recommend it. I have always felt that the point of social media is to cultivate engagement and dialogue with followers so they get to know and trust you and you can’t do that if they are fake accounts. So I have built my following on each platform over time and by replying to comments on my feeds and direct messages, and being active daily on the platforms. I post virtually daily on Instagram and try and take the most beautiful pictures I can and about 3-4 times a week on Facebook and Twitter. I need to spend a bit more time on my Pinterest boards and blog more consistently in 2016.
How has social media helped drive your sales?
Social media definitely drives more traffic to my online shops and ultimately drives sales, but I have never used social media for sales alone. Unlike large jewellery stores and brands I don’t have a massive marketing budget and social media not only allows my brand to reach people all across the world, but more importantly lets me actively communicate and engage with my target customers. People shop small over bigger brands because your story and why you do what you do speaks to them and you can really get that across using social media.
Also it takes time for your followers to get to know you on social media and trust you, so they may not buy from you for months or even years so you won’t get sales from social media overnight. But if you focus on providing great customer service, creating great products, post great content with beautiful pictures, and do so consistently then the sales will come.
I also use social media (in particular Facebook) to do research into my target customers. If you don’t really understand who you are selling to and what motivates them then posting on social media can be a little hit or miss. On business Facebook pages once you get over 100 likes then you get access to some pretty fantastic and powerful tools that can help you understand your customers better which means what you post on social media improves over time. I have used Facebook to build a profile of my ideal customer: where she shops, what her demographics are, what motivates her or scares her. I have even given her a name! I target all my social media messaging to her. That’s not to say that other people won’t buy from me but I am talking to someone instead of everyone (or even worse – nobody).
I also use my newsletter email list (did you know you can import your email list into Facebook Ads Manager?) and target ads to them which is cheaper than ads to totally new audiences. Your email list is important as social media algorithms can change in a heartbeat (organic reach on Facebook for example is harder than ever to achieve) and you have no control over it but you own your email list.
I do use Facebook ads now and again and have found them to be very powerful (again these work best if you have spent some time defining your target customer) to promote my shop and also to boost important posts so they reach more of my target audience.
What kinds of things do you post on social media? What do you find gets you the most response?
I don’t like to be too salesy on social media as for me it isn’t just all about sales it is about cultivating a relationship with my followers and letting them get to know me and my brand. I tend to post in the region of 2-3 engagement type posts to every sales or call to action post.
I spend a lot of time styling my photo so that they look beautiful and that when people are scrolling down their feed on social media they will catch your eye – I tend to get more engagement and comments when I have taken the time to take the best photograph I can. I take all my social media photos using my iPhone using the Camera+ app which means I can adjust exposure, crop, balance colour etc on my phone and add text using picmonkey, canva or wordswag if I need to.
I post a mix of styled product shots, work in progress, behind the scenes snapshots, quotes and the occasional selfie so that people can put a face to my brand. I don’t tend to post too much really personal stuff (unless it directly relates to my business – for example before Christmas my boys helped me make a ring for Granny’s birthday so I posted pictures of them at work but I don’t post pics of my lunch for example as it doesn’t fit with my brand). Behind the scenes shots work well and people really seem to love quotes particularly on Instagram. Also short videos seem to do well and get higher engagement and visibility particularly on Facebook.
I use Iconosquare for Instagram and Facebook tools to keep an eye on content that is generating the most engagement and to understand what hashtags on Instagram are working well so you can tweak and improve your content over time. You can use scheduling tools to schedule your posts but I just tend to just set aside time to post on each platform as that way I can respond to comments and engage with my followers when I post as it feels a little bit more authentic.
Each month I plan out a detailed social media calendar which is about 80% complete that is a mix of engagement posts and call to actions. I don’t like to do a 100% completed calendar as I want a little room for spontaneity and to be able to keep my feed authentic. I detail which platform, what kind of post (engagement, call to action), what the picture or video will be and what my caption will be. This means I don’t need to think too much about social media meaning I have more making time.
What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out with social media to promote their business?
When you start out on a social media platform, take the time to fill out your bio including links to how customers can either contact your or buy from you. I like to include a little about my why. And if you run a business make sure that business is listed in your About section on your personal Facebook profile. That way if people find you on Facebook they can find a route through to your business page.
Then start posting great content and following other accounts. Build organically and focus on quality rather than quantity. And let people know you are on the platform through your business cards, your website or online shop and even ask people to tag you on social media if they are happy with their purchase.
What are your plans/hopes for your jewellery business in the coming years?
My business is still fairly new so I want to build on a great 2015 and really start to grow and develop my business in 2016 and beyond.
Firstly I want to rebuild my website now I really know what I want my website to do, and direct all my marketing back to my own website rather than Etsy. That is my main priority for the first quarter of 2016. And behind the scenes I am working to develop a new collection of personalised luxury keepsake pieces that will become tomorrow’s heirlooms, as well as celebration jewellery such as engagement and wedding rings.
I hope to build to a strong monthly revenue that will enable to me continue doing what I love without having to go back to corporate life.
Finally I am hoping to take part in some great retail fairs so that I can spend some time with my customers face to face!
Where can we find out more about you?
I sell on both Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KarenYoungJewellery) and my own website www.karenyoungjewellery.co.uk – please note that I am in the process of upgrading my website which will hopefully be finished soon!
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